What is Podium Training in Gymnastics?

This practice helps gymnasts get used to the new environment

Gymnast Shawn Johnson (USA) on bars at podium training for the 2008 Olympics
Shawn Johnson (USA) on bars at podium training for the 2008 Olympics. Jamie Squire / Getty Images

Podium training is an official practice session before the start of a gymnastics competition. During this practice, gymnasts get a chance to do their routines on the competition equipment and in the competition arena.

Why is This Important?

Podium training gives gymnasts the chance to get used to the equipment that they will be competing on because gymnastics equipment can vary slightly depending on the manufacturer. For example, the uneven bars could feel slightly bouncier and have more give than the ones a gymnast normally uses, or the floor could be harder or softer. Landing mats may vary in softness.

Since visual cues are also an important part of gymnastics, podium training also provides the athletes a chance to try their skills in the competition venue and get used to the surroundings and the setup.

What Happens During Podium Training?

In podium training, gymnasts are given a set amount of time to practice each event, and they can choose what they would like to do during that time. Some athletes complete entire routines, while others just do individual skills.

Most gymnasts also have a standard warm-up that they do before each competition.

Where Did the Name Come From?

Podium training has nothing to do with gymnasts on the awards podium, practicing receiving their medals.

Podium training actually got its name when the decision was made to elevate the equipment onto a platform, or podium, about three feet off the ground to help the audience see better.

When equipment is on a podium, it also feels slightly different than if it was on a normal floor, even if the apparatus is exactly the same. It can feel less stable. So it became important for gymnasts to test the equipment out on the raised podium before the competition. Podium training is an important safety measure for the athletes.