The FIG to investigate the effects of intensive training on gymnasts


I’ve always been fascinated with the scientific side of gymnastics, of most sports really.  Studying subjects like Biomechanics, Sports Injuries, Anatomy & Physiology in college really spurred my interest on. I incorporate my knowledge into my coaching, educating the gymnasts whilst coaching them physically.

I love books like Gerald S George’s recent “Championships Gymnastics” and his 1980 book “Biomechanics of Women’s Gymnastics” and my current love Monem Jemni’s  “The Science of Gymnastics“. The Science of Gymnastics Journal often has some really great pieces that interest me, especially the current edition which has contributions from FIG Members.

The FIG are set to do some scientific research of their own this month. They have invited a panel of scientific experts from Great Britain, USA, Belgium, Greece and Australia to participate in a study to investigate the effects of intensive training on the growth and development of gymnasts.

A team of internationally recognised experts will be received in Lausanne to address an issue that is largely debated within the FIG; the aim is to bring objectivity and answers to questions that loom in the minds of both gymnasts and their technical entourage.

Chaired by Canadian Keith Russell, the FIG Scientific Commission was the project initiator before it was passed on to Dr Adam Baxter-Jones (USA). Discussions will hinge on the impact of intensive training on a gymnast’s adult height, segmental growth, growth rate rhythm and the possible presence of negative hormones in that process. The colloquium will bring concrete answers to whether or not there is an effect, and the degree of personal impact.

Sounds great, really interesting. I’ll be looking forward to the results and answers that the panel come up with. I hope that they’ll be widely released for everyone to see.


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