Tuck, Roll, Tumble, Spring: When’s the last time You got up on the balance beam?

When I was younger, I used to take gymnastics two to three times a week after school.  For years 5-16 I was doing hang springs across the big blue floor matt and (of course) participating and performing in my camp GYM shows.  Floor and Beam were my favorites, I can still do a walkover (front and back) no problem, but I haven’t been inside a real gymnasium in about 11 years……Last night I went to my first gymnastics class at Clube de Regatas do Flamengo: and it was AMAZING!

First off, the place in enormous, equip with every gymnastics item you can imagine and it’s where the Olympic Gymnasts train!  People of all ages are here daily swinging from the uneven bars, and balancing on the beam.  The ages in the adult gymnastics class ranged from 16 to 74— and let me tell you, Mr.74 was doing crazy flips I have never even attempted! It was seriously impressive. There were only 5 of us in the class which was nice, and the regulars were very welcoming.  We started off slowly on the floor with forward rolls and cartwheels, then gradually moving up towards handsprings, flips etc.  Let me tell you- muscle memory is a crazy thing- I can still do some of the flips I could do when I was a child!

After floor we moved to the tumble track – for those wondering ‘what the heck is that?!’ It is a long trampoline ie track, it basically gives you the bounce and the speed you need to do some of those crazy twisted layouts. (see picture below-far right)

Then we headed over to the uneven bars, I remember hating them when I was younger, but after this class I find myself changing my tune- it was surprisingly really fun, very challenging.

I always had a thing for balance beam so I felt quite at home gracefully gliding across.  After a few warm ups we did a routine- a very ‘getting back to the basics’ routine which was a lot of fun.  In general, the movements and positions we were doing in this class felt very safe and fun to do at any age—nothing to  be nervous about.

Our last stop we had a choice between the vault or the trampoline – I opted for the trampoline — set up so that you flipped into a huge pool of sponge pillows.  The class was a blast and I can’t wait to go back!

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