An inflatable air track is a great piece of at-home equipment for children who do gymnastics. Although they may seem quite expensive at first, ours is used so often that I think it’s definitely been worth the initial cost! You can read about how we chose our air track in this blog post.
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What is an air track?
Air tracks come in a variety of lengths, and two depths- either 10cm or 20cm thick. 3 metre tracks are a popular choice, but I recommend a 4 metre option if you have the space for it, as this allows your gymnast to practise bigger tumbles.
An air track is designed to help gymnasts practise skills they have been learning in the gym by providing a bit of ‘bounce.’ They also allow a somewhat softer landing, for safety. The amount of air in the air track can be adjusted to make it softer or more firm, depending on the preference of the gymnast- Mr F prefers a softer track when performing a newer skill, for example, and a firmer one once he is more confident.
Most air tracks, such as this one from Cannon’s UK, have a central line marked down the middle, to help the gymnast stay central when performing a skill. This could be especially useful to help girls who are perfecting their beam routines at home.
How to use your air track
Of course, you could simply use the air track as a softer landing area to practise skills being learned in the gym, as mentioned above. But we also use ours in a variety of other ways, too.
- Add an air spot. When added on top of an air track, the smaller air spot acts as a springboard to propel the gymnast higher into the air. It can also be used as a raised platform for the start of a tumbling move (such as a round off or handspring). This gives the gymnast slightly more time in the air before landing, allowing them to really work on perfecting their skill.
- Use as a landing mat for other equipment. You can easily purchase a traditional landing mat (or ‘crash mat’) online, but to save on space, you can also set up your air track to do the same job. We sometimes put ours in between the parallel bars that we keep out in the garden, for example.
- Your track can provide slight incline for stretching work, such as oversplits. Gymnasts place one foot on the air track, and the other on the floor as usual, to increase the range that they are able to stretch. This can then help to improve their performance back in the gym.
- If you have hard floors at home, your track can provide a softer surface for conditioning work, allowing your child to condition more comfortably, with less risk of injury.
- Use as a springboard. The air in a track means that, although it’s not as bouncy as a trampoline, for example, it still gives a good amount of rebound to help launch into a skill.
- If your garden is big enough, have fun in summer weather by turning into a slip n’ slide! Just add a tarpaulin to the end of the track, then cover with water and see who can slide the furthest on their stomach or knees!
have you used your air track in any other creative ways? Leave a comment and let me know!