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.
Suede Floor Beam: This suede floor beam will give your gymnast a similar feel to a competition beam at home! The base of the beam is coated in rubber for safety and it’s easy to assemble. 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.
Folding Practice Beam: If you are tight on space this is a great option! This beam is 2″ high and 8′ long and easily folds in half so you can store it away. The 4″ top is the same width as a competition beam.
Air Beam: Air beams and mats seem to be the most coveted gymnastics gifts these days! This AAI Air Beam is 16″ wide by 9′ long inflatable has a 4″ raised center line that lets the gymnast feel the beam. It easily inflates and deflates so it can be stored away when not in use. Watch the video at the link to see how fun it looks!
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.
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.
Panel Mats: A panel mat is the most popular piece of home gymnastics equipment. I like this Tumbl Trak panel mat that comes in many different color combinations. It comes in the most popular panel mat 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. These mats fold into 1/4 of the size that they are laid out.
Tumbl Trak Air Floor Pro: Air Floors are super popular right now and this Tumbl Trak Air Floor Pro is great for home use. Some air floors have to be placed on top of padded surfaces but this one doesn’t! It is a high quality air track that will be tons of fun for your gymnast! Air tracks 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. I like this one because it is very durable. If you buy one that isn’t durable and it gets a hole it will no longer inflate.
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.
Practice Mats: If you want a mat that is thicker than a panel mat, then these practice mats are great. These come in 4″, 6″ and 8″ thicknesses. They fold in half.
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.
Tumbl Trak Junior Pro Bar: The Tumbl Trak Junior Pro Bar is the home bar I recommend because it is a very sturdy bar, and does not need to be stabilized with additional plywood or supports (like some bars). 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.
The Beam Store Parallette: This Beam Store floor training bar is great for more advanced gymnasts. Use it for practicing press handstands, bar handstands and pirouettes at home.
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.
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.