It may sound like the old-school way to get into shape. But thousands of adults are turning to the rings, rope and mat, and rediscovering their inner child in the process

Right now, thousands of perfectly ordinary adults are in online forums airing concerns such as: “Is it necessary to apply the posterior pelvic tilt in the straddled one-arm handstand?” Or: “Pancake stretch: position of the knees?” These are just a couple of the posts by the 32,432 members of the forum on Gymnastic Bodies – an online training programme designed by the former US Olympic gymnastics team coach Christopher Sommer. Profile pictures frequently show off killer abs and favourite (gymnastic) positions, but the tone of the discussions is one of camaraderie and a shared childlike wonder at the cool stuff their bodies are now capable of. Meet the gymnastics geeks.

Gymnastics may sound old-school compared with the high-intensity interval training and Clubbercise classes doing the rounds in gym chains, but many are quietly eschewing the mindless burn in favour of this more progressive approach, using wall bars, rings and ropes, and culminating in a “human flag” (grabbing on to a vertical bar and suspending your body horizontally – the ultimate demonstration of strength).

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