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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 02-23-2005, 09:53 PM   #1
Roy Taylor
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I just started Gymnastics class 2 weeks ago, as I mentioned in another post.

From the gym coaches here(Sommer, Harrell, etc.) How far do you think someone could get with this sport if they start at age 20. Im not a TOTAL beginner, because of all the parallette and ring work through crossfit and years of trampoline.

By "getting far" I mean a competitive scale from, say state championships to olympics. (this is just a scale, not neccessarily my goal)

Is gymnastics really one of those sports in which one must start at a very young age in order to reach an excellent(possibly even elite) level?

Are there any famed "old" gymnasts who started late in life?
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Old 02-24-2005, 05:57 AM   #2
Larry Lindenman
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Roy, most male competative gymnasts start young; 12 or yonger and they start competing at that age. They compete club gymnastics then either go into highschool gymnastics during the season and club after the season, or most compere in club year around. By the time they hit 20, male gymnasts are hitting their peak, most with at least 8 full years of training and competition, they've gone to summer camps, competed around the country and often around the world; some went to college on, others stayed in club. Their formative years of training were unencumbered by pesky stuff like jobs, school was a distraction from training. To compete you've got to learn the basics of all-around, then develop advanced skills. Although nothing is impossible...this one is going to be very, very, very hard. I also don't know who you would compete with, to start out with! "After 4 eight year old Billy gets off the rings, you're up Roy." Or worse you compete against guys with 20 years experience and you're pulling off "skin the cat". Now if you lived in the old Soviet Union or China...
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Old 02-24-2005, 08:14 AM   #3
Christopher Sommer
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My college coach, Wayne Young, didn't begin gymnastics until he started college. He came into the sport with a background in diving and some trampoline. Several years after beginning gymnastics he was the U.S. National Champion, defeating many athletes who had been training their entire lives. In 1976 Wayne was our highest finishing athlete at the Olympics (21st in the All Around I believe).


That being said I believe that it is undesirable for an older athlete (or any athlete for that matter) to focus on competitive goals to feel successful. Enjoy the journey and the process of training. Each new element learned or strength move achieved is a noteworthy milestone; celebrate them. Simply try to make the most of whatever talent fate has dealt you. As long as you have given every thing you have in doing your best, who cares where you place or what level you ultimately achieve?

As for the specifics in training necessary to be successful; I currently have the youngest Level 9 gymnast in the history of USA Gymnastics. At 9 years old, his skill level is already higher than most gymnasts will achieve in their entire careers (ridiculously strong on rings, double layout off highbar, front double full on floor, flairs to handstand etc.). What is our "secret"? We spend the vast majority of our time focusing on physical preparation and perfecting basics. Patient, consistent work with an emphasis on exceptional quality in the basics and prep builds the foundation from which all else if possible.


Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer

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Old 02-24-2005, 08:36 AM   #4
Barry Cooper
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That brings up a question I had. How would a CrossFitter who wanted to do some sort of competition involving "gymnastic" skills do it? I don't care about winning. I would do skin the cat on rings. I don't care. It would be fun watching the others, even if I--as I'm sure I would--placed dead last. I did a basic search, and it looks like they have comps for 40+ people. Is that common? Where could I get more information? What other suggestions does anyone have?
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Old 02-24-2005, 08:47 AM   #5
Michael Keller
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I think the example Coach posted is the exception, not the rule. That guy already had practical experience in diving and trampoline that taught him body control before he ever tried gymnastics.

My youngest son is 11 and has been taking gymnastics for about a year. I wish I could do the things he does. He was a natural and who knows where he will go with it, but at least I can help him with conditioning and some of the skill movements. I would like to take some classes too, but have no aspirations of being competitive. I'm 44, so it's a little late for me.:uhoh:
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Old 02-24-2005, 09:20 AM   #6
Roger Harrell
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There are "masters" meets. These are comps for folks who have been out of USAG or collegiate competition for at least a year. Or those who have never competed. Some of these have inspiring names like the Advil open, Geriatric Classic and the like :-).

Check out adultgymnastics.com, they have a pretty good list of gyms that host masters meets. Find out what you'd need to do to compete.

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Old 02-24-2005, 11:31 AM   #7
Barry Cooper
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Thanks, Roger!!
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Old 02-24-2005, 04:12 PM   #8
Pat Janes
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I started adult gymnastics classes a few weeks ago (only going once a week so far), but at 35 , I've no aspirations toward setting the world on fire.

The only reason I got interested in gymnastics is because of CrossFit (and Coach Sommer's planche/lever article); I just want to continue to be a better gymnast than I was the day before.

Right now, I'm just trying hard to come to terms with being dizzy every time I'm upside-down; tumbling is something that I really should have started 20 years ago.

Although, I do agree Barry; it would be "FUN" to compete, even if only at an elementary level. Not necessary; just fun...
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Old 02-24-2005, 04:39 PM   #9
Roger Harrell
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Wait till the first time you do a sequence of 5 backhandsprings across the floor. Good chance you'll fall over. Heh. We do adapt to the dizzyness. Physiologically I'm not sure how, but you will stop getting dizzy doing the same thing over time. All bets are off when you are sleepy though.
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Old 02-24-2005, 05:16 PM   #10
Pat Janes
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Thanks Roger, I'm looking forward to it. At the moment I get dizzy after doing a couple of forward rolls.
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