How to Get the Body of an Olympic Gymnast!

It’s no secret, gymnasts have incredible physiques but how do they achieve those muscles if  they don’t lift weights?  Their sport requires endurance, speed, balance and agility and I guess you can say that their muscles are as a side effect of their training.  No matter what your current routine looks like you can incorporate gymnast type training into your workout.

Gymnast Training

The training a gymnast typically undergoes will target fast twitch muscle fibers needed for explosive strength and speed to jump many feet in the air off the floor or propel their entire bodies mid movement in various directions from their core.  A gymnast will also need to develop cardiovascular endurance in order to perform high intensity routines for an extended duration without getting tired.  Interval training thereby forms the core of a gymnast training as they need to develop both their aerobic and anaerobic capacities.

Gymnast Training
Gymnast Training

Straight Arm Movements

The tremendous arm development of gymnasts have a lot to do with the straight arm movements they do on the still rings and parrallel bars.  This is where they hold their entire bodies up with just their hands.  The planche and front lever are straight arm movements anyone can practice to do on their own.  You definately will not be able to perform the planche or front lever right off the bat but with consistent practice and progression you will get there.  You will have to start out with a basic pose – the frog stand, and progress from there to the tuck planche until you are ablbe to perform a full planche.  This process can take six months up to a year.

Performing the planche will involve all muscles of the body particularly the anterior and posterior shoulder muscle, lower back and your core.  A tremendous amount of energy is needed to do this exercise which makes it a perfect exercise to build muscle mass especially to your upper body and burn body fat.

Tremendous Resistance from Bodyweight

The tremendous resistance available from bodyweight exercises is unmatched yet most opt to use weights since it is more straightforward than developing the ability to do the plache or a handstand.  Most people are not aware that there are more than fifty variations of pushups or more than fifty variations of dips.  There is so much variety and scope to increase the intensity from bodyweight exercises that you can build a lot of muscle this way.

Gymnast Training
Gymnast Training

4 Day Gymnastic Muscle Building Split Routine

Aim for an 8 – 15 rep range.
3 – 4 sets, 1 minute rest between sets.

  • Day 1 – Upper Body
  • Day 2 – Lower Body
  • Day 3 – Rest
  • Day 4 – Upper Body
  • Day 5 – Lower Body
  • Day 6 – Rest
  • Day 7 – Rest

Upper Body

  • Muscle Ups
  • Clap Pushups
  • Handstand Pushup
  • Dips
  • Pullups
  • Diamond Pushups
  • Frog Stand (hold position for 1 minute)

Lower Body

  • Pistol Squat
  • High Box Step Up
  • Jump Squat
  • Duck Walk
  • Single Leg Calf Raise
  • Leg Raises