Nature is a wonderful place full of amazing sights to see! From the tall trees found in the Amazonian Forest to the deep-sea floor of the Pacific Ocean. Even more incredible are the animals that live in these amazing locations.
Each animal across the globe has adapted to it’s specific environment for their best chance at survival. They have learnt to hide, hunt, run, jump, twist, fall and display their skills for all to see.
Of course, being a Gymnast we don’t have to hunt and escape dangers in the gym… however there are LOTS of similarities to be found inside the gym as well as outside in the world of the animal kingdom.
Animals are amazing athletes and their skills in the wild are almost unmatched. Their abilities are often desirable for elite gymnasts due to their power, stamina and grace. Though that doesn’t mean you can’t aspire to be like one of these animals also!
Big Cat’s are one of the easiest to compare to a gymnastic display.
Cheetahs are well known for their speed, as they can reach up to speeds of 75mph. However, they aren’t truly recognized for their agility. They can perform twists and turns at speed, fighting against incredible G-forces that would damage a human body.
The easiest comparison to a gymnast would be a Vault Run. The speed of a gymnast's sprint towards the Vaulting Table needs to be swift and agile, setting themselves up for a successful trajectory over the table and preparing to land on their feet.
A gymnast must use their forwards momentum as does a Cheetah, to propel themselves forward. Leaning their chests forward and upright - legs and arms swinging and extending with force to build up their speed. Prepared to extend their bodies for their final target.
Here's an animal that you might not first consider when thinking about gymnastics is the very large and majestic Humpback Whale. Despite their impressive size and weight, the Humpback Whales are exceptionally acrobatic. They can often be found leaping and jumping out of the sea, before diving back under the waves.
Whales often twist and spiral in the air, using their large muscles to pull their bodies around in a tight rotation.
The Humpback Whale’s impressive twists can be compared to that of a trampolining gymnast. As a whale uses their momentum under the sea to propel themselves upright, a gymnast uses their downwards push from the trampoline to propel themselves into the air. Twisting in the air relies heavily on aerial awareness and a strong tight body shape. A gymnast can use their hips, core muscles and arms to direct their twists in the air.
Much as a whale does to twist their large body mass.
Another fantastic example of natural gymnastic displays can be found in Chimpanzees. They possess some of the strongest grips that can be found in the animal kingdom. Their incredible grip is up to 1.5x greater than that of a human, all due to their specific ratio of muscle tissue fibers located in their arms and chest.
Humans and Chimpanzees have a lot in common from a biological stand point, which makes this comparison rather easy.
A Chimpanzee swinging high in the tree tops would closely resemble that of a gymnasts Bars routine. Both High Bar and Uneven bars could be used for this example. The Chimpanzee climbs trees with great power, which can be attributed to its feet and hands. They also have the ability to stand upright to jump and glide for higher vantage points.
A gymnast works in a very similar way. They can reach and extend their bodies to glide, swing, twist and roll around the bar. A gymnast will use their hands to grasp the bar using their super strong forearm muscles much like a chimpanzee would. A gymnast may also stand on a bar using their feet and legs to support their body upright before launching themselves to the next bar.
Often, we also use “What a little monkey you are!” as a compliment for any child who does an impressive hang!
Animals are amazing at demonstrating incredible strength and grace, but sometimes... they need a little bit of assistance.
Here’s a super fun and cute video of baby Sloth’s learning to hold onto objects, and hang safely. Just like a Gymnastics Coach would with a little gymnast!
I hope you enjoyed today's blog post! I think it was a very fun post, that reminds us of our differences as well as our similarities with those around us.
Did you enjoy today's blog post? Do you have any fun ideas of how to move around the gym like an animal?
Let me know in the comments below!
Signing off for now,