Starting Gymnastics at 24

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 12, 2010 5:16 AM GMT
    I am starting as a 24.5 yr old adult this week. I've had 2 practices. It's run through the university. So far, it is free, but they will charge in the near future. All skill levels are welcome at mine. I'm the newest of the newbies ever. I came in only able to do a handstand--> somersault, or back somersault --> handstand, can't do splits (am close but have a ways of stretching to get there), and I could do a cartwheel and a bad roundoff (they say it is bad because I'm not carrying my momentum).

    After 2 practices, I can do layout backflips on the trampoline, front tuck flips on the trampoline, back tuck flips on the trampoline, front handspring on the trampoline. No, I can't do these on the floor yet. I attempted back handspring on the trampoline and landed on my head/neck multiple times, so I'm a bit gun-shy there. Believe it or not, the back handspring seems to be more difficult than the full blown backflip.

    I attempted rings and parallel bars. Rings, even as strong as I am, I can't pull myself up past a pull up because I've never had to flip my elbows over like that. The parallel bars are just new and feel weird to me. Rings my arms shake like I'm pulling a last set in the weight room. It's totally awesome to be learning so much and learning new motor recruitment patterns. I think a few members are not taking me so seriously yet, but they really don't know how driven I am once I start something. My challenge is just to not injure myself and not do too much too fast. There is not really formal coaching where I am, just other students who take time out of their workouts to teach me something new or give me a pointer or two. For now, I'll start with this.

    I also can do 1 circle on the mushroom. That's a tough skill to learn.

    I'm sure most life-time gymnasts are like "oh you can't start as an adult," but they haven't ever taught themselves new skills as an adult either. For example, I never lifted weights as a kid or teen (much), but I became a power lifter and was able to lift over 100 lb dumbbells on the bench within a year of actually trying to gain there.

    The problem with me and gymnastics so far seems to be that I am a bit tall (but not the tallest), and I weigh 165-170 lbs. Yea, it's mostly muscle, but right now most of the muscle is dead weight since it isn't fully being utilized since I don't know what I'm doing yet. All gymnastics moves seem to be based upon power moves, plyometrics, strength, balance, and flexibility. My former sport training was swimming (endurance mostly, which lacks plyometrics at all, and I lack pretty much most of the qualities of a gymnast athletically so far--I thought my strength training at the gym would help, but very small transfer). Other gymnasts seem to be 5'9 max, and they are 155 lbs at max.

    Anyhow, time and practice. Tips appreciated. I've always wanted to do this, and I'm getting so much dopamine reward from it that I'm loving it. Great guys on the team too and very supportive.

    I sweat more than anyone I've ever seen in my life though. I literally get drenched at any form of exertion. It becomes a problem when your hands are sweaty and you are balancing on an apparatus, and you are literally dripping on the equipment or flinging sweat off while spinning around like a pinwheel. I've always sweat a lot. I did swimming for 10 yrs and water polo for 4 yrs, so I guess my body is used to being drenched in order to cool itself.
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    May 12, 2010 11:35 AM GMT
    I did Gymnastics for 8 years.

    The reason that people say you must start when you're younger is simply due to the fact that your body can bounce back faster. And also, it takes at least 5-8 years to become learn every aspect of gymnastics. When you're older (and yes even 24 is old in Gymnastics years) you normally are already turning in your grips, so to speak.

    It is awesome to see someone up for the challenge, but just be forewarned that you're in for a lot of pain and soreness. But it seems as if you're ready for that.

    I wish you the best of luck, and enjoy it. Gymnastics is an awesome workout and is a ton of fun.
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    May 12, 2010 12:28 PM GMT
    Yeah, I can do 1 circle on the mushroom too. It's a tough skill to learn, but I'm willing to practice. Anybody want to help tutor me?
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    May 12, 2010 12:59 PM GMT
    Just do it; what an opportunity. Did this for fun in my 30s, so go do it and do it right. Take all the training and stretching advice you can gather!
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    May 12, 2010 2:39 PM GMT
    Barley12 saidI did Gymnastics for 8 years.

    The reason that people say you must start when you're younger is simply due to the fact that your body can bounce back faster. And also, it takes at least 5-8 years to become learn every aspect of gymnastics. When you're older (and yes even 24 is old in Gymnastics years) you normally are already turning in your grips, so to speak.

    It is awesome to see someone up for the challenge, but just be forewarned that you're in for a lot of pain and soreness. But it seems as if you're ready for that.

    I wish you the best of luck, and enjoy it. Gymnastics is an awesome workout and is a ton of fun.


    Yea it's true I'm very sore today, but I like it. I've always been an athlete, but having not been sore even when lifting heavier weight in the weight room wasn't doing it for me anymore. I feel like I used a whole bunch of muscles I haven't used in a while, specifically the ones in my mid to lower back, shoulders, wrists, and legs (the ballistic motions in the sport...geez!). I guess this is a true test of my knowledge of whether I learned how to recover from nutrition and exercise physiology classes. So basically, today since I"m sore as hell, it's a good thing I have a final during practice or I'd be at a much larger risk of injury today. I'll have to do something else today like aerobic conditioning or take the day off altogether (may do stretching since that is low impact).

    I think having a swimming background is nice so that I can return to that when my body is feeling the high impact of hurdling my body around in odd positions!
  • BlackBeltGuy

    Posts: 2609

    May 13, 2010 12:24 AM GMT
    I am still tumbling at age 36. I'm not as agile as i was but i have blended karate and martial arts since i was 9 years old. I only tumble and tumble-track. As you get older its harder to repair your self. my wrists give out so fast and so do my knees, it sucks. when i was 18 and 145lbs i was back-flipping thru my high school cafeteria, stores, clubs, any where i could flip, i would. I love still being able to do it but it takes a lot of practice and make sure you have a good spot.
    I'm working on a combo on the floor right now for a bet with a 20 year old. i failed my first attempt. also go on YOU TUBE a lot of good tutorials on there and you would be surprised how many "old" guys are flipping out literally. icon_cool.gif
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    May 13, 2010 4:03 AM GMT
    True, look at Dara Torres, 43, active recovery team, and still the 2nd best sprinter in the world.
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    May 13, 2010 4:21 AM GMT
    What pass Karate?

    I was a gymnast, also coached for a year.

    I guess it gives you a better understanding of just how hard gymnastics is, especially since your struggling with things 7-8 year old boys can do.

    Basically you can't start old and end up great. I'd say the latest age to start and actually be at a national level would be 11 or 12, and that's pushing it. Starting at 24 for fun is entirely different.

    Gymnastics builds up strength in muscles that are never used in just about any other sport. It's very unique since it requires any aspect of sports and combines it into one. Also the fear aspect is underrated by those who never tried it. Fear can be very hard to overcome while learning new skills for some people because the risk for injury can be pretty high even if its over a pit or something.

    The most important thing in gymnastics is body tightness and control. Having a loose body dramatically increases the risk for injury. A good drill is to do a handstand against the wall facing it for a minute, with perfect form, hips tucked under, pushing through your shoulders, head in, etc.
  • BlackBeltGuy

    Posts: 2609

    May 13, 2010 4:34 AM GMT
    sportsguy933 saidWhat pass Karate?

    I was a gymnast, also coached for a year.

    I guess it gives you a better understanding of just how hard gymnastics is, especially since your struggling with things 7-8 year old boys can do.

    Basically you can't start old and end up great. I'd say the latest age to start and actually be at a national level would be 11 or 12, and that's pushing it. Starting at 24 for fun is entirely different.

    Gymnastics builds up strength in muscles that are never used in just about any other sport. It's very unique since it requires any aspect of sports and combines it into one. Also the fear aspect is underrated by those who never tried it. Fear can be very hard to overcome while learning new skills for some people because the risk for injury can be pretty high even if its over a pit or something.

    The most important thing in gymnastics is body tightness and control. Having a loose body dramatically increases the risk for injury. A good drill is to do a handstand against the wall facing it for a minute, with perfect form, hips tucked under, pushing through your shoulders, head in, etc.


    pass in in my profile sports...
    at 24 its fun your right no competition stuff. thats why i stayed with martial arts it's an any age sport. ; ()
  • BlackBeltGuy

    Posts: 2609

    May 13, 2010 4:37 AM GMT
    Punch front, Round Off, Whip Back, Backhandspring, Full lay out.

    i cant put it together. I can do each but I hands down after the round off
  • delthespaz

    Posts: 136

    May 13, 2010 4:45 AM GMT
    sportsguy933 saidWhat pass Karate?

    I was a gymnast, also coached for a year.

    I guess it gives you a better understanding of just how hard gymnastics is, especially since your struggling with things 7-8 year old boys can do.

    Basically you can't start old and end up great. I'd say the latest age to start and actually be at a national level would be 11 or 12, and that's pushing it. Starting at 24 for fun is entirely different.

    Gymnastics builds up strength in muscles that are never used in just about any other sport. It's very unique since it requires any aspect of sports and combines it into one. Also the fear aspect is underrated by those who never tried it. Fear can be very hard to overcome while learning new skills for some people because the risk for injury can be pretty high even if its over a pit or something.

    The most important thing in gymnastics is body tightness and control. Having a loose body dramatically increases the risk for injury. A good drill is to do a handstand against the wall facing it for a minute, with perfect form, hips tucked under, pushing through your shoulders, head in, etc.


    Thanks for the hand stand tip!
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    May 13, 2010 4:48 AM GMT
    Good luck! I started diving at 16 which was considered old. I had natural ability but the thing that always got me was fear. a lot of having to start these types of sports young is the fear issue, little kids don't think about it adults remember alot better.if you are crashing on your head in back handspringsI hav eno clue what you are doing. try doing back layouts and throwing your hands over your head while upside down
  • geebus

    Posts: 216

    Jun 09, 2010 1:32 PM GMT
    Haha, just discovered this topic! I'm also teaching myself now. My trainer used to do gymnastics/yoga/meditation, and is trying to teach me how to perform functional movements with my muscle mass.

    I'm 22.5 and 5'9" and only interested in learning rings really. Will see how I go. How is your training going? At my uni, they won't let me use the equipment so I'm learning front lever etc. on a pull up bar icon_sad.gif Keep us posted! Oh btw, if muscle soreness occurs, skins works wonders mate.
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    Jul 12, 2010 1:33 AM GMT
    The soreness you get from gymnastics is very similar to dance: Try bananas!! The potassium helps you alot. Also, arnica gels are helpful homeopathic alternatives to aspirin.

  • Jul 12, 2010 1:36 AM GMT
    I was a gymnast for many years but had to quit so I could work. I would love to find a gym in the Chicago land that I can do it at but can not find any. Any help?
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    Jul 12, 2010 1:37 AM GMT
    Be careful.

    Male gymnasts tend to be prone to debilitating rotator cuff injuries. Given the nature of the sport, this is no surprise.

    Many exercises that are part of gymnastics are very good for you. However, not all of it is actually that good for you.
  • ScreamShatter

    Posts: 40

    Jul 18, 2010 12:43 PM GMT
    I've been a gymnast since age 3 and competed for a university team.

    It's a fun sport, but it's not something you pick up quickly....it takes years of work to get your body in the shape it needs to be in and to learn all the various body positions you need in order to perform certain skills perfectly.

    Right now, I just started taking circus classes (rope and other aerial performing) and that is quite fun too. I think it's a lot easier than gymnastics in terms of picking it up...but it's still fun. You should consider that as well.
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    Jul 23, 2010 1:19 AM GMT
    viveutvivas saidBe careful.

    Male gymnasts tend to be prone to debilitating rotator cuff injuries. Given the nature of the sport, this is no surprise.

    Many exercises that are part of gymnastics are very good for you. However, not all of it is actually that good for you.


    This happened to me, I was doing a pass during cheerleading practice and in mid air I went "stupid" and forgot how to land. After all that I dont do gymnastics any more.
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    Jul 23, 2010 8:24 PM GMT
    You might also try diving. Many of the skills cross over. A lot of gymnasts take it up if they have had a bunch of injuries as it is easier on the body. I have seen some people in their 50's and older do incredible dives.

    I believe there is a strong masters (adult) diving program out of the U of T. Something to think about.

    Have fun!
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    Jul 23, 2010 8:45 PM GMT
    hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm gymnastics that has been 5 years since my last competition. I still coach it the Boys Team levels 3 to 6. And also the teen classes ive seen people from 5yrs to 46. so you arent the first personally i always thought its never to late to have fun. and i have had and still have a blast with it.
    When it comes to difficulty and or you ability to adapt to the sports that is going to take time. I sometimes still have difficulty manipulating my body after doing the sport for 15 years. but it will get easier the more effort you place on it. Whats you favorite event. Mine are floor, rings, high bar and pommel horse (w mushroom). My brother was the contradiction he is good at the Vault, Parallel bars. Anyways have fun but be careful an also i dont know how good your flexibility is but hyper extensions are the worst and sometimes funniest things that can and will occur. Best of luck to you and have fun.
  • tu_guy

    Posts: 9

    Aug 15, 2010 3:14 AM GMT
    well hey man, kudos to you. who cares about the age thing, i mean, its clear you are doing it for yourself and the fact that you like it, so just enjoy it. if it takes time, it takes time. if you struggle with a skill, you struggle with a skill. shit happens, haha. we have a couple sections of the adult classes for people who just want to learn it, and its a fun time all around. one of our women (who was about 40ish) managed to learn a double tuck on the floor, so hell, just stick to it and enjoy it!

    as for the guy doing the front tuck, round off, whip, full pass ...

    the hardest thing about that pass is control. people tend to rush the front tuck which causes them to crunch the round-off. buuuut, then if they manage to do that, they try to convert the momentum from the front tuck into a quick round off so they can get to the whip ... which then rockets into the air. the best bet is to ride the beginning of the front tuck and take it up, separate the legs for the roundoff relatively late, then relax and do the longest round off possible, this will allow you to control the "up" momentum from the front tuck and convert it into the length momentum you need for the whip flic full. the biggest danger is doing it out of control and breaking a wrist or something. but yeah, just relax on the combo, don't force it, and you'll get it in no time.