Wrong body type for gymnastics?

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godsoftware

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Hi! I've been watching gymnastics and this forum for a while. I still don't think I know as much as all of the experts out there, but I've always wanted to try. As a kid, I was too embarrassed to participate in sports, but I enjoy the rewarding nature that can come after physical strain. Anyways, that's not really my point.

I've never done any sort of gymnastics. I'm 5'5, average weight, and large breasted. I've always thought that I wasn't petite enough to do gymnastics-- rhythmic is my real interest-- even if I tried. Being honest, is this true? Is it possible to just have the wrong body type to succeed? I want to work hard, no matter what.
 
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Carabistouille

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It is true that gymastics tend to be easier for smaller, flat-chested, narrow-hiped, broad-shouldered girls. However, there are other qualities that help with being a good gymnast : being flexible, being strong, being well-coordinated, having good air awareness, being fearless, being willing to put the work in... (and many more I'm sure I forgot)
Very few gymnasts have it all. Most non-elite competitive gymnasts do have some of those qualities but the total package is statistically very rare.

Even if you don't have the typical gymnastics look, you might very well turn out quite good at it due to other qualities that are less visible. You never know before trying it out !

Besides, even if you have little natural talent for the thing, it shouldn't prevent you from trying it out and having fun doing it.

The truth is most people won't be able to do a competitive round off-bhs-back tuck onto a hard surface, ever. However, there are plenty of skills that are still fun to do : back handspring on trampoline, maybe round-off-back handspring onto the pit or soft mats, front tucks from trampoline or tumble track, back hip circles or squat on on bars... Those skills are still challenging and fun and they can be done safely even for a grown up without a lot of natural abilities. And it will help you with getting stronger, more flexible, with better air awareness and confidence !
(I realize those are artistic gymnastics skills but I don't know the rhythmic equivalent. I guess what I am saying still stands)

So I guess you should try it out, you have everything to win and nothing to lose !

Edit : Besides, 5'5, while on the taller side, isn't that tall, even for a gymnast. And I think rhythmic gymnasts tend to be a bit taller. You'll be fine :)
 

GymDadWA

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Not sure how old you are, but nothing wrong with starting with a rec class either for kids or adults and just seeing how it goes. Maybe you'll love the workouts even if you don't have the most perfect form and just do it because you like it and not because you will be the best at it.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Depends on what you consider success.

The road to the elite level tends to favor a particular body type; however, I think it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that elite gymnastics is an accurate representation of gymnastics as a whole, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.

There is no such thing as being too tall to enjoy and benefit from gymnastics training.
 
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QuietColours

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I'm pretty sure I'm the only one on my adult team under 5'4 or 5'5, and we come in a pretty wide range of shapes for our heights. It doesn't hold anyone back (although admittedly, the highest level we have someone competing is NAIGC 9). Much more important are strength, flexibility, air awareness, fear levels--all things we can influence, train, and improve. Some of are former gymnasts, some started as adults. There's a definite skill difference, but that's mostly because the former competitive gymnasts have skills from their careers they never lost and hours of muscle memory they can draw on that those who started as adults are still building up. Everyone is still working hard and progressing, and we have a lot of fun.
 

MILgymFAM

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It’s never too late to start and your body is never wrong- it just is what it is, and everyone can work with what they’ve got and end up better than they started. Whether or not you can be successful depends very much on your idea of success. Neither of my girls have the typical body type for what they love, be it ballet or gymnastics. My kids have competed or continue to compete in artistic, T&T, and rhythmic- and none of the shouldn’ts stopped them at all. My daughter who is a ballerina pushes against body expectations every single day. You just have to start.. and see where it takes you.
 
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Aussie_coach

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The image of the small gymnast is what people see because it is portrayed on television in the Olympics etc. But this is only a very small part of gymnastics. Hundreds of thousands of gymnasts from babies to grandparents enjoy the sport around the world every day and they come in every shape and size.
 
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LTmom

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It is true that gymastics tend to be easier for smaller, flat-chested, narrow-hiped, broad-shouldered girls. However, there are other qualities that help with being a good gymnast : being flexible, being strong, being well-coordinated, having good air awareness, being fearless, being willing to put the work in... (and many more I'm sure I forgot)
Very few gymnasts have it all. Most non-elite competitive gymnasts do have some of those qualities but the total package is statistically very rare.
As a coach, would you find it strange, crazy, or inappropriate if a parent were to ask you about their child? I’ve wondered this for a long time and been afraid to ask.
 

Gymx2

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As a coach, would you find it strange, crazy, or inappropriate if a parent were to ask you about their child? I’ve wondered this for a long time and been afraid to ask.
What are you afraid to ask? If there is a right body type for gymnastics? Or if parents should ask choaches if their kid is the right body type for gymastics?


Does Simone Biles have the right body type- if it's flat chested, narrow hipped and broad shouldered? Did Aly Raisman? I guess I don't see bodies as needing to conform to the sport so much as the individual needing to work hard to achieve within the sport, no matter the body type.
 
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