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Have you thought about enrolling your child in gymnastics class? Maybe you’ve noticed your child loves climbing, rolling, and jumping and you think they’d love it. We offer a variety of classes, and parents often ask us what the difference is between gymnastics vs tumbling.

Many people have heard both words used, but they don’t know the differences. That makes it difficult to determine which option is right for your child. Here’s a closer look at both options and a few tips to help you make the right decision.

What’s Gymnastics?

Gymnastics is a broad discipline and is a sport involving movement that requires strength, flexibility, endurance, and coordination. Athletes perform maneuvers like handstands, turns, flips, and more on various types of equipment. Equipment can include rings, parallel bars, balance beams, high bars, uneven bars, and more.

Artistic gymnastics includes multiple events, including four for women and six for men. These events include:

  • Vault (women and men)
  • Floor (women and men)
  • Balance beam (women)
  • Uneven bars (women)
  • Parallel bars (men)
  • Still rings (men)
  • Horizontal bar (men)
  • Pommel horse (men)

Beyond artistic gymnastics, some of the other disciplines within gymnastics include acrobatic gymnastics, trampolining, rhythmic gymnastics, aerobic gymnastics, and tumbling. Gymnastics includes tumbling, making gymnastics a broader term for a sport that encompasses many different events and movements.

Some of the benefits of gymnastics for children include:

  • Building social skills through communication with coaches and peers.
  • Improve flexibility and coordination, built through practicing complex movement patterns.
  • Developing confidence, not only via performing gymnastics moves, but by building self-esteem through day-to-day progress.
  • Developing a hard work ethic since the sport requires physical skills and mental toughness.
  • Building strength and strong bones.

What’s Tumbling?

Tumbling is one of the disciplines of gymnastics. It involves performing a series of acrobatic movements, which are done on a spring floor. The gymnast performs a variety of movements like whips, jumps, and flips.

One of the main features of tumbling is that no gymnastic equipment is used aside from mats and the spring floor. This makes it pretty easy for kids to practice at home. Tumbling also requires explosive strength when compared to some other forms of gymnastics.

Engaging in tumbling takes the skills developed in gymnastics training and then focuses more on developing explosive strength. It often requires more coordination than other types of gymnastic events. Since gymnastics training is often required, tumbling is usually started at older ages. While it’s more specific than a general gymnastics class, it does promote the development of most of the same skills, such as coordination, strength, and flexibility.

Which Option is Right Your Child?

Now that you understand the differences between gymnastics and tumbling, and that tumbling is a discipline of gymnastics, you may be wondering what type of classes will be right for your child.

Here are a few things you should consider.

1 – The age of your child. Kids can start gymnastics while they are toddlers, but tumbling is usually best for kids who are at least 5 or 6. This can also vary from gym to gym because some gyms have minimum age requirements for specific classes.

2  Your child’s experience level. Gymnastics can be started by a child that has no experience at all. However, tumbling does require some previous gymnastics training. If your child has never done any type of gymnastics, start with a good gymnastics class first before considering tumbling.

3 – The goals and interests of your child. If your child is excited about doing artistic gymnastics, then you may not want to push them into tumbling. However, if your child is really interested in tumbling after getting some gymnastics experience, then tumbling classes could be a perfect choice.

Another good point to remember is that gymnastics can offer an excellent base of training for all kinds of sports. Because of its ability to develop flexibility, strength, coordination, and endurance, gymnastics classes provide kids with core skills that they can use in nearly any sport they choose to practice in the future.

Tumbling, in contrast, is a more specific discipline. It’s a step that you can take after your child learns the basics of gymnastics.

With all this in mind, gymnastics classes are generally the best choice for very young children who are just getting started. After they get some training, then see what they want as their next step. They may want to play volleyball, soccer, or football, or they may want to get involved in tumbling.

And remember, whether your child wants to pursue sports or not, the physical skills, confidence, self-esteem, and social skills built during gymnastics training will still benefit them for a lifetime.

Enroll Your Child in Gymnastics Today

At Lake City Twisters, we offer gymnastics classes for kids in Madison, WI. Our experienced instructors are committed to providing a safe and fun environment for your child to make friends and practice their gymnastics skills. Contact us today to learn more about our competitive gymnast programs and special events for parents and kids.