Learning gymnastics is a wonderful way to increase strength and flexibility while keeping your mind active by learning new skills. Seeing gymnasts compete is inspiring and thrilling. While it might seem like a far-off goal to do it yourself, it’s never too late to get started learning gymnastics. It is possible to train for gymnastics at home. Setting yourself up at home to learn the basics is a great way to get comfortable, whether your goal is to join a group class or just level up your solo game.
In competition events, judges score gymnasts based on their routine’s difficulty. Additionally, judges score on the execution’s quality minus any deductions. For now, let’s focus on how to get your home setup for practicing gymnastics up and running.
The Benefits of Gymnastics
Gymnastics are full of benefits for adults and children alike. From learning new ranges of movement to gaining confidence and discipline, gymnastics can be fun to learn on your own or as a family bonding activity if you have children.
Below are some of the health benefits of gymnastics and other reasons why this is a wonderful endeavor that adds a new element of enrichment to your life. If you train for gymnastics at home, you can do this all on your time.
The benefits of gymnastics are plentiful, but here are a few stand-out reasons for you to learn this engaging sport at home.
- Gross motor skills – It can be easy to become complacent about continuing to develop your motor skills. From working to daily tasks and activities, we can often forget the benefits of learning new movements.
- Discipline – It takes time and dedication to learn something new, especially as an adult. Growing your gymnastics ability will require you to be disciplined in your daily habits and practice.
- Focus – Focus is closely related to discipline, and both can be tough to achieve in a world where things move at a fast pace with endless distractions. Gymnastics can help give your mind something engaging to focus on, which will help encourage you to build discipline around your practice.
- Strength and flexibility – Gymnasts are famed for their strength and flexibility. While the pros work tirelessly on these things, you’ll notice that as you advance your skills, your strength and flexibility will also increase.
- Balance and body awareness – These are both key elements of gymnastics, and you’ll naturally pick them up as you learn.
Health benefits of gymnastics
In addition to new physical skills, you’ll notice other health benefits of gymnastics as you create a healthy training routine. Creating a routine can also be easier if you create a space to train for gymnastics at home.
- Improved concentration – Giving your mind a new skill to focus on will naturally help to improve your concentration. In a world where distractions abound, this is a great benefit.
- Improved motor skills – Better motor skills will also translate to other areas of your life. You’ll notice that your coordination improves and other activities are easier.
- Healthy self-esteem – Aside from the physical benefits, learning new skills is a surefire way to boost self-esteem.
- Supports an overall active and healthy lifestyle – Creating healthy habits is key to living a healthy and happy life. Gymnastics is engaging and motivating, so you’ll be happy to integrate it into your routine.
- Prevents disease – Living an active and healthy life is critical to disease prevention, and finding a fun way to keep yourself motivated will help you achieve this.
Making Space at Home for Gymnastics
Most of us probably don’t have the space or funds to create a full-size gymnastics area at home. There are plenty of items you can install that are easy to pack up if you have to move your home gym. Equipment for gymnastics can be as simple or complex as you like. You can easily build upon simple setups over time as you expand your skills. Some of the equipment may even be the same as a conventional home gym.
- Tumbling mats give you a cushy landing for tumbling and you can conveniently pack them up to give you more floor space when you are not using them.
- Tumbling sets provide a variety of padded mats, blocks, and shapes to support you while you’re learning new movements.
- Padded flooring is a nice choice if you’re creating a more permanent space for gymnastics. Padding with mats will help you stay safe during your practice.
- Air rolls aid with stretching, mobility, and practicing body position.
- Foam learning beams are a way to practice the balance beam. Foam beams are the perfect starting point to allow you to get comfortable before advancing to a regular beam.
- Balance balls help you to build balance and core strength and deflate for easy storage.
- Indoor mini-trampolines help you build cardio endurance and strength without taking up too much space. A mini-trampoline is just right for conditioning and you can use it anywhere.
- Outdoor full-size trampolines can be used to recreate the conditions that a more advanced gymnast will encounter. As a beginner, they can also give you a greater margin for error than doing moves straight off the ground. Full-size trampolines are great for simulating those conditions, but be sure you’re always using them safely.
If you don’t have a spare room or basement area that can be used for a gymnastics space, reach out to a contractor near you to create an outdoor gymnastics area or another solution for added space.
Setting up an advanced gymnastics space
Once you get your feet under you – or out from under you, as the case may be – you’ll likely want to look into ways to advance your new skills. Below are different types of training equipment you can use to level up your home gymnastics area. Always talk with a professional before beginning on advanced moves. You can have an instructor come to your home to help you train for gymnastics at home. Otherwise, you can practice the foundational movements at home and save the real deal for a supervised gymnastics or calisthenic gym.
- Training bars are essential. They help you improve strength and moves at a specific height. These training bars are portable and quick to set up, making them a great option for your home gymnastics area.
- Air tumble mats are wonderful for home gyms because you can easily inflate them for use or deflate for storage.
- Tumble tracks are a useful piece of training equipment, allowing you to simulate a gym-style environment at home.
- Vault boards can help you develop your vaulting skills at home. They require enough space to ensure you won’t accidentally hit any walls or other training gear.
- Skill and strength equipment like you’d find in a conventional gym are as important as specialized gear for developing your skills. Conditioning and strength training will help you to advance your skills more quickly.
- Push-up bars are excellent for upper-body training. They’re typically inexpensive and easy to install.
- Sticky toes help gymnasts remember to keep their feet together, which helps with overall performance and your score if you start competing.
- Sliders are discs with one low-friction side that slides on the floor. You can use them under your hands, feet, or knees when core conditioning.
- Yoga mats help with stability during floor work, reducing the risk of slipping and twisting a wrist or knee.
- Foam rollers are an essential tool when it comes to stretching and working sore muscles. They help reduce the risk of injury and shorten muscle recovery time.
- Stall bars are for more advanced gymnasts, but as you search out new ways of training, these can be a great piece to add to your lineup.
- Chalk is a gymnast’s best friend, preventing sweaty hands from slipping off equipment.
- Leotards will allow for modesty and comfort during practices and performances. Good-quality leotards are a perfect place to start.
- Shoes will be an important piece of gear once you get into beam work. Often called beam slippers, they’re thin, tightly laced shoes that allow you to have traction while still feeling the beam under your feet.
- Spotting blocks are important once you start working on moves off the ground. They can be placed at different heights to ensure that you have a safe landing if a move goes wrong.
- Streamers are something you may want to incorporate to compliment your performance and accentuate your movements. Experimenting with them at home is a great way to see if you like using streamers.
- Protein snack bars provide an easily digestible boost of protein without adding the heaviness of a full meal.
- Water bottles are essential since good hydration is key to peak athletic performance and recovery.
- Music is great for motivation and essential for rhythmic gymnastics. Adding a sound system to your at-home gymnastics setup can help keep things upbeat and fun. Check out this playlist for listening while you’re doing your workout.
Anytime you install permanent equipment, you should consult with a contractor to ensure everything is safe for long-term use. Consistently pulling, jumping, and landing on equipment can damage your home if it’s incorrectly installed.
Safety in the gymnastics area
Ensuring the safe practice of gymnastics is critical to avoiding injury and keeping you on your new, fun path. Below is a list of safety items to have and how to use them to keep your practice safe.
- Flooring – Your gymnastics flooring should always be padded and secured to the floor beneath.
- Cork – Cork is a great option for flooring. One of the main benefits is that it’s a natural, sustainable material.
- Foam pits – If you can find the space for it, installing a foam pit will give you a safe place to try new things with a lower risk of injury.
- Wrist straps, guards, and grips – These items will help you to avoid injury, allowing you to continue on your gymnastics journey safely.
- Footwear – What footwear is best will depend on what type of gymnastics you’re doing. You should wear beam slippers on the beam. Regular gym shoes are great for conditioning and training with weights.
- Spotting belts – These pieces of flexible rubber guard against a fall or movement that could cause injury. They’re very handy to have around your at-home gymnastics area.
Safe gymnastics practices
- Always warm up and stretch before doing gymnastics. Whether you train for gymnastics at home or in a facility, this is critical. This is one of the best ways to prevent a needless injury, although it’s easy to skip this step. Be sure you don’t.
- Only practice on padded floors. Place mats under all equipment and properly secured them at all times. Even professional gymnasts injure themselves during routine moves, so stay safe.
- When you’re jumping into a foam pit, always land on your feet, bottom, or back. No diving headfirst or landing on your knees. Diving headfirst, even into soft foam, can easily result in a head or neck injury.
- Never train alone. This rule can be easy to bend, but it’s important, even if you just ask someone to check in on you when you’re doing new or particularly difficult moves.
- Wear gymnastic clothes that won’t get caught on any of the equipment. The right clothing won’t get snagged on equipment, potentially pulling you off course and causing an injury.
- No jewelry. Jewelry can easily catch on other clothing, equipment, or gear.
- No gum chewing. The last thing you want after a motivating practice is to find a sticky wad of gum stuck in your hair.
- Stop training if you get hurt or feel pain. Gymnasts must get checked by an athletic trainer, coach, doctor, or nurse before going back to practice. The whole “push through the pain” mentality is outdated and potentially damaging. If you’re hurt or in pain, make sure a doctor gives you the green light to keep training.
- Play different sports to prevent overuse injuries. Engaging in other sports or activities provides your body the variety it needs to prevent overuse injuries.
Know the plan for emergencies
This includes calling 911 for a head, neck, or back injury and not moving the injury. Having an Alexa or AppleHome device is a great way to ensure that you can quickly call for help if you’re injured. This is especially important as you train for gymnastics at home.
Getting into gymnastics as an adult might seem out of reach at first, but if you follow the setup guide above and work with a pro, you’ll see amazing progress before you know it. Build up your at-home gymnastics area slowly and in manageable steps. As you continue to train for gymnastics at home, enjoy the confidence you’ll soon have from learning new skills and challenging yourself.