34 answers

Boys in Gymnastics

Hi Everyone,
Ok, so I'm here to vent a little and to find out more information about gymnastics. My son is 4 and a very active kid. He is always doing summersaults, hand stands, etc. I thought it would be really cool to sign him up for a beginners gymnastic class this summer at our YMCA. I know he would really love it and it would give him some more socialization with kids his age (what he needs). So I told my husband and in-laws last night what I was going to do. They went on and on about how they didn't want him in gymnastics. "He will be the only boy" "That's a girls' sport" "The only boy I know who went to gymnastics turned out gay" Seriously?!? I was and am so upset. So really for a beginner's class, what is the boy to girl ratio? I am trying to make a pros and cons list of the whole situation. I really think it will be a good thing for him. What do you see as some pros and/or cons of putting my son in gymnastics? I know the whole fitness thing and discipline is good, but what else?

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So What Happened?™

It was my mother in law who had the most concerns over my son doing gymnastics. My husband has the attitude of "just sign him up for whatever". I am going to take my son to watch one of the classes to see if he likes it. He also does swimming during the summer and I think gymnastics would be a fun thing for him. If after he watches it and likes it, I will sign him up. I pay for the class, not my mother in law.

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My son wanted to do gymnastics because he wanted to learn how to do standing front &backflips. He taught himself how to do it on the trampoline but couldn't do it on ground. There were a plenty of boys in the class. It was actually 50/50. The girls had their team and the boys had theirs. He had a blast. He had taught himself so many 'tricks' that they all thought he had previous gymnastics lessons, but that was his first time at it. He is all boy, trust me; and he enjoyed gymnastics, so what? I think they're being close minded and shame on them.

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There were several boys in the all the classes. Why?? Mainly because it was a lot of fun! In addition to the tumbling and other boys events, we also had a rock climbing wall, trampoline, giant foam pit.

Several of the boys who were in the classes were very good athletes in other sports such as hockey, soccer and football. Their coaches actually recommended that they take gymnastics because through gymnastics you can develop skills to enhance other sports...coordination, flexibility, strength and power. There's also other benefits such as increased self esteem, social interaction, cooperation, team work, sportsmanship, listening to directions.

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My 4 year old girl started gymnastics in March and she really loves it. There are boys there, but is mainly girls. I would say that it is only about 10% boys, 90% girls. I absolutely see no problem with it whatsoever, but he very well may be the only boy there. I think that more boys SHOULD do it! It's not all tackle this and kick that, etc. It teaches great listening skills, control and technique and is not a contact sport so the aggression thing is not there either.

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My son wanted to do gymnastics because he wanted to learn how to do standing front &backflips. He taught himself how to do it on the trampoline but couldn't do it on ground. There were a plenty of boys in the class. It was actually 50/50. The girls had their team and the boys had theirs. He had a blast. He had taught himself so many 'tricks' that they all thought he had previous gymnastics lessons, but that was his first time at it. He is all boy, trust me; and he enjoyed gymnastics, so what? I think they're being close minded and shame on them.

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My oldest son (now 18) was a competitive gymnast. He now coaches gymnastics and my 5 yo is taking lessons. Like you, I looked into gymnastics because my boys were constantly flipping jumping tumbling their way around. Yes there are more girls in gymnastics. My main advice to you is to look for a gymnastics school that has a boys program! Boys use different equipment than girls. They actually compete in 6 different events (girls only have 4.) Don't listen to the ignorant comments. Gymnastics is an incredibly challenging sport that increases strength, balance, flexibility, stamina. I hope your son loves it as much as mine!

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So I guess your husband and in laws have never watched the Olympics, huh?

Our gym had LOTS of boys, including a boy's competitive team. But at 4 it's much more recreational than that and it probably would be a coed class.

Depending on your gym he would likely be spending most of his class time on the tumble tramp, trampoline, foam pit, swinging on trapeze/rings, climbing ropes and/or rock wall. In short, it is little boy HEAVEN.

Since your husband sounds like an ignorant homophobe (sorry, but he does) I suggest you take him along with you to visit the gym and learn about their program.

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Don't discuss everyTHING with everyONE! Raising kids is not a democracy. Not everyone gets a vote!

My girl did gymnastics and there were alot of boys n the tumbling class. I think being a guy in gymnastics would be a studly thing to do in highschool. He will be surrounded by all girls!

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My daughter has been in gymnastics for 3 years now (she is 6). There has not been any boys in her class, but there are certainly boys in gymnastics! Our club has a boys gymnastic class starting at about 5 or 6 years old. The coach is also a man... A married man with grown children! I hope your inlaws and your husband reconsiders how silly they are behaving,

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That is absolutely ridiculous! Yes, there are more boys than girls, but who cares?! He obviously has an aptitude for it, and he'd probably really enjoy it. Take him to a beginner's class, and if he likes it, start him some place with a boys' program. So silly!

I agree with another poster... have they seen the Olympics? Those guys are the most buff, most "manly" looking men I've ever seen.

Good luck!

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When my sons were little, they did gymnastics at the YMCA. There was such an interest in it, that they even had a boys-only class.

After the beginner class, there were a lot more girls than boys, but that is partly due to changing interests and part because people are like your in-laws and don't give their kids a chance.

You don't need a pro/con list, you just need to tell them to get over it and it isn't up for discussion. If you try to make a presentation, it tells them that they get to have a say in your parenting choices. They don't.

I hope your husband sides with you if necessary.

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I took both of my boys to gymnastics at that age. My older son's class was a boys class so it was great. THe younger one was in a mix of about half and half b/c it was a preschool class. Instead of the Y you should look at places around you where they train real gymnasts. All of those gyms around my house offer kid's classes.

Sorry you have to deal with such narrow mindedness. Honestly-it is just this attitude that turns little boys into punks when they get a little bit older. You show me the punk and I can pick out the dad. He is usually the "he-man macho sports guy" seriously-I would do what I can if I were you to make sure that this does not happen to your son. Punky kids are rarely happy kids.

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From what I gather it does seem to be mostly girls, BUT my nephew is 2 and in gymnastics. He loves it and has a few other boys to play with. If he would like it then it should not matter. My SIL says its the best things she ever did for her kids and she has a girl and boy, so I say go with your gut. Maybe even ask him if it sounds fun to him, I know my daughter will ramble on and on if I ask her if she wants to do something she finds interesting.

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There were several boys in the all the classes. Why?? Mainly because it was a lot of fun! In addition to the tumbling and other boys events, we also had a rock climbing wall, trampoline, giant foam pit.

Several of the boys who were in the classes were very good athletes in other sports such as hockey, soccer and football. Their coaches actually recommended that they take gymnastics because through gymnastics you can develop skills to enhance other sports...coordination, flexibility, strength and power. There's also other benefits such as increased self esteem, social interaction, cooperation, team work, sportsmanship, listening to directions.

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Did someone drop male gymnastics from the Olympic games? I missed that memo.

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My daughter did gymnastics for awhile. I rarely saw a boy at her center and it was pretty big. But, I know they did have a boys class, so maybe they all went to that class. We did see one occassionally, more often in the very young class.

However, there is no reason a boy can't do gymnastics. Especially at such a young age. There are plenty of men gymnasts.

Gymnastics offers Physical Benefits like Gaining muscle strength, developing strong healthy bones, and increased flexibility. But, it also offers Non-Physical Benefits like encouraging healthy brain function, improving Social Skills, Reduced Risky Behavior, learning respect, self control, responsibility, confidence, sportsmanship and other character-based concepts. Why should we limit this to the girls?!

Tell them to stuff a sock in it and take him!!!

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I've been teaching gymnastics for 22 years and the boy/girl ratio in gymnastics classes varies greatly depending on the age. For 4-year old beginners, it's usually 50-50. For example, in my preschool beginner class I have 3 boys and 3 girls. It's usually about even, some sessions I have more boys and some sessions I have more girls. But if I figured it out for the whole year for preschool gymnastics, it would probably be about 50-50.

There are more boys in preschool gymnastics because the parents want to give their boys some outlet for their energy. They love the physical part of it, and at that age the skills they are learning are about the same. Rolling, jumping, handstands, swinging, balance, etc.

At age 6 the boys move to their own class since they start working on the equipment and the moves are different. We still get a few boys now and then in the regular class, but most want to come to the boys only class. Once the kids turn about 8 years old, the ratio changes and we have about 70% girls and 30% boys in our entire program.

If your child is 4, you will definitely have more boys in the class I would think.

Also, signing your child up for something isn't going to make him gay! How ignorant! If he's straight, he will be straight no matter what. And if he's gay, he will be gay no matter what sport he chooses! You can't "make" someone gay. Sheesh.

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My daughter takes gymnastics and there are boy teams and boy groups. No not all gay at all. Also cheerleading. Trust me many of the boys in cheerleading are not gay. In fact they love the fact they can hold the girls for jumps etc. lol so check your local competative cheerleading place for tumbling classes. Next dont tell them lol

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By the time my son was your sons age he had had 2 years of Gymnastics already. It is great for their balance and teaches them a lot about their body and also makes them a bit more fearless, which is good, IMO.

~There were about 1/2 and 1/2 boys VS. girls in his classes. He is now 8 yrs old and has been playing baseball for 5 years and is in no danger of becoming gay because he did Gymnastics as a young kid!!

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My son took gymnastics from age 4 to age 7. He loved it and was very good at it...he only stopped because this year he wanted to do soccer and I don't let him sign up for too many things at once. There were only 3 boys in his earlier class (him included), but as he got older there were lots of boys. It turns out the football coach in town makes every boy in football take either dance or gymnastics to get stronger. I did notice that at the high school level it was mostly girls. I personally think it is dead wrong to think of it as a girl's sport. My son LOVED it and got extremely strong doing it. His gymnastics place here is awesome and they have ziplines and a big ball pit too, so it's extra fun for the kids.

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I would ignore the grands. I would have more issue with my DH undermining my choice for our child. I think gymnastics is great. How many times have you heard it suggested for football players to take ballet for balance? The harm will come from them telling him he's doing a "girl sport" vs him doing the gymnastics. If they can't let your son be who he is, then their love and support is conditional, and that is sad. And maybe he'll continue or maybe not, but it sounds like a good thing for an active child. Besides, if he's already doing summersaults and such, then why not teach him the RIGHT way so he doesn't hurt himself?

Frankly, sometimes it's good to be the only boy. One of SD's friends took dance last semester - BECAUSE he was likely to be the only guy. He liked those odds.

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I take my daughter, at her age (2 1/2), its about half and half. Once they are over 4 yrs old, the boys and girls are in separate classes. Im sure all gyms are different. One of the older boys at our gym just got a scholarship to college, for gymnastics, as far as I know it has not turned him gay, lol. At such a young age, they jump on the trampoline, swing on rings, walk on the balance beam, ect. Why dont you ask if you can sign him up for a trial class and have your husband go with you. And tell your inlaws to mind their own business, lol.

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Ignore the grandparents, and hubby needs to get with the program. Last I looked, mens gymnastics was an olympic sport. He needs to join the 21st century. You don't "turn" gay.

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Like people are saying, it is mostly girls but I think at that younger age our ratio was more like 70/30. And my daughters go to a very big center with kids who compete nationally and there are plenty of boys. My husband is a very big guy who went on to play football etc and he did gymnastics until he was 10 or 12 and just loved it. The rings sure aren't feminine. The strength it takes... I understand your husband's pov but 4 is way way too young to think about it like he is. I know lots of little boys who did gymnastics just for a couple of years bc like your son, it was good exercise, fun etc. They're too young at 4 to do a lot of other sports like baseball...

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Well there definently more girls than boys. I think in the beginner classes that I have seen on nights my son has classes there are about 4 girls to every one boy. He took a class at his daycare when he was in pre school and learned how to do cartwheels and a few other things. After that we could not get him to stop flipping. I was not till he was 8 almost 9 that we put him in a class. We didn't know where to take him. When he went to the first class they were so impressed with his skill they put him on a pre team. He's been on it for a little over a year. He started at a lvl 4 and now is a 6 but can do some lvl 8 skills. They wanted him to compete this year but we could not. He should be competing by next year. He will be 10 next month. He loves it. It has tought him focus and disapline. On the team for trampoline and tumbling where he is at there is a pretty good ratio of boys and girls. If you son wants to do it go for it. Sounds like something he would love. My son's goul is to go to the olympics. In the grand skeam of how many boys to girls there are at the gym there are much more girls but they do the complusery stuff that the boys don't do.

Good luck and God Bless!!!

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My 4 year old boy has been taking gymnastics on an off since he was 2 and of all the classes I have put him in, gymnastics is his favorite. Sure...there are more boys than girls in the class, but he loves to watch the older boys and girls practice when we leave and tells me he wants to do that someday.

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Really?!!! Don't they watch the Olympics?

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Tell them to turn on the tv in 2 1/2 months and have them watch those ripped men with cute butts in the olympics-then say it's a girls sport. yummy!!! Can't wait!

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Do they watch the Olympics?!? ;) So sorry you have to deal with this nonsense when you're just trying to help your son.

Our son is 3.5 and he loves his gym class!! It's about 50/50 boys and girls at his age. It's great to get them to follow instructions in addition to all the physical stuff. But it's one of the few sports that isn't a team sport, which has it's own benefits. It's also great because it can be year-round since it's indoors. It's true that the older classes are almost all girls but I will say that my (heterosexual) brother was close to being an Olympian before he quit gymnastics!

I won't even address the gay issue because it's too absurd. But I will say that I love the idea of my son being surrounded by strong and talented FEMALE athletes -- both students and teachers. How often is that gonna happen in our sons' lives?? I'll grab any opportunity for boys to grow into respectful men.

Be careful not to choose gym over something else JUST to win the argument... you certainly don't want overestimate your family members and create an ugly environment for your child if you enroll him and - even if it's wrong - he's got family making him feel uncomfortable or ashamed of it. (Wouldn't they be sorry if he's the next Olympian??) Other options for your family might be: martial arts (people RAVE about this for so many reasons, even for young kids -- boys AND GIRLS -- (Gasp!) ;), swimming, tennis, soccer, indoor rock climbing.

If you have a kid with a lot of energy, he needs SOME way of getting it all out... especially when he starts school - he'll do better all around. Some people just need more activity than others to be able to think and do normal daily tasks.

Good luck.

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My 4 year old girl started gymnastics in March and she really loves it. There are boys there, but is mainly girls. I would say that it is only about 10% boys, 90% girls. I absolutely see no problem with it whatsoever, but he very well may be the only boy there. I think that more boys SHOULD do it! It's not all tackle this and kick that, etc. It teaches great listening skills, control and technique and is not a contact sport so the aggression thing is not there either.

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The 4 year old class my daughter is in has 3 girls and 2 boys...

They learn skills like balance that will help with many other sports...

The classes where I live are about 1/3 boys in the preschool age group. Sign him up. Nevermind the lists, your husband and his parents are the only things that would go in the con column. They will get over it.

I know you have already gotten some really good answers. I was in gymnastics as a teenager (and a coach for 15 years after) and, if I remember correctly, boys gymnastics came WAY before girls gymnastics! It is a boys sports, but the girls get more publicity from it! Everything I learned then was from a boys coach and the way the boys do it! The tricks they are doing nowadays, the boys have been doing for decades before them! Unfortunately your MIL has a very skewed outlook on it. I know that we can't just dismiss their point of view or we will have lots of little battles in our homes. So my suggestion would be to do your homework. Research how much longer boys gymnastics has been around, and how it is a boys sport and only in the last 20-30 years have the girls emerged and present it to your husband. Change his view, and he can change theirs! Good Luck!

At our gym there are classes that have more boys than girls. Some classes have very few boys. Ask the person who enrolls your child to please pick the class with the most boys in it.

It is the end of the school year so summer classes may be forming. It will be hard at first to see the ratio's.

In my grandson's class tonight there were about 7 boys ages 5, 6, and 7 and about 5 girls of the same ages. That was the 4pm class. The 5pm class had 3 boys and the rest were girls.

The 6pm class is pretty much used for cleaning. The owner will do private lessons and special groups that want to work on something, like getting ready for a competition, during this one hour. The rest of the week every hour of the evening is a class, maybe even 2 going at the same time, for gymnastics and/or tumbling.

Tonight the high school cheer team from a nearby town came to work.....tonight the class was almost completely made up of the football team. They play football during the football season then the rest of the year they compete and do the normal cheer stuff. They are fantastically good. They were bouncing and doing triple flips and having a blast tonight. The girls took the night off so the guys could focus on some special flips and stuff they want to do better. Tomorrow night the whole cheer squad will be there in full working their hiney's off.

Each gym will be different. You'll just need to ask and be up front. Tell them that if there are no other boys in the class that you will drop him and find another gym. They will know you mean it. He will feel much better once he is in a class where he finds a companion.

I would say call the local gymnastics places. Ask the person who talks to you about the classes for a 4 year old beginner. What days and times do they do that age group. Then if there is more than one day ask if you can come visit and observe those sessions. If they say parents are not allowed then see if there is another gym available. That way you can see how he is acting in class and see if it is a good fit for him.

I manage a FB page for our gym. Here is what is in our information box.
_______________________________________________
"Gymnastics is a natural sport for kids. They love to turn cartwheels, do flips, bounce, and balance on just about everything, even toddlers want to roll around on the floor.

Your children will develop in the areas of spatial awareness, body awareness, self-confidence; as well as increasing areas like strength, flexibility and endurance. They will be taught basic skills that will enhance their balance, strength, and flexibility. Gymnastics also develops bone strength that will last throughout their life.

Some of the equipment used at XXX Gym are:
inflatable (air floor mats) floor mats
triangle-shaped incline mats
Balancing beams of various heights
tumble trak
spring floordeck
skill shapes, look like huge bolster pillows and are used to support beginning flips
rock climbing wall, foam cubes, air mountain
uneven parallel bars

Gymnastics is a sport both boys and girls can do. Taking gymnastics classes at XXX Gym is a great way for children to develop coordination, gain confidence, and stay healthy.

The discipline, poise and self confidence gymnasts develop are important to kids at any age. Training in gymnastics provides all of this wrapped in a fun package that they really enjoy! Come to the gym and check out some classes, your children will be sure to enjoy them."
________________________________________

I have both my son (4.5 yo) and daughter (7 yo) in Gymnastics at the Rec Center. For both of them, it’s just an hour of gym-type things. I know my daughter will never be a gymnast (she’s built like a swimmer), but it’s fun for her to do the gym type things. She’s in “Active-Girls” class. My son, who is in Pre-School gym (and again, it’s not gymnastics in the sense of “gymnast-gymnastics”) is with both boys and girls, but when he enters Kindergarten, they split the boys and girls. Gymnastics doesn’t make anyone gay and certainly not everyone will be a gymnast. But I think the gym activities is beneficial to their development as it gives them free time to run, balance, stretch, learn about body movement and listen to other adults.

Some friends of ours (who happen to be very small...she 4'10, he maybe 5'3) have a son who is also very small for his age. Despite his small stature, he has always been a full speed ahead, no fear kind of kid with lots of energy. They had him in gymnastics when he was younger to burn energy etc. He is now finishing up 3rd grade, and is on a wrestling team always winning in his weight class all over the state and even in nationals. I'm willing to bet the gymnastics helped him by increasing strength, flexibility, agility, coordination etc. Good luck!

My boys (3 and almost 6) will be taking gymnastics this summer. I've always planned on doing this, but this is the first time it's worked out. My boys are both "all boy." They climb they "kung fo fight" and wrestle all the time. I believe basic tumbling and gymnastics is very good for kids, in general. I especially want my boys to take gymnastics because I want them to do all the physical things they want to do at home but in a safe environment. They will get to climb and tumble and swing and do all kinds of things that they can't necessarily do at home.

All I know is they will most likely have a blast!

I really want to introduce my kids to many different sports and activities. There isn't too much they can do yet. As someone mentioned, soccer and baseball and other sports begin in grade school. This is something they can do now. They will each decide later what they want to stick with. It's my job to say, "Hey, look at this sport. What do you think? Give it a try, and have fun doing it."

My 9yo has been in gymnastics since he was 3. The ratio (math people forgive me here) for his classes has been 100% boys, because he's in the boys/men's program!

There's almost no overlap (floor & vault only), because men's gymnastics uses different equipment for the most part).

At the gym my son goes to, there are about 5 boys classes per day (different levels and time slots) and about 10 girls slots. There are mixed sex classes only in the mom n me, and summer daycamp programs.

The girls program, in addition to different equipment, focuses most on flexibility. The boys program is all about strength. ((I say all, but as an ex gymnast it's crazy fun to watch my son train, because it's sooooooo different from how trained! But of course, speed, agility, large and fine muscle control, etc. is all the same)

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