Home gymnastics equipment is great for helping both beginner and advanced gymnasts improve by practicing at home. Practicing at home can help your child improve faster thanks to the power of repetition — without spending extra money for more time in the gym. It’s also a great way for your gymnast to show you the skills they are learning in class.
Below I’ve given you some tips on buying your home gymnastics equipment. And I’ve given you my picks for the best beams, mats and bars for home use. I’ve actually seen and tried out all of the equipment listed below, so I know that I’m recommending quality, sturdy pieces.
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Picking out home gymnastics equipment can be tricky — you want to get equipment that can be used to practice a variety of skills, that can grow with your gymnast as she improves, that has the right weight restrictions and that can be stored easily in your house.
The most popular gymnastics equipment for home use are low beams, floor mats and mini bars. However, gymnastics accessories like pull-up bars and balance balls can improve your gymnast’s strength and help make her time at the gym more productive. Gymnastics videos can also be an inexpensive way to give your gymnast some extra coaching on skills she is struggling with.
Types of Home Gymnastics Equipment
I’m going to go through what to think about when you are buying each type of home gym equipment, and my recommendations in the order above. If you want to skip to a section you can just click on the link.
Home Use Balance Beam Considerations
Balance beams at home are great for beginner gymnasts and preschoolers to learn balance. They are great for intermediate gymnasts to practice cartwheels and handstands. And if your gymnast is more advanced, she can practice back walkovers, front walkovers, splits on the beam and her beam routines. When you’re buying a beam for home you want to think about a few things:
- Height of the Beam: A beam that lies flat on the floor is safer than a beam that is a couple inches off the floor. If you miss the beam when it’s a couple inches off the floor, and you don’t have the proper mats around the beam, you can end up with twisted ankles. Also, you are more likely to get bruises or bangs when the beam is a couple inches off the floor, instead of flat. However, you will get more of the traditional beam feel if it is a couple inches off the floor. So the height of the beam is an important trade-off to think about.
- Length of the Beam: Another thing you want to think about when buying a beam is how long it will be. A traditional beam is 16 feet long. You might not have room for that in your house, but luckily they sell practice beams that are much shorter. However, if you buy a beam that is very short, it might be too short to practice the skills you want to practice. Some practice beams can be attached together to make one longer beam.
- Material of the Beam: Home use beams can be made of many different materials. I prefer those made from leather or suede, given those are what cover competition beams.
- Beam Storage: Some practice beams fold up, others don’t.
When you are buying a beam it might also be helpful to know that a standard gymnastics beam used in international competition is 124 centimeters high (4.07ft), 500 centimeters long (16 feet) and 10 centimeters wide (3.9 inches).
Once you have your balance beam, you can practice skills from this Balance Beam Skill List.
Home Use Balance Beams:
Here are some balance beams for home use that I’ve tried and know to be good quality.
Sectional Beam: Tumbl Trak makes a 4 foot long sectional beam that rests on the floor. You can either just buy one unit or you can buy multiple and they easily connect with Velcro at the ends. So, you can buy three of these and connect them to make a 12 foot long floor beam. This is convenient because you can disconnect them for easy storage. It’s the same 4″ width as competitive beams, and is made of similar suede material.
The Beam Store Suede Beam: This practice beam is 2 inches above the ground and the standard beam width of 4 inches. It has a padded top, and is made of suede to give it the look and feel of a competition beam. It’s great for beginner or advanced gymnasts who want a beam slightly raised off the floor. Since this beam is slightly raised off the floor, it’s helpful when a gymnast is practicing because she realizes when she “falls” off the beam. But, it’s still close enough to the ground to be safe for home use. This beam comes 8 feet long in either tan, pink or purple.
The Beam Store Gymnastics Folding Training Beam: The Beam Store’s Folding Training Beam is another option for a home use beam. This beam is a great option if you have limited space and need something that folds up when it’s not in use. It’s 4 inches wide at the top, which is standard balance beam width, and covered in suede like standard balance beams. When it unfolds it’s 8 feet long.
Sticky Beam Strips: If you don’t want an actual beam in your house, then sticky beam strips might be for you. These are 8 foot long, 4 inches wide Velcro strips that can be stuck to the floor to simulate a beam.
Having a mat at home to practice is great because wood floors or carpets don’t have a lot of cushion. You want to be able to fall without getting bruises. Home mats are great for practicing beginner tumbling like handstands, cartwheels, rolls and walkovers. Mats are also great for general horsing and playing around safely.
Home Use Mat Considerations:
When you are buying a mat for your home, you want to consider the thickness and the size.
- Thickness of the mat: If the mat is too thin, it won’t provide enough cushion and protection if the gymnast falls. If the mat is too thick, it will be harder to do skills on because the gymnast will sink into the mat.
- Dimensions of the mat: You want a mat that is big enough for the gymnast to practice skills on, but won’t be too big for where it’s being stored.
- Storage: Does the mat fold? If not, do you have a good place to store it.
- Max Skill Level: Some are only sturdy enough for beginner gymnasts, whereas other mats can grow with your gymnast as she progresses.
One you have a gymnastics mat, your gymnast can practice skills from this Floor Skills List.
Gymnastics Mats for Home:
Norbert’s Panel Mats: Norbert’s makes heart and flower print panel mats that are great mats for home use. They come in several different colors and designs. They come in the most popular size, 4 feet by 8 feet, and can be easily folded. They have Velcro on the ends in case you want to buy more than one and link them together. They are the standard panel mat thickness of 1-3/8”. These are good quality mats and they make great gifts because of their cute design.
Tumbl Trak Folding Mat: Like the Norbert’s panel mat, this Tumbl Trak folding mat comes in many different color combinations. It comes in the most popular size, 4 feet by 8 feet, and can be easily folded. It comes in standard panel mat thickness of 1-3/8″, but also comes in a 2″ thick version.
Tumbl Trak Cartwheel Beam Mat: A cartwheel training mat is a good option for a young gymnast (2-5 years old). The hand and feet placements help gymnasts learn a cartwheel. It can help teach or perfect a cartwheel. It can also double as a mat to practice rolls and handstands on. The other side of this cartwheel training mat has a line the width of a beam on it, and can be used to practice balance, and skills that you would do on beam. However, it’s a little flimsy to use for more advanced skills.
Tumbl Trak Handstand Homework Mat: I love this handstand homework mat because it makes practicing handstands against the wall much easier and more comfortable. Handstands are such a great exercise for both beginner and advanced gymnasts to practice at home. Doing them against the wall with this mat helps your gymnast make sure she is practicing with perfect form. This homework mat is designed to easily attach to any door, but can also be taken off the wall and used on the ground for practice.
Cartwheel Block: I love this cartwheel block for teaching beginner gymnasts how to do a cartwheel. This makes it easy for little ones to do a cartwheel without assistance. They simply stand, put their hands on the block on the hand-prints and kick their feet around to the other side. Having their hands elevated makes it much easier to do. You can also buy other velcro strips to put on top of the block to teach other skills.
A mini bar at home can be fun, is great for strength training and for improving your gymnasts bar performance. Beginner gymnasts and young kids love to play around on them, and more advanced gymnasts can use them for strength training. Mini at home gymnastics bars have made many improvements over the last few years and are much sturdier than they used to be.
Home Gymnastics Bar Considerations:
When you are buying a bar for your home there are some things to consider.
- Stability: You want to make sure the bar you buy for your house is stable. You want to make sure it won’t fall over or shake when your gymnast is using it.
- Weight Limit: You definitely don’t want a bar that isn’t strong enough to hold your gymnast.
- Matting Requirements: Different bars have different matting requirements to be safe.
- Bar Height: It needs to be tall enough that your gymnast can use it, while still being able to be stored in your house.
- Ease of Assembly: Some bars are much more difficult to put together, or require extra plywood or leg supports.
- Max Skill Level: Some home bars are only stable enough for low-level skills, whereas others that can support high-level skills are better able to grow with your gymnast.
Norbert’s Original Mini Bar: Norbert’s makes a great beginner home use bar. It can be set from 38 inches (about 3 feet) to 58 inches (about 5 feet) tall. It’s sturdy (made with strong steel tubing) and can be used with a mini bar mat underneath. It has a weight limit of 100 lbs. However, it is only recommended for gymnasts through level 3; it is not designed to be used for kips or big swings.
Tumbl Trak Junior Pro Bar: The Tumbl Trak Junior Pro Bar is a very sturdy bar, but unlike other bars like it, does not need to be stabilized with additional plywood or supports. It can be set from 38″ (about 3 feet) to 59″ (about 5 feet) tall, with a weight limit of 125 lbs. This bar is safe for all levels and can be used to practice kips and casts. It takes up a 4 foot by 6 foot space on the floor. It needs a 4’x6′ mat that is 4″ to 6″ thick, due to the thick center support bar. This mat will work, or something of similar size.
Nastia Liukin Floor Training Rail: This Nastia Liukin floor training bar is great for more advanced gymnasts. It’s made of durable fiberglass. Use it for practicing handstands at home.
Air Tracks or Air Floors are the latest rage in gymnastics equipment. They are inflatable tumbling mats that are bouncy or springy in order to make it easier for the gymnast to perform skills. They are fun to use because they are somewhere in between a trampoline and a spring floor. They can also be stored conveniently away when not in use by simply deflating them and rolling them up.
Air Track Considerations
When you are buying an air track consider the following:
- Whether it Needs to Be on Top of a Padded Surface: Some air floors need to be on top of a spring floor, foam or panel mats, and that is obviously not ideal for home use.
- Quality: Some air floors mimic the feel of a rod floor, which makes them ideal for practicing skills away from a gym spring floor.
- Durability: If the air track isn’t made of a durable material and the fabric gets punctured then it will no longer inflate.
- Thickness: They range from 3″ thick to 8″ thick.
Tumbl Trak Air Floor Pro: The Tumbl Trak Air Floor Pro has a very similar feel to a rod floor and does not have to be placed on a padded surface. It is a high quality air track that will be tons of fun for your gymnast!
Tumbl Trak Air Floor: The Tumbl Trak Air Floor is less expensive but does need to be placed on top of a padded surface.
Pull-Up Bar: If you have a more advanced gymnast, you might want to think about getting a Pull-Up bar. A Pull-Up bar is inexpensive and can be installed right in a doorway at home. It’s great for building upper body strength which helps gymnasts excel on the Uneven Bars. It can also be used to build core strength by doing leg raises — hanging from the bar and lifting the lower body.
Fitness Ball: A fitness ball is a great tool to use for building core strength. Use it instead of a chair as your gymnast does homework. Or use it to do sit-ups and other ab exercises. The link is to buy it at DGS, but you can also get it on Amazon here.
EZ Move Sliders: Tammy Biggs, an amazing Elite-level gymnastics coach, recommends using these sliders in several drills and conditioning exercises. I’ve put together some Tammy Biggs videos, which include videos of her teaching aerial drills with these sliders, and doing conditioning and flex with them (The videos are great; I could watch her for hours!).
Theraband Exercise Band: Tammy Biggs recommends using Therabands for core strength. I’ve included the video on how to measure your Theraband on this page of videos. You can also buy them on Amazon here.
Hand Glove Weights: Tammy Biggs recommends doing a dance-through where you just do the arm movements of your floor and beam routine using these hand glove weights. She says in the video that practicing while using these hand glove weights will help to make your arm movements intentional throughout the dance portions of your routines.
One way to learn gymnastics faster is by watching instructional videos at home. Most gymnastics videos have both drills and exercises you can do at home in them, along with tips and instruction for when you practice harder skills at the gym.
Another reason to watch gymnastics instructional videos by amazing, famous coaches is that you get taught by coaches you wouldn’t normally have access to. Yes, we all love our coaches at the gym we go to. But, can it hurt to get advice and tips from coaches who have taught Olympians?
Beginning Gymnastics for Girls with Steve Nunno: Steve Nunno is a two-time Olympic coach and one of the most successful gymnastics coaches in the US. This is a great video because he takes you through skills and progressions on each of the events. If you have a beginner gymnast and you are planning on buying some equipment for her to practice at home, this is a great supplement. It will help you and your gymnast figure out beginner skills they can practice on their new equipment.
Conditioning, Shaping and Flex with Sliders with Tammy Biggs: I had the pleasure of hearing Tammy Biggs lecture, and she is amazing. She coaches elite gymnasts on the national team. And she has great exercises and drills for any gymnast to do to improve. You can see some clips of Tammy Biggs teaching, along with a clip from this DVD.
Essentials for Floor Exercise and Vault with Paul Hamm: Paul Hamm is the most accomplished male gymnast in US history. He goes over Vault and Floor Exercise essentials in this video. It’s another great video for figuring out exercises you can do at home with your home gymnastics equipment.
Developing Leaps and Jumps for Gymnastics with Tammy Biggs: Dance is one of Tammy Biggs’ specialties. She went to college for dance and lived in Paris and taught dance. She works with the national team on their leaps and jumps. I saw her lecture on leaps and jumps, and it was amazing. She had so many different exercises and drills to improve gymnasts’ height and execution of their dance skills.
Developing Great Round-Offs with Tammy Biggs: A round-off is one of the 9 basic gymnastics skills you should master. If you want to improve your back tumbling, the fastest way to do that is usually to improve your round-off. The round-off is what gives power to your tumbling pass.
Where to Buy Home Gymnastics Equipment Online
Here are some other places you can buy home gymnastics equipment online:
- Amazon Gymnastics Equipment Store: Amazon has equipment from all different gymnastics equipment manufacturers and it can be an easy and convenient place to buy home gymnastics equipment online.
- Norbert’s: Norbert’s has some great folding panel mats along with cartwheel and beam mats that are perfect for home use. Their sectional floor beam is also a great piece of gymnastics equipment for the home.
- DGS Gym Supply: DGS Gym Supply has all kinds of gymnastics equipment and gear. They have some home mats in addition to grips, accessories and gymnastics clothing.
Once you have some kind of a bar, beam or mats, here are Skills you can Practice with your Home Gymnastics Equipment.