40 is just another 20

For the past year or so I’ve been trying to decide on something meaningful to do on my 40th birthday. I know people who do backflips for every year they are old, but I wanted to do something different. Last year I started out focusing on a manna so I was hoping that would be it, but I pushed too hard in the spring and had to back off from that.

I had several other ideas like 40 circles on my floor mushroom, 40 circles with a moore after every 5 on the pommel horse, 40 handstand pushup hop half turns on floor, or a 40 second handstand on rings without using the straps. But when I dislocated my thumb last month at the ASU Maroon & Gold meet I had to shelve all those ideas for later.

On Friday (1/20/17) I got back into the gym for the first time since the competition in December. It was a lot of fun, and I even got to see the Illinois team practice as guests at Aspire while I was there. While warming up with the ASU team I realized I just about had my splits. Although I had been going through the front split stretch series weekly for nearly a year, regular splits are actually not one of the exercises in that series so I didn’t know how close I was.

For those of you who might say “he’s a gymnast, of course he can do the splits” it’s not that simple. All of the US men’s Olympic team last year did not have their splits (I know because I watched some of their training videos on youtube). Less than 10% of the current ASU men’s gymnastics team can do the splits. When I was in college there were usually one or two guys who could do the splits (I was not one of them).

There were brief periods in my life so far when I could do the splits, but I never had such a systematic approach to achieving or maintaining them so those periods were short lived. Following the gymnastic bodies program I am rebuilding my temple brick by brick. Without the pressure of frequent competitions (like college athletes have) I am able to take the time I need to build a foundation that will keep me safe when I play in the gym. Stay tuned, I’m just getting started. 🙂

About Robert

I competed in gymnastics for 16 years through college at Arizona State University. After 10 years and 5 (now 6) children, I have returned to gymnastics as a competitor. I am a lifetime gymnast. :)
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