When talking about gymnastics, you may also hear the term ‘tumbling’ thrown in the mix as well. Are tumbling and gymnastics the same thing? Are they on opposite ends of the spectrum? Gold Medal Gyms explains the differences between tumbling and gymnastics, and discuss which is right for your child.

 

What Is Gymnastics?

Gymnastics is a sport where athletes perform turns, leaps, flips, and handstands. These acrobatic moves are carried out on a variety of specialized equipment, such as the balance beam, uneven bars, and vault. You may have seen athletes compete in events like these during the Summer Olympics. While it seems easy to try out any piece of equipment, it requires lots of learning, practice, and safety precautions to use each item correctly.

 

What Is Tumbling?

Tumbling — also known as floor gymnastics — is a form of gymnastics performed without any specialized equipment. Stunts like backflips, handsprings, somersaults, and tucks are shown on the floor using tumbling mats for added cushion. Tumbling is seen in gymnastics, in elements such as the floor routines in the Olympics, but tumbling does not feature the same dancing elements like in floor routines. Cheerleading is a sport that requires experience in tumbling, as many of the routines involve backflips and other floor tricks.

 

What Form Should My Child Start With?

If your child is a bit younger, you’ll want to start out with an introductory level gymnastics class. Gymnastics class will familiarize your child with all the forms and equipment used to perform each move. They will learn the basics of each element and practice listening skills and flexibility. As your child gets the hang of gymnastics, they will be able to smoothly transition into tumbling classes.

 

If your child already has basic gymnastics skills or you’re looking to prepare them for cheerleading tryouts, tumbling classes may be a better fit.

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