Are you looking for gymnastics equipment that your child can use at home? A quick internet search will show you many companies offering at home gymnastics equipment, but the amount of choice can be quite overwhelming- how do you know which equipment would be most useful for your child? Or which would be the best value for money? And, importantly, what is safe for your child to use at home without their coach?
As my husband is also our children’s gymnastics coach, I’m probably more confident than many parents about what type of gymnastics equipment is worth spending my money on, so in this blog post, I’ll run through some of the equipment we have for our children to use at home. Although my gymnasts are both boys, I’ll also include some equipment that I think would be useful for a women’s artistic (WAG) gymnast to use at home, too.
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These can be purchased fairly cheaply on eBay, or from a more specialised company such as Cantileiver Creations. Parallettes come in a range of different lengths, but even the longer ones are compact enough not to take up too much space around the house, as they can be popped under the bed or alongside the wardrobe quite easily.
Parallettes are really useful for conditioning work. My boys use them for press ups, planches and straddle presses to handstand. A pair of short parallettes can be used to mimic some moves on the parallel bars, or a longer one could be used to practise horizontal bar or asymmetric bar work.
A handy tool for tumbling moves, these come in a large range of lengths, as well as different thicknesses. I wrote a whole blog post about how we chose our airtrack HERE. They are useful for improving skills that have already been learnt with a coach in the gym, but gymnasts shouldn’t try to teach themselves new moves, as even with the cushioning of the airtrack, injuries can still occur.
As well as the classic airtrack, All About Gymnastics sells a variety of other air products, such as the air spot and air roller, which can be used in different ways. We’ve never used any of these products at our house, but they do get great reviews from users, so are definitely worth taking a look at.
A staple piece of equipment for boy gymnasts, a mushroom will give your son lots of opportunities to practise his ‘circles,’ which are notoriously difficult to get the hang of! I found that when we have our mushroom set up in the middle of the carpet, Mr F is likely to have a couple of goes on it every time he walks past- which sometimes then inspires him to get his leotard on, and have a good try at beating his own circle record!
Although a mushroom can be purchased from Continental or Gymnova, they can be very expensive, so we decided to make our own. My husband had a home-made mushroom as a child that his own dad had created, so we roped him back in to make another one for our boys! You can follow the tutorial they used HERE.
Bars/chin up bar
Gymnastics bars for the garden were very popular with gymnasts over the lockdowns of the past couple of years, and many parents purchased them for their children, both boys and girls. However, they are very expensive, take up a lot of room, and there can be some real safety issues with them if not used correctly. Outside of the gym, your child should limit themselves to basic conditioning work such as pull ups and leg lifts, and perhaps some gentle swings to work on correct body shapes.
For a much cheaper option, we purchased a chin up bar which can be attached to a door frame. Just like with our mushroom, this often gets used by the boys as they’re passing through the doorway, just because it’s there. We also have a set of rings which can be attached to the bar, so that they can also practise the slightly different techniques used for ring conditioning work.
Used by WAG gymnasts, we don’t have a beam at home- although I’m sure that three-year-old Miss M will be asking for one before long if she carries on enjoying her own gymnastics class!
For home use, floor beams are popular, as they allow the gymnast to work on skills they have been learning in the gym without the risk of falling from a height. However, accidents can still happen falling from a floor beam, so of course, care should still be taken when using them.
Foam beams are popular, and often a slightly cheaper option, although some older gymnasts can find them too unsupportive. If this is the case for your gymnast, you may want to try a more solid, wooden option.
I hope this guide has helped you to choose which home gymnastics equipment would be best for your child. If you know anyone else who is looking for gymnastics equipment to use at home, please share this post with them on social media, using the ‘share’ buttons at the top and bottom of the page.