If you’ve ever watched an Olympic-level gymnastics event, you’re aware of just how technically difficult and physically demanding that gymnastics can be.
If you’re looking for a great workout, a new challenging hobby, or just a way to interact with more people while staying physically active, gymnastics could be an attractive path – but how are you supposed to get started if you’ve never tried it before?
First, why would you practice gymnastics?
- Strength, speed, endurance, and flexibility. Gymnastics is a near-perfect all-around sport. Depending on which events and exercises you choose to practice, you’ll have the opportunity to run, jump, push, pull, balance yourself, and contort your body in new ways. Olympic-level gymnasts appear to be some of the fittest people on the planet, and there’s good reason for that; after a decade or two of training, you’ll have sculpted your body in almost every conceivable way.
- Versatility and options. Gymnastics is also advantageous because of their sheer versatility. Do you like the idea of maintaining your poise and balance in demonstrations of your skill? The balance beam might be your favorite way to practice. Are you more interested in building a lot of strength? Ring-based exercises may be a better fit. Every day, you can work out in a new way – and keep things fresh for yourself.
- Social aspects. You may also be interested in gymnastics for its social dynamics. Depending on where, when, and how you practice, you might be working one-on-one with an experienced personal trainer. You may be interacting with fellow gym-goers. You may even be able to join a team and compete in high-visibility formal events.
Obviously, gymnastics isn’t right for everyone, but it does offer a lot of advantages to a lot of different people.
Before you go to a gym or invest in a personal trainer, it’s important to recognize and set your own personal goals. What are you trying to achieve?
- Physical fitness. One of the best reasons to get involved in gymnastics is to boost your own levels of physical fitness. You’ll enjoy a stronger cardiovascular system, more powerful muscles, greater balance and flexibility, and a higher sense of self-confidence even when you’re moving about in your daily life. Your goals could include losing weight, building muscle, or accomplishing specific feats.
- Personal enjoyment. For some people, gymnastics is simply fun – and that’s all there is to say about it. Flipping your body through the air, practicing with different types of equipment, and challenging yourself is an enjoyable recreational activity.
- Competitions. Gymnastics is also competitive. Are you interested in being the best in your region, or eventually joining a professional team?
- Social dynamics. Of course, your goals could also be related to social dynamics. Maybe your top priority is making new friends or being able to engage with your community in new ways.
Preparing Your Home Environment
If you want to keep up with your gymnastics training and continue improving even when you’re not in a formal session, it’s important to prepare your home environment. Even if you don’t have much space to work with, you can set up a space where you can practice calisthenics, hone your techniques, and build your speed and strength at the same time. For example, you can buy tumbling gym mats and clear a space in a spare bedroom to practice during your off-hours.
Joining a Gym
One of the most important steps to take in your gymnastics journey is to join an actual gym – or someplace where you can practice with professionals. Having access to a multitude of equipment, including mats, rings, bars, and balance beams, will give you the opportunity to hone your skills in many different areas.
This is also a great place to meet other people who are enthusiastic about gymnastics. You’ll be able to see well-trained people in action, get help from experienced mentors, and possibly meet a personal trainer.
Investing in Personal Training
It’s hard to learn gymnastics from YouTube videos or written guides. For most people, the best option is to work with a personal trainer, or at least take a class. These options will cost a bit of money, but they can help you start on the right path, teaching you the fundamentals of the sport and keeping you safer in the process. In time, you can decide whether to pursue your existing training path at higher and higher levels or simply work out and train on your own.
Your gymnastics journey can head in a multitude of different directions – that’s part of the thrill of joining the sport. Whether you want to be a top competitor or just have some fun, the simple steps in this guide can help you get started.