The Inspired Treehouse

What Does Weight Bearing Mean?

Weight bearing involves the use of muscles against gravity.  In this type of activity, muscle groups work together to support the bones as the body holds a position such as standing, propping up on your elbows in a prone position to play a game, or doing a downward dog in yoga. 

Why is Weight Bearing Important?

Positions like these promote bone health by increasing bone density and strength and also help to shape the joints (e.g. the point at which the leg bones meet the pelvis) of growing kids.  Weight bearing also ultimately leads to improvement in a child’s balance, strength, and coordination.

Positions where kids are bearing weight provides proprioceptive input to the body’s joints and muscles.  A functioning proprioceptive system allows children to move, play, and explore in a smoothly coordinated and efficient way – not too gently, not too rough.  

Standing positions provide important proprioceptive and strengthening benefits to kids’ feet, ankles, knees, and hips.  Positions that require kids to bear weight on their upper extremities (e.g. quadruped, prone) are essential to the development of hand strength and stability in the wrists and shoulders.

Let’s look more closely…

A newborn baby spends a lot of time on her back.  Her legs and arms move freely, often in very uncoordinated, jerky movements.  

As she grows, she spends more time in weight bearing positions:  

-On her belly (tummy time, anyone?), propped up on her elbows (bearing weight through the elbows into the shoulders and even pushing up onto hands), 

-In quadruped preparing to crawl (weight bearing through knees, hips, and hands)

-Up on her feet getting ready to walk (bearing weight up her whole lower body chain from her feet through her knees and then hips)

As more weight bearing opportunities occur, this little girl’s movements become more and more coordinated and smooth and her bones, joints, and muscles become stronger and increasingly stable.

So What’s the Big Deal About Weight Bearing?

You may be thinking what’s the big deal? Kids will naturally get these weight bearing experiences during regular development.

This may be true for most kids, however, we see many kids who skip the crawling phase altogether (you can learn more about why crawling is so important here), which means they miss out on a whole lot of quadruped weight bearing opportunities that are essential for typical motor development and strengthening.

Additionally, kids with congenital conditions such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida may not be able to independently weight bear through one or more extremities and may need help to do so.  In this case, weight bearing can be helpful for reducing high tone and promoting bone growth too! 

Weight Bearing Activities for Kids

Here our some of our favorite weight bearing activities that kids…

1 || Climbing up a slide

2 || Playing in quadruped

3  || Wheelbarrow walking

4  || Yoga poses

5  || Pushing a heavy object across a room

6  || Holding a plank pose

7  || Hanging from the monkey bars

8 || Standing on one foot

9 || Animal walks

10 ||  Wall push-ups


What’s New at Atlantic. New Year News


Here is the Portsmouth competitive team overview:
The Portsmouth Atlantic JO team jumped right into action in 2019.  During the first weekend of January gymnasts competed at the Dream Big Invitational in Hanover, MA.  We had 6 of our optional team gymnasts qualify to event finals! One of our Level 8 gymnasts made finals in 3 events and WON all three!

The month of January will continue to be busy with all JO and Xcel levels competing at the Little Boston Invitational the weekend of 1/11 – 1/13.  The competition will be held at the Prudential Center in Boston.  The last weekend of January both teams will compete close to home at the Winter Carnival meet where we hope to qualify everyone out of this sectional meet and into their state championship meet.  Our two level 10 gymnasts will compete at the Daggetts Invitational in Springfield on this weekend rather than at Winter Carnival.  The venue for the Daggetts meet is the same venue that their Regional Meet will be held so we are headed there to practice competing at this facility.

In February we have two special meets planned.  The first is the Susan Strong Invitational in Wilmington, MA.  A part of the proceeds from this meet will be used to support pancreatic cancer research in honor of Susan White, who was a member of our gymnastics community.  At the end of the month the teams will be headed to Florida!  We are competing at the Gasparilla Classic and the meet will be on the Tropicana Field which is the home of the Tampa Bay Rays. Everyone is looking forward to some warm weather in February!


Tumbling Workshop 
Friday, January 11th 6:30-8:30pm
$25/gymnast Ages 6-18 yrs old 
Drills to advance your tumbling skills. Calling all co-ed dancers, cheerleaders, tumblers or anyone that wants to be upside down! 
*Spots are limited, register today!

MLK Jr Camp
Monday, January 21st 9:00-12:30pm 
Ages 3-12 yrs old 
Vault, Bars, Beam, Floor, Trampoline, Games & More! No school? Send the kids to us and we will take care of the rest! 
$25/child, $15/additional siblings 
*Spots are limited, register today! 

Tummy Time 
Drop In classes, $1! 
Thursday’s at 12:45-1:15pm

Pre-crawling babies and their caretakers are invited to join us for a half hour of Tummy Time at Atlantic! Come stimulate your little one’s growth and socialize with other parents at the same time. Movement initiates brain development! 

Gym Fit 
Thursday’s 7:30-8:30pm 
Drop in, $15/person or 6 class pass $75 
Ages 18+ yrs 
Join Coach Jill, Meg, Lindsey for an adult class that will spice up your everyday routine! 


Boys Blitz Program Overview

The Blitz classes are designed as an alternative to a formal boys gymnastics program. It allows students to explore movement, create a strong work ethic, and to be adaptive with their movements in a controlled, safe environment. Available to boys ages 6-19


All Students will start in this level and master the basics!

-Strength & Conditioning-
-Gym & Personal Safety-
Skill progression sheets are kept for each student
Example 1hr class: 15min warm-up/stretch, 15min of strength conditioning, 30min working on tumbling skills. Tumble skills at this level will be taught on resi mats and/or tumble track. Conditioning & strength training will be bodyweight based, students will also be instructed on the safe use of the balance beams and bars.

Progression through the Blitz Basic class is on an individual basis and takes time. Once a students’ skills progression sheet is completed and the coaches expectations for strength/conditioning/flexibility/and safety are met, the student may be invited to move up a level!


This class requires a coach invite and completion of the BLITZ BASIC progression sheet

First of the advanced level classes! All the skills, hard work, and conditioning from BLITZ BASIC will be expanded upon and made more challenging with a new skill progression sheet! Skills previously preformed only on resi mats and Tumble Track will be progressed to the spring floor and new, more challenging skills, will be introduced to take their place! Strength & conditioning will become more challenging and include instruction on the proper use of light weights and equipment.

Sample of new skills Introduced at this level! -Round-off rebounds and basic connected skills- -Dive/Shoulder Rolls-
-Bar & Beam workouts and Skills- -Front Handsprings-
-Front Tucks-
-Side Flips-
-V aulting-

Most advanced BLITZ class! 1.5 hrs long!

Class Requirements -Coach invite from Blitz One- -Good round-off rebound on floor- -Front or Back Handspring- -Front tuck on floor- -Strong work ethic-

Most advanced BLITZ class! In this class students will learn the most advanced tumbling, mini tramp, bars, beam and vaulting skills and how to string them together creatively! They’ll master skills in all the planes of motion and mold themselves into highly adaptive and exceptional athletes!

Pre School Happenings in Portsmouth

 The month of January has preschool reaching for the stars!

We are working on our “superstar lunges” and how to put a star finish on our skills.

We continue to have our open gym Monday and Thursdays at 12:00-12:45 and Weds from 12:30-1:15. 

Our Gym Jam will be on January 25th from 9:15-10:15.


Have you ever wondered what traits would surface in your daughter if she were placed in a competitive team environment?

Being the center of attention, tasked with remembering choreography and performing it in front of a judge, with the best possible technique, can be very daunting. Occasionally we find those natural performers who love all eyes on them. They seem to handle the pressure with ease. But more often the first time competitor is nervous, fearful of getting up in front of peers, parents and judges. Many are worried they will embarrass themselves.

I wanted to share some moments from in house routine class that highlight some of these discovered traits.

One of my happiest moments during class is when the girls compliment each other. There are times When I ask them to pick out there favorite moment from a teammate’s routine. Compliments range from pointed feet, to handstands and cartwheels, to performance and musicality. The best moments are when the compliments are unsolicited. “Wow! That was amazing. That was such a great routine.” When I witness the girls genuine joy for each others accomplishments I see the selflessness of being a positive teammate.

Just recently one of my students came in to the gym and the first thing out of her mouth was, “Heather, I know my floor routine.” It was said with pride and self assurance. Sequencing is not an easy skill to master. The routines have intricate poses and accents. The gymnastic skills are often the easy part. On another occasion one student was finding it difficult to remember her beam routine. She started to tear up. I like to give the girls a chance to take a second and remember on their own what comes next. Patience and Focus. However on this day, another teammate saw her friend getting upset and decided to assist her, calmly walking her through the rest of the routine. Compassion.

Some girls come into class eager to learn, get corrections and implement them.They walk through the door knowing they will learn something new today. They have confidence in their abilities and that of their coaches. Not every girl has such high self esteem. Gymnast A, “Everybody is better than me.” Gymnast B, “I’ll never make my back hip circle.” The defeated attitude and posture is unfortunate but not insurmountable. After our demonstration in December Gymnast A was able to see the other in house team members and realize that many of the girls are performing the exact same skills she was. She left feeling a little more proud of herself that night. Gymnast B will often try to avoid working on the skill because it frustrates her. That is not an option when the expectation is that it will be part of her routine. It is goal for the season. Therefore it is part of every single workout and it will be spotted and corrected until one day the strength and coordination will allow it to happe

Young ladies are not born perfect competitors. It takes hard work and commitment along with all of the other traits highlighted above. I am so proud of our in house team members for being courageous enough to put themselves out there, in front of their peers, their parents and judges, to experience the highs and lows of learning to be a great competitor and an even better teammate.

coach Heather.

Meet our Staff- KIA

Kiana Cryan, also known as Kia, is from York, Maine. At about 3 years old, Kia started gymnastics at Atlantic Gymnastics and continued until she was a senior in high school at the age of 18. During that time she traveled over the country for meets and competed in States, Regionals and Eastern Nationals. Kia could not wait until she was old enough to start coaching at Atlantic. At 16 she started coaching preschool and recreational classes during the summer. She would have her own training in the morning and then teach in the afternoon. During the school year she would teach before practice as well as teaching birthday parties on Sundays. She has been coaching weekly at Atlantic Gymnastics for the past five and a half years. The floor exercise was Kia’s favorite event to compete so it is her favorite event to coach.

Kia is extremely close with her family, and in fact her sister Malia competed alongside her at Atlantic Gymnastics for 13 years, which she loved. Going to the beach, hiking, eating and traveling are some are Kia’s favorite activities to do. One of Kia’s favorite places to travel is Disney and she absolutely loves anything and everything Disney related.

Something you may not know about Kia is that she has a 14 year old cat that has been in her family since she was 7. Donuts and Starbucks coffee are Kia’s favorite food and drink. Kia is a senior at the University of New Hampshire where she is studying Human Development and Family studies. She hopes to go into elementary school teaching.

“The hope of passing on my love for this sport is one of the biggest reasons why I decided to coach gymnastics. Some of my best memories have come from the sport of gymnastics and the people here at Atlantic. I genuinely enjoy coming to work every day and seeing the gymnasts here fall in love with the sport, just like I did when I was little!”

A Season of Hope. There is Beauty Out There- if you look.

Tony Retrosi

The world is filled with beautiful and amazing things. You need to slow down to see slowdown and notice. It may be a flower growing in a trash filled vacant lot. It may be the white helmet volunteers in Syria. It may be a young girl with autism in Northern Ireland with the voice of an angel.


Girl With Autism Sings A Stunning Rendition Of ‘Hallelujah’

It’s not just good because she’s dealing with autism … It’s good because it’s good — really good.

This 10-year-old’s rendition of “Hallelujah” would have given Leonard Cohen himself chills. Turn the volume up and give it a listen.

Kaylee Rodgers, a student who has autism and ADHD, sang the solo part for the famous tune during her school choir concert at Killard House School in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland, and the performance went viral.

Rodgers’ voice is stunningly beautiful ― and she exudes confidence…

View original post 119 more words

12 Days of Christmas With a Toddler

Originally found in Huffington Post. 

A mom in British Columbia, Canada, turned a classic holiday song into a shout-out to anyone with little kids at home.

Stephanie Horman, the mom of two behind the blog Modern Day Wonderland, edited “The 12 Days of Christmas” to sum up what life is like with toddlers around. With nods to “five broken tree ornaments” and “six loads of laundry,” her revised lyrics show what parents really go through during the holidays.

Horman told HuffPost she had seen parodies of holiday songs before and thought it would be fun to create her own version. She turned to her own home ― and the many things her kids have collected over the years ― for inspiration.

“When I first started to tackle this project, I thought it would be difficult to find larger numbers of things floating around my house, but when you become a parent I think that you become a hoarder of children ‘stuff,’” she said in an email. “So I had to start narrowing down my choices [and] use nine of the many [kids’] paintings in my house, or nine of the ‘Paw Patrol’ characters I’m constantly tripping over.”

The funny mom, who also created “sexy” Halloween costumes for momsthis year, said her family really loves the holidays, even though they can sometimes be overwhelming.

“Although I always have in my mind that [the holidays] will be filled with exciting trips to see Santa and family bonding while drinking hot chocolate by the fire … let’s be honest, this always turns into a traumatic experience with the Big Guy, and you don’t actually put kids near a fire with hot liquids because off of the top of my head I am now imagining 150 things that could go wrong in that scenario,” she said.

Despite the possibility of any kid-assisted fiasco, Horman said nothing beats watching her kids experience the spirit of the holidays.

“The truth is, holidays are different now that we have kids,” she said. “But it’s always so amazing to relive the magic of Christmas through their eyes.”

See the rest of Horman’s version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” below.

Meet Our Staff – Coach Molly

Molly Newbury, also known as Molls, is from Hancock, NH. Like many of our staff is is a graduate of  the University of New Hampshire.  Following graduation she realized she just loved being on the seacoast. After Participating in the sport for 16 years, she “got stuck!” She started volunteering in her early teens, got a full time job coaching at her “home” gym when she graduated and fell in love with coaching.

Something you may not know about Molly is that she spent two years coaching gymnastics in Bermuda.

She has been at Atlantic Gymnastics for 5 years and has worked with all levels over the years. Mainly focusing on the  Xcel team and advance rec classes she brings a smile and passion to the gym every day.  Her favorite event to coach is the uneven bars.

While Molly is not at Atlantic Gymnastics, she loves to spend time with her soon to be three year old daughter, Josie. Molly loves arts, crafts, music, theater, and comedy. Other things Molly loves to do includes drawing, writing, dancing, fashion, learning and outdoor sports. Cheese pizza is her favorite food, but don’t try changing her mind on this because she won’t budge.

Something to know is that if you are ever playing wiffle ball, just remember that you are going to want to have Molly on your team.

“I love what I do because it’s literally the coolest job in the entire world! I constantly feel challenged. I get to learn and grow every single day. It encourages me to live a healthy lifestyle and provides daily exercise! Most of all, there’s nothing cooler than assisting children, not only in learning sweet tricks, but also in their psychological development. It is an incredible honor to be trusted in a role where I am able to positively influence and offer guidance to kids!” 

IN HOUSE TEAM at Atlantic Portsmouth

This year we have begun a new competitive program at Atlantic Portsmouth! Our In House Team.

This program was begun for those Recreational students in all levels who love gymnastics and want to test their skill at learning routines and performing in front of judges and an audience.

The students attend a one hour routine class in addition to their regularly scheduled recreational class. This Saturday, December 8th, from 6-7:30pm, the In House team will be debuting their routines for family and friends. This is a low pressure start to their competition season which includes two home meets and one away meet. Good luck girls representing our new Atlantic In House Team Program!



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