I get asked all the time, "Can I try adult gymnastics even if I've never done gymnastics before?"
Due to my role as creator of The Original Adult Gymnastics Camp as well as several decades of being a gymnast, folks naturally want to know from me how feasible this is.
I'm here to tell you that it's totally possible to try adult gymnastics even with no experience at all in the sport. There are a few things to keep in mind, however, which I will explain below.
Adult gymnastics is an inclusive community that welcomes newbies with open arms!
1. every program is different
I recommend starting by investigating local programs. You can check out our class list first off. If you don't find what you are looking for there, perform a google search for local gyms. You may want to try searching for both gymnastics gyms in general as well as gymnastics gyms that offer adult gymnastics. The reason is, not all gyms advertise their adult class on their website. It's also possible that a gym might mention it on the site but it's a small mention and the gym didn't include it in any SEO efforts they might engage in, which is a way for the gym to promote what they do.
Not all gyms bother with advertising in the same way, so don't leave it to chance that you'll stumble upon a gym that offers adult class simply by searching. A phone call or email goes a long way. And, if all else fails, show up and ask! People walk into gyms all the time to inquire about children's classes, see the facility, or sign their children up. Sometimes showing up in person gets you more attention than a call or email.
There are offerings called open gym where you have the run of the place without any instruction. I don't recommend those with no gymnastics experience start off by attending an open gym. You won't know what to do and it's not really safe.
Once you have a class secured, mention to whoever runs the program or signs you up that you have never done gymnastics. In rare occasions a class won't be structured for such a person, but normally it's expected and the coach is more than happy to work with you. By asking in advance, however, there will be no surprises. Some classes operate by tuition and others offer drop-in options.
If you are given the OK that you'll be welcomed and you are still unsure, ask if you can view a class one week. By watching how it is you might find your anxiety dissipates.
Keep in mind, everyone else in the class is there for their own experience and goals. They won't be spending much, if any time, watching or analyzing you. They most certainly will not be criticizing you. In fact, most experienced gymnasts love seeing brand new gymnasts enjoying the sport for the very first time. One of them might even take you under their wing and want to help you out that much more since you're new and it feels good to help other people. I have made a bunch of friends through adult gymnastics. It's a very friendly, positive, inclusive group of people.
If you're a first time adult gymnast, don't worry - you're not alone!
fitness goes a long way
Now, I don't want to scare you off if you aren't a fit person. However, I will be honest - a background in any type of movement will give you a huge advantage.
Some of the fastest learners in gymnastics tend to be yogis, because yogis usually have the range of motion, body control and body awareness that is lacking in the average adult. The same can be said for martial arts.
Another great activity to precede trying adult gymnastics is Crossfit. In Crossfit, you will be using a lot of the gymnastics skills and even pieces of equipment you'll find in the gymnastics club. Crossfitters tend to fit right in at adult gymnastics classes right off the bat.
Aside from that, strength training, cardiovascular fitness, and other sports are all great things to fall back on when you're engaged in a gymnastics class. Any level of fitness you can bring to the table will be helpful. That said, if you have been sedentary, don't let that stop you from participating. It's so important for your health to be active, and any activity that excites you is one worth doing. You just want to be sure to have realistic expectations about how fast you'll learn if you are starting from scratch with your fitness level.
If you're a newbie adult gymnast, choose classes rather than open gyms.
slow and steady wins the race
The truth is gymnastics takes a long time to learn and perfect. A huge reason why kids who get really good tend to start gymnastics so young is simply so that they have enough time to learn and master all of the skills. There is also no other sport that requires such a base level of strength to even get started. Because of that, part of a typical gymnastics practice time is dedicated to strength and conditioning as well as flexibility. There are times when an adult class will leave that out, but if that is the case, please ask your coach what you can do on your own time to support your progress in the gym. You can also hire a personal trainer who understands gymnastics (like me!) to help you out.
All that said, try not to get frustrated if you aren't learning as quickly as you had hoped! Even doing the most rudimentary of gymnastics skills is a phenomenal workout and is a ton of fun. Be proud of what you can do, while diligently working on what you can't! You'll progress much faster if you can manage to find a place to train more than once per week. Many adult gymnasts practice at multiple clubs for that reason, since many programs only offer adult gymnastics once per week. However, every class makes a difference, so go even if you aren't able to do it often!
Hopefully now you know the answer to the question, "Can I try adult gymnastics even if I've never done gymnastics before?" Please spread the word and help us dispell the myth that gymnastics is just for kids.