Rod Floor Design

Subject: rod floor

A local club found plans to build a rod floor somewhere on the internet – the club has now closed and the coach is long-gone – the rod floor is excellent for training, but no one can find plans to build it or build extensions to it. Have you any access to plans of this sort?

P.S. I ordered the choreography book from your site – FANTASTIC!

Dear N,
Glad you enjoyed the gymnastics choreography book. Wrote it in response to a request from a male coach in Australia, who didn’t have access to a choreographer, and it has become a surprise big seller.

I have never seen any plans for rod floors anywhere. I have seen a number of home made floors, made out of either wood or steel. If you want to build extensions to a rod floor you already have, you will just need to match the dimensions and the materials of the rod floor that you currently have.

Rod Floor Design Considerations

There are only a few design considerations for a rod floor:

Power floors have been made out of old skis, fiberglass slats and now fiberglass rods.

The frames are usually made out of either wood or steel.

The rods need to be contained in a support structure that allows them to bend freely, not get displaced or fall out and to space them evenly. During construction the rods are usually slid into the support and spacing structure and then the other end of the structure is slid onto the rods. Rod floor sections are usually built in modular sections for easy installation and portability.

The rod containing structure needs to be elevated off the floor so the rods don’t bottom out and that structure also usually holds together the rod support system. Each (usually 4’ long x 6’ wide) rod floor module, when connected to other modules to the length desired, either needs to be bolted together or held together with Velcro.

In wood frame structures, holes are drilled for the rods. In steel structures, the rods are fit into C-channel and the frames are usually made of angle iron. We have seen aluminum frames used, but doubt that would be a good choice for a home-made project.

Power floors used to be made using old skis. The floors were too narrow, and the used skis that were used had a very uneven springiness, due to different skis being used. The next stage for power floor design was fiberglass slat floors. The fiberglass slats, adapted for power floor construction, were usually used in making fiberglass ladders.

Depending on the length of the current floor and the new longer desired length, it is possible that you could use the old rod floor as a run-up to a new rod floor, if you wished it to be wider or use fiberglass rods.

Primarily for fiberglass pricing reasons, the rod floor of today’s design came into common use and has become a staple in the well-equipped gymnastic facility and also they are used in cheer tumbling training facilities. Steel frames are sturdier and long lasting than wood structures, although welding skills and equipment are not required with a wood frame.

The foam used on the rod floor is critical to the feel of the tumbling. Too little foam (only one layer) and we actually had a powerful tumbler drive her foot between the rods. Too thick or stiff foam and the floor is hard and barely springs for smaller younger gymnasts. The standard is 1-3/8″ (35mm) foam backed carpet, over a layer of 2″ (50mm) polyethylene foam. If you are putting together two sections of a rod floor, you will probably want to buy new foam that runs the whole length of the new floor.

Assuming you have a source for, and know the exact specs needed for the fiberglass rods, it should not be hard to design or copy the design concepts for a new rod floor extension. Different lengths and densities of rods will give different spring characteristics, as will the thickness of foam used on the floor.

Build On Your Current Rod Floor Design Or Buy A New One?

We suggest you carefully check out current fiberglass rod floor prices and decide then if it is really worth building your own versus buying a new floor. Fiberglass rods are not cheap. Add into that the steel or wood frame costs and all the welding time and expense. You may find the cost of buying a new floor seems reasonable, in light of all the work you would have to do to build it yourself.

A rod floor you build yourself would, of course not be eligible for use in tumbling competitions, even if it were the right dimensions.

Here you can see a sample of the standard steel rod floor frame design.

Ross Athletic is also the source for the official rod floors used in U.S. tumbling competitions, and the one we always have used. You might want to consider doing a fundraiser, specifically to raise money to purchase a rod floor, instead of buying all of the expensive materials and cutting and welding together your own.

Don’t know, for sure, if this helps you with what you are trying. If there is anything else or any other questions we can answer, please let us know.

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One Response to “Rod Floor Design”

  1. vloeren leggen November 11, 2011 at 6:17 am #

    I do trust all the ideas you have presented on your post. They’re very convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are too brief for newbies. May just you please extend them a little from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.

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