The Reasons Leotards Are Essential for Gymnasts
What are the first things that come to mind when you think of gymnastics? Mine are leotards! They’re the symbols of the sport, and if you ask me, they truly come to light during competitions – well, apart from the gymnasts’ performances!
This explains why there’s such a vast variety of the gymnastics leos nowadays, in versatile styles and colours you can find at specialised stores, as the basic equipment they are. Before we move on to the purchasing aspect, it’s important to focus on the reasons as to why they’ve come to be so essential in the first place.
Ever since they were first used officially in the sport, back in 1886, the main purpose was to allow the gymnast a greater amount of comfort and flexibility needed for the precise movements. The first gymnast to wear one was Jules Leotard hence the name of this piece of equipment. Such clothing was and still is requisite to this day, especially during the aerial performances which demand more freedom.
Let’s face it, just a little distraction is enough to mess up your precision, lead to errors and even injuries. Being able to focus on the moves and perform well is more important than having to deal with clothing that’s made of uncomfortable fabrics, isn’t in the right fit, and is heavy to the point of causing overheating. In other words, if you care about your focus and performance, it’s important that you choose your lightweight leotard carefully so it’s not ill-fitting, making you have to adjust it all the time.
Moreover, it’s also a matter of safety for the gymnast when doing some of the most difficult moves, as in the example of the Produnova vault. The shape and materials chosen for the gymnastics leotards were mainly out of necessity so the design wouldn’t have any loose parts that would easily interfere with the performance. This being said, it’s understandable stretch fabrics are still favoured.
While the design of the gymnastics leos is close-fitting and shows off the muscular figure of the gymnasts, it still provides enough coverage so it’s neither too open nor closed, exactly why it can be of help when a boost in confidence is needed prior to the performance. That is, as long as the athlete likes the leotard he or she is wearing which is an aspect that’s crucial for making them feel good about themselves!
Apart from making a lasting impression with the moves, an athlete can also get everyone’s attention (the judges and the audience!) with the choice of leotard which further goes to show its importance. Thankfully, there’s a vast array of options of gymnastics leotard on the market that can steal the show with a bit of glitter, and they’re all created to cater to gymnasts’ requirements regarding taste and functionality!
Choosing Your Leotard
As I already mentioned, the right leotard makes a world of difference, and let’s face it, with such a wide range of choices it might be rather difficult when it comes to shopping for the ideal one. If you’re in need of some help taking your pick, remember these aspects:
The Occasion – When choosing the leotard, it’s important to buy based on the occasion which can either be training or competing. For the first, there’s more flexibility in terms of the fabrics and the fit. It can be a design made of cotton that’s well-fitting, as opposed to the latter which ought to be tighter and made of stretchy shiny materials necessary to make you stand out from the crowd.
The Season – There are long-sleeved and short-sleeved leotards for a reason: you can choose them based on the season you’re wearing them. Still, some individuals find the long-sleeved design to be rather restrictive and opt to wear the short-sleeved year-round, so the choice basically comes down to what makes you feel more comfortable.
The Level – Depending on which level you are in gymnastics, you could go for something simpler for the beginner levels whereas the more you advance in the sport and reach a pro level, the more your leotard style should follow too into more elaborate.
The Brand – When you truly want to make your presence known among competition, you care more about the brand you’re wearing. If you intend to take the sport seriously, the advice is to invest in quality designs from reputable brands, like Energetiks, as they’re durable and good value for money. The last thing you want is to buy a leotard that would split the minute you do your moves!
The Size – As the tight-fitting clothing they are, leotards tend to be in smaller sizes which is why many choose a size larger than the one they usually wear. In case you aren’t sure about the size, particularly when purchasing online, be sure to check out a sizing chart from the store or the specific brand you’re buying from to avoid mistakes.