Adult Gymnastics

21 08 2008

At dinner after the aerial silks open gym, we started discussing gymnastics, specifically the lack of Olympic adult women’s gymnastics*. The cutoff age for world class female gymnasts is generally thought to be around 20 years old. When you watch the Olympics, you’re not really watching real people** but kids who can do stuff that adults simply stop being able to do.

There do exist gyms that train adults. There are two in Massachusetts that I know of. One is Hampshire Gymnastics, which offers an hour class once a week, and the other is Jamnastics, offering approximately the same amount. A lot of places just boggle at the thought of *gasp* adults doing gymnastics.

But they can! Here’s a 35-year old’s floor routine after three years of training:

Yup, I’d say that’s about right for three years. I’m nearly there on everything except the flexibility, and I’ve been at it for two. Here’s another video. You can find ’em all over YouTube.

So, I think more and more adults should start pressuring gymnastics centers to let them take classes. Maybe even to start leagues and teams. I take it for the circus skills, but I bet others would be into the competitive athletics aspect. There are adult leagues for soccer, baseball, and almost every other sport. Why not more gymnastics?

(*) The other part of the discussion included the fact that no gymnastics gym would allow us to hang silks or a trapeze, claiming safety hazards. Aerial equipment is generally approached with an extreme amount of safety. Meanwhile, gymnastics sends some obscene number of thousands of children to the ER every year.

(**) I mean real people in the sense that they have not finished the major parts of physical maturation. Kids and teenagers are more intellectually and socially ‘real people’ than they’re given credit for.




8 responses

21 08 2008

Oksana Chusovitina is 33, and beijing is the fifth olympic games she’s competed in. She placed 9th in the Women’s over-all competition, and won silver for women’s vaulting.

She is my favorite thing to ever happen at the olympics.

21 08 2008

I think that’s the coolest thing. I’ll never be an olympic athlete but it gives me hope for learning a lot before my body gives up.

12 09 2008

I just started taking adult gymnastics. As a kid my parents never had the money to put me in lessons but I always wanted to take gymnastics. I just put my 3 year old daughter into gymnastics and though…God I would love to do that so I googled around and sure enough in Reno NV we have Aerial Silk Workshops and tumbling classes for adults! I took my first tumbling class last night and it was soooooo fun and incredible. What a great work out and boy do I feel young again! I’m 30…FYI

12 09 2008

Mary, that sounds awesome! I’m glad you found a place that will teach you. How’s your daughter liking it?

14 01 2009

I would love to know where Mary does tumbling in Reno? And also if she could let me know where she found the aerial silk workshops that would be grand. I come from a gym background and am missing it terribly – have had about 15yrs since gymnastics and am looking to get back into it just for the flexibility and strength it provides.

27 02 2009

One reason adults stop being able to do high level gymnastics is because they stop training. For the elites who have been at it since they were five, it’s generally time to move on after 15 years.

Secondly, If you start as an adult, you will never get to being an elite by doing a 1 hour a week tumbling class. Which is generally what is offered. The children who are elites are training 30 hours a week for years. They aren’t good because they are young and small. They are good because they have the good coaching and they put in many many hours. When they take a break from training, their skill level falls. Kids that do one hour a week aren’t elites either.

8 04 2009

after rock climbing for several years i am now getting into gymnastics and circus arts. totally love it. the lack of adult gymnastics classes is a huge issue and i have to travel a fair distance just to get a class.

The thing that bugs me is back in the old days (early 1900s onwards) gymnastics was one of the main foundations of body training. everyone did gymnastics to some extent then branched out into their sports or other athletic pursuits. Most of the old strongmen of the old days began with gymnastic type training.

why? because it was known to be sooo insanely good for general body conditioning.

19 01 2010

The gymnastics center where I coach never had enough interest to hold an adult class, but adults were always welcome to join the older teenager classes, so people should not be afraid to ask a gym even if they don’t see an adult class. I coached a class that had some younger students with an 18 year old, a 30 year old, and a 20 something and it worked out fine. Many of these adults lose weight and become toned and in control of their muscles more than using an elliptical at a gym everyday.

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