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The Physiological Demands of Youth Artistic Gymnastics

Applications to Strength and Conditioning

Moeskops, Sylvia, MSc, CSCS1; Oliver, Jon L., PhD1,2; Read, Paul J., PhD3; Cronin, John B., PhD2; Myer, Gregory D., PhD4,5,6,7; Lloyd, Rhodri S., PhD, CSCS*D1,2,8

Strength & Conditioning Journal: February 2019 - Volume 41 - Issue 1 - p 1–13
doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000404
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ABSTRACT THE SPORT OF ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS INVOLVES A SERIES OF COMPLEX EVENTS THAT CAN EXPOSE YOUNG GYMNASTS TO RELATIVELY HIGH FORCES. THE SPORT IS RECOGNIZED AS ATTRACTING EARLY SPECIALIZATION, IN WHICH YOUNG CHILDREN ARE EXPOSED TO A HIGH VOLUME OF SPORTS-SPECIFIC TRAINING. LEADING WORLD AUTHORITIES ADVOCATE THAT YOUNG ATHLETES SHOULD PARTICIPATE IN STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING-RELATED ACTIVITIES TO INCREASE ATHLETE ROBUSTNESS AND REDUCE THE RELATIVE RISK OF INJURY. THE PURPOSE OF THIS COMMENTARY IS TO PROVIDE A NEEDS ANALYSIS OF ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS AND TO HIGHLIGHT KEY ISSUES SURROUNDING TRAINING THAT PRACTITIONERS SHOULD CONSIDER WHEN WORKING WITH THIS UNIQUE POPULATION.

1Youth Physical Development Unit, Cardiff School of Sport, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, United Kingdom;

2Sport Performance Research Institute, New Zealand (SPRINZ), AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand;

3Athlete Health and Performance Research Centre, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar;

4Division of Sports Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio;

5Department of Pediatrics and Orthopaedic Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio;

6The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention, Boston, Massachusetts;

7Department of Orthopaedics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and

8Centre for Sport Science and Human Performance, Waikato Institute of Technology, Hamilton, New Zealand

Address correspondence to Sylvia Moeskops, smoeskops@cardiffmet.ac.uk.

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: The authors report no conflicts of interest and no source of funding.

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Sylvia Moeskops is a PhD student and coach for the Youth Physical Development Centre at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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Jon L. Oliver is a Reader in Applied Paediatric Exercise Science and co-founder of the Youth Physical Development Centre at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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Paul J. Read is a strength and conditioning coach and clinical research scientist at Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital.

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John B. Cronin is a Professor in Strength and Conditioning at AUT University, NZ and an Adjunct Professor at Edith Cowan University.

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Gregory D. Myer is director of Research and the Human Performance Laboratory for the Division of Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and holds primary academic appointments in the Departments of Pediatrics and Orthopaedic Surgery within the College of Medicine at University of Cincinnati.

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Rhodri S. Lloyd is a Reader in Paediatric Strength and Conditioning and is co-founder and Chair of the Youth Physical Development Centre at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

© 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association