Childrens Book on gymnsatics
Childrens Book on gymnsatics

10 Celebrity Gymnasts Performing Tricks.

Cartwheels, handstands, and even some flicks are amongst the gymnastics tricks that this list of celebrity Gymnasts are capable of…lets dive straight in!

1) Britney Spears – SingerCelebrity Gymnast

Starting off the list is of Celebrity Gymnasts is the American Singer, Britney Spears. In the video below she shows off her gymnastics skills including handstands, back flicks and even back somersaults!

2) Elisabeth Shue –  Actress

When her high school wouldn’t add a girls’ soccer team, she took up gymnastics, and went on to became captain of the team! Here she is in action;

3) Charlize Theron – Actress

Charlize Theron, actress, film producer and ‘gymnast’ known for starring in numerous Hollywood films, such as The Devil’s Advocate, Mad Max, The Italian Job, Hancock to name a few. In this clip she performs both flicks and a handspring too!

4) Carly Booth – Golfer

This Scottish professional golfer shows off her gymnastics skills on the golf course showing her multi talents!

5) Tom Holland – Actor

British Actor, famous for becoming the new ‘Spiderman’ does his own stunts and this showreel shows why!

6) Tom Cruize – Actor

The Hollywood star, who does all his own stunts, shows off his standing back somersault.

7) Jackie Chan – Actor

The legendary Jackie Chan has a unbelievable amounts of gymnastics and acrobatics skills in his bag of tricks here is just a few;

8) Lucy Liu – Actress

In this clip, from the late night show with James Corden show, Lucy Liu shows off her fantastic splits whilst Terry Crews is surprisingly enough performing his hidden talent as well…

9) Jason Statham – Actor

I bet you didn’t know that Jason Statham competed in diving at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand, Auckland – this is incredible…

10) Burt Lancaster – Actor

Taking you back in time… Burt Lancaster shows off his skills in the movie ‘Trapeze’, being a trapeze acrobat he gets to show-off some amazing skills. This movie features his character attempting a new move and that goes terribly wrong.


COMPETITION – FREE Trampoline Giveaway Worth £699!!

We’ve partnered-up with Trampolines Online to give away an incredible prize: an 8ft by 12ft trampoline! To honour this monumental opportunity, our in-house trampolining expert has written out two easy-to-master routines, carefully selected to pack the finishing blow to friends and family, after they’ve realised there’s a brand-new trampoline in your garden.

Trampoline Giveaway

For those of the ‘tl:dr’ persuasion, the competition details are at the bottom of this blog. We won’t be too upset if you skip straight down – that blog title is too tantalising to resist, isn’t it? However, once you’ve thrown your name into the hat, be sure to come back for our fast-track to trampolining prowess.

Trampolining Safety Top Tips

  • Safety Net – It’s a choice between being caught and gently deposited onto the trampoline, and going headfirst into the garden. We know which we’d prefer.
  • Zip It Up – It’s a choice between being caught and gently deposited onto the trampoline, and thinking you’re going to be caught, only to fly out through the entrance of the safety net and headfirst into the garden.
  • Respect the Rules – Nobody likes being told what to do. So, don’t see the rules listed somewhere on the side of the trampoline as fun-killing law. More as a free ‘skip four hours in A&E’ voucher.
  • Wear Socks – Wear socks!
  • Sports Gear – This one’s up to you. Stiff clothing can restrict movement, while baggy clothing has a habit of catching on people and objects at precisely the wrong moments. But there’s a trampoline at the party and you turned up in chinos? Go for it. Just don’t blame us when an unfortunate tear has let everyone check out your Christmas undies.
  • Hands by Your Ears – When performing any skill on the trampoline, it’s best to stretch up tall before you start the move, and take off with your hands by your ears (plus, you’ll look the part).
  • Bounce Like a Pro… – Straight legs, pointed toes, fingers being held together and straight arms go a long way in the trampolining world – so try to do this whenever possible!
  • …But Don’t Push It – Sure, a double back pike looks cool. But a neck brace doesn’t. Always practise advanced techniques under a coach’s supervision.

Two Routines to Pull Out at Parties

These routines are for beginners, but that doesn’t mean they won’t look someway impressive when properly mastered. Enjoy giving them a shot!

Routine 1:

  • Seat Landing – Stretch up tall into this move and then land on your bottom with your legs out in front (together and straight), your hands either side of your bottom, and fingers pointing towards your toes.
  • To Feet – From your seat landing position, stretch up and use your bounce (as well as stretching your hands up tall) to aid you onto your feet.
  • Straddle Jump – This is a jump whereby your legs separate by 90 degrees (in the air), whilst keeping your legs straight and your hands reaching to your toes (remember to bring them back down after so you land on your feet).
  • Half Twist – This is a jump with a 180-degree turn to face the opposite direction.
  • Tuck Jump – This is where your knees come up together and then aim to touch your chest with your hands on your shins (then bringing them back out to land on your feet).
  • Full Twist – This final move is a 360-degree turn where you twist all the way around, finishing the twist facing the same way you started it.


Routine 2:

Full Twist – 360-degree turn where you twist all the way around, finishing the twist facing the same way you started it.

Straddle Jump – Legs separate by 90 degrees (in the air) whilst keeping your legs straight and your hands reaching to your toes (remember to bring them back down after so you land on your feet).
½ Twist to Seat –
A half twist jump (180-degree turn) landing in a seat landing position (legs out straight & together in front of you). Remember to keep your hands near your bottom and fingers pointing towards your toes.

½ Twist to Feet – From the seat landing, lift your hands up as you come away from the trampoline and try to land on your feet. If you can do this, try to add a 180-degree (½) turn before landing on your feet.

½ Twist Jump – Complete another half twist jump, taking off and landing on your feet.

Pike Jump – In this jump, you stretch up tall first with your arms, and then at the top of the jump, bring your legs in front of you (keeping them straight and together) and reach to tap your toes with your fingers. Remember to bring your legs back down quickly enough so you land on your feet!

Back Landing – In the back landing (commonly called the ‘back drop’) take off with your arms straight above your head and your eyes looking straight ahead. Once in the air, try to lift your legs up so that you land on your back with your legs raised by 90 degrees (pointing up to the sky). You should then aim to land with your arms parallel to your legs.

½ Twist to Feet – Just like in the ½ twist to feet from the seat landing, in this skill you approach it as if you are just going to land back on your feet from the back landing (try to lift your hips as you come out of the trampoline), however just before you land, turn 180 degrees (to perform the ½ twist).

Tuck Jump – This jump is where you stretch up first like a straight jump and then lift your knees towards your chest and place one hand on each shin (at the top of the jump). Don’t forget to then bring your legs back out for you to land back on your feet.

½ Twist Jump – This is a jump with a 180-degree turn to face the opposite direction that you were facing.

The Competition

Free is a nice price for anything. But a FREE 8ft by 12ft Telstar Elite Rectangle Trampoline Package, including a cover and ladder is something else entirely.


Why do we particularly like Trampolines Online?

  • Safety comes first
  • Home installation
  • Promoters of ‘Exercise Through Play’
  • Free UK Delivery
  • They have partnered up with us for this fantastic opportunity!

How Do I Enter?

To be in with a chance of winning this trampoline package (worth £699!) all you need to do is:

  1. Fill in the ‘gleam’ competition details listed below.
  2. Go back to our Facebook post and share it with your friends!
  3. Like Trampolines Online On Facebook

Head Over Heels Trampoline Competition

Winner announced Wednesday 21st February on the Head Over Heels Gymnastics Facebook Page!

8 Fun Ways to Exercise with Your Children

January. The month of 5k runs every morning, abdominal crunches before bed, and nothing but salad in your lunchbox. No? Me neither. I’ve found the problem with exercise is that you realise you’re doing it. At about ten minutes in, you wonder why you’re even trying, since you don’t regret that third helping of Christmas dinner in any way. And at about twelve minutes you think of all the things you could be doing instead of exercising, and wishing there was a way you could exercise without really realising you’re doing it. Well, you’re in luck: once thought to be impossible, we’ve compiled eight of the best ways to put ‘fun’ and ‘exercise’ in the same sentence. They don’t call us ‘Head Over Heels’ for nothing.

1 Gymnastics

Surprise! In the twist of the decade, a gymnastics company is recommending gymnastics. But there’s a good reason: far from ticking the ‘required gymnastics content’ box, even the simplest of exercises and skills can strengthen your core muscles. When did you last try a headstand? Compete with your children to see who can hold the stance the longest! And if your answer to the above question is ‘never’, the attached link below is a simple tutorial to help you out. Even attempting to push yourself into the stand will be working away at those core muscles, and here you have the added bonus of being a role model of patience and perseverance to your children. Hopefully.

2 Yoga

Sometimes criminally associated with the ‘hipster’ movement, yoga is an incredibly powerful tool which is always at your disposal. Some of the benefits it has to offer are:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased muscle strength and tone
  • Improved respiration, energy and vitality
  • Maintaining a balanced metabolism
  • Weight reduction
  • Cardio and circulatory health
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Protection from injury

You’re probably wondering where fun fits into discovering what life might be like as a contortionist. Let me introduce you to Cosmic Kids. These are a series of story-led yoga activities on YouTube, which, contrary to the name, are also brilliant for adults. They’re a great entry-point for yoga, with a focus on mental calm and wholeness. Also, if you ever wish to graduate to more advanced yoga, YouTube has a wide variety of options available to do just that. And the best part is that you only need to keep it up two to three times a week to see a marked difference in your fitness and health.

3 Dance

That one song you can’t help but move to? Hit play and turn it up. Get yourself a playlist together which will last around 20-30 minutes and take on your kids in a dance battle for the ages. Or just play that same song ten times. We’re not judging. Here are some of the benefits of dancing:

  • Improved condition of your heart and lungs
  • Increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness
  • Increased aerobic fitness
  • Improved muscle tone and strength
  • Weight management
  • Stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis

You could even dance whilst doing the household chores. Fair warning: this activity has been known to cause open glances of derision and for people’s favourite songs to be questioned as to whether they’re even music at all. Better let your children make the playlist. And if you don’t fancy freestyle dancing, following along to these Just Dance clips is a brilliant alternative:

4. Running

Alright, we’re stretching the definition of ‘fun’. But getting out for a run with your children is always only a front door away. Five minutes of shuttle running has been proven to be as effective as 25-30 minutes of jogging, so this can almost be done in the advert break between TV shows. If you set yourselves a challenge, the exercise for the day will be over in no time: how far can you get in five minutes? This, coupled with the fact that all that’s required is a pair of trainers, and you’ve got no excuse not to hit the ground running this January. (Yes, that was a running pun. I couldn’t resist.)

5. Cycling

Cycling is the sport of exploration. Get off the roads and onto the trail-ways, or into the forest, and see what you can find. Also, you get to sit down while you do this one. Need more be said? Cycling is a low-impact type of exercise, so it’s easier on your joints than running or other high-impact aerobic activities, but still helps you get into shape. For something closer to home, the mobile app Strava follows your route and draws it on a map. Could you attempt to draw a picture with it? Here are some examples of people who have done just that:

6 Trampolining

Another example of a lower-impact cardiovascular exercise. When you jump on a trampoline, the flexible surface moves with you as you land, reducing the impact of landing. If time has taken a chisel to your joints, trampolining and cycling are the ones for you. When was the last time you stopped doing chores and got on the trampoline with your child? Quite a while ago, you say, because you don’t own a trampoline. Touché. If the opportunity ever arises, however, to have a quick bounce with your children (at a friend’s house, perhaps?), take it. Trampolining is the epitome of all the fun, none of the noticeable exercise.

7 Cricket/Rounders

Grab a bat and create a game with your child. Most sports fall into the category of doing exercise without noticing it, but cricket is one of the easiest to pick up and make mini games out of. We like to play French cricket, where the batter stands in the middle of a circle and tries to stop the ball from hitting their legs, which is thrown by anyone around the circle. (Better make sure it’s a tennis ball in this scenario.) Here is a little video on how this works

8. Active Games

Head Over Heels Gymnastics - Exercise Blog

Have you ever been in the situation where a child has tried to ‘tag’ you in the middle of their game, and you’ve declined and said something like, ‘can’t you see I’m holding a cup of tea’? Next time, put that tea straight down and make them run for their lives as you give chase. Not only will you be surprised by how much faster your children are now, with the realisation that you’ll probably be playing for longer than originally intended, but it will also be a great benefit to you and your children’s health and fitness. Sometimes the old way is the best way, and having a run around the garden is a timeless classic. We have listed some games that we love to play below:

  • IT or TAG
  • What’s the time Mr Wolf?
  • Stuck in the Mud
  • Man Hunt
  • The Floor is Lava

This is a video of one of these games – The Floor is Lava:

And that’s our list! Even committing to just one of these for a few days a week will cause a noticeable improvement to your health and fitness in no time. To all our readers, best of luck with the fresh start in 2018, and from all of us at Head Over Heels: Happy New Year!

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

Tips for Teachers: Creating Quality Gymnastics Lessons

Tips for Teachers: Creating Quality Gymnastics Lessons

Looking for quick and easy pointers to raise the bar of your gymnastics lessons? Then you’ve come to the right blog! Over the course of the next few hundred words, I’m going to outline the best strategies in place for the never-stagnant gymnastics course. The information is a stripped-back version of a workshop I conducted at the Connected PE Conference. Feel free to give it a look at:


As is the case with all areas of life, you can’t achieve greatness without a strong foundation. For gymnastics, this foundation is a working knowledge of the Fundamental Shapes. Be it the perfect dismount at a competition, or a sleepover party-trick, gymnastics skills aren’t going to be honed without the shapes being well and truly cemented. Here’s a quick list:

  • Front and Back Support
  • L-sit or Pike
  • Gymnastics Dish Shape by Head Over Heels Gymnastics for Gymnastics LessonsStraddle
  • Tuck
  • Dish
  • Arch
  • Posture
  • Landing Shape

These shapes are essential. Even focusing on just one per lesson will escalate the learning of the gymnast, and they should always be present in some guise or other. You will find that these shapes appear throughout all gymnastics skills: for example, a tuck is the shape the children need to make to perform a forward roll, and a straddle is the shape for a circle/Teddy-bear roll. Instilling these shapes from a very early stage in your gymnastics lessons will help to create good practice and excellent form.

Gymnastics Games

Gymnastics games are easily adaptable to include these shapes in a fun and proactive manner. An easy go-to is a gymnastics version of Stuck in the Mud, where, instead of freezing when a child is caught, they pull a gymnastics shape instead. The widespread familiarity of the game amongst children makes it a brilliant warm-up. Other simple adaptations I would recommend are Simon Says and Follow the Leader: anything to get the children thinking on their feet!

Another excellent device (although it at first sounds counterproductive) is deception. A game I like to play is to pretend I’m going to demonstrate one skill, and then demonstrating something completely different. Encouraging the gymnasts to recognise skills by themselves, instead of simply copying the teacher or other children, is a great aid to furthering their own knowledge.

Skills for Gymnastics Lessons

Skills are the meat of any gymnastics lesson, and there are a whole host of methods out there for applying these in teaching. One technique which always holds true for whichever method you use, however, is to give the exercises a go yourself beforehand. If you know the ins and outs of the skill, you’ll be able to teach the ins and outs of the skill.Gymnastics Forward Roll by Head Over Heels Gymnastics for Gymnastics Lessons


We can also lend a more tangible helping hand through our app – Head Over Heels About Gymnastics. For any gymnasts struggling with their skills, particularly on the more challenging side of things, we’ve provided instructional videos. The app is easily displayable on a whiteboard, and has been exceptionally effective when I’ve been working in schools with access to multiple tablets. With technology quickly becoming the centrepiece of society, I’ve found young gymnasts are more receptive to the teaching when interacting with the app.

Above all else, the most important aspect of teaching is to remember that progression isn’t a fixed science. A skill that a child takes to in a day may take a month for another. An easy way to solve the issue of providing an informative lesson for all, is to break the skill down into steps. This way, while those who like to develop at their own pace can concentrate on the initial steps, the stronger gymnasts can be challenged at the other end of the scale. As a teacher, you will naturally be aware of those differences in your pupils, with each child needing to set and reach their own milestones. Our app can work as an extra aid in this: it contains a broad range of skills so that the right stretch goals can be set for each individual gymnast.

Stations of Equipment

A final point which is already widely incorporated, but valuable enough to mention all the same, is the use of stations of equipment. For a quickfire session to harness multiple skills at once, have the children work on a rotational circuit. By going from station to station, the gymnasts will be constantly engaged, as well as refining those all-important shapes. A suggestion of one such circuit can be seen in the video at 37:40.

Along with the workshop video and our app, we also have books, DVDs, and a whole host of videos on our YouTube channel of skills that you can use to help you with your gymnastics lessons.

We’re trying all the time to deliver the best gymnastics advice we can muster. If this was of any help to you, or know of someone it would be, please share it around and consider buying us a coffee!

Gymnast Isabelle Collaboration

Gymnast Isabelle Roberts 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 her YouTube or using the videos below.



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 2017.

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.



  • 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:


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.


  • 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:


  • 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.



  • 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.


  • 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 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!



  • 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

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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


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.


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).


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 


Beam is often perceived to be a daunting piece of equipment, especially if your child is not attending lessons. It may seem as though the 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; 

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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.