There are many components of fitness that are important for successful performance for a gymnast. Although skill is very important, the fitness components of flexibility and strength are also important, as well being a specific body size and maintaining a low level of body fat.
A gymnast who is small and flexible is advantaged in body rotation activities. In a poll of the most important components of fitness for gymnastics, flexibility is a clear winner, over balance and coordination. Also, in another poll of the most important factors of success for gymnasts strength, power and speed are ranking highly. Below are the range of fitness components that should be tested on a gymnast, and some suggested tests to perform.
Height and weight measurements are important to monitor growth. Being small is advantageous in body rotation activities. Here are procedures to follow when testing Height and weight. See more about Anthropometry and Gymnastics.
Excess body fat would affect the gymnast's ability to move freely, and reduce their power to weight ratio important for lifting their body weight. Body fat can be measured using the skinfold method. If this is not available, it can be replaced by regularly monitoring of body weight changes which would give an indication of body fat changes (assuming limited changes in muscle mass).
An excellent level of flexibility is important for all gymnastics events. The sit and reach test is a basic flexibility test for lower back and hamstring flexibility. An elite gymnast would require more sophisticated flexibility tests over a range of joints.
Running speed and particularly acceleration over a short distance are important in gymnastics floor exercises and vaulting. Sprint time over 20m, with a split time for the first 5 and 10m should be performed.
Strength & Power
Strength and power tests should also be done to determine strength levels and to monitor strength changes in conjunction with training programs. The vertical jump test can be performed to measure leg power. A handgrip strength testis also suitable hand strength.
Aerobic fitness is a very important component of fitness for gymnastics. The shuttle run (beep) test would usually be the most appropriate test for testing a gymnastics team. You can find information on many other aerobic tests here.
- What does it take to be a successful gymnasts?
- About Anthropometry and Gymnastics
- Warm-Up for Gymnastics
- The Physics of Gymnastics
- Fitness components for gymnastics
- Fitness Testing for Sports