Buying gymnastics equipment for home use doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Knowing what to look for will save you time and money. Don’t worry about buying the wrong brand or some cheap piece of equipment. We’ve narrowed down the best to save you hours of internet searching. We give you must know details on gymnastics grips, balance beams, mats, and training bars.
First, you need to decide on the type of grip. You can choose between the Palm grip or Dowel grip. Then decide is you prefer a Velcro wrist strap or a buckle grip wrist strap. The advantage of a Velcro wrist strap is ease of use. You can put the grips on quickly and without assistance. Velcro wrist straps tend to be a little more comfortable as well. The only disadvantage is longevity as the Velcro tends to wear down over time. The advantage of a Buckle wrist strap is holding power. The Buckle wrist strap will not wear down over time and always provides a solid hold on the wrist. Most high level gymnasts choose buckle grips for the fact of holding power. Buckle grips won’t slip or move around on the wrist. The disadvantage of Buckle grips is comfort, but there is a solution. Since buckle grips can be tightened down firmly on the wrist, most gymnasts will wear very thick and long cotton wrist bands. The thick wrist band provides cushion for the wrist. Gymnasts may need assistance in putting on Buckle grips which is a small inconvenience. Finally, it’s essential to purchase the correct size. Each brand of grips will come with a sizing chart specific to the brand. This is a fairly easy process and requires a ruler or tape measure as indicated in the sizing instructions. Now you’re ready to purchase.
Choosing the right balance beam is a rather simple process. Home practice balance beams come in three different styles. Low beam, folding beam, and semi-high beam. First determine how much you’re willing to spend as home practice beams range from $80 to $350. Ensure enough space to safely use the beam at home. You must have sufficient clearance on all sides
of the beam for safety. Folding balance beams offer the most versatility. This type of beam can easily be moved around due to its light weight and folding characteristic. One major advantage of a folding beam is the ability of gymnasts to perform difficult skills without the worry of falling to an injury since the beam sits directly on the floor. This type of beam is great for practicing back handsprings. Another advantage is the cost savings since folding beams are generally least expensive. Low beams are another great choice for home practice. Low beams are elevated 3″ to 4″ off the ground and do not fold in half. The low beam is very stable and solid making it a great choice for all around beam practice. It’s great for practicing hand stands, back walk overs, back handsprings (with a spotter), and many other skills. Low beams tend to offer a more competition like feel and quality. Finally, the semi-high beams are also a great choice for home practice. This type of beam is elevated 12″ to 24″ off the ground. Semi-high beams offer all the great benefits of the low beam while a bit higher off the ground.
Investing in a good quality gymnastics mat is an important decision for the safety of gymnasts. When researching gymnastics mats you’ll want determine your budget. Gymnastics mats range in price from $100 to $800. As a general rule, the bigger the mat, the more expensive it is. Determine what you will use the mat for. Are you placing it under a Junior training bar? This would require a landing 4″ to 8″ in depth. If you’re using the mat under the low beam a depth of 2″ to 4″ would work. If you need a mat for tumbling skills, a 2″ depth is sufficient. You will need increased mat length for tumbling skills and less mat depth. If you just need a mat for stretching or yoga, 2″ depth or less is sufficient. Keep in mind that mats will differ from each manufacturer. While the square footage of mats may be the same, foam density could be different. Not all 2″ mats are created the same. You don’t want a soft squishy mat for stretching or yoga, but rather a firm mat. You don’t want a firm landing mat under a training bar, but rather a softer mat to break a fall.
Finding the right pair of gymnastics grips should start with asking the coach what, if any, brand and type of gymnastics grips they prefer. (If you want a good guide on everything about gymnastics grips, click the gymnastics grips link). While a good starting point, the gymnast ultimately has the final say and should be satisfied with the quality and feel of the grips. The majority of grips on the market are high quality which makes choosing a rather simple process. All of the grips reviewed on this site are high quality and used in gymnastics competitions all over the country and range from $10 to $55. There are, however, a couple of key points to keep in mind before you purchase a pair of gymnastics bar grips.
Choosing a gymnastics training bar for home use can be simple if you know what to look for. When choosing training bar, keep in mind you are not purchasing a full scale uneven bar system as seen in gymnastics facilities across the country. The training bar is not meant to perform full routines and high level skills. The purpose of a training bar is to practice basic bar skills, drills, and conditioning. All training bars are basically the same in size, construction, and material. There are some small differences that could impact which bar you end up buying. You will want to check the weight limit of the bar. Some bars only hold up to 100 lbs. while other bars hold up to 140 lbs. One common problem with all training bars is the lack of floor anchors as seen attached to the bars at your local gym. This may allow the bar to move around the floor while in use. To remedy this common problem, leg extensions can be attached giving the bar more stability. Keep in mind that you will need sufficient padding beneath the bar for safety. 4″ to 8″ of padding is recommended. A good landing mat will provide adequate safety. Training bars are expensive. If you can’t afford the ongoing monthly fee for extra classes at your local gym this is a great alternative for extra practice.