I want to be a gymnast
Part 1Learning the Basics
- Work on your flexibility. Being flexible is one of the most important qualities of a gymnast. If you want to be a gymnast, you can start working on your flexibility right now. Doing stretches and other exercises every day will make your body more limber, allowing you to perform gymnastics moves with grace and ease. Being flexible also improves your coordination. To improve your flexibility, do these exercises every day:
- Do neck rotations and try to bring your ears as close as possible to your shoulders without raising them.
- Next is the shoulder stretch, where you pull one arm at a time across your chest.
- Stretch your chest by locking your fingers behind your back and extending your arms up.
- Stretch your back with the seal stretch: get in a push up position, then push up keeping your hips on the ground.
- Stretch your hamstrings and back by leaning forward to touch your toes.
- Starting from a sitting position, do a knee to chin press. Bring one knee toward your chin, hold it there, then repeat with the other knee.
- Learn how to do a somersault. It’s a fun gymnastics move that will help you get used to using your body in more flexible ways than you’re used to. You’ll also learn how it feels to be upside down. To start, crouch close to the ground with your hands firmly planted on the floor. Tuck in your head and roll forward onto your back, letting your legs follow naturally. Keep practicing until you can do a somersault without thinking.
- Make sure you keep your head tucked in, and don’t roll directly on your neck. You could injure your neck if you put all of your weight on it.
- Try a more advanced version of the somersault by starting from a standing position and smoothly rising to your feet without using your hands to support you at the end of the move.
- Find a soft or grassy spot to practice doing a cartwheel. This isn’t a dangerous move, but you might fall a few times before you get the hang of it. Start in a standing position with your right toe (or your left, if you’re left-handed) pointed in front of you and your hands above your head. Lean forward sideways, and place your right hand on the ground, following by your left hand. As your hands touch the ground, kick up your legs and use your arms to support their weight. Your left foot should touch down first, then your right. End the move standing upright.
- The first few times you try to cartwheel, it will be hard to get your legs above your head. Keep practicing until you’re used to the feeling of being upside down. Eventually, you should be able to cartwheel without bending your knees.
- Try landing with both feet at the same time instead of one at a time. Keep your feet together and plant them on the ground.
- This is the foundation of many gymnastics moves, and it’s one you can perfect at home before you get lessons. Find a soft place to practice. Stand up straight with your hands over your head. Step forward with your right foot (or your left, if you’re left-handed) and tip forward to plant your hands on the ground. At the same time, kick up your legs above your head, keeping them straight and together. Hold the position for a moment before dropping your feet back to the ground and standing upright.
- It might help to practice against the wall, or with the help of the spotter, while you’re learning this move.
- Keep your chin tucked in and your shoulders against your ears.
- Take gymnastics lessons. If you think you have an aptitude for gymnastics, and you’re ready to try more complicated moves, it’s time to take some lessons. A qualified gymnastics coach will teach you how to do advanced moves using the right form. You’ll learn how to strengthen your muscles so that you can execute moves with perfect grace. Also importantly, your coach will be able to show you how to train without risking your safety.
- In a gymnastics gym, you’ll get to learn how to use professional equipment like asymmetric or parallel bars, rings (for men), the balance beam, and a pommel horse, in addition to advanced floor moves like backflips, handsprings, front tucks, back tucks, and aerials.
- To find gymnastics lessons near you, do an online search for “gymnastics gym” or “gymnastics club” and the name of your town. You’ll probably find a range of options, from free lessons offered at your local YMCA to more expensive private lessons. At clubs, your skill level will be evaluated and you’ll be instructed as to what class would fit you best.