Why gymnastics is NOT just a sport for girls

Gym With Me founder Rosanna Trigg busts the myth that gymnastics is a ‘girly’ sport by outlining 4 physical benefits for young boys and men.

Let’s get one thing straight – gymnastics is not a ‘girly’ sport. Nor is it a ‘manly’ sport. It is simply an incredible sport that anyone, of any age, gender and ability, can have fun learning about and progressing in.

However, for decades there has been a stereotype that gymnastics is a women’s sport, and that men who do gymnastics are somehow perceived to be ‘girly’. The reasons for this vary (for example, women in the sport have had much more media coverage over the years than men, and unfortunately too many people are put off by the idea of men wearing leotards) but things are changing, thankfully.

Typically, when something is perceived to be ‘girly’, it is believed to be “not challenging enough” or requiring little strength. But anyone who has tried gymnastics will tell you neither of these things are true!

The benefits of gymnastics, as with most sports, favour no one gender in particular, and anyone can reap the benefits if they are willing to put in the effort and dedication.

It’s time to put the rumours to rest! (And if you don’t believe me that male gymnasts are probably some of the best athletes in the world, just Google people like Kohei Uchimura and Brandon Wynn.)

1. Gymnastic keeps your boys healthy and strong

All gymnastics skills require a great deal of body strength, flexibility and control to be executed well. Given the nature of the sport, and the skills men today are capable of, male gymnasts can grow into some of the best athletes around, with abilities beyond comprehension. Consistent participation in the sport, overseen by a qualified coach, will condition a young man’s body to be able to handle the training sessions and skill progressions as they grow.

In addition, exercise in general is a vital component to a balanced lifestyle, it’s always great to have boys develop healthy habits and a good relationship with exercise from a young age.

2. It helps boys grow into confident young men

The gym allows the boys to flip, tumble, jump and explore their boundaries safely under the watchful eyes of coaches who know what they’re doing, and what the boys’ limitations are. This gives them plenty of room to make mistakes and learn. As they continue to master more tricky routines, their confidence in their own abilities will grow, allowing them to perform to their fullest potential.

With positive reinforcements from teammates and coaches, you’ll quickly see a noticeable difference in your son’s confidence levels as an athlete, and as an individual. We’ve always found this confidence spills over into other aspects of life, including at school and in social situations.

3. Gymnastics helps instil self-discipline

For your little troublemakers who struggle with discipline at home, gymnastics is a fantastic sport to help them grasp a fuller understanding of self-control, restraint, and respect for others. In group classes, such as what we provide at Gym With Me, boys learn to work as a team, where they will have to play nice with one another and grow respect for their coaches through listening and learning.

Over the course of their trainings, they’re bound to stumble and make mistakes, and probably struggle with the frustration of not being able to do a particular skill easily. We help teach them how to manage this, pick themselves up and persevere. As a coach, there’s nothing better than to see a young child finally achieve a skill they have been working hard on for so long – and to see them grasp the concept that hard work breeds results.

4. Gymnastics skills complement all other sports

The skills gained through gymnastics provide an incredible base to help boys and young men succeed in all other sports. The stamina and muscle control one gains from doing gymnastics helps in sports like football and rugby, while the strength and flexibility aids in a range of other sports like rock-climbing, athletics, diving, snowboarding/skiing, and much, much more.

In adult gymnastics classes, we’ve had male students who are wakeboarders and parkour enthusiasts come into the gym to perfect their flips! (Watch this space for more Gym With Me adult classes in the near future!)

Apart from being incredibly fun, gymnastics keeps your child occupied in a safe environment. All that jumping also means your son’s energy will be used up faster, which translates into better sleep at night – for them and for you!

If you want to check out what it’s all about, consider placing your boys in a trial class or many of our holiday programmes to give it a go.

You can find out more about Gym With Me’s programmes here, or get in touch with Rosanna Trigg at rosannatrigg@gymwithme.com

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