Louis Smith Wins Bronze for GB – Olympic Gymnastics Training and Workouts

Louis Smith, aged 19, has won bronze in the men’s pommel horse event at the Beijing 2008 Olympic games. He is the first British male to win a medal in gymnastic event in 80 years.

Louis Smith used to be a very hyperactive child, not unlike the American swimmer Michael Phelps. Whereas Phelps used swimming to control his behavioural issues, Louis Smith attacked the pommel horse. However, it is said that his pommel horse workouts were actually a form of punishment for his unruly behaviour! At the Huntingdon Gymnastics Club, naughty boys were disciplined with 200 circles on the pommel horse. This punishment has certainly paid off well.


Louis always had the Olympic medal in his sights. At just 11 years old he said that he had two lifetime ambitions – the first to become the king of Jamaica, and the second to win an Olympic medal on the pommel horse.

Gymnastics training is very specific. Rarely do trainers diverge greatly from the traditional tried and tested methods, and unlike other athletic sports, the training provides a full body workout. However, additional weight training is still very important for gymnasts. Focus is often on performing many repetitions of each exercise, to build muscular endurance, cardio fitness and to help perfect the techniques. However, there are some weight training principals that should be followed when doing supplemental training for gymnastics. The amount and type of training a gymnast does depends on whether it is off season or during competition time.

Gymnastic Weight training Workouts:

  • Abs Exercises:
    • Standard sit ups
    • Standard crunches
    • Olbique crunches
    • Tailbone lifts
  • Upper Body Push Exercises:
    • Standard Push-Ups
    • Decline Push-ups
    • Knee Push-ups (quarter push ups)
    • Ball-Planche Push-ups
    • Handstand Push-up
  • Upper Body Pull Exercises:
    • Basic Pull-up
    • Inverted Pull-ups
    • Inverted Pull-ups (inclined)
    • Wide Arm Pull-up
    • L-hang Pull-up
    • Hang to Handstand
    • One arm rope climb
  • Leg and Lower Body Gym Exercises:
    • Heel Rises
    • Leg Squats
    • Mountain Climbers
  • Other general gymnastic weight training;
    • Dips
    • Handstand shoulder shrugs
    • Hanging leg raises
    • Wide Arm Pull-up
    • L-hang Pull-up
    • Hang to Handstand
    • One arm rope climb

Louis Smith PH EF Europeans 2007

Smith is already looking at the bigger picture for British gymnastics, recently saying:

“I want to revolutionise gymnastics, Me and Dan (Keatings) want to help bring the sport back to life again. I want to make gym more popular, find the talent out there. There’s a really amazing guy at Huntingdon called Luke who is 16. He only started when he was 13, but with that kind of talent, if he had started when he was young he could be sat here with me right now. Or even replacing me. That’s the kind of thing I want to get done.” Louis Smith, 2008.

Male gymnasts generally peak during their twenties, so Louis has time to mature and train, and will hopefully win a good medal in the London 2012 Games.

Men’s Gymnastics Montage
After a few years of hard gymnastics training, you too can do this!

Further info:

British GymnasticsUSA Gymnastics

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