How many are newbies to gym? How many of you have experience?

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I'm posting like a mad woman today (it's monsoon season where I live with heavy lightning and thunder storms keeping me inside). I was just curious for adult gymnasts, how many have had previous gymnastics experience. Was it just rec or competitive? A few years ago I was interested in "adult" gym (I was under 18 at the time) but the only available option was open gym and intended for experienced gymnasts that just didn't compete. Technically I've "done gym". I apparently did a few classes when I was 3 and was told I was too tall or something silly. My "little" brother actually stayed in for a long time and was quite good, but is now a 6' 4" 200 lbs hockey player lol. Nevertheless, I consider myself a complete beginner. Is anyone else here in that boat? I can do a solid front roll and back roll too (snazzy I know). I can do V sits and those type of strength things but that's really about it. Do any beginners have advice on starting? I'd love to meet some people who are in my position, at the gym I feel like most of the kids in there are young enough to be mine and they're double flipping off the beam!
Feb 26, 2011
Welcome to CB! I'm a total beginner...been in an adult class for a year and never did gymnastics when I was younger. I was a dancer my whole life (and still am I guess!) :]

This is my advice:
1. Watch A LOT of gymnastics videos on youtube and gymnastike and really pay attention to conditioning and skill progression. I've found that the hardest thing about adult gym classes is that they are usually very loosely structured. I know they kind of have to be like this to accommodate so many different skill levels and interests, but it can be really hard to progress. It's been extremely helpful for me to learn as much as I can about the general order skills should be learned in, and what kind of strength and flexibility you need for certain skills.

2. Set goals for yourself. It sounds really simple, but I honestly think that the reason a lot of adults don't stick with gymnastics classes is that they don't know very much about the sport (which is where number 1 comes in) and so they don't know what goals to set for themselves.

3. Understand that it will probably take you a lot longer than you think to achieve your goals, and be okay with that :p Let's be honest here; an adult who is only able to make it to class once a week if life doesn't get in the way is never going to learn skills as fast as a 7 year old who is in the gym 12 hours a week. Progress is slow but you have to be fine with that and just enjoy the journey. Be thrilled about even the tiniest accomplishment :]

Wow my answer ended up being a lot longer than I intended! I hope some of this helps!
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Dec 21, 2008
I was technically returning, having taken rec classes when I was younger and my mother teaching me, but I never got above what would be considered lvl 2 now. So I went back at 27, and I'm glad I did Some things for you to think about? Most likely, you're not going to bend the way you did when you were younger, gymnast or not. You may or may not pick up skills as quickly as the little ones, but one of the benefits to being an adult in this sport, you understand better when the coach gives you directions then you do when you're a child, however, you don't usually have the fearlessness of the child, so that can hold you back as well. Mustlovejumping gave you some awesome pointers, it can only be re-said so many times lol. But here is the most important pointer, above all. HAVE FUN. You're going to get frustrated some days, you're going to lose that skill you worked so hard to get(it will come back, it's the nature of the beast), but enjoy yourself! Enjoy that you will be doin stuff most adults dont even DREAM of doing! And be proud of ALL your accomplishments, no matter how small and minsiscule it may seem(and it's not, no accomplishment is!), it's an accomplishment nonetheless!
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Jun 7, 2011
Practically a newbie

I consider myself in the same boat, because, though I was on a gymnastics team in high school, I wasn't... "good". Now eight years (and about 25 pounds) have gone by and I'm pretty sure I'll be starting back at square one.

A little about myself: I did high school gymnastics, which (at least in my division) was a different animal from USA gymnastics. My team didn't have tryouts and though we competed level 9 rules, anybody was allowed to compete. Had I been in club, I doubt I would have cleared level 4. This resulted in some colorful scores (my average bars score was in the 3s) Some people would think that's embarrassing, I personally think it was awesome to have the chance. (Can you tell I got a lot of "good sport" awards?) I got to compete against some amazing athletes, and the team environment was a lot of fun (I'm so jealous of NCAA teams!)

Anyways, back to present day. I recently took a part-time job as a secretary for a gym, and thus have the whole gym to myself when I feel like staying late. Pretty much my little-gymnast-version-of-myself's dream. I won't have much in the way of coaching, unless I can bribe one of my coworkers to stick around, but I'm still just plain ecstatic about getting in there again, crashing around on the tumbl-trak, and getting up on the beam again. (My favorite event.. which, I'll brag that I beat a level 10 teammate once...)

My advice is to make up routines for yourself. Pick one you like off a video, and make yourself a "dream routine" replacing the things you can't do with simple moves. So obviously, you'll start with almost nothing in it (poses, jumps, etc) but you can replace skills as you get more comfortable on the equipment. (ie, replacing a leap pass with a somersault or cartwheel) I think it really helps keep it interesting if you have a concrete routine to work on. You'll get bored quickly if you're just doing one skill repetitively.

Another thing to consider is a private tumbling lesson. Less specific to gymnastics, I've seen many in the 18+ crowd take those lessons for martial arts or dance, so you might want to check with those types of studios to see if they have something. Those coaches might be more accustomed to working with and spotting an older (and, ahem, bigger) person.

Hope these things help, because really, unless you happen to find some fellow adult gymmies, it'll be a solo journey. But still a fun one! Good luck!


I did pre-school gymnastics up to like a running round-off, no real tumbling. Then learned skills from friends on the playground (pull over), trampolines (flips, handsprings), and then the occasional trip to open gyms (back hip circle). So not much official training. Definitely considered myself a beginner as well.

Have fun. Trust you coach when they spot you. Don't bail. Be fearless.


Proud Parent
Jul 14, 2010
New Zealand
I started rec gym at about 9 or 10 and gave up when I was about 13 or 14. I could do a cartwheel, round-off (kind of), towards the end I could sort of do a forward walkover. No handsprings or anything like that. I could do a forward roll on beam and pullover and mill circle on bar. I took up gymnastics again about two years ago aged 43. I now have most of my old skills back and some new skills, although I don't have the flexibility for walkovers.

The thing that is different this time is I am learning about correct body shapes, which is what gymnastics is really all about. As a kid, and not in competitive gymnastics, I had no idea really, we just thought it was fun to do cool tricks.

When I first went to our gym's adult class, it was pretty much open gym, with a coach who would help with things if you asked. But this year they have brought in another coach to take a more structured class, and with him I have improved about ten times faster. There are other adults who come along, who fall into three general categories. The parkour/breakdance/martial arts guys, the ex-competitive gymnasts, and the beginners. Most of the beginners don't stick with it for long, sadly. So I'm often training on my own. I enjoy it when others come along so we can train together.

Great advice from the others here. About skills progressions, I have found that adults may learn skills in a different order than the competitive kids. There are some things in low levels I just can't do, but a few things in higher levels I can do, or am at least able to train towards. For example, you need more flexibility for walkovers than you do for handsprings. Also, I think adults generally have more experience coordinating their bodies, especially if they have done dance or other sports, so some of the skills such as dance stuff might be easier to learn for some people. I think you can get back a lot of flexibility - I've never been very flexible, but with training I'm probably not far off where I was way back then - it takes regular practice and time but you can improve your flexibility at any age.

I agree with the advice from the others above. Learning skills takes a lot of repetition, so be patient with yourself. I worked for most of a year to get half-turn on one foot on the beam! Once you get something, even if you don't do it for a while and get rusty, it comes back faster. Personally I think we adult gymnasts are pretty special. People are always amazed when they find out I do gymnastics.


I am also newbie for the gym and joined the gym 5 days ago.
I need some advice to build my muscles effectively.
Anybody can guide me in this regard.
Jun 21, 2012
I took my first gymnastics class ever on Tuesday night, and had a great time! They did a good job of structuring the class, then gave 30 minutes towards the end as free time to explore the equipment before a last round of conditioning. I was in decent shape from dancing until needing surgery earlier this year so now getting back into shape after 6-month layoff from exercising.

How sore is too sore for class? I'd love to go again tonight, but am really sore from Tuesday (although less than expected; I can still walk!) :/ Attempting a handstand would hurt. Is it better to start off once a week until the post-class soreness decreases?
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