Each and every Awaken Gym class is designed to educate, train and support students in the gymnastics practice, wherever they are in their fitness journey.
While most people think gymnastics as a sport is only accessible to the young and already fit communities, we at Awaken Fitness knows that there is much the gymnastics practice has to offer every athlete, at any fitness level. Awaken instructors carry this belief into every class, providing detailed instruction alongside careful observation and demonstration, so that every student leaves class with a better physical and mental grasp of each skill.
While instructors do their best to meet each student’s needs and provide balanced support throughout each class, it’s up to the students to make the most of the time and instruction. Here are a few things students can do to get the greatest benefits from every class at Awaken:
Listen to instructor cues
Awaken is unique because instructors aren’t simply telling students to perform this skill or do that drill. Instead, they’re breaking down every movement so that athletes can better understand the muscle activations required in every technique, and painting a vivid picture of what the movement should look like once we’ve mastered it. There’s a wealth of information in every class if we’re paying attention.
Pay attention to your body
In order to get the most out of any class or progress at any gymnastics skill, we have to pay the utmost attention to what our bodies are feeling and how our muscles are responding to each movement. In most fitness environments, except for maybe yoga, this kind of attention isn’t given to the body, only to the skills. We do, do, do, without really thinking about how our bodies are responding to the movements. This is a huge detriment in gymnastics. When we can learn to pay close attention to our bodies and how they’re performing, we’ll begin to understand ourselves and the practice better, and progress more quickly.
If you don’t feel it, say so
If we’re doing a handstand drill on the ground that’s meant to engage our traps and upper back, yet we don’t feel anything in our traps or upper back, we should call the instructor over and mention it. If we’re doing a stretch in flexibility class that is meant to open up our shoulders and we feel nothing, we should say so. Instructors aren’t mind readers, so if we’re confused about what we should be feeling or think we may be performing a skill incorrectly, we’ll do ourselves and them a favor by flagging them over and asking.
Awaken classes are interactive. Rather than chatting it up about our weeks in between sets, it’s a time to listen to the valuable instruction from teachers and ask questions that will enhance our practice. If something comes up for us during class, we can raise our hand to ask the instructor, approach them during a break or after class and ask. Awaken wants to empower every athlete with not only the skills but the knowledge to build a solid foundation and gymnastics practice.
Ask for modifications
If there’s a particular skill that’s just not coming for us, we can always ask for a modification. Most times, instructors will offer modifications for advanced skills, but it’s certainly ok and encouraged to ask for modifications for any skill at any level. Often we have tweaks or injury flare ups that instructors aren’t aware of. It’s a good idea to ask for modifications if a particular movement isn’t accessible or comfortable for us at this time.
Seek partner feedback
Our partners are a valuable source of feedback for us, both for our own gymnastics skills and our spotting technique. In this practice, being a good spotter is just as important as grasping a particular skill, and no one can give us that feedback better than our partners. We should ask for and give as much insight as possible from our partners during class. Doing so will help us both gain and provide maximum benefit in each class.
Even if there’s a skill we’re not sure we can do, we should try it. It’s often scary to attempt something like parallel bar swings or parallette handstands when we’re not sure if we have the strength, but half the battle in gymnastics is getting our bodies used to the movements. Don’t be shy about asking for a heavy spot when needed, and make the attempt. Your coaches are there for you and next time, there will be less fear.
When we can give our best to every class we’ll gain the best from every class. There’s a lot to learn in gymnastics and each class we take can get us closer to the gymnastics practice and gymnastics body we want, if we make the most of it.
Header Photograph by Keziah Kelsey, Awaken ladies developing their straight arm strength using LARS.
Remember that you can make the most out of each class at Awaken Gym in Denver Colorado.