Childrens Book on gymnsatics
Childrens Book on gymnsatics

Gymnast Isabella Collaboration

Gymnast Isabel

la is a 7 year old competitive American gymnast with some incredible ability. She lives in Fayetteville, Gerogia and is a member of ‘Stick It Gymnastics’. She posts daily updates on her Instagram and also posts regularly on her YouTube Channel.

Isabella is in the 2017 Diamond TOPs (Talent Opportunity Program) as well as being an ambassador for her sponsors she also wanted to do some video’s on our books – so we sent her some for her to try out! She has so far created a Gymnastics Bridge Tutorial as well as a review of our three books. You can watch all of these videos on YouTube the links are here;

 

 


Video Tutorial Gallery

This page contains our video tutorials that we use for our App & DVD. In these videos Gemma Coles (experienced Gymnastics Coach & specialist) walks through some essential gymnastics skills both on the Floor & Floor Beam. These are just a few videos that are available on our Head Over Heels Gymnastics App & DVDs.

We hope you enjoy this free content – go Subscribe to our YouTube channel here for more content every week!


Christmas Gymnastics Gifts Guide

Gymnastics Mums, look no further! We have produced the ultimate list of gymnastics gifts for 201Christmas Gymnastics Gifts7.

From bed sheets to training aids, there is nothing ‘GYMTASTIC!’ we haven’t looked at and trialled. We’ve challenged ourselves to unearth the hidden gems that may not yet be in your collection, in order to provide some inspiring gift ideas for the budding gymnast this Christmas.

 

Equiptment

  • TumblTrak – Handstand Homework Mat £173.57– if your little-one spends more time upside down than the right way up then this is the perfect present for your child.

    The Handstand Homework Mat stands up against a door, allowing the gymnast to handstand against the soft covering, without fear of hurting their feet on the wall.

    The package comes with an amazing 60-page guide to improve handstands, with a clear line of development from beginner gymnastics to more advanced skills.

    The mat also doubles as a cartwheel aid. On the reverse side, hand and foot positions have been printed to help perfect cartwheel technique.

    Not yet convinced? TumbleTrak have put together this great video showing you exactly how beneficial their mat can be:

Accessories

Star Leotards Gymnastics Bedspreads

    • Star Leotards – Customised Bed Set £29 -This great Christmas gift will have your child living, breathing and dreaming about gymnastics. Star Leotards have put together these lovely sets of bedding, customised with your child’s’ name printed onto the design. For a personalised gift at a reasonable price, you can’t go wrong here.

Equipment

  • My Home Homework Block £60 – This is just one of the great products that My Home Gymnastics have to offer. The Homework Block is a brilliantly versatile piece of equipment, designed as a beginner, featuring two sets of hand prints to My Home Gymnastics Homework Blockencourage correct hand positions for a variety of skills including handstands, cartwheels and an introduction to round-offs. We tried the Block out earlier in the year with some of our novice gymnasts, who liked its size and printed hand placements. We found endless uses for this light easy to store piece of equipment. From cartwheeling over to balancing on and against we made some real progress with all of our gymnastics skills – here is some footage:

Accessories

  • SG Gymnastics – Grips Bag – SG Gymnastics Wear Grip BagsThere are three universal truths: death, taxes, and gymnasts owning a truck-load of accessories. Be it grips, chalk, scrunchies, hair bands or clothing, SG Gymnastics’ bags are perfect for keeping all the oddments together. We love this design as it is bright and the quality is excellent. Bags like these are a must for any gymnast, and these bags are made to last.

 

Games

  • Hasbro Fantastic Gymnastics Game £17.50 –   Hasbro have produced a fun, simple, gymnastics-themed toy, which we put through its paces to see if the price point was a fair one. The aim is deceptively straightforward: get the gymnast to swing around the bar, using the two buttons to build momentum. Two minutes after assembling the game, we’d somehow lost two hours. Its simple premise and impossibility to master is addictively moreish. While certainly not for the quick-to-surrender, the game’s challenging nature is a great quality. We’ll definitely be breaking this out as a Christmas evening party game.

Accessories

  • Gymnastics Medal Hanger £22.99 -If you look around your house and wonder when it was that you robbed the awards table at the last competition you were at, then you could probably do with a medal hanger. This great little gift gives you a lovely way to showcase your child’s medals, and comes with all the fixings in place, ready for you to put up. As a child, I would have loved to see my medals lined up beside each other, instead of packed onto the nail I had begged my dad for! This hanger is sturdy, has plenty of room for lots of medals, and is genuine good value for money.

Books and DVD’s

Head Over Heels Gymnastics Books and Dvds

  • Head Over Heels Gymnastics From £7.49-£12.99 -We’ve dedicated our time and resources into producing the quintessential how-to guide for young gymnasts. But, as there is just a dash of bias on our part here, don’t take our word for it! Check out our reviews at our REVIEW LINK. Our books and DVDs are written by gymnasts, for gymnasts. They’re specially designed to help improve gymnastic skills, from entry level all the way up to an experienced tier. If these aren’t yet sitting on your bookshelf, or in your DVD case, be sure to check them out!

 

Equipment

  • Just4Gym 8ft Folding Gymnastics Beam £99.99 -We have partnered up with Just4Gym for a number of years, and currently have a great deal going on our gymnastics floor beam book and their 8ft floor beam. The reason that we like Just4Gym so much is for the quality of their products. The ergonomic craftsmanship and elegant style of their floor beam is among the best we’ve seen, and if you’re in the market for a floor beam, we couldn’t recommend Just4Gym’s product highly enough. For the ideal gift for the novice gymnast looking to improve their beam technique, look no further. Last year we went to visit Just4Gym in their workshop and made this short video:

We have tried our best to provide a range of different gymnastics gift ideas, and we hope that you liked the selection we found. From all of us at Head Over Heels, we wish you a wonderful Christmas!

Gemma and the Head Over Heels Team x

Christmas Gift Guide Giveaway

If you found this blog helpful please consider buying us a coffee;


Needle In A Haystack…Which Leotard Should I Buy For My Child?

Looking for the perfect gymnastics leotard? In this blog, we delve into the key information necessary for you to do just that.

8 Things To Consider When Choosing A Leotard For Your Child

  1. Competition vs. Training
  2. Long Sleeve vs. Short Sleeve
  3. Budget
  4. Size
  5. Colour and Design
  6. Washing Instructions
  7. Try before Buy
  8. Quality

Competition vs. Training

The training leotard is often the ‘anything goes’ leotard. Any colours or patterns are permitted, so long as they do not violate the rules of the gymnastics club. In terms of size, it tends not to matter if the leotard is slightly too big or too small: when it comes to training, the name of the game is comfort. So long as the gymnast is comfortable in what they’re wearing, the training leotard is serving its purpose.

Competition leotards, on the other hand, tend to be much more specific. Notably, the name of the gymnastics club or representative country will need to be embroidered onto the garment itself. For the girls especially, the competition leotard will also be eye-catching: combining glitz and glamour with bold colours to arrest the judges’ attention. We highly recommend that your competition leotard is bought directly from your club, to ensure that your gymnast will be matching their teammates when it comes to competition day.

Long-Sleeve vs Short-Sleeve

For women, the most popular training leotard is short-sleeved, and for men it’s sleeveless. The long-sleeved on the other hand is the type which is generally used for competitions, although in recent years, short-sleeve has also been allowed at some of the lower-level competitions. The good news is that your child’s club is likely to already have a set competition leotard, taking the responsibility of the search away from you, the parent! Ask the club coach which leotard your child needs for competitions and make sure to order in plenty of time for any forthcoming events.

However, don’t view the long-sleeve leotard as just a ‘competition leotard’: they can also be a great choice for training. They are warmer than the short-sleeve option, and can therefore be the optimum choice in the winter months. There is one thing to consider, however, and that is that with more material, the long-sleeve version can prove to be the expensive choice.

In competition, a general rule of thumb is that long-sleeved leotards are worn by women, while short-sleeves are worn by men. However, women commonly choose the short-sleeve leotard for training, as, not only are the cheaper, but they also don’t trap the sweat that long-sleeve leotards do.

An option which bridges the gap between the two is the three-quarter-sleeve. This leotard is an adequate all-rounder, being a good option for both the summer and winter months, and is widely accepted in competitions.

One final option is the full-length leotard. Although the best option for warmth in winter, these can become quite uncomfortable during regular training, unless the material used is particularly soft.

Our Recommendations:

  • Sleveless – Competitions & Training (men)
  • Long-sleeve – Competitions (women), Training in winter (women)
  • Short-Sleeve – Training (most gymnasts will have a drawer full of these!)
  • Three-Quarter – Competition, Training
  • Full-Length – Training in winter

Budget

The Sylvia P Couture Collection holds the world-record for being the most bejewelled and exclusive gymnastics leotard, embedded with over 18,000 Swarovski crystals and costing around £4,150! If you have this kind of budget, then the leotard world is your oyster. However, if, like me, you’re usually adding the word ‘sale’ or ‘deal’ to your leotard search enquiry, then before you start looking, it’s our recommendation to have a set budget in mind. As is a general rule of life, the lower the price, the lower the quality of the product, while with the higher pricing, the more you can rely on longevity. Either way, an important aspect of the purchase to consider is that your little one will grow quickly. Don’t be caught out hanging up a top-end leotard in the closet for the last time after only six-months wear.

Size

Each leotard company will have a sizing chart. If they don’t, you need to be questioning whether they’re a reputable company. Before you order, get out the measuring tape and make sure you are ordering the correct size. Be aware that sizing brackets will vary between companies: always check the sizes before buying from a different outlet. Furthermore, check the returns policy. After your keen measuring, you may still have to consider a return, after your child realises they despise the design you painstakingly chose.

Colour and Design

If your child is just starting out then they may not have an idea about the colour and design that they would like. If this is the case, keep it simple. Start off with a plain leotard or one with fancy material but a lack of intricate stitching, as this will help to keep the price down. As they develop through the sport, so can their leotards. In our opinion, there is only one absolute no-go with regards to colour, and that is the white. These are exceptionally hard to keep clean, and can also become transparent if bought within the cheaper price brackets.

Washing Instructions

Most leotards are hand-wash only. Unfortunately, as the committed, best-parent-ever that you are, this is a job which will need to be added to your arsenal of skills. Each garment will have its own specific washing instructions, with most recommending hand-washing with a mild detergent. Never assume you can throw them into the washing machine or tumble drier with the rest of the laundry.

Try Before you buy!

Before the purchase of a leotard, it is highly recommended that the leotard is tried on. Even with the correct measurements, they may still not be a comfortable fit, and as mentioned earlier, comfort is first and foremost when it comes to leotards. The most likely places where there will be an opportunity for fitting is at the leotard stands or sale areas found at competitions. In the scenario where physically trying on the leotard isn’t an option, ensure it is at least held to measure against the body (in the same you would with a shirt or other piece of clothing).

Quality

Generally speaking, the higher the price, the better the quality of fabric. However, this is not always the case. Branding can often up the price, even if the quality of material is the same as another, cheaper, unbranded leotard. Equally, don’t assume that if the price is higher than another from the same brand, then it will be a better quality; it may just have more to its design, which has the potential of making it less comfortable.

 

The History of The Leotard

  • Jules Leotard, a French acrobatic performer who died in 1886, was the inventor of what we now know as the common leotard.
  • During his life, he called his leotards ‘malliots’. After his death, they were renamed ‘leotards’ as a tribute to him.
  • Leotards were then worn throughout the 1900s by circus performers and acrobats.
  • Leotards influenced the style of swimsuits in the 1920s and 1930s, having resemblances even in modern day swimsuits now.
  • In the middle of the 20th century, the leotard became more of a generic exercise costume, being used in schools and fitness classes.
  • It wasn’t until the 1970s that more colourful leotards began to appear, mainly in ballet and exercise classes.
  • In the late 1970s, the leotard became fashionable as streetwear, with the disco trend popularising polyester, nylon, spandex and cotton.
  • Since the 1990s, leotards have become more intricate in terms of specialist designs and quality of material.
  • The leotard has evolved in the current day to a streamlined and elaborate gymnastics attire, designed to exaggerate the long lines and elegance of a gymnast.

Creating Framed Pictures of Gymnastics Badges

We recently came across the idea of framing gymnastics badges to hang from walls or stand on mantelpieces, and were inspired to give it a try ourselves. So, we visited our local scrap store for crafting supplies and organised a creative session to make mounted displays for the children’s achievements.

The badges that we use in the UK are part of the British Gymnastics Awards. They are designed for children to progress through a numbered system, beginning with level eight and moving through the numbers to level one. After these have been achieved, the gymnasts then have the opportunity to continue onto the bronze, silver and gold awards in various disciplines. Having numerous badges scattered around the house is part and parcel of British gymnastics, and seeing your child’s trail of accomplishments pinned in the hallway is far more pleasant than going on a literal trail from the top drawer in their bedroom to the pile of post on the counter where you’re sure one turned up the other day.

We assembled nine aspiring gymnasts for our crafting session, which, inevitably, meant that eighteen frames were bought (nine of each kind) to prevent the ‘best’ frames from disappearing into the more opportunistic hands. As it turned out, there wasn’t a clear winner: some of the children chose the deep frames, and some chose the metallic flat frames. There wasn’t a clear winner for us either, as both types worked well and looked equally effective.

We allowed the children full reign to flex their creative muscles for the displays, and, almost immediately, they seemed to split into two trains of thought: they either wanted a geometrically patterned background, with the badges displayed in a uniform order, or they wanted a theme. The themes they came up with ranged from a caterpillar with a body of badges, to bunting, to a rainbow of badges, to a flower with badges for leaves, and even an elephant squirting the badges with water. Both trains of thought elicited some brilliant results, and in all cases the badges stood out in their frames.

Once the children had their ideas firmly fixed in their minds, we piled all the fabric, paper and ribbon we had bought onto the table for them to bring their thoughts to life. And thus ensued pure chaos. The children jumped at the task, cutting and gluing with the determination of those not wanting to forget a scrap of detail from their original concepts, with the adults struggling to provide enough hands to help with the fiddlier aspects. While PVA was more than adequate for most of the task, an adult armed with a hot glue gun was needed now and again for some of the more resistant fabrics.

After the decimation of craft materials was complete, all that was left to do was to fit the displays into their frames, and show the children their masterpieces. There was unanimous positivity when the finished products were revealed: each looked effective, and have surely made for great additions to whichever room they’ve found themselves in in their respective homes. My own three children were thrilled with their displays, and each instantly chose the perfect spot to hang their badges in their bedrooms. When the grandparents visited us at the weekend, they were escorted up to the children’s rooms to see the achievements which had recently taken pride of place on their walls.

This was a well-worthwhile activity. Not only did the children love the creativity and the craft, it also allowed the badges which they’d worked so hard to attain to be given the treatment they were due. I would highly recommend getting yourselves down to your local scrap store, digging out the glue from the back of the cupboard, and getting crafty!


A Home Gymnastics Beam – should you give in and buy one?

Beam DilemmaMy Home Gymnastics Floor Beam a great combination with our Floor Beam Book

The question seemed innocent enough at the time. A few mornings ago, between mouthfuls of cereal, your daughter mentioned that she reckoned it would be a great idea to receive a Beam for her birthday. At the time you nodded, smiled, and told her to get a move on because she was going to be late for school. And now you haven’t slept for two days because, besides trying to figure out the exact way you go about wrapping a Beam, you’re not at all sure whether your daughter should be practicing her Beam routine without the safe arms of a coach lingering nearby.

Perhaps you’re the Thursday-night taxi-driver to and from classes, and an avid supporter at competitions. You caught yourself open-mouthed a few weeks ago when your daughter held a perfect handstand, and you’re convinced a Beam would be an ideal gift. However, your knowledge of the safety of gymnastics is still minimal, and the image of that handstand, on that Beam, in your front room, isn’t quite sitting right.

Or perhaps your daughter has never attended a single gymnastics class, but seems to have a natural talent at turning herself upside down, or inside out, or pulling off feats of flexibility you weren’t sure were possible. If you’re honest with yourself, your heart hasn’t been its calm and collected self ever since that first forward-roll. And if you’re more honest with yourself, a Beam would make your daughter’s year, which isn’t helping.

For anyone facing an eerily similar predicament, here’s our answer:

Yes! You should absolutely give in and get her the Beam on her birthday list. With the following advice, there’s no need to worry about anything (except perhaps figuring out different ways to say congratulations when your daughter shows you the tenth new skill she’s mastered).

Buy a Floor Beam

The first word in practising gymnastics at home is safety. In research for our book dedicated to Floor Beam exercises, we put a considerable amount of time into assessing the safety of the equipment. We ran tests for ourselves, as well as talking to a number of high-level, experienced coaches, and there was a unanimous agreement on the sure safety of the Floor Beams. In fact, within a home environment, we would recommend purchasing nothing else.

For beginners in gymnastics, and those new to the Floor Beam, use our book!

Beam is often perceived to be a daunting piece of equipment, especially if your child is not attending lessons. It may seem as though Head Over Heels About Gymnastics Floor Beam Bookthe Floor Beam is an impractical purchase until they have had at least a basic level of professional gymnastics tuition, but this is not the case. Our book has been specifically written with the intention of guiding entry-level gymnasts through the skills, without them having had any coaching. Its guide is a step-by-step walkthrough, beginning with basic skills, before progressing onto more challenging exercises as and when your child is ready. It’s an ideal companion for those gymnasts just starting out on the Beam, and will instil them with confidence on this challenging apparatus.

For more advanced Beam skills, only use those which have already been learnt in gymnastics classes

Your budding gymnast will be on a well-designed training programme, created to advance her skill-level gradually and safely. She should only be practicing moves which she has been taught, and has mastered, in her gymnastics lessons. If you are not sure what she is learning, it is recommended to ask her coach for advice: not only will potential injury from self-taught manoeuvres be avoided, but it will also eliminate the chance to pick up bad habits in form and execution.

The My Home Gymnastics Folding Beam

We were sent a Beam from My Home Gymnastics to trial and assess, and it easily sits as one of the many great beams out on the market. Our video below showcases the Folding Beam in this gymnast’s (Chloe’s) home:

The foam Beam from My Home Gymnastics is a great choice. It’s light and easy to move, and its capability to fold gives it plenty of storage options, which edges it ahead of its unbending counterparts (it slotted comfortably beneath Chloe’s bed). It’s long enough to do two skills in a single length, which, while not providing the space of full-length beams, is ideal for home use.

An additional recommended purchase is the folding panel mat. We found that the rug was not really sufficient! A softer landing  mat would have significantly bolstered Chloe’s confidence, which is paramount in gymnastics training. Although the two together add up to a more lavish birthday present, the multiple uses of the floor mat in other gymnastic fields cause it to be a worthwhile buy.

To purchase My Home Gymnastics Folding Beam visit their website; www.myhomegymnastics.com 

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com


Gymnastics Skill Builders Package from Tumbl Trak

As gymnastics enthusiasts, we are always looking for more training aids to develop gymnastics skills. We were thrilled, therefore, to be given the opportunity to experiment with Tumbl Trak’s Skill Builder Package, which has been designed to improve technique in a variety of areas. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing how we got on with the Package, and giving our analysis of the three pieces of equipment. So, without further ado:

The Skill Builders Package contains;

Two of the products were brand-new notions for us, these being the Shoulder Trainer and the Sticky Toes. Before we could put them through their paces, we needed some instruction on how best to use them: fortunately, Tumbl Trak have some great introductory videos on YouTube, which allowed us to confidently merge the products into our exercises in no time at all.

Tumbl Trak Sliders

£8.20 Sold as a pair – packages of multiples available

Tumbl Trak Sliders

Having previously incorporated Sliders into our training, we were particularly impressed with the quality of this offering from Tumbl Trak. In the past, we’ve known Sliders to be prone to damage after only a few uses: the very thin rubber sole has peeled away from the plastic, rendering the equipment inadequate for routine exercises. The Tumbl Trak Sliders, on the other hand, have been built to last. Even after a variety of tests, they look as if they could be fresh out of the box.

One of the best things about the Sliders was their versatility. In just a few minutes, we came up with multiple conditioning and stretching exercises, designed around using the Sliders to push gymnasts to their stretching limits. Here are some examples of the exercises we created:

We also took the sliders to a sister gym. After allowing them to experiment and come up with their own methods of utilising the Sliders, we asked what skills they had the most success with. Their unanimous response was that the Sliders were a benefit to ‘everything’. From strength training to stretching the gymnasts there were continually finding new uses for the Sliders, and were jumping at the bit to procure some of their own.

The only limitation we found, was that the Sliders weren’t functional on wooden or laminate flooring. Owing to this, while a great addition to the gymnastics hall, their use becomes limited in most other environments, especially in school gymnasiums where they could be a real asset to P.E. classes. If this factor were remedied, there would be nothing holding this product back.

 Tumbl Trak Sticky Toes

£11.35 one pair – bundles available

Tumbl Trak Sticky Toes

The kids immediately took to this product. The concept of having ‘sticky toes’ gave them the giggles, and they were all interested in giving them a go. We used them for swinging: our crucial battleground when it comes to keeping toes together. I was a little dubious about the adhesion of the Velcro at first, however the pads stuck fast. In fact, they worked exceptionally well: when equipped with the Sticky Toes, our gymnasts had no choice but to keep their feet glued together.

We did wonder whether if, over time, the effect of the Velcro would weaken owing to natural wear-and-tear. However, we rendered the point negligible: with the obvious quality, any depreciation wouldn’t occur for a significant amount of time, and at such an excellent value for money, they would absolutely be worth repurchasing in such an event.

After an outright success on the bars, we have already decided to integrate the Sticky Toes into many other skills, such as Headstands, Shoulderstands, Handstands, Levers and many of the Jumping skills and drills.

Tumbl Trak Open Shoulder Trainer

£25.20

Tumbl Trak Open Shoulders Trainer

In the past, we have settled on using a pole to create the effect of elevating the shoulders to an open position, and so we were thrilled to receive this new piece of kit. A pole pressing across the back of the neck is not at all comfortable, and this padded, curved bar is a vast improvement. The Open Shoulder Trainer has been designed with ergonomics as a priority. The product consists of a an aluminium bar, encased in a thick, foam padding, which curves around the neck. This allows the piece to be forgiving, as well as being tailored to rest comfortably on the shoulders.

To trial the Shoulder Trainer, we asked the gymnasts to use it during lunge prep skills for handstands. The idea that the product should instil a natural conviction in gymnasts to keep their arms level at all times was a real allure for us, and unfortunately, in this regard, the product could be further optimised: although certainly going some way to achieve this, we noticed that the angle of the shoulders wasn’t completely open during use, and we still had to remind the gymnasts to hold precisely the correct position. To establish itself as a perfect training aid, the Open Shoulder Trainer should create the exact position the coach is looking for, and in this respect, the product could be improved.

This is not to say, however, that the Open Shoulder Trainer isn’t a great product: the facilitation it offers is one-of-a-kind, and we still intend to make use of it for many of our skills. Coaches are constantly saying phrases such as ‘open your shoulders, ‘reach taller’, ‘head up’, ‘arms back’, especially to the more novice gymnasts. This bar comprises all of these phrases without a word having to be uttered, and we’ve been able to make a tremendous amount of use out of the Open Shoulder Trainer in relation to handstand training. It has already been added into our programme as a fun side-station.

To conclude, we feel that this trio of products is demonstrative of Tumbl Trak’s real dedication to gymnastics. The three pieces of equipment have evidently been designed with a keen, inside knowledge of gymnastics training, and act as excellent developmental aids. We extend our thanks to Tumbl Trak for providing us with the opportunity to try out these fantastic gymnastics products, and look forward to making the most of the equipment in future training sessions!

Coaches and gymnasts, grab your very own Skill Builders Package by visiting Tumbl Trak’s site at the following link – Tumbl Trak Skill Builders Package

 


Head Over Heels About Gymnastics Book Volume One Review

Head Over Heels About Gymnastics Book Volume One Review

This book is a phenomenal introduction to gymnastic floor skills. It covers a wide range of the entry-level basics, such as cartwheels, handstands, and forward-rolls, and as such, is an ideal complement for those children who are beginning to take an interest in gymnastics.

The most prominent feature, and strength, of the book is its accessibility. No prior knowledge of gymnastics is required, as several pages at the beginning are dedicated to appropriate warm-ups and stretches which are recommended before performing gymnastic skills, while also explaining why these are necessary. Each of the exercises and skills are broken down into simple, understandable terms, and each comes with a photographic example to show what each exercise should look like.

The language used is straightforward and concise, with a real emphasis being placed on clear, practical instructions. Dotted throughout the book are tips which are identified through a thumbs-up icon, which are included when an exercise may be difficult to understand, or to offer additional useful information. Many of them break the exercises down into relatable terms, and these are what makes the book stand out in its field. For example, in the ‘landing and finishing’ section of the book, the thumbs-up tip states ‘imagine you are sitting on a high stool with your arms outstretched’. This kind of conversion of gymnastics skills into relative terms are what makes the book an exceptional entry point to gymnastics: the exercises it details can be easily understood by parents and children alike.

To put the book to the test, I asked my ten-year-old sister to choose an exercise, read its instructions, and then proceed to perform the exercise, based solely from the information given in the book. Reading the page herself, and with no input at all from me, she was able to perform correct front and back supports within a minute of reading over the instructions and viewing the ‘correct procedure’ step-by-step photographs. To truly mark the success of an instructional book aimed at children, the children themselves should be able to view, understand, and execute the exercises. In this respect, the book passes with flying colours.

In all, this book is a bright, easy to follow introduction to gymnastics, which provides astute observations and helpful information about the world of gymnastics along the way. The ability to prop it up as a flip-chart, so that it is able to be viewed mid-exercise, is a well-designed added bonus. For any parents with children looking to get into gymnastics, or for any children looking to persuade their parents into letting them do forward-rolls around the house, you couldn’t do much better than this book. An excellent, top of the range guide to beginner gymnastic floor skills.

Will Gillingham

Gymnastics Book Review by Will Gillingham


8 Boredom Busting Gymnastics Activities for Beginners Using MHG’s Homework Block

In your quest to keep your gymnasts out of mischief and boredom around the house or in the garden, add this great little training aid to your gymnastic equipment;

The Homework Block from My Home Gymnastics 

The MHG Homework Block is a great training aid for all level of gymnasts. The features we really like are the hand prints on the block and how lightweight it is. The Homework Block has endless possibilities for your gymnasts enabling them to practice the skills that they are learning in their gymnastics classes safely at home.

Just like a puppy with a new ball these three gymnasts (Alexa, Chloe and Isabella) were bouncing around eager to get going before we had even got the new equipment out of the box. They had enormous amounts of fun in their back garden and with some coaching from our author Gemma they came up with lots of inspiring ideas for you to try yourselves;

1. Forward-Roll Off The Homework Block

Start with your knees placed at the end of the block and roll off. When you stand up out of the roll reach your arms forward. Don’t use your hands on the floor!

2. Cartwheel Over The Homework Block

Start and finish facing sideways in a star shape.  Placing your hands onto the hand marks swing your legs up and over the block in an arc. Remember to keep your legs straight and your toes pointed. Practice makes perfect!

3. Squat Onto the Homework Block Half Turn Jump Off

Squatting down use the hand shapes on the Homework Block to place your hands onto it. Squat feet onto the block and not knees. Immediately jump off springing upwards remembering to land with good posture.

4. Headstand Against The Homework Block

Partner to hold the Homework Block upright or alternatively position it against a wall. Headstand against it making a triangle shape with your head at the top of the triangle and your hands at the bottom so that you can see your fingers. Slowly lift your hips so that your back touches the block and then tuck your knees into your chest and your feet to your bottom.

5. Pike Lever On The Homework Block

Sit on the block with your legs in a pike position, raise your feet and bottom up from the block keeping your legs straight and toes pointed.

6. Handstand On The Homework Block

Take a big lunge into a handstand creating a straight shape on the top of the Homework Block. Stretch from your hands to the tips of your toes. Squeeze both your bottom and tummy creating a tight core.

7. Tricep Dips on the Homework Block

This is one of many conditioning exercises you can perform with this great versatile Homework Block. Sit with your back to the block and your hands placed onto it so that your elbows are bent up behind you. Lift your hips up as high as you can as you slowly bend and straighten your arms. Repeat for as many repetitions as you can manage or alternatively break down into sets of 5 or 10 repetitions. Challenge your child to see how many repetitions or sets they can do in a minute and then see if they can beat their highest scores.

8. Jumps and Hops On and Over the Homework Block

These Homework Block exercises are great for stability. Your little ones will have strong legs and good balance if they practice these exercises. Like with tricep dips set them a challenge of beating their top scores. When performing any hop or jump keep the body upright with chin and chest held high. Don’t allow the body to hunch over, posture is paramount throughout!

When we asked the children what they liked about the Homework Block their response was that they liked the colour and the hand prints. They said that they “loved rolling off the block” and that it was “really fun.” From a coach and parent perspective we like that it has many uses and is ideal for gymnastics outside of the gymnasium. It’s size enables it to be stored easily without taking up too much room. In addition as it is lightweight the gymnasts are able to move and position it themselves.

Thanks once again to My Home Gymnastics for letting us trial this exciting new piece of gymnastics equipment, as you can see from the videos our gymnasts had hours of fun!

Please visit My Home Gymnastics for more information about their wide range of gymnastics products.

http://www.myhomegymnastics.com/

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com


‘The Good The Bad and The Ugly.’ Feedback for Our Gymnastics Story Book.

Thank you so much Elia was so happy with her new book.

Whilst it is great to get feedback for any of our products, it is always a nerve-wracking process. We asked for honest, relevant critique for our gymnastics story book and therefore opened the flood gates for the good bad and the ugly. You would think that with time we would harden up to the criticism and I think that to some extent we have due to having received just as much positive reviews. However putting so much into each of our projects and products means that when the improvements are suggested we can feel frustrated that we hadn’t thought more in the designing process.

With our Jumping Jack and Bendy Wendy gymnastics story book almost reaching its half a year Birthday, it was a perfect time to celebrate by sending out some freebies and getting some of your feedback. This first edition is exactly that – it is our first venture (hopefully of many) into this completely new genre of gymnastics story books. It will therefore be re-edited when we do a new print run so your feedback is invaluable.

The ‘Good’

The response we have had on social media and Amazon has been phenomenal with the feedback being positive, negative and lots of suggestions for improvement. Below you can find examples of the positive responses with highlights being that children are finding the names of the characters endearing and that they are enjoying having a go at the movements.

Another #happygymnast

5.0 out of 5 stars Exercise & Confidence Booster

By A. Rose TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Dec. 2016

This book was loved by our shy little girl who actually liked the exercises but didn’t want to do them in front of other children. After a few sessions of stretching, balancing and bending, she was soon wanting to show us what she could do and is now much happier exercising with other children,
The book itself is a nice shiny square book with illustrations a little bit like the Charlie & Lola graphics. The words are simple to read yet accurate in use and context. It’s a good book to read and ‘show’ at the same time. The names are funny and the characters, Wendy and Jack, are endearing and like-able. The exercises shown are good warm up movements (stretching, bending etc.) and are a good all round exercise regime that youngsters should be doing and can easily do in the home, mostly, or get them ready for what to expect in the school gym. A good confidence booster.

By SonicQuack VINE VOICE on 1 Nov. 2016

Almost every child will have trepidation about starting a new class, be it school or a sports/social club. My two certainly did and although they are both now gymnasts, this book would have been an ideal ice-breaker. We have a close friend who’s youngest is considering joining the local gymnastics school and this will be a great aid in boosting her confidence prior to going.
It’s a cleverly worded and illustrated book. It will appeal to children of either gender (since it stars a boy and a girl). There is a stack of positive reinforcement inside. Every drawn child is always smiling, the language they use is simple but direct and positive, the use of bold and over-sized words ensure the salient points are very clear – but its all presented in a fun and exciting manner. The basics of gymnastics are all included as fun activities that are welcome at the gym: rolling, stretching, bending, jumping; none of that sounds difficult.
The size of the book is deceiving, the story is actually quite long for a book of this nature – go it’s very good value for money.
A brilliant approach from a writer that is clearly clued up. Recommended as a pre-start read for any young potential gymnast.

Thank you so much for your beautiful book….. Harriet has been reading it all afternoon…. “it’s a boy, a girl, jumping, aww I love it”

The ‘Bad’

You would expect that when you ask for critique some of the feedback is not so positive, criticisms regularly mention the advertising at the back of the book. So this advertisement will be removed or made smaller in the future edition. The graphics are mentioned quite a lot in the three star reviews. We are confident about the characters although they have been described as ‘stick people’ by some reviewers. When reading the gymnastics story book to children in school they have been very positive and liked the characters. However considering this we will look at the backgrounds in the next edition and see if we can make some big improvements. Below you can find some of the three star reviews;

3.0 out of 5 starsAdvertising Pamphlet Feel

TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 8 December 2016

This is an okay book that tells the story of a boy and a girl called Wendy and Jack who are starting gymnastics and feeling a little nervous about it.
The rest of the class are nice and welcoming and soon Jack and Wendy settle in and make lots of friends plus become Superstar Gymnasts.
The story is okay and would be good if your child was starting gymnastics but it has not captured my children’s attention each time we have sat down to read it. I also don’t like the advertising on the inside back pages for other products from the company and I feel that it gives the book a sort of advertising pamphlet feel.
The illustrations are simple but bright but the story just doesn’t seem to go anywhere and as I mentioned above I’m not a fan of the marketing and my children haven’t taken to the book so for me it’s just okay.

3.0 out of 5 starsWendy and Jack start gymnastics

VINE VOICEon 3 November 2016

Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What’s this? )

This is the tale of Wendy and Jack who start gymnastics classes and feel a bit unsure about it all. They soon learn that it’s great fun and not at all scary. They learn lots of new moves, meet some new friends and have fun along the way. The story itself is a fun, lighthearted introduction to gymnastics for little ones and I liked it, but I wasn’t a fan of the graphics which seemed a bit basic and simplistic, though still bright and clear.

The ‘Ugly’

Siena loves the book great reading!!

Now when we said that opening the flood gates to feedback leads to the good the bad and the ugly this is what we mean when it comes to the ‘ugly’;

TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 9 October 2016

Gemma Coles has turned her career teaching children gymnastics into a range of books, DVDs, sportswear and now an app, and I guess you don’t become that successful without having a great deal of self-confidence in your abilities.
Perhaps too much confidence in this case, however, as really this book is something that a more self-critical author might have thought twice about publishing . The illustrations are very basic indeed, barely more than stick figures, done I think on some primitive entry-level piece of graphics software along the lines of Paint, and the ‘story’ barely qualifies as a narrative, as stick figures Wendy and Jack are a bit nervous about starting gymnastics, enter some white space and meet some other stick figures doing gymnastics, among some ill-chosen fonts, then feel better about going to gymnastics. If you just want some quotidian book that will theoretically make your son or daughter less nervous about attending gymclass, I suppose this will do, but there’s been absolutely no creative effort of any kind put into it’s concept or execution. It looks like it was written in about ten minutes, by someone who can’t really write anyway, and then illustrated in an afternoon by someone who can’t draw.

This review initially left us feeling wounded, a bit like finally learning your back flip at gymnastics after months of hard graft to achieve it only to be told that it was rubbish. However as this review says we have a lot of confidence in what we do and like learning a back flip we will learn to make everything that we do better in the future. To propel this book forwards and make the improvements we will employ editors and adapt the graphics so watch this space for edition two.

Picture of school children using gymnastics story book
School children enjoying our book.

When receiving reviews we have talked about our gymnastics story book being designed for children but their adult parents being the ones leaving the reviews. We wonder what your little-ones would write if they were able to pen a detailed review. The children that we teach in the gymnastics regularly have great ideas for adapting things and help us improve as we teach them. So if your budding gymnast is a keen writer or makes a comment about our products that could really help us please send us their feedback.

We have loved receiving pictures from this giveaway, each and every one has been a pleasure to receive. We have posted them below for you to enjoy;

Thank you for all the support you have given us with this gymnastics story book.

Gemma and the team at Head Over Heels Gymnastics. x


Do you have an iPad?

Then buy this from our iBook link:

Buy Now

Do you have a Kindle?

Amazon UK:

Amazon UK

Amazon US:

Amazon US

Gymnastics Learning Book

This book is a learning tool that helps children with the fundamental building blocks of gymnastics. This book teaches all of the basics for gymnastics, if you want a book that you can instantly pick up and have your child cartwheeling and getting active with then this is the book for you. The book is designed with all the correct techniques and endorsed by fully qualified gymnastics coaches currently teaching the sport.You will find this book helpful, easy to understand and fun.