Starting Out with a twist

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avengedsixfold

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Hi everyone,

This probably isn't your usual request for help but here goes. I've always admired gymnasts and their skills so I've decided to try and learn some stuff. Here's the kicker, I'm a 22 year old male and only have one hand (ends at the wrist). Basically I'd like to know what stretches/exercises I should start with. Ideally my goals would be front/back flip and handsprings etc. Now I'm sure a lot of you are going eeek this sounds hard but I am quite athletic. I've fought Muay Thai (thai boxing) for 4 years competing at a semi pro level and quite into weightlifting as well. flexibility wise I've developed a physique that is suited to Muay Thai but will definitely not be suitable for gymnastics, yet!

Bodyweight exercises I'm strong at but they are non dymanic i.e. Chin/Pull ups.

Any pointers would be great
I'm sure you'll have questions and I'm grateful for any help!

Thanks
 
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bogwoppit

Former Admin
Gold Membership
Former Gymnast
Feb 26, 2007
16,711
Country
Canada
Welcome to the Chalkbucket. What an intersting question. Here is a link to a gymnastics site that I love DrillsAndSkills.com :: Index, on the left side of it you will find links for conditioning and tips for skills. I know just reading all that info could keep you busy for a long time.

I know that one handed BHS and FHS are done often so I imagine you won't struggle at all with them, plus your body is used to dealing with the balance issues associated with missing a hand. Front and back tucks would be the good skills begin with as well.

Chin ups and pulls up are very important in gymnastics as are any core strength excerises.

Finding an adult gym class is a possibilty and a lot of fun.

Maybe look in caopeira, a brazilain martial art mixed with gymnastics,very cool and perfect for someone with your background, as it does not involve traditional equipment it would also be great to begin.

We have lots of adult gymnasts on here who will be able to help more and we have awesome coaches who can give you further ideas.

Nice to have you here.
 
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gymnut1

Guest
My older daughter used to go to recreational gymnastics with a girl with one hand (ending at the wrist) She could do lots of gymnastics skills and it was difficult to tell from a distance that she had a hand missing. I remember her doing bridges and cartwheels bearing weight on her wrist like a hand no problem. She also vaulted and did beam and trampoline (ideal) just the same. On bars she could hold a front support position as usual (an above the bar hold) but her biggest difficulty was hanging from the bars as she could only hang from one hand. So leg lifts and chin ups were very difficult. You sound fit already. Go for it! I agree Capoeira or Free running sound great for your age and martial arts background. Best of luck and Welcome!
 
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avengedsixfold

Guest
Wow thanks for the fast and informative replys! That site looks great and will definitely be getting devoured over the coming weeks :D I still have a few questions (I'm like this I get hooked on something and need to know everything!)

The only area I'm interested in is tumbling really, respect for the equipment but it's not for me! I think eventually I would like to go in a free running direction but I'll be stoked with a handspring or anything! Physically I'm definitely strong enough from weights and Muay Thai but my flexibility is severely lacking! What sort of stretching plan should I follow? I.e in terms of particular stretches and frequency.

My second question is what sort of progression should I look to down. Nail which skills come first? With my limited knowledge would supported handstand to handstand to crab to backspring be the way to learn. Or learn skills such as L seats? Learn one skill and perfect it and then move on?

And last but not least due to where I live combined with work hours means it's very unlikely I'd be able to attend a gymnastics class. How far could I progress? I have a large area to practice in and several people willing to spot etc.

Thanks for all the replys so far and the great advice and look forward to learning even more from this site!
 

ryantroop

Member
Sep 21, 2008
423
Illinois
As a coach, let me say first: you rock! You exemplify the never give up attitude that I love when I coach. I would have been honoredf to have you on my team.

That said, as far as competition goes you're limited to floor and maybe vault (assuming its allowed) since one hand vaults are void. So... T&T is a great option, and is probably what you're looking for anyway! You learn how to tumble, which 1h skills are just as effective as 2h., and you get to play on a trampoline which is just the most fun thing ever if you know what you're doing.

Good luck! Keep us updated on your progress.

I do know certain strength skills on floor are doable 1h, like a press hand. If you can do that it would be pretty impressive!
 

bogwoppit

Former Admin
Gold Membership
Former Gymnast
Feb 26, 2007
16,711
Country
Canada
The handstand is probably the most important skill in gymnasts. Look up the skill on drills and skills and work them until they are perfect and then work them some more. There is a whole section on flexibility on the same site, shoulder flexibility is very important in tumbling. Learning basic body shapes like arch and hollow are good and you can practice these lying on the floor.

For beginning gym you will be fine at home, but once you get to more advanced skills you might want to invest in the occasional private lesson at a gymnastics club.

Not everyone has the back felxibility to do backwalkovers and bridges, but are still able to do back handsprings.

Trampolines are a ton of fun and are a safer place to learn some early tumbling skills.

Good luck and play safe.
 
Yeah I would just add to this that while most people think of gymnasts as really flexible (and mostly we are) flexibility is not really required in tumbling apart from shoulders! In fact it can almost be a disadvantage, I know I took a while to learn my backhandspring as a kid because I had to learn to control my very flexible back. Tumbling is more about the power and strength and it sounds like you're in pretty good shape already! Obviously working on flexibility is great too and I would recommend stretching basically every day and if possible after a hot bath/shower because you're muscles are looser. I would work mainly on your legs (for splits and similar), back and shoulders. If you're planning on doing anything a bit more advanced you really want to look at going to a gym because its a much safer environment and you have trained coaches there who can support you and also tell you how to improve!
 
Apr 15, 2009
94
Washington State
Hi and welcome! I think it is great that you want to jump into the sport at your "old" age lol ;) I really admire you too - I just started coaching and it is so exhausting for me! LOL But I am a bit older than you :)

You have gotten some great advice here already. I wanted to add that there is a local girl that competes at some of the meets my girls do that also has only 1 hand (other ending at her wrist) She was competing level 5 last time I saw her and she was incredible! She rocked on the bars as well as the other events.

:)
 

gymmom-n-coach

New Member
Aug 27, 2009
46
PA
I agree with bogwoppit, start by working your handstands. Do them on the wall by kicking up, then once you are comfortable cartwheel in with your hands close to the wall and do "toes & nose" handstands to learn to keep your head in and body straight.

I would also do a lot of shoulder stretching. one I esp like is to sit on the floor in pike, then bring your straight arms behind you (on the floor). Walk your hands back as far as possible, trying to keep your wrists together the whole time.

One or two privates to get you started is a great idea! Our gym starts at $20 per 1/2 hour private.

Best of luck to you!
 
A

avengedsixfold

Guest
Thanks guys great responses and I have been diligently devouring the information!

Ok so i've set a routine up. A 20 minute stretch in the morning concentrating on shoulders hamstrings quads and back. Then I've been practising bridges, the crab (don't quite have the flexibility in the shoulders yet!) and handstands against a wall. In the evenings I've dropped weights to deadlifts and squats only and have been doing plyometric bodyweight exercises. Then shower and a ten minute stretch.

I have two weeks off work now :D would it be best to just follow the routine above and measure my progress?

Thanks again everyone :)
 
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avengedsixfold

Guest
Just thought I'd update what I've been doing so far! Went away to portugal for a week and carried on stretching. Just tried tonight and I've got the crab nailed so my flexibility is definitely improving. I'm dropping lower into the splits now and have noticed a benefit in my Thai Boxing. Regarding handstand wise i'm still supporting myself in the wall and trying to hold it as long as possible to develop the strength.

How do you deal with the blood rushing to your head? I just go bright red!!

Thanks!
 
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