How to Succeed in Adult Gymnastics Classes
In today’s fitness world of crossfit training and fusion style dance classes, gymnastics is an exciting way to get some cardiovascular exercise while also improving your strength, balance, and flexibility. You don’t need to be in perfect shape to succeed in an adult gymnastics class; more importantly, you need to pick the right type of class, be willing to work hard while keeping an open mind, and know when to say when.
Picking the Right Class
There are many different types of adult gymnastics classes. The majority of these classes will focus on beginning to intermediate gymnastics skills including bars, beam, floor, and vault. Depending on the type of class you sign up for, you might learn gymnastics progressions, focus more on strengthening and stretching, or actually participate in an open gym setting. There are a lot of options! To succeed in an adult class, you must first determine your goals and then find your best fit.
If you’ve never taken gymnastics classes before, a skill-based class might be best for you. Instructors teach basic body positions and progressions. You might begin learning something as simple as the proper tuck position, which then progresses into forward rolls and backward rolls. Taking the time to perfect each step in the progressions is essential for success in this type of class.
Fitness-based classes are perfect if you’re looking for a fun way to get in shape or help maintain your fitness level. These classes typically begin with 15 to 20 minutes of stretching, followed by 30 to 40 minutes of strength conditioning and cardiovascular exercise. Lunges across the floor, leg lifts on bars, and jumping rope are just some of the things you can expect.
Open Gym Style Classes
This exciting class offers a “work-at-your-own-pace” curriculum that requires you to stay driven and push yourself. The first 15 to 20 minutes will include stretching and conditioning led by an instructor. Once you finish warming up, the instructor will typically set up different stations for you to work on your skills at your own pace. Most instructors will show you beginning, intermediate, and advanced drills that can be performed at each station.
Hot Tip: Tumble with a Friend
Working out with a friend increases your chances for success. Find a friend or family member that has the same fitness goals as you do and sign up together. Not only will you enjoy your class more, but some gyms offer discounts for group sign-ups. The more fun you have in class, the more likely you are to return!
Open Your Mind & Work Hard
No matter your age, attitude has a major impact on your experience and development in a sport. But as you reach adulthood your physical limitations can become extremely frustrating. That’s why you need to stay mentally strong, think positive, and work hard to reach your goals.
Keeping an Open Mind
When signing up for adult gymnastics, remember that you’re there to enjoy a new style of fitness classes – not to become the next Olympian. Enjoy the learning process, have fun, and laugh at yourself once in a while. You’re far more likely to return to your classes if you keep a positive and open mind. Embrace the new experience and let yourself be a kid for a couple of hours. Just have fun!
Work Hard & See Results
Having fun is important, but so is working hard. Fitness results vary from person to person, but you’ll see results with some sweat and determination. Push yourself, and find an instructor that motivates and pushes you as well. Especially in open gym style classes, it’s important for you to put in as much effort as you can.
Hot Tip: Pay For Class As You Go
With your hectic schedule, it may prove difficult to attend class on the same day every week. When signing up, ask if the gym has a pay-as-you-go option. Instead of committing to a four- to eight-week course, which most gyms offer, you can pay for four to eight classes at a time. Some gyms even offer punch cards that are only used as you attend a class or open gym.
Knowing When to Say When
The idea of flipping through the air or dancing across the beam may have been one of your childhood dreams, but that dream becomes more challenging as you get a bit older. To have long term success in adult gymnastics you must pace yourself, stretch often, and cool down after each class.
Pace Yourself for Success
Whether your class is geared towards fitness or progressions, it’s important to pace yourself and listen to your body. Of course you’ll want to push yourself a bit, but it’s easy to get hurt when you’re fatigued. Be sure to tell the coach when you need to rest, and take water breaks when needed. It’s important to work hard, but not at the risk of injury. If you’re doing strength or conditioning exercises, push just to the point of fatigue, then rest and try to beat your first number by one.
Warm Up & Cool Down
Every athlete should take ample time warming up and cooling down to avoid injury. As an adult gymnast, you need to take extra time to allow your muscles to wake up and, after your workout, recover.
Most classes begin with 10 to 15 minutes of stretching, but adults should complete at least 15 to 20 minutes of stretching exercises. This time is ideal for some, if not all, of your strength training or conditioning. Your body isn’t worn out yet at this stage of the class, so it’s ideal for conditioning.
Allow yourself a good 10 to 15 minutes of stretching to cool down at the end of the class. Even if your class is over, most coaches will allow you to stretch on your own until you’ve completed your cool-down.
Age is Merely a Number
Gymnastics is fun, exciting, and challenging at any age. Whether you’re looking for a new fitness plan or you’re living a childhood dream, it’s never too late to take on this exhilarating sport. Finding the right class is just the beginning. Remember to work hard, keep an open mind, listen to your body, and take the time you need to warm up and cool down. Age is just a number and gymnastics can have you feeling like a kid again in no time.