Gymnasts are not Ninja’s!

Wait, wait, before the hate mail starts rolling in – that was just a joke.

I have always been in awe of competitive gymnasts and believed they are almost the perfect athlete at a high level.

There are obvious carry-over skills and attributes from gymnastics, but, as the following interview points out there are also some limitations.  Some I had not taken into consideration.

Gymnastic skills can prepare someone for Ninja Obstacle Course training and competition.  As well as hold another back in certain aspects.  But overall, it can only help

I am pleased to share the following interview from Kimberly Proctor of Ozark Mountain Gymnastics and Warrior Sports indoor obstacle gym – a former competitive gymnast, gymnastic teacher and Ninja Obstacle Course athlete.  In addition, Kim is a Regional qualifier for the UNAA.

Kimberly Proctor

How long were you a competitive gymnast?  I was a competitive gymnast for 5 years, but I was in gymnastics for 10.

What were your strongest and favorite events?  Bars were my strongest and floor was my favorite.

How about weakest and least favorite? Vault was my weakest and least favorite.

What are your strongest attributes (i.e. body control, core strength, balance, agility, flexibility, etc.) that you contribute to your years in gymnastics?  Flexibility is a big one. Body awareness and upper body strength are a couple more that I would say gymnastics is the main reason for.

Over the years, what injuries did you sustain?  And how do they affect you today?  I was one of the lucky ones in my group. I had one sprained ankle through all 10 years of my gymnastics career. Luckily an injury like that doesn’t affect you later on.

In addition to training gymnastics, what other related training did you do (i.e. weight training, strength training, plyometrics, etc.)?  Mostly strength training and cardio. Lots of active and passive flexibility exercises also.

What other sports/activities did you do during the same time as gymnastics?  Softball and track & field (hurdles and sprints).

What type of conditioning training did you do (i.e. running, sprinting, circuit training, etc.)?  Lots of group training (push-ups all together with our coach counting it off for example).  Running every day.  Circuit training too.  We also did a lot of conditioning on our own with a list to go by. You did it right and to the best of your ability or you went home.

What you know about Ninja Obstacle Course training – what gymnastic skills, competencies have carry-over to Ninja Obstacle Course training and vice-versa?  Anything that involves swinging really. I’ve never had a problem with building a good swing up to transfer from obstacle to obstacle because my body understands how to do that. Cannonball alley, salmon ladder transfer, unstable bridges, lache bars, etc.

Have you ever participated in rock climbing, free-running, Parkour?  And if not, would you?  Do you feel like your previous gymnastic life would prepare you or give you a slight head start with any of these disciplines?

I rock climb and I’ve attempted some Parkour. I think flexibility definitely helps with climbing. I feel like gymnastics helps and hurts when it comes to Parkour. In a way it gives me an advantage because I understand how to flip and have good body awareness. In another way it’s a disadvantage because in gymnastics you have certain ways you must do skills; Parkour is a very free movement and it’s hard for me to step outside of my comfort zone when it comes to flipping and twisting differently.

Thank You Kimberly!


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