When you are deciding whether or not a new hobby like gymnastics might be for you, one of the things that you are probably wondering is how much time it will take out of your week. While every sport and hobby has different amounts of time that it takes for training, some sports take a lot more time. Or maybe you are just curious as to how many hours those Olympic gymnasts put into their training.
Gymnasts can train anywhere between 1-40+ hours a week depending on their level, their age, and where they intend on getting to with their training.
When you first start out learning gymnastics you will not have to spend nearly as much time training. There are a few reasons for this that I will touch on later, but first I will go over the different levels and give you an estimated idea of what a usual number of hours per week is for training for them.
The Different Levels
Level 1 gymnasts are often quite young when they start, and sometimes they do not even have much of an attention span yet either. For these reasons level 1 is very easy and often only has two classes a week that are 30 minutes each, making for a total of 1 hour of training per week.
Level 2 uses a bit more time as you start working on more skills that you need to perfect, and is often around 2 or 3 hours per week depending on a few of the other factors.
Level 3 requires a bit more than level 2 since you are starting to get ready to compete and you are also adding more and more skills in preparation for that. All in all, you will likely train around 4 hours per week for this level, if not closer to 8.
Level 4 is where the competitions really start, and you therefore have to spend more time training in order to learn your different routines. Consequently, you should be spending no less than 6 hours per week in training, with more likely closer to 10 hours per week.
Level 5 is not too much different from level 4 other than the fact that there are more skills that you need to know and the competitions are tougher. For this you will need closer to 7 to 12 hours of training per week.
Level 6 goes up even more to be around 10 to 15 hours of training per week. By now you are starting to work more and more on the extremely difficult moves and you are also making your own routines which is something that takes even more time to plan out and to learn.
Level 7 gets even harder all around, especially since the other gymnasts that you are now competing against have mostly been weeded out, leaving only the more dedicated gymnasts. In this level you are most likely going to be training closer to 15 to 18 hours per week.
Level 8 and level 9 stay fairly even with each other at around 20 to 25 hours of training per week easily. By now you will have little time for any “fun” or anything outside gymnastics, especially if you are going to a public school. However, you may have already quit going to a public school in favor of being homeschooled so that you have more time to train.
At level 10 you may find yourself training around 30 hours per week. There is tough competition here for scholarships among other things.
Elite level gymnasts are gymnasts by profession, and as such they spend as much time training as most people do with their full-time jobs. This is usually around 35 to 45 hours per week, sometimes more if they are training around 7 or 8 hours a day.
As you can see, the higher level you get to be the more time gymnastics training takes every week. One of the reasons for this is that there are now competitions to prepare for, routines to come up with for them, and these must be then memorized.
The other main reason why the higher levels of gymnastics takes more training time is that in every single level you are constantly adding to the number of skills you know. Not only are the new skills harder, but you are also having to go over all of your old skills as much as you can so that you perfect them without forgetting how to do them right.
In the first few levels you are basically learning nothing about the vaulting event, but as you progress you have to do more there in addition to learning more and having new skills for each of the four different gymnastics events.
Other Factors To Consider
The other main factor besides the level of gymnasts that you are in is how old you are. If you are a teen who is just starting level 1 of gymnastics, for example, then you will quite likely spend more time than a toddler who is taking the level 1 classes. Part of this is because of the fact that you are older and can therefore physically handle more strenuous exercise, but it is also in part because you will have a longer attention span.
There is another reason why age plays an important factor in how many hours a week that a gymnast trains. This is the fact that older kids who are only just starting gymnastics will often put in a number of extra hours in order to catch up to the kids who started when they were younger. This can be around 5 to 10 hours per week, depending on how quickly the new gymnast wishes to catch up.
This, depending on the age and how far behind they are, will often take more hours for the first 4 or 5 levels, and then they will gradually level out with the amount of training that the other kids their age are doing as they catch up to where they feel that they should be.
The other main factor apart from level and age is what your goal is in terms of being a gymnast. If your goal is simply having a great way to stay fit and to have fun, then you can probably do gymnastics for just a handful of hours every week. On the other hand, if you want to compete in gymnastics meets then you will have to train a lot more.
The most amount of training that you will need to have is if you hope to make it to the elite level and/or to make it to the Olympic team. This will take a ton of time, usually around as much as a full time job would, if you hope to make it.
While you might think that college gymnasts might train almost just as much as Olympic and elite gymnasts do, the truth of the matter is that while most elite gymnasts train around 40 hours per week, college gymnasts only train 20 hours a week.
This is because in college there is a limit placed on how much gymnasts can train, this way they can have some time to keep up with their grades without any of the other teams getting an unfair advantage by training more.
Finally, another factor that plays a part in how many hours per week a gymnast trains is whether or not she has had any injuries doing gymnastics that require them to take it easy for a while. Oftentimes even when an injury heals completely that area is still weak and needs extra care so as not to strain it.
Another part that is similar in a way to injuries is burn out. Gymnasts who get burned out need to take a break from training for as many hours and many young gymnasts in particular need to take a break every once in a while to avoid this from happening. For this reason there are often 1 if not 2 days a week that young gymnasts are not made to train.