Is 30 Too Old to Start Gymnastics?

No, 30 is not too old to start gymnastics! Gymnastics is a sport that can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of age or ability which is easy to forget when you see young gymnasts performing super-human skills.

In this article, I answer some of the questions that adults often ask when they think about starting gymnastics for the first time. These questions and answers are based on the experience I have gained teaching adult gymnastics classes for over 20 years! At our gym we have over 100 adults per week come and train and some of them are starting out for the first time at the age of 30 (or even older).

Let’s get into this!

Table of Contents

What is the latest age you can start gymnastics?

No age is too late to start gymnastics, especially if you are just wanting to practice for fun and fitness. People regularly start gymnastics for the first time in their forties and fifties and probably even later than that.

Sure, it becomes harder the older you get but so do most other sports!

Many gymnastics facilities now offer recreational classes just for adults and they will cater to beginners of all ages. This is because there is a big demand for it and many gym owners have realized it’s also a good source of income for their organization! Some adults will be starting for the first time as an adult whereas others may have done gymnastics as a small child and are now looking to get back into it as an adult.

A quick search for adult gymnastics near me may surprise you how many places actually cater for such classes!

If you are looking to become a competitive gymnast the age pressures increase significantly. Where recreational gymnastics can be practiced for an hour or two a week, competitive gymnasts often train for 30 hours or more from a young age.

This does make it extremely difficult to start gymnastics later and catch up to a high competitive level. Realistically if a girl has not started by seven or eight years old they will find it hard to reach the top. Boys generally go on for longer so could start slightly later but the same pressure applies.

If you are approaching your teenage years and still want to get into gymnastics, still go for it! There will still be so many opportunities for you to learn and enjoy the sport and even enter competitions. Check out my article that goes into depth about starting gymnastics at 13, here.

How do I get fit for gymnastics?

As with any type of sport, it is a good idea to improve your general level of fitness before starting. Gymnastics is no different but you shouldn’t worry about becoming super flexible or strong beforehand.

Some low-level cardio such as running or cycling and some basic stretching will help get you fit for gymnastics. Ankles, knees and wrists are used extensively for jumping and landing so make sure you warm up these areas properly and do some strengthening work if necessary.

If you want to get more serious about gymnastics you will need to support your body weight on your hands so to help get fit for that include press-ups, pull-ups and other upper body exercises in your fitness workouts.

What should an adult wear to gymnastics?

Most adult gymnasts will wear shorts or leggings plus a t-shirt. A few may wear a leotard for training but it is uncommon and most people feel comfortable wearing the normal types of gym wear. Gymnastics is done barefoot but if you are not comfortable with that avoid wearing socks and get some gymnastics shoes instead.

Avoid wearing anything baggy as this will get in your way and could prevent a coach from spotting you safely. Tie long hair back and remove any jewelry such as watches, necklaces and rings.

Each gym facility will have it’s own specific rules so check them out before you go for the first time.

Is it hard to learn gymnastics as an adult?

It becomes harder to learn most physical activities as an adult compared to a child and gymnastics is no different. But it is still achievable to learn even some more advanced gymnastics skills even for the first time as an adult.

You will need to be dedicated and focus on learning the basic shapes and movements with good technique.

As an adult things like speed and reactions eventually start to slow down and flexibility can become more of a challenge. However, for most people with an average level of fitness, these things won’t be a huge barrier to trying gymnastics as an adult.

What can I expect from adult gymnastics?

Most structured adult gymnastics classes will follow the same pattern as children’s classes. A warm-up usually stretches out all the basic muscle groups and is followed by some basic floor skills like rolling and cartwheels. Don’t worry if you haven’t tried these before, a good coach will set up progressions or stations that break down each skill into smaller chunks. When you are more confident then it is time to try the whole skill.

Once you have mastered the basics like rolling and handstands it will open up more advanced skills like back handsprings and flips.

A lot of gyms will have trampolines and foam pits which make it super fun (and safer) to learn acrobatic skills like flips.

You can expect in most adult gymnastics classes to have a fun and supportive atmosphere. It can be a little intimidating going for the first time but hopefully the coaches will make you feel welcome and talk you through how things work at their center.

Can adults become competitive gymnasts?

There is a growing number of adult gymnastics competitions around the world. These are sometime known as vets or veterans competitions aimed just at people that do gymnastics on a recreational level. This is an achievable level of competition in comparison to elite gymnasts working at world and olympic levels.

The reality is that if you begin gymnastics for the first time at 30, you won’t become an elite gymnast. But the same would be said for most sports if you began at 30 years old.

Final Thoughts

30 is not too late to start gymnastics. Hopefully you are able to find a facility locally that provides adult gymnastics classes and you will be able to benefit from the fitness and enjoyment that gymnastics can bring to people of all ages.