Staff writer Camille Hogg channels her inner child at an adult gymnastics class
I’ll be honest with you and say that my childhood was definitely on the pushy side. From ballet to tap, piano, guitar and horse riding, my mum enthusiastically carted me to class after class in the hope that something would stick.
I was too heavy-footed for ballet and tap, I didn’t ever practise for my music lessons, and I grew out of horse riding quickly.
One of the things I was really good at, however, was gymnastics. I’d fling myself over the vault, A-bars and across the floor with ease and I loved the matching leotard and scrunchie combo – perhaps even more than I loved competing for medals.
Fast-forward 20 years and I might be a little less nimble than I used to be, but I can still cartwheel with aplomb. That’s exactly why I signed up for an adult gymnastics class at Titan Sports Academy.
What is it?
As the name might suggest, it’s a fitness class based on the disciplines of gymnastics, so expect lots of body weight strength exercises, as well as movements that will challenge your balance, flexibility and agility.
Before you conjure up images of muscly Olympians doing triple somersaults, let me put your mind at ease: the class is for all levels, and the coach will help you tailor
things according to your ability.
Things get started with a not-so-gentle warm-up. Coach Mena has us jogging, side-stepping and jumping around the floor to get our heart rates up before we do a few stretches to loosen up the joints and muscles.
The class is floor-based, so over the next hour, I’m put through my paces with a series of challenging movements that I used to be able to do as a kid – but that’s clearly not the case now.
From bunny-hops to forward rolls, lunges and squats, we perform a few rounds of each – and although it doesn’t sound that hard, Mena keeps us moving constantly.
We move on to handstands – finally, something I’m good at – before some strength and mobility exercises, such as V-sit holds that I feel the next day in my abs, press-ups and the splits.
For the last part of the class, we get the heart pumping one last time with some burpees and V-sits to strengthen the core before I collapse, beaming, to the floor for some stretching – it was great fun.
What are the benefits?
Many of us put serious time in at the gym with the dumbbells, but gymnastics is a great method of strength training using just your body weight. It’s a whole-body workout that will increase your flexibility, balance and coordination as well as strengthen your muscles. The conditioning aspect is also great for cardiovascular health.
How do I sign up?
Adult gymnastics runs on Sundays and Tuesdays from 6.30pm. AED 70 per class, AED 500 per month. Titan Sports Academy, next to Peak Fitness, Abu Dhabi City Golf Club, Al Mushrif. Contact: 050 220 0326, titansportsuae.com