18 year old former gymnast - questions about restarting!

Parents... Coaches... Judges... Gymnasts...
DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members See FEWER Ads!
Join for FREE!
Not open for further replies.
Jul 31, 2009
Hi, I'm Action-Sam, 18 y/o from England. I posted a more complete story in the intro forum, but in a nutshell I was a gymnast from ages 9-13 and am now a recreation level coach. I feel I had more talent and ability than was ever really acknowledged, probably becuase I didn't have the right body shape!

When I go to university, I plan to restart training gymnastics, since they have classes four times a week and also trampoling on two other days (I used to be quite good at that) but I have a lot of worries, concerns and questions! I would like ideally to get reasonably good and be able to tumble and do giants, walkovers, vaults etc - I know this doesn't come overnight though, and I want to do it properly.

So I have two months until I start university and I want to train some basic strength, flexibility and moves myself. I am not stupid enough to try somersaults or anything, but I do know enough to attempt things like walkovers if I feel strong enough.

So, I really want to know how often I should train flexibility - it is my strong point (20 degree oversplit right and left, 5 degree off box, almost straight legs on bridge shoulders level with hands, total japana) but I find the day after I stretch splits my hanstrings really tighten, so it is really painful to stretch them out! At this point, should I wait for them to recover (3-4 days) or should I stretch through the pain to gain flexibility? Is there anything I can do particularly to minimise this pain, which I think is probably due to age? Generally I stretch splits, japana and bridge - is there anything else I should do?

Also with strength, is there any exercises people would recommend? I know strength is my weak point, at the moment I am doing 50 leg lifts a day - holding a bar above my head, lifting my legs up straight to touch my hands and bringing them back down until they are just off the floor. What else can I do? My legs are fairly strong but not my arms when it comes to lifting my own weight - I am good at lifting others from coaching and have enormous shoulder muscles/biceps, but somehow this does not translate into being able to lift myself!

Any help or tips would be very much appreciated! I really want to go into the class feeling good and strong and able to support my own weight! I would very much like to be able to backbend and kick over before I go, adn hold a handstand for 10 secs+ (at the moment I can do it for max 5)





May 4, 2009
Hi there! I am replying because I see you are not getting any replies ;) I really don't have any advice to offer except that you should post this in the "questions" section. Coaches tend to read that section and will probably have more advice to offer about what to work on. regardless, good luck!

Jan 28, 2008
Its good that you want to start again! I'm also 18 and i want to be able to do gymnastics again but my body isn't letting me.

Anyway, i think stretching everyday for flexibility is the most important thing to start with. Don't force yourself to do the splits or whatever because that can hurt you more than help you. Start small and build up to it. Trust me, if you rush anything in gymnastics, you tend to get hurt easier.

With strength, you can gain it back from doing gymnastics and conditioning afterwards. Like you can work on trampoline and then afterwards work on strength moves that target the muscles you need for certain tricks.

For example, you can do v-ups on the bars (hang on the bar and lift up your leg to meet your hands) to help you feel out the kip motion, and it'll also work your abs. Instead of doing regular push ups, try handstand push ups to help you feel out the extention.

Good luck with everything! Hope this helped some.


Proud Parent
Feb 21, 2009
Region 6
Are you stretching while your muscles are warm? Its good to go for a walk or do calesthenics before stretching to help minimize pain. Also try self massage on the hamstrings to help the tissue soften up. If there are any trigger spots that are especially painful you can roll them over a tennis ball. Make sure you are not forcing the stretches. If you are extra tight the next day, it sounds like you are pushing a little too hard.


Club Owner / Manager
Mar 23, 2009
West Midlands, England
I think it is great that you are restarting!

You sound like you have your head screwed on, so really I guess you just need to decide what you are comfortable doing! I'd say keep working on flexibility, every day if possible, although it can be difficult to find the motivation some days! Warm up before you do it. Maybe make yourself a conditioning sheet so that you can tick off the exercises as you do them - I'd include general conditioning exercises - sit ups, press ups, v sits, dish and arch rocks, squats for legs etc. The more conditioned you are in your mid section, the easier you will find things. Other than that, I'd just wait until you get to the gym to see what you are comfortable doing.

When I first started back I took things slowly and had to go right back to basics - had to re-learn bridge kickovers and backward walkovers, handstand to bridge etc, then worked my way up to back flips and somersaults from there.
I'm a bit frustrated as I've had to stop now for a little while, but I'll try to do a bit here and there when I can. Having some wrist and shoulder troubles!

Good Luck! Oh and what uni are you going to?


A bit late but oh well.

As for being sore from the first day back of stretching that is very normal and due to the fact you haven't stretched to that point in a long time. See if they loosen up at all through a warmup and dynamic warmup as bloodflow should help revitalize those tissues.

Create for yourself a daily warmup and hit all your basic positions.

Then work some kickovers from a bridge or handstand to bridge kickover and walkovers.

Work a bunch of handstand stuff like kick to handstand or split handstand besides side handstand. Then work some presses to handstand or press down to straddle from a handstand against the wall. Work in some handstand walking or handstand pirouettes.

If you have access to something you can hang on you can work pullups or leg lifts. If you cannot do a pullup, jump to one or start off at the top in a chin hold and hold for time and slowly lower down. If you cannot do this you may have to figure out a way to do something called a horizontal body row/pullup.

With two chairs you can work L-sits and dips. Work your straddle-L/straddle lever.

Then get to doing some leg work, lunges or squats.

Finish up with some core conditioning like V-ups ( unless you're doing leg lifts ) and hollow/arch holds, etc.

Finish up with stretching. You may be able to start seriously stretching 1 or 2 times per week at first because of soreness. Over a few weeks, you will get used to it and can up the frequency and duration.
Not open for further replies.