You’re too fat for gymnastics

Ok! Calm down, I just wanted to get your attention…. geez. If anything this is going to be an empowering article about how your weight should be directly supported by your goals and performance and not just for looks and insecurities. I am actually offended that you’re offended, how very dare you!

Good day Sir!




Anyhoo, if you’re not a soft touch, let’s continue.

Recently I went with some friends to an awesome parkour gym and tried some of the cool stuff that goes on there. I have not done a lot of things that involve me swinging and jumping off bars onto other bars; pull ups, turnovers, muscle ups and kipping would really be the height of my general bar work. I came to the realisation very quickly that yes, I was having a lot of fun, but this is not what I have trained in before and if it was something I would want to pursue, I would be much better losing a few kilos first. If i continued at the weight I currently am my shoulders would crap themselves, and bearing in mind I do have REALLY strong mobile shoulders.


The issue isn’t my shoulder strength, it’s the accumulated force acquired by my fat ass flying through the air, and this goes for the famously evil kipping pull up also. There are studies on the percentages of bad things being increased and stuff.. they’re kinda interesting to read about but at the end of the day, everyone is built differently and we all come in a vast majority of shapes and sizes. An exact percentage of impact for your individual bodyweight & shoulder make up of you springing off a pull up bar is pretty hard to measure, just trust me when I say it’s higher than you want.

When you jump off a box that’s quite high you feel the shock in your body as you land, it’s not nice. Do you ever notice that when you’re too high up, that instinctively you don’t even want to try to jump down? You shimmy to the edge and climb down as much as possible. Why do we not give our shoulders the same respect as our ankles and knees?

When practicing something like parkour, callisthenicsĀ or gymnastics, until you gain precision through practice you’re going to make mistakes, and it’s these mistakes that can become quite costly to your general joint health. Building a solid foundation of strength is ridiculously important if you want to be able to do cool stuff later on in your training (and I don’t mean next Tuesday). In the video below there are a few ideas on how to build strength on the bars, rings and floor to not only give you better joint strength and awareness but also build muscle through repetition. When is the last time you ever had a straight arm shoulder pump day?


This is the groundwork you can start to put in while you’re cleaning up your diet and getting lean as possible. The lighter you are the easier you will be able to manoeuvre yourself through the air. By no means should you just say “I can’t do that” or that you’re “too heavy”, if you really want to do callisthenics just START! There are a million things you need to get proficient at before you can do the fancy things, so the sooner you start the stronger your foundation is going to be.

In my opinion everyone needs a coach for no matter what they want to do, we need teachers, we ALWAYS miss details. So if you really don’t want to waste any time, sign up to a class, and if you want to go the extra mile and get private sessions also, DO IT! I always aim for 3 things for any skill:

1. Private tuition
2. Class and training environment
3. Self practice

It really doesn’t matter at the end of the day what you choose to do, if you are sensible about it and get guidance you can have a damn good stab at anything as long as you fulfil the prerequisites. So adapt to what you want to do, if you really love handstands and gymnastics and want to make that your primary practice then LOOK at the guys that do it! It’s not just because of the training method, it is lifestyle habits and sensible recovery methods.


If you want to be good at something start taking control of all the things that you can now and you’ll get there sooner than you think, weight should NEVER be a factor. Everyone has an inspirational story inside them when they get up off their fat ass (I was fat once so I can say that, you see).

Thank you for reading!
Keep being awesome!
The original Chub Chub