Get Inspired: How to get into Gymnastics

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Max Whitlock demonstrates different exercises for you to try at home
Fast Answers
Why get into gymnastics?Gymnastics helps to improve your flexibility, balance and co-ordination as well as boosting concentration.
Who is it for?From toddlers learning motor skills to adults looking for a fresh way to workout, everyone can get a kick out of learning gymnastics.
Is there a cheap option?Whether it's bouncing on a trampoline, doing cartwheels or hanging from monkey bars, you can work on your gymnastics for free!
What if I want a proper workout?Gym-fit classes are a great way to combine gymnastics with traditional fitness classes to give you an all-round workout.
Can I take it to another level?Once you join a British Gymnastics affiliated club, you'll be supported every step of the way by expert coaches.
Is there a disability option?Mainstream gymnastics sessions can be adapted to include people with physical or learning disabilities. Find out more below.
Is there a family option?Help your children unleash the natural gymnast inside them by attending pre-school gymnastics sessions.
So where can I take part?Go to our Activity Finder to get into gymnastics near you.

Some people do gymnastics just to improve their physical condition, others enjoy competing in regional, national and international competitions, but by far the biggest reason is the fun factor.

You'll find clubs in almost every town and city across Britain, running sessions for every age and ability and British Gymnastics have a tool to help find the perfect gymnastic activity for you.

Read on for information on all different versions of the sport.

Aspire to be like: Max Whitlock

Inspire to be like Max Whitlock

Men's artistic gymnastics

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How to get into men's artistic gymnastics

Your muscles flex, your heart pounds, you tuck into a spin and go for the perfect dismount.

Men's artistic gymnastics is all about strength. Club sessions are designed to help you learn the six activities that make up the sport (the floor, the pommel horse, the rings, the vault, the parallel bars and the high bar).

Then, as you get to grips with the core skills, you'll learn to perform powerful routines full of exhilarating moves.

Women's artistic gymnastics

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How to get into women's artistic gymnastics

One moment you're upside down, spinning around a bar, the next you're balancing along a beam no wider than the length of a mobile phone…

Women's artistic gymnastics is a great sport to learn. You'll have fun discovering four separate activities (the vault, the uneven bars, the beam and the floor).

As your ability grows, you'll learn to perform elegant routines that show off your strength, skill and control.

Acrobatic gymnastics

Acrobatic gymnasts

You climb onto your partner's shoulders and take a deep breath. The next thing you know you're flying through the air, spinning and twisting.

Acrobatic gymnastics is all about working as a team to pull off the most spectacular balances and throws. By learning as a pair or group, you can have a lot of fun developing your skills, strength and co-ordination.

You'll begin by getting to grips with the basics of gymnastics plus a few moves you can only perform in teams of two or more.

Rhythmic gymnastics

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How to get into rhythmic gymnastics

The ribbon flows elegantly around you, the hoop flies above, and the ball rolls effortlessly over your shoulders.

Rhythmic gymnastics is all about spellbinding routines performed on the floor and for women and girls of any age. As you're taking your first steps, you'll learn how to move gracefully with apparatus like the hoop and ribbon.

As your skills improve, you'll start putting more complex moves together into mesmerising floor routines.

Trampoline

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Why you should get into trampolining (featuring Olympic medallist Bryony Page)

You're upside down, twenty feet in the air, experiencing a moment of weightlessness, this is how it feels to fly.

Trampoline is one of the most exhilarating sports there is. From your very first day, you can experience the thrill of leaping higher than you ever have before. Then, as you build your strength and skill, you can challenge yourself to go higher and higher.

First you'll learn how to perform simple aerial tricks and maintain your rhythm. Then, as your skills grow, you'll build up to some incredible big-air stunts.

Tumbling

A tumbling gymnast

You're thundering down the runway, launching into your fifth backflip in a row.

Tumbling is a truly breath-taking type of gymnastics not to mention a whole lot of fun. It's all about somersaults, flips and twists - and linking them together, one right after the other. You see tumbling during artistic floor routines as gymnasts back flip, somersault and spin in the air travelling corner to corner.

You'll start by learning how it feels to perform simple tricks on a sprung runway. Then, as your technique and confidence grows, you'll learn to perform amazing sequences of flips and twists.

Other types of gymnastics

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Lizzy Yarnold, Britain's skeleton gold medallist at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, visits a thriving community gymnastics club in central London.
  • Aerobic gymnastics is an activity for adults, teens or children with energy to burn. With high-octane routines performed individually or in groups, it's a great way to improve your fitness.
  • Adult gymnastics is for anyone aged over 18 - even if you've never done anything like this before. You can test yourself in a range of activities and on apparatus offered at your local club and by building your strength, flexibility and control, you'll improve in other sports too. Whether they're your first steps in gymnastics or a way to get back into the sport, adult gymnastics makes it easy. There's a big social element, which makes the sessions a lot of fun.
  • TeamGym- One moment you're performing a hypnotic floor routine, the next, you're somersaulting down the runway. The pressure's on, but your mates are right there with you. You'll start by learning the basics of the three activities (the floor, the trampette and the tumbling track) and as you develop, you'll work as part of a team to learn and perform more and more amazing routines.
  • GymFit - Ditch the treadmill. GymFit is a new, awesome way to work out, whether you want to get more involved in gymnastics or not. With a huge variety of exercises focusing on your cardio, core, upper and lower body, you'll come away from every session feeling fitter, healthier and one step closer to that gymnast's physique.
  • FreeG or freestyle gymnastics is aimed at ages eight and up, including adults. You leap across a huge drop, sprint up a vertical wall, then execute a back flip off the top. Are you showing off? Yeah, maybe a little. But isn't that the whole point? FreeG combines martial arts and stunt performance as well as gymnastics. there are no rules or competitions. You learn the tricks you want to learn, pick the lines you want to pick, and express yourself how you want.
  • Pre-school gymnastics teaches children important skills like balance and co-ordination with expert supervision and in a playful environment. It's a great way to have fun and lay the foundations for a healthy active lifestyle with an adventure playground to explore and lots of exciting activities to get involved in.
  • MYClub is for ages 13-18 aimed at having fun and improving your skills. You'll have control of your sessions, backflips, group displays or fitness training - it's your time, your club and your decision. See the video above.

Disability gymnastics

young girl balances on one leg

Gymnastics is an inclusive sport and mainstream gymnastics sessions can be adapted to include people with a physical or learning disability, sensory impairments or health conditions. But if you prefer to start with dedicated classes, this one is for you.

Disability Gymnastics sessions will teach you the fundamentals of gymnastics. As you begin to develop your strength, skill and control, there really is no limit to how far you can go. From local challenges to elite international competitions. Of course you can also get involved just for the fun and fitness.

Coaching and volunteering

woman coach helping a young gymnast

Whether you have participated in the past or just have a keen interest in developing talent, coaching opportunities are available through British Gymnastics. You can also try Sports Coach UK for more ideas.

Or use your skills to help a local club - British Gymnastics, Volunteer Scotland, Join In UK, Sport Wales, Sport England and Volunteer Now in Northern Ireland all have information about volunteering opportunities near you.

You can take an online Intro to Volunteering course is designed by and for 11 - 17 year olds who wish to support, develop, learn and progress within gymnastics.

What's next?

1. Go to our Activity Finder to get into gymnastics near you.

2. Contact Find your local club by using British Gymnastics club finder.

3. Share your story and inspire others.

Are you inspired to try Gymnastics? Or maybe you are a keen enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your experience of the activity by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired, visiting us on Facebook or email us on getinspired@bbc.co.uk.

See our full list of activity guides for more inspiration.