Do you have a kiddo who loves flipping around the house? Maybe your child is already involved in gymnastics, or maybe they are practicing their flips on your living room couch. Either way, it’s a good idea to find them a safe surface to practice on. Gymnastics mats for home are a great way to keep your gymnast safe. They’re also great for cheerleaders, wrestlers, or any active child!
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Types of Gymnastics Mats for Home
When you start your search for a gymnastics mat, you might be overwhelmed by the number and types of mats out there. Which one is right for your child?
There are many types of mats that work well in a home setting. These mats are: panel mats, practice mats, cartwheel mats, incline mats, and air tracks. I’ll go into detail about each type of mat below.
How to Choose a Gymnastics Mat
There are several considerations when choosing a gymnastics mat for home.
First, consider what it will be used for. Is your child involved in gymnastics already? If so, at what level? Beginning gymnasts, or children who are not in formal gymnastics classes, can get by with a more basic mat to try it out. More advanced gymnasts will likely want larger mats with more padding, or an air track if they want to really tumble at home. If your gymnast is having trouble learning a cartwheel, a cartwheel mat is a great idea to help them get the hang of hand and foot placement.
Next, consider the size of mat you will need. If you have another piece of gymnastics equipment, like a bar or beam, what size will fit underneath it? Measure the room that the mat will be used in and make sure it will fit. Also, consider how the mat will be stored. Some mats fold for storage, and some do not. If the mat will need to be stored in a different place than it will be used, make sure it is lightweight and easy to move.
Finally, think about how long it might be used for. You’ll want something that can grow with your child. A basic panel mat is a great starting point, and it can be used underneath a low beam or bar eventually. Practice mats will get plenty of use if your gymnast continues to progress and learn more advanced skills. If you’re planning to use it for the long term, make sure it will still be large enough as your child grows. On the other hand, if you just want something for your little ones to play around on, you might consider getting a mat at a lower price point until you know if they’ll need it as they get older.
The most basic type of gymnastics mat for home, and the type that gymnasts often start with, is a panel mat. Panel mats are not as thick as other types of mats, such as landing mats. They are about 2″ thick, and their length varies. They are often used underneath home balance beams and home gymnastics bars. Panel mats are also good to use for flexibility, strength, and floor basic skills.
Panel mats are not intended to be used for landing big skills, and they do not provide a lot of cushioning in case of a fall. For these reasons, they are best used for skills that a gymnast already knows how to perform.
Here are some examples of panel mats for home.
This Tumbl Trak panel mat is available in several different sizes and thicknesses. A standard panel mat is 4’x8′, but there are options ranging from 4’x6′ to 5’x10′. There are also two different thicknesses: 1 3/8″ and 2″. The mat comes in multiple colors to suit any gymnast’s desires. Tumbl Trak is a supplier that has been around for a long time, and they generally deliver quality products.
Here is another panel mat by Z Athletic. This mat also comes in a variety of colors. It comes in the standard 4’8′ size, but it is also available in a 4’6″ size if you need a more compact version. This mat comes in a 2″ thickness, and is easy to wipe down for cleaning.
If you’re looking for a mat with more cushion than a panel mat, a practice mat, or landing mat, is a great choice. Practice mats are thicker, between 4″-8″ thick, and can be larger than a panel mat. If you have a high beam or bar at home, it is a good idea to get a landing mat that can support your gymnast if they fall.
Here is an example of a Tumbl Trak practice mat. This mat is 4″ thick, compared to the panel mat which typically come in a 2″ thickness. It’s 3’x6′, so it would be best for a smaller gymnast. It comes in two colors.
If you’re looking for a larger practice mat, this one comes in a 4’x8′ size. It is foldable for easy storage, and has built-in handles so your child can move the mat on their own. It is also 4″ thick, and has a high quality vinyl cover.
Here’s one more mat, in a different material. This practice mat is 4’x6′, also 4″ thick. It does not fold, so you’ll want to have a permanent place in your home for this mat. The big difference between this one and the others is that the cover is made of nylon which is removable and can be machine washed.
Cartwheel mats are special mats designed to help gymnasts learn how to perform cartwheels properly. They usually have markings to show the gymnast where their hands and feet should land. These mats are lightweight and easily moved and stored. If you have a gymnast who needs a little extra help with their cartwheel, this type of mat is perfect. And of course, it can also be used to practice other skills, too!
This cartwheel mat by Z Athletics is 2’x6′, and 1.5″ thick. It has pictures of the spots where the gymnast should place her hands and feet while doing a cartwheel. If you turn the mat over, it has a line for the gymnast to practice balance beam skills. It’s perfect for a beginning gymnast who is learning cartwheels and also starting out on the beam!
If you’re just looking for something inexpensive for the gymnast to place their hands on, check out these cartwheel accessory mats. They’re not a full size mat, only big enough to for the gymnast’s hands, but the price can’t be beat.
Incline mats are a type of mat that provides a downhill slope to help gymnasts learn skills without gravity working against them. They are also called wedge mats or cheese mats. Gymnasts can do many things on these mats, from log rolls, to backward rolls, to back handsprings. Some incline mats are foldable, and some are not, so be sure to check on that if you have limited space.
This Tumbl Trak incline mat comes in three different sizes (24″, 30″, or 60″ wide). You can also choose between primary colors, pastels, or black. These mats fold up for storage, and have handles to make them easier to move.
This incline mat comes in 60″ and 72″ lengths. It is a high quality, firm mat. If you’re looking for a mat that is soft and cushy, this mat is not for you. But if you want an incline mat that will hold up to larger gymnasts practicing skills on it, you’ll be pleased with this mat. It folds for storage and has carrying handles on the side.
This incline mat comes in junior size (48″) and standard size (72″), making it a good option for someone who has a smaller space. It is also a high quality firm incline mat. If you purchase the smaller size, it may not stay in place as well as it won’t be as heavy, so make sure your gymnast doesn’t use it for anything dangerous. It is also foldable and has carrying handles.
The air floor, or air track, is a mat designed to allow gymnasts to tumble without all the pounding on their joints. This air floor comes in either 10′ or 16′ lengths. It has a two year warranty. Some air tracks have warranties and others do not. On occasion, there can be a problem with the inflation of the air track, in which case the warranty would cover repair or replacement.
Here’s another air track option. This FBSport air track has a ton of options for length, ranging from 13′-26′! If you’re unsure, go for a longer length so it can grow with your gymnast. However, keep in mind that the longer your air track is, the harder it is to transport. You can also buy two smaller ones and put them together, if storage or transport is an issue.
There are many types of gymnastics mats for home, and this overview should help you to decide which one to purchase. If you’re looking for other gymnastics equipment, check out the articles below for even more ideas!