7 Last-Minute Competition Tips for the Gymnastics Season

Orthopedics Steward Health Care

Elspeth “Elly” Hart, PA-C, MPAS, AT, leads the Gymnastics Medicine Clinic at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, which is the only clinic in the U.S. created exclusively for the care of gymnasts and offers treatments for all common and unique gymnastics injuries. Hart was a Division I ranked gymnast at James Madison University in Virginia.

Did you know that a recent article found that gymnasts are 10 times more likely to have an injury in competition as compared to practice? Here are some last-minute tips to think about prior to and during your gymnastics competition:

  1. Sleep
    • Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep prior to a competition.
    • A study by the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics found athletes who slept on average less than eight hours per night were 1.7 times more likely to have an injury compared with athletes who slept for eight or more hours.
  2. Warm Up and Stretch
    • Gymnastics competition venues can be cold. Be sure to bring layers to stay warm between events and be sure you have socks or warm shoes as the floors around the equipment are typically cement.
    • Stretching before a competition can help prevent injuries.
  3. Mental Routines/Confidence
    • On the night before your competition picture and visualize your routines and how you want to perform them.
    • Studies have shown that visualization can help you perform better.
  4. Stay Hydrated and Have a Snack
    • Staying hydrated during a competition can help prevent muscle cramps/spasms, improve circulation, and regulate blood pressure.
  5. Medical Provider
    • No one ever wants to think about injury during competition but it’s important to know where the medical provider or athletic trainer is located during the event or what medical equipment is on site.
  6. Have Fun
    • You trained hard for this competition, enjoy it!
  7. Recovery
    • Don’t forget to ice any areas of pain.
    • If an injury occurs, follow up with a medical provider.
    • Eat a well-balanced meal and continue to hydrate post competition.
    • Get plenty of sleep once you are done competing to help your body recover.
    • Consider taking the next day or two off to allow your body to rest and recover.


*Source: US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30407945 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25028798

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