Author: <span class="vcard">GymTeacher</span>

Safety is going to be the main concern of most people when it comes to teaching gymnastics in schools.

No school wants a situation where a student falls off of something and injures themselves while practicing different movements, but the truth is that under the supervision of a qualified instructor who will make sure that children only perform exercises that they’re ready for, the risk of injury is minimal.

Of course some people will argue that it’s a pointless skill to learn and that if a school starts teaching one form of fitness then they need to teach them all, everything from Yoga to Jujitsu.

The argument that it’s a pointless skill is of course, completely false. Having a good control of your body is vital in every day life, as Gymnastics develops not only your core strength, but your reflexes too. Meaning you will be far less clumsy, not to mention physically healthy.

Why should Gymnastics take precedence over any other sport though, surely they’re all important?

In a perfect world we would have schools where every sport is available to all children, unfortunately most schools have to make do with only a select few.

The great thing about Gymnastics though is that by partaking in it you will improve your skills at almost any other sport. Fancy Basketball? Gymnastics will help with that. How about Karate? Gymnastics will help with that too!

Plus, it’s always better to start Gymnastics when you’re young and still flexible rather than when your joints have started to grow a little stiff. Also, many children might not be able to afford out of school classes.

There is a certain stigma about Gymnastics, that it’s a girl only sport as it has close ties with Ballet, but again this is another big fat lie.

Most guys out there find parkour to be a pretty cool skill, a skill which is as closely tied to Gymnastics as Ballet is. Now that doesn’t mean that they’ll be hurtling themselves off of rooftops in their very first class, but simply mention that Gymnastics will help them become a better free runner and they’ll be doing handstands in no time.

Having such an awful PE education growing up I might be a little biased, but I have little doubt that adding a few Gymnastic classes to the curriculum could really help students achieve their physical goals.

 

 

Beginners

It’s no secret that gymnastics can help with a myriad of issues, such as greatly reducing the risk of joint problems in old age, or even just giving you a greater sense of balance so that you aren’t tripping up over your own feet all the time.

Did you know however that Gymnastics can also help improve ones academic prowess?

When asked what changes they saw in their children after beginning gymnastics, many mothers stated the sort of improvements you would expect; An increase in strength, balance, gross motor skills and improve coordination, but many of them also reported their children getting better grades, and indeed studies have shown a correlation between gymnastics and improved brain efficiency.

Although most forms of fitness are likely to improve a childs self-confidence and social skills, the bilateral activities of gymnastics and the coordinated movement patterns, appear to increase efficiency in the brain. Studies have shown that efficient pathways create fluent readers and that students with D’s or F’s often find themselves with much higher grades after a few months of Gymnastics.

On the other hand, Gymnastics is hard.

When you place a group of children together and give them a fun task they will try their hardest to be the best, it’s human nature to be a little competitive, and thus they will gain discipline and willpower that will help them whilst studying for exams which will result in higher grades.

Humans have long known about the ties between physical and mental health though, a twenty minute walk can help a person feel much better about themselves, and people who’s career it is to sit and play video games have commented about how important physical exercise is to their mental state.

Oh and while we’re on the subject of video games, they have also shown to help improve a persons mental abilities, so long as one doesn’t sit playing them all day.

It’s easy to understand why exercise is so good for our minds though. No animals other than humans are cooped up inside their homes all day – Except maybe hermit crabs and turtles – And for thousands of years we were no different.

We had to move around and hunt, or risk dying, and that hardwired need for exercise has never truly left us, even if sometimes it seems like all we want to do is lounge on the sofa.

Beginners

Rhythmic Gymnastics

In rhythmic gymnastics, the athletes perform holding equipment instead of on equipment. Gymnasts perform jumps, tosses, leaps and other moves with different types of apparatus, and are judged more on their dancing ability, grace, and coordination ore than on their strength.

Olympic rhythmic gymnastics has only ever included female athletes. Girls start at a young age and become age-eligible to compete in the Olympic Games and other major international competitions on January 1st of their 16th year. (For example, a gymnast born Dec. 31, 1996, was age-eligible for the 2012 Olympics).

In some countries, males are beginning to participate in rhythmic gymnastics. This hybrid form of gymnastics also requires the athletes to perform tumbling and martial arts skills.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) officially recognized rhythmic gymnastics in 1962 and held the first World Championships for rhythmics in 1963 in Budapest, Hungary.

Rhythmic gymnastics was added as an ​Olympic sport in 1984, and in 1996, group competition was added.

Acrobatic Gymnastics

In Acrobatic Gymnastics the athletes themselves are the equipment.

Partnerships of gymnasts must work together and perform figures consisting of acrobatic moves, dance and tumbling, set to music. There are three types of routines; a ‘balance’ routine where the focus is on strength, poise and flexibility; a ‘dynamic’ routine which includes throws, somersaults and catches, and a ‘combined’ routine which includes elements from both balance and dynamic.

Music is usually selected specifically for a duo that has been choreographed specifically for them. The gymnasts carry out their acrobatic moves and combine them with dance, all in time to the style of the music. Partnerships are judged on artistry, difficulty of skill and the execution of skills.

The first use of acrobatics as a specific sport was in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, and the first world championships were in 1974.

In addition to the current five categories, two additional categories for tumbling (men’s and women’s) were included until the 1999 World Championships, though some groups still involve tumbling events.

Women’s Artistic gymnastics

The most well known form of gymnastics, this discipline includes vaulting, uneven bars, balance beams and more.

Top female gymnasts must have a vast variety of attributes: strength, balance, flexibility, air sense, and grace are some of the most important.

They also must have the courage to attempt perform difficult techniques and to compete under intense pressure, where a mistake might mean a broken limb.

Serious practitioners of this sport must be put through a rigorous physical and mental examination, as although it’s stunningly beautiful to watch, if an athletes mind is elsewhere it could prove deadly.

The gymnastic system was mentioned in works by ancient authors, such as Homer, Aristotle, and Plato. It included many disciplines that would later become separate sports, such as swimming, racing, wrestling, boxing, and riding, and was also used for military training. In its current form, gymnastics evolved in Bohemia and what is now Germany at the beginning of the 19th century, and the term “artistic gymnastics” was introduced at the same time to distinguish free styles from the ones used by the military.

Disciplines

This ultimate form of creative expression through physical means first began in Ancient Egypt, albeit not as we know it.

Artifacts have been discovered which show women holding spheres and working in groups to exercise in unison, much like the modern-day version of Gymnastics. Although, this seemed to have been more of a recreational activity than a competitive one.

These days however, Rhythmic Gymnastics is a little more complex. This women-only event includes the use of ropes, hoops, balls, clubs or ribbons accompanied by music, and is performed in individual or group events.

In the 1800s rhythmic gymnastics was referred to as group gymnastics, and included a trace of basic choreography. It gradually grew until the first experimental competitions appeared in eastern Europe during the 1930s, when its increasing complexity began to draw a more varied audience.

Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport which evolved from many different disciplines. It incorporates elements of classical ballet, such as pliés and arabesques, as well as the German system of apparatus work for muscle development and the Swedish method of using free style exercise to help develop a personal rhythm and to express emotions through body movement.

Rhythmic Gymnastics underwent many changes before its inclusion in the Olympic Games in 1984 in Los Angeles, however it remained an individual event until the inclusion of a team event in 1996 in Atlanta.

While the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique does not recognize male competitive rhythmic gymnastics, it has a huge following in the U.S, Canada, and Russia along with such Asian countries of Japan and Malaysia.

Japan was the first country to create official rules for its events in the 1970s. Stick gymnastics was the first masculine version of this sport, originally developed only as a means of improving physical fitness.

These competitions tend to be quite intense at the high school and college level in Japan, but so far there are still no male Olympic events. The country has spent over 30 years developing the male competitions, and is working with the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique to gain recognition and eventually gain its rightful place at international events.

No matter what ones gender happens to be, this sport has empowered people from all over the world to push their  physical and creative abilities  in the name of art. What is now known as rhythmic gymnastics is a combination of exceptional dexterity, elegance, and competitive drive. It started with many different like-minded visionaries who saw a vast potential for expression in the human body.

 

Rhythmic

When it comes to gymnastics earlier is better. That doesn’t mean that just because you didn’t start until you were in your early teens you have no chance at it, but it’s recommended you don’t leave it any longer than the age of twelve to get started.

We shall discuss the optimal workout techniques for an aspiring gymnast, as well as the lifestyles of famous Gymnasts, along with the various types of gymnastics. First however, let’s talk about gymnast classes.

You may feel that you don’t need a class to improve and wish to train yourself, whilst this is by all means possible, attending a class comes with plenty of benefits.

First and foremost, you will be taught by trained professionals who will put your safety first and fun a close second. They know precisely what someone of your skill level is capable of, and people who are self-taught might find themselves pulling a muscle far more regularly, or worse.

Another large benefit to classes that is sometimes overlooked is the sense of camaraderie. Even if you are an adult looking to try out gymnastics, the sense of being together in a group truly helps as it’s human instinct to compete to be the best, and when it comes to children Gymnasts this is even more true, as having every stretch and warm up together with music playing is considerably more fun than stretching on your own.

What is Gymnastics?

When you think of gymnastics, you may picture women doing flips on balance beams, or men flying through the air on still rings – but did you know that these routines only represent one of many forms of gymnastics?

 

Artistic Gymnastics

The most popular and widely-practised form, artistic gymnastics is split into women’s and men’s gymnastics. Women compete on four events: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise, while men compete on six events: floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar. The sport consists mainly of the use of various gymnastic equipment, as well as the use of the floor for different exercises.

 

Rhythmic gymnastics

 

Rhythmic gymnastics is the performance of various gymnastics moves to music. Only women compete in the sport, which combines elements of ballet and gymnastics in the performance of five separate routines with the use of one of the five apparatuses: ball, ribbon, hoop, clubs and rope. There are also group routines consisting of two to six gymnasts, performing with a maximum of two apparatuses of their choice.

 

Aerobic gymnastics

 

Aerobic gymnastics involves routines performed in pairs, trios, or groups of up to six people. These routines usually emphasise strength, flexibility and aerobic fitness, rather than acrobatic or balancing abilites. Routines typically last 60 to 90 seconds and are performed on the floor.

Essential skills

Now when it comes to the most fundamental abilities you need to possess, it’s usually best to start off with learning how to do a basic handstand. Practice building your core body strength until you’re able to hold a handstand for at least 10 seconds, and once you’ve done that begin transitioning into the handstand press.

This is where you lower your body down whilst still maintaining the handstand, then pushing yourself back up. It may take a few months to fully grasps this, but once you do any other skills will be far easier to learn.

Pull ups, cart wheels and pushups are all great ways to help you get started too, but the most vital skill is tenacity.

You must get into the habit of training at least six times a week. Your muscles will ache and you’ll probably want to quit, but developing a habit means that once you’ve been doing it for a few weeks it’ll be a regular part of your day. Plus, it’s surprising how quickly we lose our flexibility once we stop training.

Beginners