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.
Some typical gymnastics tricks include:
- Handstands – handstand holds are an advanced skill, but handstands don’t have to be! Using a wall or tree to hold up your body requires very little balance, but a lot of shoulder strength.
- Headstands – these are generally easier than handstands, as they require less balance and strength. Headstands rely on arms and head to remain upside down, whereas handstands use only the hands.
- Rolls – 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. Backward rolls can be fairly easily learned with the right progressions and shoulder rolls almost anyone can do!
- Cartwheels – 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.
- Bridges – A bridge 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.
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.