by Logan Christopher
When gymnastics come up most people will think of one of two things: 1) Olympic gymnasts doing insane stunts that the average person can’t comprehend doing; 2) little girls in leotards rolling around on the floor or doing splits. If you are an adult looking for an introduction to gymnastics, neither one of these options probably sounds too appealing.
As you can imagine there is a huge gap between the two. The problem is that when people think of only those two things it excludes the idea of how an average person can start doing gymnastics and see tremendous benefits from doing so.
My introduction to physical culture
Let me tell you a bit of my story as it’s instructive in nature. I got serious about physical training when I was about 18 or 19. By getting into bodyweight exercises and kettlebells it opened my up into the entire world of physical culture.
One day in my friend’s front yard I was challenged to do a handstand. I failed miserably as just about anyone will on their first attempt. But I was hooked. I wanted to learn how to do this amazing feat of balance and control.
As I made progress in that endeavor I moved away and then back to my home town. Meanwhile this friend of mine had started attending an adult gymnastics class and starting telling me stories of back handsprings and other (to my mind) impossible tumbling stunts.
Again, I wanted to go. But the reality was that this class was primarily for former gymnasts. That I was not. So instead of just showing up and being humiliated I practiced on my own. I went to a local park and did the most basic gymnastic exercises I could do. This included cartwheels, round-offs, rolling forwards and backwards, bridging and handstands. That’s about it. Nothing that involved the hands and feet leaving the ground at the same time.
When I became decent enough at these things I went to the class. I wasn’t able to do much that first day. But I continued to go and overtime I was able to do the basics of tumbling including front and back handsprings, front and back flips and much more. It may have been slow progress at times, but it was progress.
I have no illusions of being able to compete at the Olympics. But instead of just saying that would be cool to be able to do a back flip, (a dream I’ve had since I was a child) I went out and built up to it. I can know do a back flip confidently and consistently on the ground.
Getting started with gymnastics
I get many questions from people seeking to do the same thing. How can they get started? Most places at least in the US have a gymnastics facility in the area. Go there and ask. While not every place has an adult class many do. (Its too bad that its not more popular but that’s the way it is.) If they don’t have a class maybe you can get private lessons, or just pay to use the facilities.
And if none of the above is an option you can get your start like I did outside in a local park. While you may not master high flying aerial moves, the basics of movement you get from basic tumbling will be of great benefit.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too tall, too old, too weak or anything else if it’s something you’d like to do. If you put in the work you too can become something of a gymnast. Once again, you likely won’t win medals, but you’ll be doing things all the naysayers can’t.
About the author:
Logan Christopher runs Lost Art of Hand Balancing, the only site dedicated to teaching everyday people hand balancing and acrobatic skills. Check it out to receive a Free 30 minute handstand video that’ll teach you the systematic approach to learning the handstand.