Adult gymnastics training is one of the best, most natural workouts you can do! And, yes, you can start at any age and ability, why not try today?
Adult Gymnastics Training
Gymnastics is not only awesome for strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility, but also for confidence! Accomplishing a gymnastics skill after working on the lead-up drills feels amazing. As long as the skills are done in a natural and innate progression it can be started at any age and is a perfect total body workout.
The main complication with adult gymnastics for beginners risk of injury. Knowing the correct progressions and knowing your body are keys to preventing strains. There is a difference between a “good” hurt, like shoulders burning in a handstand, and a normal hurt, like pressing too far in a stretch. Gymnastics mats and padding can help by bracing falls and protecting joints when on a hard ground. They can also create a false sense of security so be mindful when utilizing them.
A large appeal to gymnastics workouts is that it’s fun! There are several gymnastics tricks and skills that you can learn fast, all while getting super fit! There are too many skills to name here, but here are some of the basics.
Rolls can go in every direction. Forward rolls may seem basic, but they can develop into dive rolls or handstand rolls, making them more exciting. Forward rolls are also a great core body workout.
Backward rolls can be fairly easily learned with the right progressions (incline mats are great for them), being very mindful the neck doesn’t get strained. Back shoulder rolls are much easier than backward rolls, and almost anyone can do them. From laying, lift your body back and over your shoulder. While not a typical gymnastics roll, it’s fun and puts your body in a unique position.
Headstands are generally easier than handstands, as they require less balance and strength. Headstands rely on your arms and head to remain upside down, whereas handstands use only the hands. Your arms should be doing most of the work in a headstand, feeling like your head is only slightly touching the ground to help balance. Once you are able to balance in a headstand you can try lowering and raising your legs from the ground to the top while keeping them straight!
Handstand holds are an advanced skill, but handstands don’t have to be! Begin handstand training with a wall. Facing away from the wall, put hands on the ground and walk feet up the wall. Hold like this, walking your hands closer to the wall as able. Practice walking sideways along the wall for extra strength.
Another way to use the wall in handstands is to face the wall while kicking up to your handstand. Try to maintain proper alignment of your body and hold the wall handstand as able.
A bridge, or backbend, is more of a position than a movement, but it is a great position to lead up to other skills, namely walkovers. Walkovers and limbers are generally much easier for kids to learn as they require a lot of shoulder and back flexibility generally not common in adults. But don’t let that stop you! Make sure to work on your shoulder flexibility and wrist flexibility before bridging, not just your spine. Another good tip for practicing bridges is to do it before handstands or anything requiring a lot of upper body strength. If your muscles are too weak, you won’t have as much luck with your bridges and backbends.
I have personally had many adults come to me throughout my career to tell me how much they have always wanted to learn a cartwheel. Cartwheels are fun so I don’t blame them! The truth is, cartwheels are like riding a bike – they seem so easy, but at first you must first put your body into an awkward position, making them challenging to learn. The easiest way to learn a cartwheel is kicking the legs over a folded mat, but a towel will do too!
Gymnastics For Beginners
Learning how to do gymnastics at home requires learning the steps leading up to the moves (see here for the five gymnastics exercises everyone should do before beginning a gymnastics workout routine). Always warm up your body before moving into deeper poses. Adult gymnastics classes often focus on the strength of the moves and try to ‘power through’ to get a skill. It can be a lot of fun, but it generally results in injury. Adult bodies need much more warming up than a child’s and need to go much slower to prevent strains.
I have seen many adult gymnastics classes and the students almost always have dropped out without really getting any gymnastics skills. Practicing at home allows you to go at your own pace, without the crutch of a spring floor or trampoline. You must rely on your own body, creating a more innate feeling.