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A desperate beginner has an important question. How can I improve? Foundation?

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hello guys, I really hope you can help me here, as I am a bit impatient and desperate.

I am a 21 year old girl, I am 162cm and weigh 110lbs. I always had a passion for tumbling, when I was young I thought you would need ages to learn a backhandspring and just very few adult people can do it.
During puberty I discovered gymnastics and tumbling as a sport, I never heard of it before as we used to live in a farm and all I did was playing outdoors. But I was too shy to ask someone if he knew a gym or tumbling class and as me and some of my friends were homeschooled, there was no oppurtunity to learn it, so I stretched for myself and watched tutorials on youtube.

Last year I started studying and moved to a city. I joined a recreative tumbling class as well as an acrobatic class and the teacher didn't believe me I have never done anything like this before! I lean fast and I am quiet strog for a beginner, maybe because I love it so much! I am working out since 7 months!

Here are my current skills:

Oversplits of 10cm
very good back and shoulder flexibility (I can put my head through my legs)
4 pull-ups
35 good form push-ups
5 hanging leg raises
20 sec straddle lever support on floor
7 sec L-sit on floor
press handstand against wall or with a little tiny jump
one-handed cartwheel

I know that sound like nothing, but it is so much fun to me, I could tumble and do stretching and conditioning all day round!

Now my question:

As I am a student and don't work, I could spend 4 hours of training a day, 2 in the gym (that's all the offer) and stretching and conditioning at home. The thought of could have been starting at an earlier age and could have been a lot better then, makes me so sad and angry! But this is my passion and I don't want to give up, I won't make it to the olympics but that's not what I want. I just want to get good for myself, to have fun in the gym and be able to do some impressive skills.
I have set myself some goals and now want to ask you, if it is possible to achieve that at my age and if so, how long it would take to achieve it (I know you can't tell - just approx!)

10 pull-ups
20 hanging leg raises
(will these two exercises enable me to climb a 15 ft. rope in L-position?)
straddle to press handstand on floor
V-sit on floor

Hold a normal handstand as well as in a split position

front/back handsprings
front/back tuck
round off - back handspring - back tuck
front/back handspring stepout
back handspring layout'
maybe a twist
side aerial
front aerial

I don't want to do bars, beam or vault btw, I am just in tumbling, although I have some of the skills.

Do you think my dream is possible?
And if so, in what amount of time will I get it? I know you can't tell, but i will work really hard!
I would do anything to get to this.

Would you recommend one of the Foundation's? Does one of them cover my goals?

I hope you can help me!


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Nigel Leeming

Hi Lisiflex, and welcome to the GB forum.


Taking your exercises one at a time:


To get from 4 pull ups to 10 pull ups takes time and will require you to build up your shoulder and arm muscles slightly. Having a regular training regime (3 sets of 3 pull-ups every 3 days for example) and getting some protein immediately after your strength training should get you there pretty quick, as long as you keep increasing the number of reps in each set to approx. 70% of your maximum.


5 to 20 hanging leg raises. Hmmm. It depends what the limiting factor is. For men, it's lower back flexibility, but I guess that's not your problem, and it is core strength. It sounds like your core is OK if you can do 35 push ups (I'm assuming this is straight body with your feet on the ground) Again, 3 sets of 70%max reps every 3 days should get you there pretty quickly.


"Will these exercises get me up the rope..." I would say no, not on their own. You would need also to train lock off strength, one method of which would be to do a pull up, let go with one hand and lower down slowly off the other arm. Unfortunately, 10 pullups is probably not enough to be able to do this once, and it's not a question of number, it's a question of strength. I'll take the easy option here and tell you that 1/7th of Foundation 1 addresses rope climbing.


For straddle to press handstand, the progression I followed was handstand against the wall, free handstand, Headstand push up to handstand, tuck press to handstand, straddle press to handstand. Again, it depends on your current flexibility and strengths, but that is probably a longer term effort. I know plenty of strong people who can't press to handstand and the limiting factor is being able to lean forward on your shoulders, which the planche training of F1 will address. Of course there's also H1, but I don't follow that. I'm planning to do it after F1, if I ever finish.


For V sit on floor, have a look at how to build yourself some parallettes from plastic tubing on youtube. I can do them quite easily on the parallettes, but not on the floor, so it's another progression thing where you need to find what progression is best for you. The Manna training in F1 will certainly be of benefit.


I can't really help you with the dynamic stuff. Although I can do a few of them, I only got them through repeated failure. Wish I had a gym coach.

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Connor Davies

None of your goals are unrealistic, so I'd say you could probably achieve them all within a year (except maybe the rope climb) IF you're dedicated and you have a great coach.


Whether you should achieve them all within a year is another question.  For example, I know Coach recommends you learn back limbers before learning handsprings....


To build up to the straddle press to handstand, you would first have to accomplish a straddle L sit.  I wouldn't recommend spending too much time working on this skill until you have a 30 second L sit (palms flat on the floor, hips in line with the hands) but I'm guessing you have the flexibility for it already.


F1 (and the rest of the F series) is a fantastic strength and conditioning program, but it does take a long time to finish.  Don't let that discourage you though.  Coach trains national champions, he has a good idea of what you should be doing.  Even if you may not be doing pullups or L sits straight away, by the time you work your way up to them again you will have built up a substantial amount of strength.


Something to remember is that Foundation wont cover your tumbling goals.  There are a couple programs on the internet that should give you what you want (Gold Medal Bodies Floor 2 program comes to mind) but if you're already working with a coach and taking classes, this should be unnecessary.  They will be able to guide your skill development better than any online course.

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Afiya Zia

Foundation will build up the strength required for attaining some of your gaols, but not all of them. If you are reaping benefits from the lessons you are taking, then you should continue to do those, whilst simultaneously using Foundation (sparingly at first, whilst watching for signs of overtraining).


P.S: Your L-Seat is 5 seconds longer than mine! :P :L

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Yes, your goals are attainable. The deal, as it is for everyone, it will take some time to get there. Irregardless of how long it takes you, personally, slow progress is still progress.


Talk to your coaches in your tumbling and acrobatic class. You are already on your way to reaching your goals and beyond, don't give up now because of how much is left to do. Instead keep going because of how much you have already done.

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Andrew Long

I know Nigel said the key to press to hand stand is leaning on your shoulders and planche should help but from what I understand if you want to really develop a good press to handstand comes from the traps and you should have as little lean as possible. For this I'd strongly suggest the handstand series. Don't get me wrong though strong shoulders is definitely important when doing handstands and its variations but people who have strong shoulders and weak traps tend to have closed shoulders while hand standing and end up using a lot more energy trying to hold the position.

At least this is how I understand it anyway as for the rest of your queries they are all definitely possible and coaches programs

https://www.gymnasticbodies.com/forum/topic/12862-the-gymnasticbodies-roadmap-and-curriculum/. Which you will find here should definitely help with them although this is not the only way and it will be slower it is probably the safest bet.

Rock Climbing gave me the ability to rope climb and it Is super fun :D

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