Is it true that gymnastics can stunt growth/damage the spine?

(32 Posts)
musicalfamily Sat 20-Apr-13 11:16:29

My sons (5 and 6) do gymnastics and one of them was picked to join a slightly more advanced group who train 2 hours a week, (initially) as they think he has "potential". This is a proper gym that trains lots of very successful gymnasts. Both boys love gymnastics.

I was going to agree but then a friend who is a sports therapist told me that gymnastics is a terrible sport for injuries, that it stunts growth, can damage the spine and that many gymnasts have ended up in wheelchairs! She scared the hell out of me. Should I keep my boys doing recreational or is it ok for them to go down the more intense route? Any opinions would be gratefully received...

bigTillyMint Sat 04-May-13 09:34:55

Yes, moomin - at DD's gym, the petitest, bendiest and most agile girls are fast-tracked. If they continue to enjoy it and like training a lot, they could go far. However there are also lots of good gymnasts there who are tall/big and muscular - it doesn't seem to have stunted their growth!

Re swimming, good swimmers develop good upper-body strength, but it's all a bit chicken and egg - if your physique suits a certain sport and you get good at that sport...

Moominsarehippos Sat 04-May-13 10:07:12

I suppose its about form and 'look' too. A 6'3 gymnast would look odd on the bar!

ryanboy Sat 04-May-13 10:19:07

Hpermobility can be acquired through hard work and training.When we are selecting girls for squad, flexibility is not a major issue as most girls can aquire it fairly readily.In fact the bendiest people often seem to not have theb right kind of muscle fibres IME and .
A combination of reasonable flexibilitynatural strength, natural springiness and above all body control so they can be very neat and even more important the right attitude ie ability to give their all to training which is at times uncomfortable and boring once the novelty wears off

Ah, Ds has a degree of hypermobility. Thanks for the tip, re. orthotic insoles. I've been wondering about that.

Weegiemum Argentina Sat 04-May-13 11:22:29

I know one formerly-professional gymnast (he has a Commonwelth games bronze medal for the floor routine). He is very short, and is now a primary school teacher, has taught my dd1 and ds, and through all this became a family friend.

He says to do good gymnastics you have to be fairly short, with all the flips etc, and so most good gymnasts are under 5'6".

He has a great class control trick though! If they're mucking about he does a backflip. That shuts them up quick!

bigTillyMint Sat 04-May-13 12:22:41

Yes, DD's friend who is a really good squad gymnast, is too tall now at 5'9".

loopyluna Wed 15-May-13 07:33:02

Can't answer yet, but my DDs do gymnastics. My eldest is 11and does 10 hours a week. There are 12 year old identical twins in her group and one has been pulled out to train intensively, 26 hours a week, with the national squad. It will be interesting to see if she ends up smaller than her sister! After a few months, her muscle tone is incredible and she is already "bulkier" than her sister. I'll get back to you in a few years wink

All of the coaches at my DDs' club are very small in height but whether or not it's to do with gym or not, I don't know. A few are very overweight too and blame it on having stopped training!

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