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US Mary Lou Retton sparked huge controversy when it was revealed that she had attempted to stop a sex abuse bill approved by the country's senate. The bill is aimed at protecting young athletes from getting sexually assaulted, .  

Retton received heavy backlash and was scolded on Twitter and she had to make her account private. On Wikipedia, gymnastics fans edited her page mentioning that her Olympic all around gold medal win was at a boycotted Olympics (1984) and that she tried to stop the bill. They were then blocked from editing her page.

Tumblr blogger illyria-and-her-pet wrote a post about gymnasts who could have won gold at the 1984 Olympics, had it not been boycotted by their countries (except Yanhong).

Olga Mostepanova performing one of the best beam routines of all time at the 1984 Alternate Games where she became the only gymnast to ever have a perfect 40 all around competition. At the Alternate Games, she won team, all around, vault, beam, and floor gold. She would have made that other gymnast irrelevant if the boycott didn’t happen. She has 5 world medals (3 gold, 2 silver).


While most gym fans acknowledge that Mostepanova and the Soviets would have swept the floor with that other gymnast, Hana Ricna gets very little recognition. She came in 2nd to Mostepanova at the 1984 Alternate Games and was the first to do the stalder tkatchev on uneven bars, which is still a very popular skill today. She had one of the most difficult uneven bars sets at the time because she did 3 major releases: her eponymous skill, “the Ricna” (E), the Deltchev (D), and the Comaneci (E). She has 2 world medals (1 silver, 1 bronze).

Ma Yanhong’s 1984 uneven bars gold is the only title from 1984 that I‘m 100% sure would have still happened even if there was no boycott. My favorite routine from her is that one she did at 1981 Worlds. She did a jump full turn to the low bar mount, clear hip 1/1, hecht ½, and her famous F rated dismount. Sadly, she was robbed here and only given a 9.9, so she came in 2nd to Maxi Gnauck who was given a perfect 10 despite having a less difficult routine and a hop on the dismount. She has 3 world medals (1 gold, 2 silver).

Maxi Gnauck is known for her uneven bar work, but she was also a great all arounder and floor worker. In 1979 and 1980, she was able to do a tucked full in and triple twist on the floor with no springs. At the 1984 Alternate Games, she came third in the all around and won bars and floor. Springs were added to the floor by then and she did the best piked full in and triple twist in that era. She has 9 world medals (5 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze). She also has 4 medals (1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze) from the 1980 Olympics, which were also boycotted, but the countries that boycotted wouldn’t have really made a difference in any of the results in that games except for maybe on uneven bars. 

Natalia Yurchenko’s vault entry is probably the most innovative skill to ever happen in gymnastics. For decades now, almost every top gymnast has done a yurchenko style vault. She won the team and all around gold at the 1983 World Championships, but suffered an injury in vault finals that took her out of the rest of the championships. She came back from the injury to win the team and vault gold, as well as the uneven bars silver at the 1984 Alternate Games. She also made the 1985 Soviet team that won gold at Worlds. Other notable skills she did were her tkatchev + deltchev combination on uneven bars and loso mount and yurchenko loop on beam. 

Tumblr only allows you to embed 5 videos, but special shout outs to baby Elena Shushunova who won the all around bronze at the 1984 Alternate Games and then went on to have one of the greatest careers ever in 1985-1988 and Julianne Mcnamara, the American gymnast that actually has a medal from a non boycotted competition with her 1981 uneven bars bronze. 

And of course shout out to Ecaterina Szabo who won 4 gold medals and actually beat that other gymnast in the all around final in 1984. Sadly, there was no new life and she fell on uneven bars in the team optionals, so the score carried over and she lost by 0.05. She has 10 world medals (2 gold, 6 silver, 2 bronze). 

By Gigi Farid

Tatiana Gutsu is one of the best Soviet gymnasts. Renowned as a trickster, she performed some of the most difficult routines in the sport. 

She is multiple Olympic, World and European medalist.

Amid her rape allegation against Vitaly Scherbo, Sugihara-Turns wrote an appreciation post that shows the gymnast's history in her senior years.

I really hope this post breaks beyond the gymternet because I want Tatiana herself to know we support her, and she is for sure one of the bravest people I ever known (hopefully same for those reading).

A History of her senior years:

1991 - Tatiana Gutsu made her senior debut this year, being selected onto the Soviet team at the Indianapolis World Championships. As always, the dominant country in gymnastics took the gold at the team finals. But Gutsu didn’t stop there. She competed in the All Around final where she placed fifth, and got a silver and bronze on beam and uneven bars.

Below: Gutsu’s beam routine from the 1991 Beam Final

She continued the year with more medal position places. She swept the 1991 European Cup (gold on all events). This year, and for the rest of her senior career, she went above and beyond with difficulty. Her routines still rival beam workers. With her execution, she could of easily taken gold on the beam final this year (2017!).

1992 - Tatiana placed no lower than 5th in any of the finals she participated in (According to wagymnastics wikia). At the European Championships in Nantes, she placed first in the all around, vault, and uneven bars! She placed second on beam, and third on the floor exercise. She was the only one to medal on all events at this championship.

Olympics - Tatiana was selected onto the Unified Team for the Olympics. This was the last time that the Soviet Union gymnastics team would compete at a major competition (It will later split up into russia, ukraine, uzbekistan, and more). Again, the Soviets placed first on the team final. She controversially replaced teammate Roza Galiyeva to compete in the All Around Final. This however, was proven a good choice, since Gutsu took home the gold. Not only that, but she placed 2nd on the uneven bars, and 3rd on the floor exercise!

Side Notes: She also competed in the 1992 World Championships. Though she didn’t medal here, she had an AMAZING beam routine here too, where she stuck her full twisting double back dismount. (Look Below)

Here are 3 more of her amazing routines:

Above: 1992 Floor Finals (Barcelona Olympics)

Above: 1992 Uneven Bar Finals (Barcelona Olympics)

Above: 1991 Trofeo Goofy (I am not sure if this is the competition name). She scores a perfect 10 here!

If Tatiana Gutsu is reading this: You are so brave. You were an amazing gymnast, who could still win medals today with your routines. We all love and support you, and we hope you have a safe and wonderful future.

Illyria-and-her-pet added also some interesting routines of the gymnast.

Also gonna add her floor from Moscow Stars which is the only time she hit the split double layout perfectly 

And her bars where she did an incredible ftdlo dismount!

By Gigi Farid

One of the key aspects of gymnastics is that it develops both strength and flexibility. There are countless exercises used in the sport that foster range of motion and joint mobility. Although used by elite level athletes, many exercises are equally appropriate for everyday people looking to keep their body healthy. Below you will find five exercises inspired by gymnastics training that can be performed in the comfort of your own home without any equipment. 

Heels Up

This exercise targets the lower abs and builds strength in those abdominal muscles. However, it is also excellent for developing lower back muscles and can greatly help your posture by strengthening your core. 

How to do it:

To perform “heels up,” lay on your back with your legs straight up in the air. Your arms should be out to the side at shoulder level height (making a T shape with your upper body). Pull back your toes so that your feet are fully flexed and your heels are the highest point on your foot. Begin curling your hips under such that your feet are lifted toward the ceiling. It is essential that your legs do not move any direction other than directly upward.  Perform 20 repetitions, then allow yourself a thirty-second rest. Repeat this three times.

*Note: If you do not have the flexibility to point your legs directly upward, you can still effectively perform heels up. Just be certain that your legs do not lift any higher or drop any lower as you curl your hips under. Pretend your legs are in a tube and you are trying to shoot your heels down the tube to the very bottom.


Swimmers are an excellent exercise to further combat lower back pain and develop strength. It is especially good for those who favor one side more than the other. When you are dominant on one side, the muscles on the opposing side can become quite weak. This can result in pain in other body parts such as the hip or shoulder that are compensating for the weakness. To avoid such pain, it is essential to develop those lower back muscles on both sides.

How to do it:

Start by laying face down on the floor with your arms up by your ears and legs straight and together. Your chin should be on the carpet so that your head is lifted slightly upward, but your neck muscles should be relaxed rather than contracted. Lift your right arm as high as possible keeping it close to your head – do not let it open outward. At the same time, lift your left leg as high as you can while keeping it close to your right leg (as opposed to straddling outward). Be sure your leg is straight.  Count to three then lower both the arm and the leg. After a one second rest, lift the left arm and the right leg in the same fashion as the first side. Hold for three seconds and then relax. That is one repetition. Perform this 20 times before allowing a one-minute rest.  Repeat the 20 repetitions and one-minute rest two more times. 

Balancing Act

Rolled ankles are injuries frequently experiences by gymnasts as well as athletes of all sports. Likewise, ankle pain is a common complaint of many adults for a number of reasons. Fortunately, there is an extremely simple exercise that can build the muscles necessary to stabilize the ankle joint. To perform balancing act, you will need a pillow, couch cushion, folded towel, or some other soft object that you can stand on. A pillow will be used for purposes of the following instructions. 

How to do it: 

Place the pillow on the floor in front of you. Stand on top of the pillow on your right foot. Place your hands on your hips and your left foot pressed against your right leg with the left knee bent. In order to directly target the ankle, it is imperative that your right leg is completely straight. If your right leg is bent, that knee will be doing much of the work rather than the targeted ankle. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then switch legs, holding the same position on your right leg. Repeat this three times. For more dramatic results, perform “Balancing Act” on both the right and left leg twice in the morning and twice more in the evening.

There are some important notes for this exercise. If you have a particularly weak ankle, be sure to be close to a wall or some other object which you can use to catch yourself. In extreme cases, keep your fingertips gently against the wall, avoiding putting pressure on your hand but allowing yourself to not completely lose your balance and fall over.

For those who have strong ankles and the exercise is too easy, there is a quick way to drastically increase the difficulty. Once you have positioned yourself on one foot on the pillow, close your eyes. Removing your vision from the exercises makes it notably harder and you should instantly feel your ankle exerting much more effort to keep your body aligned over that foot.

Arm Dips, but Up with the Hips

Arm dips are a commonly used exercise intended to target the triceps. This variation strays ever so slightly from the traditional exercise, but can have dramatic results. Typically done on gymnastics bars, but is not required since there are alternatives. Not only does it increase difficulty, but it also allows the exercise to target your core muscles (in your abdomen and back). 

How to do it:

To perform arm dips, you will need a couch, coffee table, bench, or other object that comes to somewhere between your knees and hips in height.

Begin by putting your back to the couch and placing both hands behind you on the seat. Extend your feet away from the couch so that your body is completely straight. Squeeze your glutes to hold your hips up flat making a straight line from your shoulders to your feet. Your butt should not drop down toward the floor at any point during the exercise. The goal is to only go as low as you can without breaking the straight line of your body.

Keeping the straight line, slowly bend your arms keeping your shoulders back over your hands. If you feel your chest coming forward, that is usually a good indicator that you are letting your hips drop to the floor. These are notably more difficult than traditional arm dips so start with low numbers and adjust according to your skill level. For beginners, I would recommend starting with three sets of 8. Remember, these are slow and your arms should only bend as much as you can without letting your hips drop.

Stationary Flying

This exercise targets back muscles while also fostering shoulder mobility. Because range of motion is related to strength as much as flexibility, stationary flying is an excellent exercise for the shoulder. Further, because there is no pressure on your hands, elbows, or shoulders, it is low impact and can be properly performed by highly trained athletes as well as those recovering from injury. It is both a conditioning and rehabilitative exercise.

How to do it:

To perform stationary flying, lay on your stomach on the floor with both of your arms out to the side even with your shoulders making a T shape. For this exercise, it is better for your arms to be above your shoulders rather than below, so before performing any repetitions, slide your hands a few inches upward, bringing your biceps ever so slightly closer to your ears.
 You chin should again be on the ground so that your chin is somewhat lifted, rather than having your head turned to one side.  Also, be mindful of your legs. They should be together and straight such that your body is in perfect alignment.

Lift your hands, forearms, and upper arms off the ground. Hold this position for two seconds and then lower your arms back to the ground.  Repeat these holds 15 times and then perform 5 more without the hold. The last 5 should be notably quicker and all done in a row. That is one set. Perform three sets with a one-minute rest between each set.

If you are advanced, perform the exercise the same as described above, but do not let any part of your arm touch the ground between the holds or lifts. In other words, once you lift your arms for the first repetition, nowhere on your arm should touch the floor again until you’ve completed all 20. 

Concluding Thoughts

Remember to always start where you are. That is, do not push yourself past your current skill level. If you continue these exercises regularly, you will gradually strengthen the targeted muscles and joints thus allowing you to increase repetitions. 

You can find more gymnastics inspired health and fitness information on our website

Written by James Hurt

If you are someday casually browsing the Chinese gymternet with google translate, and spot one of these two people talking about your fave, beware, your fave may be cursed.

The person with the tingting icon is pretty much famous for jinxing her faves. So much so that he/she is a legend on the Chinese gymternet. The curse has never failed. When she liked Simone briefly, Simone fell off beam.

Simone, who was immune to the white leo curse. 

Everyone outside of Simone has met with worse fates (probably because she never truly loved Simone with all her heart). Tan Sixin, Chen Siyi… Wang Yan was pretty consistent (for a junior) until she became a fave… and then it’s just falls everywhere, same goes for Jiaxin. 

Everytime this person falls in love with a gymnast, she would be super high profile with it, and everyone else is just like.

Her Russian favorites were: Alla, Seda, and Vika.

I’ve set up a shrine for her right here. Check out that post if you want to pray that that person doesn’t suddenly become a fan of your fave. Better yet, go buy some incense and burn it while facing the general direction of China. 

Person #2, everyone calls him “mama six” because everyone those he was a she, but since he is a he, he prefers to be called by “cat” instead of “mama”. (but everyone calls him “mom six” anyways) He usually post things that are on the technical (but with his own biases) side. Once in a while tho, he will make predictions in one of his “juniors to watch for” or “I’m pleasantly surprised by” posts…

we call them “mama’s blessings” because…

The reality will often turn out to be the complete opposite of these blessings. 

So far, his rate hovers at around 80~90%. One year was particularly bad because everyone he has mentioned that he’d hope would do well ended up injured or fell on something. There was one post where people dug the post logs a couple of years to confirm the existence of the curse. Mama six is at least self aware so we don’t see him making a lot of predictions anymore. 

One of the jinxers used Lari's photo as their avatar before the World championships.

Written by 16-233/Tumblr

Ponor/ Photo by Jeni Hull
A year ago, Bustle wrote a gymnastics related article and not only did they not get the facts straight but also have created an alternate reality of the sport.

The article started with explaining what Onodi is. They said when a gymnast jumps backwards, then does a half twist into a front handspring and that it is named after Hungary's Henrietta Onodi although it was first performed by Soviet Olga Mostepanova, which is correct.

However, it mentioned that all gymnastics elements are assigned a difficulty rating, ranging from "A" to "I" WRONG not all gymnastics element but the floor ones are. The difficulty rating of elements on balance beam and uneven bars ranges from A to G.

They wrote that Onodi is worth an F which again is wrong. It is worth a D on beam.

They then linked to a balance beam routine performed by US Nastia Liukin which included an Onodi and mentioned that the skill is also performed on floor exercise and that US ALY RAISMAN competed a DOUBLE version of it.

Everybody, this is an Onodi:
GIF xygretel
And there is no such a thing called a double Onodi, neither on beam nor on floor, and Raisman has never performed Onodi neither on beam nor on floor.

Could the writer have confused Onodi with Arabian? Raisman does compete two types of the Arabian skill, the tucked and the piked ones. She competes double Arabians, and the Arabian on beam is rated an F.

But the writer did acknowledge what's an Onodi at the beginning of the article and that Liukin competed one. Liukin never competed an Arabian.

The writer goes on to mention that Romania's Catalina Ponor attempted the move 'the double Onodi' and that was on vault! During the vault finals in Rio!

Ponor doesn't do Arabians, in fact Romanians don't do Arabians - that's if the writer had an Arabian in their minds while typing Onodi. Ponor has never had two different vaults thus has never competed in vault finals.

In this what we should call alternate reality, Ponor falls on the Onodi vault and finishes in 7th place.

In the real life Olympics, Ponor qualifies to the balance beam final and finishes 7th but she dioes not suffer any falls. It is worth mentioning that she did not perform on vault at this Olympics. 

Actually, Ponor has never fallen off any apparatus in competitions but this one time on vault during the 2016 Olympic test events.

Thanks to Notanotherwolfturn, the article went viral on Tumblr. One of Tumblr users went as far as creating a video that shows the Romanian gymnast competing an Onodi on vault and falling.

While another created a GIF of a double Onodi on balance beam.

Written by Gigi Farid

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni

It’s no surprise that gymnastics is both a mentally and physically challenging sport. It focuses on body awareness, coordination, balance, and flexibility. So gymnasts train hard to build muscular strength and endurance without minimizing serious injuries.
You now know why gymnastics is so important for most people (click here to see the health benefits of gymnastics article) . It fights depression, increases bone mineral density, and promotes better mental and cognitive function.
So how to get started in gymnastics to reap all its health benefits?
Getting started with gymnastic routines:
Before I list all the important gymnastic skills to look forward to, it’s important to pick a gymnastics class that fits your age group. If you’re starting off late, it’s better to first attend a few gymnastics training programs. This will help you determine your physical abilities, strength, and flexibility. And it also helps you decide what you need to work on the most.
The floor is where it all starts. It involves basic gymnastic skills including balance and body strength. If you hold your ground, you then progress to more complex floor movements. Elite gymnasts master the basic floor moves like handstands, rolls, cartwheels, and somersaults. These are trained and performed on a standard mat or spring floor to avoid injuries or sprains.
Practicing on the beam involves better body movement and coordination. A beam is a made up of leather material, usually 4 inches wide. Female gymnasts often develop different gymnastic skills including tap swing and stride circle. The more complicated gymnastic movements on the beam are handstand, piked Jager, straddle back, and many more.
The vaulting table is where are complex skills are practiced. But for beginners, it involves more basic skills like handstands and straddles. Working your way towards complex vault movements requires muscular strength, flexibility, and better balance. It also means to “stick the landing” in a professional and precise manner.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at a few important fitness tips for beginners. This will help you get started with gymnastics in a healthy and injury-free manner.

1. Stick To A Schedule

Any gymnast would tell you how important it is to stick to a proper gymnastic training framework. As per expert recommendation, training 3 times a week is ideal for beginners to target all muscle groups. Each day focuses on a different training program starting from low-intensity, medium-weight intensity, to high intensity sessions.
Such versatile training programs can build up better physical endurance and flexibility for beginners. Also it offers you a day’s rest after every session for faster recovery. (21)

2. Get The Basics Right

As with any other sport, learning the basic moves is critical for training. Since gymnastics is a sport of flexibility, strength, and agility, it’s important to master the basics before moving forward to more complex moves.
Based on a scientific review, building upper-body strength is necessary. Beginners can work on that with basic push-ups. There are different variations of doing a basic push-up. So you can increase the number of reps each week as you get stronger.
Doing a frog-stand to develop balancing skills and target core muscles is next. To master this basic, you need to squat with your hands on the floor. It’s important to lead forward while lifting your legs and touching the knees to the elbows. Hold this position for about 30 seconds to master a frog-stand.
Other basic moves include a handstand and somersault. (22)

3. It’s Important To Learn The Rules

Gymnasts don’t take rules lightly. For accurate performance, especially on a competitive level, following the rules is critical. That’s why beginners are first taught the important rules of gymnastics before training begins. Following these general rules help gymnasts hit higher scores and follow the routine effectively.
For example, at the time of competition, skills such as balance beam and floor come with strict time limits. If a gymnast exceeds the prescribed time limit, it leads to a score deduction. Other additional rules are proper conduct, body position, etc. (23)

4. Stretch Before And After Your Training

Stretching for flexibility and stretching for injury prevention are two different things. Most people give least importance to stretching for injury prevention.
According to a recent study, stretching before and after gymnastics training has positive neural and performance benefits. It helps in relaxing all muscle groups to reduce muscle stiffness and cramps. Also, an increase in stretching leads to a significant increase in range of motion and balance.
Stretching is important to boost strength and prevent fatigue caused by high-intensity workouts. Gymnasts who stretch for injury prevention also reported better muscle strength and reduced muscle stiffness after training. This can also prevent frequent muscle tears and knee problems. (24)

5. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep and exercise go hand-in-hand for athletes and gymnasts. It’s important to get enough sleep for proper training, especially when you want to make progress. For gymnastics training, beginners need extra sleep to reduce stress on the muscles and bones. It also helps in recovery for muscle soreness, especially after the first few sessions.
That said, beginners should train during evenings that is neither too early in the morning nor too late. If you train during your early waking hours, it can cause tiredness throughout the day. While training too late can leave you with very little body strength to train with. (25,26)
So as beginners, giving your body complete rest and recovery by training in the evenings is easier to recover from.

6. Don’t Forget To Wear Protective Gear

There are many ways to injure when practicing gymnastics. Floor exercises causes the most injuries, according to a recent study. But amateurs can hurt themselves by falling off the beam or other sports equipment too.
The most common injuries are ligament tears, bone fracture, muscle sprain, and back problems. So in order to stay protected, wearing wrist straps, grips, spotting belts, and guards are essential. Proper footwear is also critical to prevent ankle injuries.
Wearing wrist guards and grips prevent blisters and skin tears, especially during amateur training. Since the outer layer of the skin is not used to such challenging movements, it can cause serious injections if you act irresponsibly. (27)

7. Practice Gymnastics After Eating

It’s important you eat a proper meal before training. It meets the body’s demand for a healthy, filling, and immune-boosting meal. That said, gymnasts incorporate smaller meals that are high in energy to control their weight and increase muscular strength. So during heavy training, fatigue and dizziness is out of the question.
Eating energy bars, cereal, toast, or dried fruits before training is also healthy. And during training, drinking carbohydrate-rich fluids can prevent weakness and build stamina. (28)

8. Make Sure To Stay Hydrated

Dehydration, according to a recent report, can cause many health concerns on sports performance. It leads to decreased blood flow, heat dissipation, and sweat rate during exercise. These factors contribute to many illnesses including immune-related diseases.
So for maximum physical performance, drinking sufficient amounts of water during the day is important. It also affects your mood and concentration during gymnastics training. With dehydrated muscles, your blood pressure drops, heart rate increases, and there’s not enough fuel to power your body. This leads to more fluid loss and fatigue.
Preparing for a gymnastics meet includes drinking small amounts of water every 15-30 minutes or so before, during, and after training. (29)

9. Eat A Healthy Diet

Your body requires proper nutrients for energy production and boosting stamina. Gymnasts, on the one hand, require high calorie intake to avoid tiredness, fatigue, and sluggishness. Other important nutrients include macronutrients such as carbs, protein, and fats.
Foods such as oatmeal, whole-grain pasta, brown rice, and vegetables are considered high-energy foods for a gymnast. It helps in proper fiber and protein absorption. While lean protein meals consisting of eggs, chicken, and lean beef also boost energy during training. (30)
Lack of proper nutrition can cause immune suppression which is characterized by an increase in stress hormones in the body. Longer recovery is also a partly responsible for lack of nutrition in the body. (31)

10. Don’t Stress Yourself Out

Did you know stress can affect sports performance causing high blood pressure, fear, and shortness of breath? Increased anxiety during physical performance can even cause serious muscle spasms and soreness.
A recent report on anxiety and sports performance determined that high stress levels disrupt concentration for more advanced skills in gymnastics. It can seriously impact a wide range of gymnastic skills such as handstands, somersaults, and other basic moves.
Beginners often fall and release lots of perspiration due to high stress levels during performance. So staying calm is critical to stellar gymnastics performance. (32)

Wrapping It Up

Knowing how well gymnastics can affect the human body is critical to sports performance. Many youngsters and elders are participating in this sport to build muscular strength and flexibility. An important aspect of gymnastics is a healthy sleeping and eating habit. If you do this, you feed your body enough nutrients to stay energetic.
Since gymnastics is a challenging sport, treating the mind and body is critical for good performance. That being said, if you have the time to practice gymnastics at least 3 times a week, it’s something to look forward to. Learning all the different gymnastic skills and routines requires flexibility and body coordination. And you can definitely achieve all this with consistent athletic and gymnastic training.
So are you ready to work on your body by participating in gymnastics?

Written by Jacky Miller
You can visit Miller's website here and follow her on Facebook and Twitter 

Gymnastics is one of the best exercises for training for overall health and wellness. Multiple studies on this subject prove the importance of gymnastics for bone, muscle, and cognitive health. It’s not only about building muscle and improving flexibility, gymnasts make healthy lifestyle choices, are confident, and are able to make smart decisions to become successful adults.

Training your mind to feel happy and stress-free involves regular physical exercise. But boosting one’s cognitive and emotional state of mind requires a more intense and consistent training program. And that’s why gymnastics is so good for you! It helps build self-morale, determination, and better communication skills. It also improves quality of sleep, fights depression, and aids weight loss in the most effective way.

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni

Participating in gymnastics from a younger age is important. It targets all muscle groups for total-body strength and flexibility. Plus, it fights a bunch of metabolic and immune disorders by lowering blood pressure and releasing antioxidant enzymes within the body.
With that out of the way, I found 11 science-backed health benefits of gymnastics for all of you! So it’s never too late to begin, right?

1. Learning Gymnastics Enhances The Body’s Complex Motor Skill

A recent study on the positive effects of gymnastics proved that doing complex gymnastics training on a daily basis can improve knowledge in performance and movement. This means it accelerates the body’s general motor skill for better mobility and posture.
Learning a motor skill as complex and elaborate as gymnastics has a profound effect on the body’s muscles and bones. It also enhances motor learning and effects other factors such as physical response and learning skills. So if you participate in gymnastics on a regular basis, it means you can learn better than those who don’t. (1)
Such positive effects can also impact attention and communication. The study showed that gymnasts performing more complex training and trampolineexercises showed a higher percentage of motor learning skill than those who performed basic moves.
Hence, this study clearly indicated why learning progressing at complex sports such as gymnastics has a positive effect on your learning abilities and motor skills. It makes you more quick to respond physical and elevates your cognitive function to learn and understand faster.
Key Takeaway: Latest research suggests that learning complex gymnastic exercises can help you improve your performance motor skills. It also trains the mind to learn and communicate faster and better in challenging situations.

2. Doing Gymnastics Regularly Can Dramatically Increase Flexibility

You will come across a gymnast who’s not flexible. Because gymnastics consists of performing specific types of stunts and turns, improving flexibility is very important. That said, the bends and twists involved in gymnastics alleviates all types of muscle and joint stiffness.
So gymnasts can practice wide range of movements without injuring their joints and muscles. Young gymnasts are more flexible with stronger ligaments, tendons, and joints. This means early participation in gymnastics can improve flexibility and prevent growth defects and fatigue. (2)
This review also shed light on how gymnastics improves gravity hold and posture, making it easier for gymnasts to practice balancing on beams and narrow bases.
Other stunts including forward kicks, leaps, splits, and side-kicks all depend on a gymnast’s flexibility. So practicing expert gymnastic training exercises consistently can dramatically improve your flexibility and relax your muscles to prevent any sort of serious injury during performance. (3)
Key Takeaway: Flexibility is the ability to bend and stretch joints and muscles while performing supervised stunts. People with a higher range of flexibility are at a lower risk of getting injured during gymnastics practice than those with stiff muscles and joints. Hence, doing more gymnastics training helps improve flexibility and target all muscle groups in the body.

3. Participation In Gymnastics Can Build Proper Coordination And Balance

Increasing coordination and balance can help enhance body awareness and movement. If you practice gymnastics for long, you will be able to use different parts of your body in versatile ways. Not to mention, it improves overall body control and stability.
A recent review about the positive effects of gymnastics on children showed how increasing coordination can directly impact motor skills and body alertness. Training from a younger age can alleviate muscle tension and make your body feel more conscious and alive, a study suggests. (4)
Any sort of organized sport, like gymnastics, can improve both speed and balance in children. Plus, it helps build the foundation of total-body strength and agility. More research has linked coordination with gymnastics to improve performance while carrying out somersaults, backflips, and beam balancing.
To improve coordination and balance, gymnasts perform sprints or side jumping jacks. This helps increase agility during tests and alleviate muscle sprains and other injuries.
Key Takeaway: Maximum coordination and balance are key to performing complex gymnastic training exercises. Gymnasts are consistently tested and trained to improve agility to perform better on the balance beam or for somersaults. This elevates the ability to control and balance the body against gravity.

4. Gymnasts Have A Better Sense Of Personal Control And Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is very important for gymnasts and athletes during performance. Believe it or not, gaining personal control and self-esteem is a common trait among gymnasts. They feel more self-aware and confident about their performance. So participating in gymnastics can improve your sense of self by training your mind to not be critical and over-perform during training.
Another impressive benefit of gymnastics is improved confidence and judgement. Being a good judge to your own performance skills is a good way to train harder and build muscle. This trait also makes you less nervous around other people’s criticism and judgement. (5)
Another study by the University of Toronto showed how personal control and physical exercise go hand-in-hand for stellar performance. Young adults can gain internal focus and personal control by practicing highly-complex and challenging sports, including gymnastics. (6)
This study included 30 female gymnasts between 11 and 17 years. The results showed that the girls with practicing higher performance sports reported a significantly high self-esteem and personal control.
Key Takeaway: A challenging exercise routine can apply to your innate personal traits such as personal control and self-confidence. Multiple reports have suggested that gymnasts who perform complex routines are less self-conscious and self-critical during performance.

5. Gymnastics Promote Healthy Cognitive Functioning

There’s a direct link between physical fitness and cognitive function. A latest study proved that agility training, circuit training, coordination, and other intense physical skills can dramatically impact cognitive markers.
These include reasoning skills, verbal communication, spatial ability, and inductive reasoning. All these are specific cerebral activities that determine a person’s overall cognitive health. These mechanisms also impact a person’s attention, learning, and memory skills. (7)
The study focused on the cognitive differences between an elite sportsperson and amateur sportsperson. The results concluded that those who perform more challenging and complex exercise routines reported higher cognitive abilities than amateurs. (8)
The last review on this subject explored the dynamics of cognitive health and physical performance for overall academic achievement. The result was that different parts of the brain such as the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex are greatly influenced by physical performance. These are the parts responsible for better physical movement. (9)
The cerebellum, one the other hand, coordinates proper physical movement. While the prefrontal cortex helps navigate and initiate better physical action to avoid injuries and errors.
Key Takeaway: Learning new and improved gymnastic moves can make your brain smarter according to multiple studies. It improves cognitive health by broadening memory, attention, reasoning, and learning skills. It also impacts certain areas of the brain responsible for physical movement and coordination.

6. Enhanced Gymnastic Training Can Improve Bone Health

Increasing bone mineral density without the need of any medication is one of the most effective treatments. Participating in gymnastics, on the other hand, also helps improves bone health and wellness.
Due to a number of factors, including age, bones tend to get thinner and lose most of their nutrients. This causes severe health problems such as osteoporosis, bone less, and bone fractures. (10)
To strengthen bones and accelerate bone mineral density, regular participation in gymnastics is essential. A study showed that gymnastics training has a positive effect on bone health in girls. It improves bone geometry and resistance in girls. This study analyzed the bone health of 49 girls between 9 to 13 years of age.
According to the results, the group who performed intensive gymnastic training exercises had increased bone thickness and volumetric bone density. It also evaluated long-term bone mineral density thickness in female gymnasts during old age. (11)
Another study on the same health effects of gymnastics proved that it accelerates lumbar bone mineral density after 27 weeks of intense training. (12)
Key Takeaway: You can maximize bone health and strength by practicing more intense gymnastic exercises. Elite gymnasts showed increased lumbar support, bone mineral density, and tissue mass due to increased physical training.

7. Participation In Gymnastics Might Help You Lose Weight

Gymnasts who compete in tournaments have increased muscular strength with minimum body fat. Hence participating in gymnastics can dramatically burn calories and make the body’s muscles more toned and strong.
Because gymnasts follow a strict diet plan and train for hours in a day, the number of calories burned is higher. According to a recent review, gymnastics is considered a moderate fat-burning exercise routine. But it does promote steady weight loss if practiced consistently.
Throw in a healthy diet and persistent training, learning different gymnastics moves for weight loss is possible. Another important health benefit is that gymnastics promotes better body conditioning and toning. So when you increase your body’s flexibility, balance, and coordination, it automatically leads to faster weight loss. (13)
Also, practicing gymnastics regularly can also curb unhealthy appetites and cravings. So you eat healthy and provide your body with nutrients that aid fat burning and muscle toning.
Key Takeaway: You can lose weight and become fit by focusing on practicing gymnastics on a day-to-day basis. It even encourages healthy eating habits to burn fat and increase muscular endurance.

8. Gymnastic Strength Training Can Positively Impact Muscle Health

A study on the effects of gymnastics on muscle health showed that long-term gymnastics training can improve muscle reflexes and muscle extension. If you’ve heard of hip extensions, you know what muscle extension is and how important it is for most adults.
But to sum it up, muscle extension is the movement that increases the angle between joints and bones. The opposite of this movement is known as muscle flexion.
The study evaluated 20 gymnasts and 20 non-athletes. The results showed that gymnasts had 30% higher muscle extension than non-athletes. It also concluded that better physical training programs for gymnasts can improve muscle reflexes and extensor muscle health for better performance. (14)
The kind of muscle resistance you develop increases core strength and balance. And due to consistent practice involving stretches, the muscles are less likely to injure or sprain after a fall. This increases muscle endurance with long-term health benefits as you get older.
Key Takeaway: Gymnastics enhances the proper development and maintenance of the muscles in young gymnasts and adults. If you participate in gymnastics regularly, it will help tone all muscle groups and alleviate muscle soreness, stiffness, and pain.

9. Gymnastics Can Also Prevent And Treat Incorrect Body Posture

Gymnastics instills correct and healthy postural control. This is when you maintain an upright posture either while sitting or standing. Incorrect body posture seated or otherwise can often lead to fatigue and leg and back pain.
Certain activities including stretching, walking, and high-knees can promote proper posture control. With that in mind, a recent study proved how expertise in gymnastics is good for maintaining a healthy posture for most people.
The study involved 6 gymnasts and 6 athletes in non-gymnastics sports. Based on certain markers such as center of pressure and postural sway it was determined that gymnasts have better posture control than others. (15)
Hence precision in sitting and standing in an upright posture may be corrected by participating in gymnastics. Anybody with an incorrect body posture can struggle to move around. Plus, it also impacts motor skills, increasing your chances of a fall without proper support. (16)
Since gymnastics create better coordination and balance, posture control comes without doubt. It helps you walk better and sit for longer hours without experiencing any back or neck pain.
Key Takeaway: There is a definite link between gymnastics and posture control according to a recent study. The study concluded that gymnasts had a better sense of posture control than non-gymnastic athletes.

10. There Is A Clear Link Between Gymnastics And Depression

Modern science has always placed emphasis on reducing depression, anxiety, and stress with regular physical exercise. This time, based on multiple studies, participation in gymnastics can help combat depressive symptoms.
According to this study, long-term depression leads to neuro-endocrine secretion which impacts both mood, sleep, fitness, and overall health. A study on 156 depressed patients was carried out in three different groups. The first group focused on drug treatment and the second on sports-related exercise program. The last group focused on both drug treatment and exercise.
Based on the results, long-term continuation of physical exercise in depressed patients showed a significant improvement in psychological health. Since the body was stimulated by only physical factors, it caused a more natural psychological response and brain chemistry. (17)
Another study focused on reducing depressive symptoms in elderly patients. According to the research conducted, participation in gymnastics can improve heart condition and autonomic system. This also impacts mood swings, stress, and a variety of psychiatric symptoms in elders. (18)
In addition, the effects of regular gymnastics activity against the proliferation of depression came out positive in a similar study. This study focused on how physical exercise impacts the brain. It reduces endorphin abstinence which is a major contributor to restlessness, fatigue, irritability, etc.
Lack of regular exercise can cause endorphin abstinence in both youngsters and adults. (19)
Key Takeaway: These studies prove that gymnastics has a well-defined effect on mental health. It reduces signs of depression, promotes endorphin release, and is a safer alternative to drug treatment for long-term use.

11. Gymnastics Training For Pregnant Women Can Improve Sleep Quality

Pregnancy comes with a whole slew of problems including fatigue, sleeplessness, and anxiety. Based on recent studies, participating in gymnastics for healthy pregnant women can positively impact sleep disturbances.
A group of 132 pregnant women were divided into two groups. The first group participated in a moderate-level gymnastics training program while the second group had none. After a 10-week period, the participant’s pyscho-emotional status and sleeping patterns were taken into account.
The results showed there was a significant decrease in anxiety and stress status that is the psycho-emotional status of the first group. Also it reduced restless sleep, chronic tiredness, daytime sleepiness. While the second group with no participation in gymnastics showed no positive result at all. (20)
This study also claims that healthy pregnant women can improve, if not prevent their psycho-emotional status by performing more training exercises similar to or gymnastics. This can directly affect sleep quality in most humans.
Pregnant women are increasingly falling victim to sleeplessness and daytime sleepiness. Participating in gymnastics is a clever way to incorporate a healthy lifestyle and prevent emotional disturbances that might lead to insomnia.
Key Takeaway: Gymnastics help induce a healthier sleeping pattern in pregnant women. It also promotes better psycho-emotional responses to fight off depression, mood swings, and anxiety levels.
Written by Jacky Miller
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