If you're interested in gymnastics for yourself or your children, it's probably time to examine the gymnastics equipment options that meet your unique situation. Even if you are a gymnast seeking to open your own gym, you'll want to know what features to look for in the equipment you'll be using. Here are some common considerations to look at depending on the age and experience level of the gymnast in question.
What types of gymnastics equipment is used for tumbling?
Tumbling is a branch of gymnastics including flips, tucks, twists, somersaults, and headstands, which do not require props. That said, when a beginner is learning how to perform the movements required for tumbling or cheerleading, it is very helpful to have at minimum a landing mat. The thickness, width, and length of the track will depend upon the difficulty of the particular activity being practiced.
- Panel mats: These have panels measuring 2 feet wide and varying between 1 3/8 inches and 2 inches in thickness. For example, the Tumbl Trak Tumbling Mats have folding panels in actual measurements of 4 feet by 6 feet, 4 feet by 8 feet, and 5 feet by 10 feet. Tumbling tracks often have Velcro on both ends for attaching to other tracks to reach the actual length needed. These store easily by detaching the Velcro strips after practice.
- Flex practice mats: These roll up into an easily stored area of less than 18 square inches. AAI makes a flex practice mat made from carpet bonded to foam with the standard thickness of 1 3/8 inches in lengths of 6 feet or 10 feet and widths of 2 feet, 4 feet, or 5 feet.
- Other accessories for floor exercises: Handstands are learned safely with a Tumbl Trak Handstand Homework Mat, which attaches to a door and can be used on the floor on the opposite side for balance beam practice later. Cartwheel beam mats enable children to literally see where to place the feet and hands to achieve a perfect cartwheel.
What equipment is available for practicing gymnastics at home?
If you're considering competitive gymnastics, then you may want to consider an age-appropriate track and bar combination. The mats mentioned above are designed for floor exercises only. For practicing of pommel horse, vault, trampoline, balance beam, uneven or parallel horizontal bars, and competitor rings, thicker mats with more protection are required. Here are some equipment options to look at:
- Inflatable air tracks: These inflate quickly and deflate for convenient storage, and they can be used indoors or out if sharp objects are avoided. Inflatable Air Tracks can be used for trampoline practice.
- Gymnastics bars: Adjustable parallel or uneven gymnastics bars are available for athletes of all abilities.
- Gymnastics mushroom: Pommel horse training can be done at home with this item.
- Gymnastics rings: These can be suitable for practice inside or outside.
- Gymnastics accessories: Pull-up bars can be used in a doorway at home. Grips for dowel or palm provide added protection. Folding balance beams offer realistic practice with stainless steel feet and significant stability.