Gymnastics, like other types of sports, in different historical periods was based on a whole complex of traditional and non-traditional means of physical education. Its origins should be looked for in the national and historical traditions of the Uzbek people, primarily in the performances of darvozchilar and maskharazlar (rope-walkers and clowns), as well as in the development of circus art, the most important foundation of which is acrobatics. Even deeper and often scientifically grounded origins are found in elements and whole areas of therapeutic, health-improving, applied physical culture. This is confirmed by the Epic of Alpomysh, the works of Ibn Sino, and the era of Amir Timur.

In 1880 the special commission worked out the program for four-year institutions of parochial schools in the Turkestan region, which provided gymnastics classes in addition to the main lessons. However, several years later gymnastics was withdrawn from the program. In pre-war years gymnastics was taught at elementary schools. Nevertheless, due to the lack of specialists, facilities, and equipment the lessons were not complete. Only in the Tashkent male gymnasium, the lessons were regular. The lessons included floor exercises, pyramids, marching. 

The only pedagogical educational institution was Turkestan Teachers Seminary opened in Tashkent in 1879 which was aimed at "training teachers for Russian and Russian-Turkestan schools in Turkestan area". The seminary had a very primitive notion of physical education. For example, the curriculum on gymnastics stated: "Gymnastic exercises of pupils consist of routine exercises, floor exercises, gymnastic games and exercises on gymnastic apparatus. 

Occasionally, short-term courses were organized in Tashkent to train Sokol, Swedish and French gymnasts.  The cost of training was extremely high, that is why the number of students attending the courses was, as a rule, only 10-15 people.

In 1904 the "Society of Gymnastics and Physical Exercises Amateurs" was created. It should be noted that at that time the concept of "gymnastics" included such exercises as running, jumping, throwing, etc. But it was the first gymnastics society and it played a big role in the further development of this sport. It was organized on the initiative of groups of athletes and numbered only 15-20 people.

The Statute of the Society noted that its members could not be students of educational institutions, as gymnastic classes were present there. When the gymnastics school was opened in Tashkent, it became even more popular and the number of members of this society increased considerably, but it still included some exercises that did not meet the requirements of gymnastics. Competitions, as such, were not held.

The problems of physical education in schools were discussed at the first Turkestan congress of teachers of secondary schools, which was held in Tashkent from December 26, 1910, to January 2, 1911. A special section of physical education was set up which worked out recommendations on a wide scope of issues: the content of programs, the number of hours, the methods of teaching, etc. The decision of the congress says: "The teaching of gymnastics is necessary for the system of education both in men's and women's educational institutions".