This is a perfect 10 for fun, even if you may not master the fantastic feats of athletics right away.
WHEN COACH LUCY DOUGALL asked the class to write down our gymnastics goals, I was lost.
“Do what they do?” I thought to myself as I watched girls in sparkly leotards turn around and tumble onto a trampoline and work on the uneven bars.
Is it possible?
Seattle Gymnastics Academy
I know gymnastics is much more than the fantastic tumbling and other athletic prowess that we see on television. I know it takes incredible strength and dedication, even for the simplest of tricks.
So I had a little glimmer of hope that my adult self could progress to a bodybuilding and conditioning class at Seattle Gymnastics Academy in Columbia City, which recently started offering adult classes.
I wrote general goals around strength and work on my handstand, and waited to see what Coach Lucy had in store.
Lots of hard work, it turned out.
We warmed up in jogs and then she made us do variations of lunges and kicks trying to stay in a straight line on the floor. We crawled, stepping on our hands and feet in an inverted V, and worms in inches. After rocking to crawl on the floor with our chests up, my shoulders protested.
We stretched our wrists and shoulders, then she put us through a series of core exercises, including planks with legs on sliders for more intensity, lower back strengthening, and sit-ups.
Coach Lucy trains her team with squats, so they do jumps in the glutes and hamstrings, rather than the quads and knees. She moved us on a low carpet for a ride; I was not confused. Then she pulled out a bigger mat and showed us single leg squats, we could choose to sit on the upper or lower mat. See if you can get up without putting your foot on the ground, she said.
I know these drills like guns. If you do that too, you’ll know why I picked the highest stack, especially when doing 10 on each leg.
We also jumped on low mats, front, side and back, then one leg. We swung on tiptoes. Halfway through, I could feel each new exercise and I was losing hope that we would ever finish conditioning.
Finally, coach Lucy said it was time to move on to the balance beam. Hooray!
We walked across the beam to get a feel for it. It is wider than it looks and mellow. We did calf lifts, which made my calves burn, and she taught us beam feet, with toes on the sides and a slight overlap of our feet. We worked balances on the soles of the feet, and a past, lifting one leg up to our knee. She challenged us to go up to the ball of one foot in a past.
We walked backwards, then forward, on the soles of our feet. I wasn’t always balanced, but tried to compensate with fully extended fingers for more style. We ended up going down to the hands and feet to cross. Sounds easier, but for me going low on the beam was a wobbly mess.
We moved on to the tumble track, a long stretch of trampoline. We got used to bouncing, going forward and backward and adding jumps with lunges. I love the trampoline and was hoping this was a sign that adults could learn the tumbling passages.
The class ended with more stretching of the shoulders and wrists.
I loved getting a glimpse of how gymnasts train and build strength. I realized it would take several classes before I came out with a cool new round of gymnastics. But once we were on the beam and the tumble, I had fun, which is the most important reason for me to do gymnastics.