How to Do Gymnastics at Home
A good adult gymnastics workout will stretch, strengthen, build coordination and focus, and improve gymnastics skills. It is completely possible to accomplish this all in your own space without special equipment (though equipment can help, see my recommendations on equipment here).
Make sure that you are able to do the basic five gymnastics exercises without becoming sore before beginning a full gymnastics workout. The workout outline can be used for gymnastics for adult beginners to advanced. It can also be used for a youth gymnastics
3 Step Home Gymnastics Workout
1 – Warm Up and Stretch
Warming up your body is vital for adult gymnastics. If you already have a favorite warm-up exercise, like running, walking, or yoga, do that before beginning gymnastics at home. Otherwise, go through the exercises here until your body feels good and pliable.
Stretching is best done during your warm up through the use of active and dynamic stretches. More static stretching (stretching without moving) is saved for the end of the workout. This is when muscles can be stretched more, and safer since they are more pliable after a workout. Stretching muscles while moving – either by the strength of the opposing muscle (active stretching) or by moving around the muscle groups being stretched (dynamic stretching) – is great for warm-ups. Your warm up and stretch should be at least 15 minutes, preferably longer.
2 – Skill Progressions
The gymnastics moves you work on should vary each day. An easy way to divide your days is to alternate your focus on upper body, torso, and lower body. Since gymnastics is a total body workout you will get each muscle group in each day, but it will divide your time by really being able to work on certain areas.
Another way you can vary your days is to pick one or two skills to really focus on and change it up each time. This would be a good way to go when you’re short on time too.
Here’s a handy reference of a 5 day gymnastics workout plan. Days 6 and 7 are for resting or practicing whatever skills
3 – Deep Stretching and Relax
Now is when your muscles and tendons are warmest and most supple. They will slide into stretches easier and deeper. Do not overextend, as it is easy to do with little discomfort now. Always go into stretches slowly. Try to focus on completely relaxing the muscle group being stretched and hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds to a minute to really gain flexibility. Take deeper, longer breaths as your heart rate slows.
Stretch more and longer on the muscle group you worked the most on. This is what will be the most open at the time so you can take advantage and deepen your flexibility. Hamstrings, hip flexors, shoulders, back, and hips are the biggest muscle groups you want to stretch each workout. Don’t forget about wrists/forearms, lower legs, and neck too!
Adult Gymnastics Training on the Go
Some weeks are busy and you don’t have time for your usual gymnastics workouts. I suggest you still maintain active moving whenever possible and aim to stretch a bit. Sun Salutations are great for a quick body revitalizer, they are so quick but reach so many body parts. YogaJournal.com has a good video demonstration of a sun salutation.
When you do have time, don’t be afraid to touch on all the gymnastics skills you’re currently working on in one session/day. Some gymnastics skills can be integrated into your warm up, especially ones you practice often (since your body is accustomed to the position).
More Gymnastics Practice
Whether you choose to follow a workout plan like the one above, or just practice on the fly, the point is to incorporate more gymnastics into your life. You’ll soon find you can barely go a day without going upside down and trying to get from point a to point b will begin to involve much more than walking! If you see a nice tree branch, hang on it, hills are for rolling or cartwheeling practice, and park time with the kids can be gymnastics practice. Use the tips I outlined here to keep it easy and fun to practice and you’ll be walking on your hands in no time!