Coach Howard advises a parent on what to look for in gymnastics mats for a home gym, but warns that their money may be better spent on more time in the gym.
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Subject: type of mats needed
Gymnastics Level: 5
I just purchased a bar/equipment for my daughter and was wondering what kind of mats I need for underneath. Also, I am planning on buying a low beam for her and do I need a different type of mats for that? thank you.
What Gymnastics Mats Do You Need?
The mat for under bars, for safety, should be an 8″ thick mat and as wide as possible and still fit under the bar (so it will depend on what bars you have bought and how wide they actually are). The regulation mat under the regulation bars is 7.5′ wide, but home bars are often narrower. If you buy a mat for bars wide enough (gyms often have 6′ wide mats under their high beams), and then long enough, you could use that same mat under the beam and you could get away with only one mat, and she could switch, depending on which event she was doing.
If you are going to buy two gymnastics mats, one for each bars and beam, the mats used under low beams in gyms are usually Regulation CLM (Competition Landing Mats) that are 4.75″ thick, but more expensive than the 8″ thick mats because they are regulation.
Where To Buy Gymnastics Mats
There are many companies that make good gymnastics mats. Try to buy from one close to you to minimize shipping. My favorite beam training device is actually a foam floor beam on an 1.25″ thick mat, not a traditional low beam.
CLMs (Competition Landing Mats) are much more expensive than all other types of mats, so you may wish to get a thicker, softer mat and still pay less.
Is Buying Gymnastics Mats For A Home Gym A Good Idea?
I also really recommend that parents spend their money on more time in the gym, rather than buy home equipment. Soon, your daughter will be in the gym every day, practicing at regular practice with real equipment and mats, and won’t have much time, if any, to do anything at all at home, when she moves up to optionals. So, at least, think about going more hours now or taking private lessons, instead. It is the rare situation where a gymnast can really do what she wants (like for example, something like handstands and giants) on a home bar that is not anchored down, when she moves up to optionals, so your money may be better spent elsewhere.
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