The back handspring must be one of the scariest gymnastics moves you can learn as a beginner. First, you have to somehow coil yourself up with so much energy that you can spring off your feet. Next, you have to launch yourself backwards into the air where you can’t see the ground until your body is suspended backwards. Then you have to land on your hands and then push off again with enough force to land back on your feet. Phew!
My friend Alicia and I signed up for Alpha Gymnastics’ back handspring class, a 2-hour class for $60. We didnt’t really know what we were getting ourselves into. Thankfully, the coach was very patient and methodical and the back handspring was easily broken down into steps.
There were six of us attending the workshop at Alpha Gym’s new premises at Loewen Road. I love this photo below because you can see me huffing and puffing at the back (in pale blue leggings) trying to get into a split, while my other gymnast friends look like they are dozing.
We also stretched our hamstrings in the forward fold. I swear the more yoga I do, the more inflexible my hamstrings become. I used to be able to touch my nose to my knees (!!). What happened, hammys?
Coach How was incredible patient with us. He explained that we have to enter the back handspring with a rounded back. We also learnt how to overcome our fear of leaping backwards by practising it on a big mat. Continue reading Back handspring workshop at Alpha Gymnastics
This post was inspired by Dan’s April 2013 post on endurance athletes. He personally doesn’t like the physique of endurance athletes because they look scrawny. Sprinters look better than marathon runners any day, he contends.
Aesthetics is always personal and everyone has preferences but I must say that I’m a fan of endurance athletes. Here we have US marathon runners Kara Goucher (left) and Shalane Flanagan (right) competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics. They look so sad because they didn’t manage to win any medals.
Continue reading Endurance athletes…I’m a fan
I went for an adult gymnastics class at Gymkraft yesterday. I have always entertained dreams of running away to join the circus so I wanted to see how I would fare at a gymnastics class.
Adult gymnastics classes tend to cater to dreamers like me. At the ripe old age of 20s, 30s or even 60s (yes, I met a man there in his 60s!), we didn’t have the strength to twirl around the uneven bars or swing our legs around the pommel horse. This means that classes tend to focus on floor work and the trampoline.
I had a great impression of Gymkraft when we stepped in. The space was huge and there was even space to share the arena with a rock climbing site. It was fully decked out with all the gymnastics apparatus.
The session started with some jogging and stretching. I was people-watching. Almost all the girls were incredibly flexible. Some of them had very sculpted arms. This was a good sign. It meant that I may be as toned as them if I kept at it.
The actual class itself was a tad disappointing. We were a big group of 20 people and there were only two coaches. Three of us beginners were taught forward rolls and backward rolls and then left alone for most of the time for our own practice. I had a very bad headache after a while from doing the same things over and over again.
On the bright side, we practised our handstands. I was used to doing this against the wall for yoga and even in my previous gymnastics classes. But this time, we were each assigned a partner and took turns to kick up to a handstand and support each other with our hands. This meant that I couldn’t just rest my weight on the wall and I could feel my stomach working harder than ever to keep my body straight. It was a very good technique to improve on handstands, I thought.
The 1.5 hour class ended with some conditioning. I collapsed on the floor in sheer exhaustion. Overall it was a good class but I needed a smaller class size with more attention from the coach.
The search continues!
List of adult gymnastics classes in Singapore:
- Jitterbugs (We were here for one term. Very good and attentive teacher, controlled class size and systematic teaching. But lack of equipment, no spring floor) *Edit: Jitterbugs no longer offer these classes.
- Alpha Gym (We were here for two terms. Had a very good teacher although he moved away, spring floor, air-con, almost fully equipped. But it’s inconvenient, no way to take public transport)
- Gim Sports (We have not tried this)
- Prime Gym (We have not tried this)