The Gymnast Care Podcast Featuring Dr. Bill Sands

Dr. Bill Sands

dr bill sands

In Session 6 of the Gymnast Care Podcast, we sit down with Dr. Bill Sands and discuss his history in the sport of gymnastics, from the beginnings when he taught himself how to do gymnastics, through college, and the start of his coaching career at Mid America Twisters.

We then get into the meat of this podcast talking about how to protect your gymnast through proper biomechanics, strength training, and recovery.

To get in touch with Dr. Sands by email:

Book Recommendations from Dr. Sands: Here’s one of Dr. Sands Book Recommendations from Amazon.

Here’s a timeline of the great information in Dr. Sands interview:

Why Gymnasts Experience Sever’s Disease and Achilles Issues

13:15 What’s going on when gymnasts punch the floor?

15:00 What forces are younger gymnasts experiencing?

15:30 Is the spring floor bad for young gymnasts? Is it tuned properly?

16:30 Are younger gymnasts experiencing injury because they have weakness?

18:00 Why the carpet and padding might not be the best for gymnasts

19:50 Why gymnasts experiencing extreme amounts of pressure in their calves

21:50 When a gymnast doesn’t control their body, what can happen in their hips, back, neck?

25:00 What can coaches and kids do to protect themselves

27:00 Most kids are starting tumbling before they are strong enough to handle it. Initial condition aspects need to be taken more seriously in the younger gymnast. Young gymnasts need to be withheld from a real spring floor until they are strong enough to handle it.

27:50 Gymnasts trick themselves into shape and so, one of the things that gymnastics has to come to grips with, is to have criteria, that would say you have to be so strong before I let you do something that has a high impact character to it or high orthopedic demands.

Strength Training

29:30 Weight training cannot substitute for in the gym training, dips and jumps and landings.

30:30 The ability to just trick yourself into high level performance is going to come to an end.

31:00 Every other sport has figured out that you win in the weight room

31:15 Bulking up with weights is nonsense “Should Female Gymnasts Lift Weight”

32:00 What’s the best way to start getting in the weight room

34:15 I wouldn’t do so much apparatus training with the younger kids, but rather in dance and learning how to handle the higher loads that are coming

36:00 Strength first and then skill training! Kip and grip strength as an example

39:00 Abdominal strength — How do we train them and what is optimal?

39:30 You’re better off overloading the abdominal muscles, and keeping reps at under 20

41:20 Stuart McGill’s Book on Amazon

Get Maximum Amount of Results Out of The Minimum Amount of Training

43:00 Is the hollow position good for gymnasts? Gymnasts need to know body positions, but straight is always the best shape. They straighter you are the better it looks and the better it is for the body.

46:30 Recovery

47:25 When in doubt, TRAIN LESS!

48:00 When you get towards your peak performance, the key is to cut back, and you only need to cut back 5%

48:50 When you push the edge of the envelope, that is where you’re likely to end up, injuring yourself

49:45 Coaches and Gym Owners argue that parents are paying for 4 hours every night, what do you say about this?

“Ask the parents why they are there? Do their kids need babysitters, or do they want to win?”

53:00 What does it take to recover from hard workouts?

54:45 Modalities used to help with recovery after a hard practice:

  • Nutrition
  • Dynamic Compression, Normatech
  • Static Compression, Clothing (find some of the best here on Amazon)
  • Cold plunge, Cold bath at 50-54 degrees F, in and out, in and out, starting out short times at 5 minutes or less getting out before shivering occurs, 2-3 reps, but keep younger children away from this therapy because their temperature regulation is not mature. Cool bath but not in there for long.
  • Massage and cool down

102:00 Sleep’s effect on gymnasts

105:00 What is a parents job in recovery?

106:00 The only person that needs to see another repetition is the neurotic coach!

“Parents, Coaches, and Gymnasts need to look at their motives”

“If the idea is to see how much punishment you can take, take away all mats and safety mechanisms and make a test of guts…but I’d rather be a test of skill preparation and ability and talent and for that as an adult lets make it as safe as possible.”

“Tired athletes don’t get stronger!”

“Especially with kids you need to have a healthy perspective on what’s necessary.”



If you have a comment or question about today’s podcast, make sure you leave a comment below…we’d love to get your thoughts on what Dr. Sands had to say!

Dr. Joshua Eldridge

About Dr. Joshua Eldridge

Dr. Joshua Eldridge has specialized in protecting gymnasts from injury. He is the inventor of The X Brace, and has developed a treatment protocol for Sever's disease and heel pain that has helped thousands of gymnasts throughout the world. Dr. Eldridge brings practical, easy injury care and prevention that can be done at home.