International Forum on Gymnastic Sciences

Toshiyuki Fujihara announces a big event in Osaka, Japan featuring …

Dr. Keith Russell, Dr. Gareth Irwin, Mr. Jeff Thomson, Dr. William A Sands, Mr. Huang Yubin, and Mr. Hiro Sato.

October 19-20, 2019.

No fee though you must register online.

For RECOVERY from exercise SLEEP is priority

Christie Aschwanden has a new book that’s getting a lot of attention, especially from coaches of endurance athletes.

The main takeaway for me was improving quality and quantity of sleep had the best potential for feeling more READY for the next training.

In one study a group of athletes spent 10 hours / night in bed, whether or not they were sleeping the whole time.

She found that many of the commercial products on the market had negligible effects on recovery. Often the placebo had the same result as the supposed recovery aid.

Recovery is very individual. And complicated.

She found that ice baths can “work” in that they make many athletes feel better (later), even if you’re not actually changing anything in the body.

Personally, I find the best strategy for the coach is to do an assessment of readiness to train at the beginning of workout, and adjust the plan based on that assessment. On a GOOD DAY do more. On a BAD DAY do more basics, less impact.

One season I had the girls do one rope climb during the warm-up reporting back to me how it felt. That was a good indicator, I found. We changed the load (e.g. tumbling reps) based on how they were feeling that day.

Amazon – Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery

Christie Aschwanden is an award-winning science journalist.

She was the lead science writer at FiveThirtyEight for many years and is a former health columnist for the Washington Post. …

She was a high school state champion in the 1,600-meter run, a national collegiate cycling champion, and an elite cross-country skier with Team Rossignol. She lives and occasionally still races in western Colorado.

reducing Gymnastics leg injury

Dave Tilley:

Issues like stress fractures, ankle sprains, growth plate inflammation, ACL or meniscus tears, Achilles injuries, and overuse cartilage break down are seen throughout all levels of gymnastics. These injuries all have a common overlap in being “impact” based….

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

On the upside, all that impact results in gymnasts having very dense bones.

On the downside, every coach needs to constantly assess the training plan to minimize the risk of traumatic and chronic injuries.

Dave has some advice.

1. Temporarily Reduce Workloads and Impact Volume

2. Diagnose and Get Medical Care Quickly

3. Be Patient

4. Manage Soft Tissue Daily (Manual Therapy and Stretching)

5. Use Ice Baths and Compression Nightly

6. Land Properly

7. Slowly Rebuild Knee and Ankle Joint Strength Following Injury

8. Slowly Rebuild Impact Volume Following Rehab

9. Correct Technical Issues (Steep Take off and Landing Short)

The other more obvious piece, although it’s shockingly not addressed, is that gymnasts simply need to stop landing short and destroying their ankles all the time. Mistakes obviously happen here and there, but the reality is that far too many gymnasts are being allowed to land very short on a daily basis. …

10. Build Leg Strength with Physical Preparation Programs

11. Track Growth

Click through for details and videos:


Gymnasts injured before arriving College

We have a very dangerous sport.

Thanks Greg.

College gymnasts – narcotic pain meds

According to the recently released NCAA National Study on Substance Use Habits of College Student-Athletes, the proportion of women’s gymnasts who reported using narcotic pain medications — nearly 18 percent — is the highest among student-athletes in any sport.

Overall, the use of pain medication, both prescribed and nonprescribed, has decreased among student-athletes since the release of the last NCAA substance use study in 2014, but health care professionals still are examining how best to manage pain among college athletes. …


Nassar abused his friend’s 6-yr-old

The criminal doctor’s victimized the daughter of a close family friend. It started when Kyle Stephens was age-6.

She was not a gymnast. This was not fake medical treatments.

Kyle’s father refused to believe her. As a result, she hated her father for years. They finally reconciled before his death.

Very ill, Kyle’s Dad took his own life in 2016.

Kyle Stephens was first to testify.

Listen to episode 8 online. But know that it’s disturbing.

in defence of icing injuries


I’ve read the articles. But still recommend ice to athletes in most of the same situations we did in the past. It often helps.

Dr. Dave Tilley is still proscribing ice.

He links to this article by Mike Reinold:

… Ice isn’t the bad guy. Yes, we tend to apply ice in some situations that probably doesn’t help and claim we do so for the wrong reasons. But the bottom line is that there are several benefits to ice, and ice has not been proven to impede the healing process as many claim. …

Is Icing an Injury Really Bad for You? What the Science Says

Ice plunge?

At University of Saskatchewan we would use it for a new strain / sprain, but never full body.


definition – “density” of training

In Canadian coach education, for gymnasts, we’ve used …

Density is the Number of elements (skills)
divided by Number of attempts

Density goes up over the season. In the preparation phase an athlete might do 60 elements in 60 approaches to the apparatus. 

Mid-season you might do 60 elements in only 15 turns. Warm-up then 8 half routines, for example. 

During the highest density part of the season on a hard day we’ll do many full routines in the same period of time. But with longer rests between routines. Perhaps 60 elements in 8 touches of the apparatus.

During the taper before competition density drops rapidly along with volume and intensity. A low density workout might be hit 2 routines. Long rest between. 

Note: this example ignores difficulty and complexity of the 60 elements. 


Here’s another example from (easier to monitor) strength training – doing the same amount of work in less time.

The goal would be to see a greater training effect by eliciting stronger signaling to the body.

Of course if you decrease the rest-to-work ratio between sets too much you risk poor technique and/or injury.

Therefore you’d need to experiment with decreasing rest periods gradually over time. More fit athletes will be better able to handle it sooner.

Increasing density would only be done at certain times of the year, certain apparatus and on hard days.


Of all the classic periodization variables and principles of training, the density of training is the least clear in the scientific literature …

Decreasing time while doing the same volume is a common approach to manipulating density, but during taper periods or recovery phases sometimes coaches do the opposite and pace slower. …

A healthy perspective is to save training density programming until everything is in place and the athlete needs to advance …


Note that many coaches don’t use density as one of their variables in planning. For most of my career I’ve found volume and intensity to be enough.