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Getting into adult artistic gymnastics

Discussion in 'UK' started by Steven Wu, Jan 22, 2018.

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  1. Newbie on here, I'm a 30-year-old man looking to get into adult artistic gymnastics. Not sure how you all feel, but just wanted to express my feelings and experience trying to get into artistic gymnasts as an adult. Please be aware this is me based in the UK in Middlesex.

    As an adult, I have found it's very hard to get into artistic gymnastics. If you're not a youngster, there is very little chance or classes available. It seems all the gymnastic clubs are targeted for youngsters.

    There aren't many artistic gymnastics clubs around either, so it's very hard to find a local one without having to travel miles to. The ones that do offer adult gymnastic classes are only on for once a week. I have been to one, and these classes aren't really structured, so if you are a novice and have absolutely no experience what so ever (like me) it's very hard to get into. These classes start with some warm-ups and maybe a few exercises and then you get to use the gym and play around and try out the apparatus yourself.

    Problem with this is if you're inexperienced you have no idea or clue how to get started or even use the apparatus, I ended up hurting myself. It's a shame these classes aren't structured to teach newbies how to get started at least. They're more for people who've had gymnastic experience in the past and can turn up and just get started themselves.

    The adult classes are only about 1hr - 1hr 30mins long. There isn't a chance to use their gym outside of these classes so you can't train at your own leisure so it's very hard to put the additional time into practice or get better at the sport.

    The worse part is these clubs don't often offer (very rare to find) private gymnastics classes for adults. I called up all my local ones they don't really have them or they're just very loose private practice. I managed to find one really good private gymnastics coach but it's very far away from me I have to travel 60 miles to get there. Becuase it's far I can only go once a week on a weekend when I have more time for travelling.

    It's very frustrating as I see so many amazing gymnastics and it's something I really like to take up more seriously but finding it hard to find the places that teach adult classes at a more structural practice. Also, like to be able to find a gym where I can come in a few times a week for me to practice on.

    Any helpful advice or direction would be appreciated
  2. Unfortunately, this is pretty standard for adult programs in the US. Most adult classes are once-a-week open gyms with high coach turnover, and most gyms aren't supportive of it. 80% of gyms I've contacted won't return my classes when I ask if they have any adult classes, and I've had more than a few coaches tell me that I'm wasting my time wanting to do gymnastics as an adult when I wasn't a gymnast (or a competitive gymnast) as a kid.

    The best resources out there are usually groups by adult gymnasts to support adult gymnasts. https://mastersgymnastics.wordpress.com/ is a great site, and there are some Facebook groups that are really supportive--Just Like Fine Wine is one. There is also an adult gymnastics camp (http://www.homeexercisecoach.com/winter-adult-gymnastics-camp-2018.html). As an adult gymnast, you really have to be responsible for your own training--condition and stretch out of the gym so you can make the most of your time in there, research drills for the skills you're interested in working on, especially drills that don't involve spotting. I subscribe to Coach Rick's gymnastics coaching (https://gymnasticscoaching.com/) particularly for the drills, conditioning, and stretching ideas. It makes for slow, frustrating progress sometimes, but the adult community is an incredibly supportive place; we celebrate everyone getting their first pullover just like someone getting double backs back--we know it's just as big a deal. And you *can* make progress as an adult this way. I got my kip when I was 25, going to an adult open gym an hour a week. At 32, I just got my RO BHS BHS and front tuck on floor. A month ago, I vaulted over the new table for the first time--as a rec gymnast back in the '90s, I never progressed past needing a spot on the old horse. Vault and I haven't traditionally been on speaking terms, but I'm getting there now.

    Something you can also ask gyms is if they have an age limit on their classes, not just if they have adult classes. Some gyms may not have adult classes, but they'll allow adults to sign up for their regular classes (especially at gyms that already have an "older beginner" group of classes. You can also look research NAIGC and AAU teams near you. They tend to have athletes with a huge range of skills and they're designed for adult athletes, with practice time or at least the ability to use the gym.
  3. The US posters don’t see the UK bit ;)

    It’s pot luck, I’m afraid. It seems like you’ve done pretty much everything you can, if you’ve called round every gym club registered with BG near you.

    Many classes i’ve been to do an organised warm up, then you’re pretty much left to it. A few will set up stations and teach a class, it depends a bit on what the participants want. Many classes i taught were full of breakdancers and parkour fans, who just wanted the pits/mats so they could try crazy stuff. I struggled to get them to participate in warm up- which they had to do for insurance purposes.

    The only thing you can do is search for clubs on the bg website and go along. Try trampoline clubs as well. Best thing to do is get as fit as you can, then you can spend all your time in gym learning skills. Try crossfit, dance, anything that will get strength:weight ratio up.

    Try universities too, see if any will let you go along. I don’t know middlesex- but hendon used to have great adult gymnastics. East london do both free and taught classes- they make use of the gym in the day too so lots of training.
  4. Do you have CrossFit over there? CrossFit gyms here often have CrossFit gymnastics classes taught by former gymnastics coaches or gymnasts who now teach fitness. They focus on building strength and flexibility for things like handstands and kips that are required for CrossFit competitions and would be a great supplement to attending regular gymnastics classes.
  5. We do have crossfit. It is very expensive though. I think when i looked into it it was more than my kids gymnastics!
  6. Not as expensive as gymnastics here, though that’s mostly because gymnastics is so expensive! Cost is similar to belonging to a health club.
  7. here crossfit is much more expensive than a luxury health club and the coaching is often worse, at least for weightlifting and gymnastics stuff. they teach handstand walking before people can even hold a handstand, never mind a decent one. they teach kip everything, no matter how it looks or if your strength is up to standard. lots of fit hipsters, not many coachable adults there. i second to try an university or a club not for profit, those sometimes have adult gym classes here and they are supportive if you start out already fit (strong, lean, flexible, willing to work and to listen) and want to put in the time supporting them on the weekends (f.e. selling cake and coffee at local club competitions or stuff like that).
  8. Did miss the UK bit, sorry--AAU and NAIGC probably won't help much, but I think the rest of it still stands. It is frustrating.
  9. This is such a shame there are many adults that want to learn gymnastics properly. Clubs should try to accomodate them, unfortunately most clubs are after filling their regular classes with youngsters looking out for the next Big Talent. Many clubs have waiting lists especially if that club has good facilities and since they are making their overheads and filling the gym they don't seem to have the incentive to hold more adults classes. As for the ones that do offer adult classes it can be quite awkward for a coach (most of whom are ex gymnasts which means they are probably small build) to support adults when they are learning new moves and there also the difficulty of trying to tell someone whos bigger and sometimes older than you what to do. On the other side there are plenty of training aids to help and encourage older gymnasts to try skills out of their comfort zones and with the correct coaching those adults should be able to improve and learn new tricks. There is even a competition geared especially for adults with 4 different levels starting with Newbie (over 18s that have never done gymnastics before) to Pro (over 18's that have competed above county level but not competed for over a year).


    Have you checked out British gymnastics find a club you can type in your postcode and criteria it may find you something closer. Also if you want to spend longer in the gym but theres no time for you maybe you could (if you have some spare time and you want to) offer to help coach the youngsters in exchange for a little extra time for yourself before or after the session. When I was alot younger and my daughter had just started I learnt how to coach and in learning how to teach the moves I learnt how to do some of them.
  10. If there’s any chance that you’ve left stones unturned, my suggestion is to approach men’s gymnastics coaches and find out if they offer private lessons or know if any of their peers are teaching adult classes.

    I’m in the states (sorry) and have been lucky to take part in 3 different adult classes over the last 6 years, all of them very hands on and supportive. While they are self directed to a degree, they all have been hands on with new people to get them to a point where they know what they can do and begin to follow their own patterns. The coach then rotates from person or group to group spotting or setting up drills or what have you. Two of my three classes were taught by men’s coaches at those clubs, the third was taught by college “kids” in an no-experience-required gymnastics club at the school... most of whom were upper class or graduate students who had been with the club for years, and so were really experienced at teaching newbies.
  11. So sad to hear this. I thought the gymnastics was really big and popular over in the US. It sounds like it's the same situation as it is here in the UK. I'll definitely take a look at those links you provided. Thanks!

    Yes, I already searched for all the local clubs near me on the British Gymnastics website. As mentioned they're mostly aimed at younger audiences and some gyms are too small they don't offer artistic, only tumbling or other types. Adult classes are rare to find and aren't structured.

    I have tried trampoline classes before I quite enjoyed it to be honest. But again they're quite short (about an hour or so), no free time for you play on it. Plus they try to tie you down and make you pay a monthly subscription. Where I want to join an artistic gym instead.

    Yes I had a look at CrossFit, but not sure if it is different compared to the US, but in the UK, there isn't much gymnastics covered in CrossFit. Apart from fitness and weights, the only thing coming close to gymnastics is a pull-up bar, which is rather disappointing. I wanted to focus on things like parallel bar, pommel horse etc. Also, CrossFit in the UK is really expensive.

    Yes I agree, clubs are aimed at younger audience, they're less likely to take on adult classes let alone private sessions. I have spoken to a few local clubs, and they are booked up and there is a waiting list for kids. It shows it's a very popular sport, if only they expanded it to adults too.

    I didn't know there was a newbie competition, will have to check this out.
  12. You're lucky to find adult classes that are more supportive. Here in the UK they just start off with stretching and few exercises and then you're left to your own devices. So it's hard for beginners to get their head around it all. But I have called up all my local clubs and asked for private sessions. Many don't offer private sessions, unfortunately. I think they just don't care about adults and aren't focused on that. I have found a good private coach but I have to drive 60 miles to get there.
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