Adult Gymnastics Classes at Chelsea Piers – Get Rio Ready!

May 10, 2016

Photo credit: Instagram/twosweatysisters

Photo credit: Instagram/twosweatysisters

The 2016 Summer Olympics are right around the corner, but you don't have to make the U.S. national team to train like an elite gymnast! Adult gymnastics classes at Chelsea Piers in NYC will have you tumbling your way to a stronger physique. Whether you're aspiring to be the next Gabby Douglas, or want to switch up your cardio work out, just throw on a leotard and learn how you can build your strength, endurance, and flexibility with adult gymnastics classes.

The Class in a Nut Shell

Classes are 75 minutes long and comprised of both beginner and intermediate level students. Class begins with warming up and stretching, followed by tumbling basics, and then lastly a more advanced tumbling section.

Class begins with a deep stretching session. (Photo credit:

Class begins with a deep stretching session. (Photo credit:

The Warm Up

Before you can get your Shannon Miller on, you'll start with a pretty thorough and lengthy warm up/stretching session – about a good 20 to 30 minutes. Trust us – you will definitely need to stretch thoroughly in order to loosen up your body properly and avoid injury. The warm up begins with a jog around the floor area for about 5 minutes. While jogging, you'll incorporate varying movements which include sidesteps and high-knees. Once you've got your heart rate up, you'll start getting into some deep stretching. These stretches include leg splits and back bends; you'll definitely be working on your flexibility! Some stretches also require you to work with a partner, so get ready to meet someone new if you arrive to class solo. Once you're all stretched out, you'll begin practicing a few simple gymnastics drills, like hand stands, head stands, and dive rolls. These simpler moves will help prepare you for the more difficult tumbling that comes later in the class. As you'll see, the pace of this class builds so you can work your way up in difficulty.

The Tumbling

Once you're all warmed up you can start channeling your inner Shawn Johnson. You'll practice skills like cart wheels, one-handed cartwheels, aerials and round offs. Sometimes the coaches ask students to perform these skills in combination to make the class more challenging. For example: you might do a handstand to dive roll, to cartwheel, to round offs. If this already sounds scary to you, don’t worry! The coaches will provide you feedback on form and technique throughout class so you can keep improving each time you perform a skill.

Once you've mastered the easier acrobatic skills mentioned above, you'll advance to more difficult tumbling. Advanced tumbling includes back handsprings, front handsprings, front tucks and back tucks. In order to best teach you these skills, the coaches devote a time block specifically designed to demonstrate the body shape and landing techniques of these saltos. For example, for front hand springs the coaches have you practice on an octagon-shaped mat that roles your body to simulate the action of performing a front handspring. The coaches also lay out thickly padded mats across the floor for you to crash on safely in case you make a mistake. Alternatively, you can practice these flipping skills on a trampoline, tumble track, or into a foam pit if that makes you more comfortable.

Class is held on an Olympic-size tumbling floor. (Photo credit: Instagram/amandabisk)

Class is held on an Olympic-size tumbling floor. (Photo credit: Instagram/amandabisk)

Once you've practiced these advanced flipping skills, the coaches change the structure of the class one final time. During the final segment of the class, you'll get to flip your heart out by either performing the difficult skills you just learned, or taking it back a notch and sticking to something easier. Some of the more daring students use this last part of class to go all out and perform bigger combination passes, like a round off to back handspring to back tuck. If you are brand spanking new to gymnastics and are still trying to nail down the perfect cartwheel, then you can definitely just stick to what you're comfortable doing until you work your way up in difficulty. That's the beauty of this class – everyone literally gets to move at their own pace. Even people with zero gymnastics experience will be able to keep up.

The Facility

Classes are held in an enormous field house staged with state-of-the-art Olympic caliber equipment. The facility houses apparatus for all men's and women's gymnastics events: vault, uneven bars, balance beam, floor exercise, pommel horse, steel rings, high bar and parallel bars. As a matter of fact, while the class we reviewed for this article is solely constructed on floor tumbling, the field house also offers classes specifically for apparatus training where attendees can train on any individual event they wish.

Photo credit: Photo credit:

The amenities themselves are standard and no frills. You won't get that luxury boutique environment from the field house, but that doesn't take away from the fun of the class! The facility has a locker room where you can change clothes and store your personal belongings, but you'll have pay 50 cents to use a locker. If you choose not to use a locker, you can simply take your belongings into the class area and keep your items within eye's view, which is what most people tend to do.

It's also worth noting that you can't book a class online as with most group fitness classes. Classes are walk-in only, and you pay at the front desk when you sign in to class. Classes start at $30 each and can be purchased in bulk packages.

Who would like this class?

Former gymnasts who are falling in love again with the sport will love this class. If you've never done gymnastics before but are looking for a change of pace, this is the perfect full body cardio workout for you! Your core, lower body and shoulders will be on fire after class. People of all ages attend this class, from young to middle aged. This is an intense, dynamic workout like none other. Even if you are a very fit, highly-trained athlete, we promise that you'll be sore in places you've never been sore before! We would also liken this class to a tabata style of training because you are constantly performing short, explosive skills in short intervals when training tumbling runs.

Whether you're a beginner or a former collegiate gymnast, give adult gymnastics a Chelsea Piers a try. You'll FLIP over how much fun it is!

Learn about Chelsea Piers Gymnastics Programs: CONNECTICUT NEW YORK