Getting into the swing: Adults find new reason to flip out with classes


Each Sunday afternoon, a different group takes to the beams, bars, vault and floor.

Most days, Gymnastics Lane is filled with athletes 18 years old and younger.

However, for one hour each weekend, it’s the adults’ turn to have some fun.

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For the past 10 weeks, Gymnastics Lane has hosted adults gymnastics classes.

While the business has tried putting on classes in the past, there wasn’t enough interest to keep it going.

This time around, they’re averaging between six and 12 adults per session — and are looking at growth.

Julia Wilde of Seymour has worked with Gymnastics Lane owner Angie Mellencamp since she opened for business in 2010.

Wilde coaches the adult gymnastics classes, bringing a plethora of experience to the table.

“I started coaching for Gymnastics Lane when (Mellencamp) first opened,” Wilde said. “I helped out with her rec program, and then I built up to work with the team kids and helped her for three years. I also coached under some Olympians for clinicals and moved on to coach various things. I also coach CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting.

“When I got into the CrossFit, I saw there was a need for gymnastics. A lot of times, people are scared to do things when they’re not in a safe environment. I saw a need and understand the physical and mental capabilities needed. Bringing them into a facility where there’s mats, cushion and safety is huge.”

After seeing the new facilities at Gymnastics Lane that opened earlier this summer, Wilde saw opportunity.

“Coming here and seeing that people wanted to learn and having the facility for me, I knew that if I talked to Angie, we could open this up to other people,” Wilde said.

Each Sunday from 1 to 2 p.m., the gymnasts-in-training meet.

One of the most important parts of the class for Wilde is making sure that it’s open to varying levels of experience and age.

She said the ages range from 18 to 45 — so far — and many stopping by for the first time have no experience.

“I’ve had a lot of people come through that have never done a cartwheel,” Wilde said. “Now, they’re doing handstands and handstand walks. From a CrossFit standpoint, it turns over into their workouts. It also includes flexibility, strength and endurance. We do a lot of flexibility.

“We show progression. There’s always a step to where you want to be. We show them how to get there instead of jumping straight to it. The response has been amazing.”

Jake Jochem, an instructor at CrossFit Ripcord in Columbus, said he keeps coming because he wants to learn more about gymnastics.

It also offers another active outlet for Jochem.

“You’re kind of like a kid again,” Jochem said. “People get too serious sometimes. This kind of let you have fun. It’s OK to fall and get back up again. It’s good to be able to let go. When I’m in here, I don’t think of anything else going on in life.”

Nathan Otte of Seymour got hooked after one class.

“Julia found out that one of my bucket list goals was to be able to do a back tuck, so she invited me to the gym and taught it to me in one session,” Otte said. “That was the hook, and I keep coming back because there is always a more difficult progression to learn. In a few short weeks, you can look back on where you started and see big improvements.”

Otte, who has attended multiple classes, said it’s a great workout for anyone.

“There are fundamental components to every movement we do, so even if you have no background in gymnastics, there is a way to scale back to any level,” Otte said. “Any adult with a reasonable ability to tolerate impact could try it. When the experienced gymnasts come to class, it is a lot of fun to see them take on the more advanced movements. We just have to remind ourselves that we are brand new to this.”

In the future, Wilde hopes to expand the class.

“For now, it’s a ‘Let’s see what happens’ since school has started,” Wilde said. “As adults, we have children and lives. The weekends tend to be family time. I want to see how the response is now. I would love to expand it to two or three classes per week. I think that once you get that you have 12 people, I need another coach. We would have to spread it out.”

Whether you’re an athlete or not, Wilde encourages people to push their comfort zone and try new things.

“I encourage people to not be limited by their fears,” she said. “If you come in, we want to help you get past your fears. As adults, it’s more difficult to get past your fears than if you’re a child. If you’re a child, I can pick you up in my arms. As an adult, you have more freedom. Push past your fears.”

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