When people think of competitive sports that can lead to a lifelong career, gymnastics doesn’t often rise to the top of the list. However, consider the best sports for little ones just beginning their fitness routines, and it’s hard to ignore the ease of tumbling equipment and the benefits found through childhood flexibility. Kids are far more flexible than adults, and flexibility is a key component in many youth activities for this reason . As we age, sedentary or otherwise inactive lifestyles affect our body’s ability to maintain muscular elasticity. Incorporating proper gym equipment can help, but tight hamstrings and tendons are controlled by our nervous system, and that’s something we simply can’t force without causing serious potential health problems. Hence the power of early age gymnastics.
How Did Modern Gymnastics Evolve?
Gymnastics began as an ancient competitive sport. Used mostly for hand-to-hand combat in preparation for battle, the activity has changed gears significantly in the thousands of years it’s evolved globally. However, no one could have imagined the role it would play throughout the world. From the earliest military exercises as hand-to-hand strength-building techniques through the Greek Olympics, gymnastics became a requirement for all students and considered an essential part of everyday life. Floor exercises, pummel horse, and rings were first displayed via the Olympic competitions during the Hellenistic period.
By the 16th century, the activity was noted for its health benefits. The International Olympic Committee was founded in 1894 in Paris, France, and 60 years later devised a set of rules and scoring procedures to be followed in all gymnastics competition. However, gymnastics wasn’t simply a competitive notion to the rest of the world. The American military revitalized gymnastics in the 19th century before it caught on as a mental and physical sport for the wealthier classes Whether choosing the activity as a competitive sport or simply optioning it as a fun fitness option, it all begins with the basics.
What Are the Solid Basics of Beginning Gymnastics for Kids?
Gymnastics in America has steadily gained popularity since 2006, resulting in almost 5 million participants over the age of 6 in 2013 alone . Each coach or instructor has his or her own lesson plan set for the incoming group. But whether participating for competition or simply for fun and enjoyment, it all begins with a set of basic skills to prepare, train, and condition the body.
*Stretching and Floor Exercises. Both of these can incorporate the other. Standing stretches move to floor stretches, which in turn turn into flips, cart wheels, and various other tumbling skills. Spider climbs, tucks, handstands, bridges, straight jumps, and rolls are common floor exercises for beginners.
*Beams, Vaults, and Trampoline. This basic gymnastics equipment looks simple because it is, but the items completely train the mind and body to work together. Beams are specifically used to train balance, coordination, and confidence. High and low walks, front kicks, jumps and dismounts are essential skills. The vault, on the other hand, encourages quick movements and power through runs, jumps, hurdles proper body placement and expulsion. Trampolines can provide safe and super fun options for flips, jumps, tucks, and any number of body propulsion moves.
*Bar Work. Like in dance, bars are essential element in every stage of gymnastics. Beginners, of course, aren’t expected to do much more than hold their own weight on the equipment. Pull ups, hip circles, swinging, and various hangs – including tuck and arm hangs, are taught to children with little to no previous gymnastics experience. It’s all about having fun in the earliest stages so that they want to continue the activity throughout life.
Contact Wolverine Sports to stock up on the gymnastics equipment that will keep your tumbler flexible, agile, and healthy.