Oh Lordy! GMR’s 40!
And, we couldn’t be prouder of our company’s entrance into middle age! It’s hard fought and well-earned through an industry that has changed a great deal since we started that fateful 1st of September, 1978. Mike, The Old Gymnastics Guy, got the bald spot and creaky joints to prove it.
Our version of buying an expensive, red convertible this past year was we up and designed a sleek, innovative new mat, our Dawn Mat!
We streamlined our website to keep up with the trend of mobile devices, so that when you look at Ten-o on the go, everything is tailored for clarity and convenience. We trimmed our paper catalogue to just the highlights on our most popular products. We expanded our product lines to include re-selling equipment and parts offerings from all of the other major manufacturers in the business.
One of the benefits of Mike’s 40 years in the biz is that if you got a piece of equipment or a part you can’t identify: Mike can.
Mike made the first Mushroom™ that went on to become an integral part of boy’s gymnastics training and a boy’s competition event in its own right.
He took the single bar trainer and made it the super space saver that makes it the single best piece of training equipment in your gym or club.
He took that tight, old pit tramp bed that wasn’t providing the deceleration of forces that protects athletes and loosened it up and made the Sag Bed Pit System that ensures your gymnasts are safer when training the risky skills that make gymnastics magic.
The industry has changed a lot over the years since Mike and Kappy put out the first catalogue, since they gave boys practical training apparel, since they brought grips to the US and put lycra in athletic wear… when they put stars in the eyes of young gymnasts who got gymnastics themed gifts under their Christmas trees.
GMR Gymnastics Sales is the only company that did or does Everything for Gymnastics — since 1978! From equipment to mats to apparel to pits to gifts to grips to designing your entire gym, we bring 40 years of experience to bear on your investments big and small.
Mike started out as a gymnast in the ’60’s. He went on to coach for 15 years. GMR stands for George Mike Raines. It grew out of his tiny apartment into a 32,000 square foot warehouse and corporate office space in Lithonia, Georgia. Every minute of these 40 years has been a labor of love.
We have YOU to thank for it.
We are grateful for your enduring trust and support as you rely on us to equip your gyms, clothe your gymnasts, sag your pit beds and design your gymnastics club facilities.
The gymnastics club market started in 1976, so 1978 was a great time to get in on the action and help grow the sport that means so much to Mike and Kappy and the rest of the ByGMR staff.
It’s been a privilege to cheer on so many young gymnasts as they compete against their fears, then grow up to coach and keep the sport alive through growing gym club businesses of their own.
We love answering your questions about how to install those rings, how to best utilize the space you’ve got and how to route the flow of your gym around the column in the middle of the building. Our customers and this sport are everything.
Thank you for our 40 years together. Thank you for Everything Gymnastics Since 1978.
We’re gonna do it. Mike and Kappy are gonna mess with Texas!
They’ll pack up our display of Every. Single. Grip. We. Sell. and head west! They’re bringin’ Rocky the Raccoon, wearing his little grips, to give away in raffle style drawings. They’re bringing some to sell for those not lucky enough to win. Rocky the Raccoon (a plushie wearing gymnastics grips of all things!) makes a wildly unique gift for your gymnast. Where else are you going to find a raccoon wearing grips? We ask you! (Well, our website, of course! and nowhere else!)
Or! For added action pop by to enter our Clue Game and get your entry into our drawing for a $300.00 Gift Certificate!
USA Gymnastics Congress 2018: a resounding success!
Unlike most years, there were no national championships attached to the convention this go’ round. That made for a little less traffic by the booth. What it missed in quantity, it made up for in quality, as people were more leisurely in their time to chat.
Talking to coaches and customers, gymnasts, judges and parents is where the heart of congress lies, for us. It’s our chance to connect. It gives us an opportunity to take the pulse of the gymnastics community writ large. We answer questions about equipment, grips, gym club, pit design… You name it! We listen to your concerns and take them back to HQ where we spend the year tailoring our offerings to meet your needs.
This year, we even got to meet a service pig! Next to the crop of Olympic gymnasts, Bacon was the second brightest star! Isn’t he adorable?!
It’s that time again! We’re packing furiously, gearing up to get out in the gymnastics community for USA Gymnastics Congress 2018 in Providence, Rhode Island August 9-11th.
Unlike past years, there won’t be a major gymnastics competition alongside the conference and trade show, so we’re hoping that means we’ll get to spend extra time talking to coaches, club owners and gymnasts to learn more on what you like and what you need from your gymnastics industry professionals.
We love to answer folks’ questions about gym club design, gymnastics and cheer training equipment, designing or simply upgrading your existing gymnastics pit, gymnastics grips sizing or, well: Everything Gymnastics Since 1978! We celebrate Ten.0 and By GMR’s 40th anniversary this fall!
We’ve got a big booth planned for this year’s USA Gymnastics Congress Trade Show. We’re debuting four new products!
Come take a dip in our pit cube pool that features our new pit cube covers! Pit cube covers cut down on the proliferation of “pit fluffies” and will just generally keep things a lot cleaner around the pit. Our new Ten-o pit cube covers come with a cool water design that looks like sunlight reflected in a swimming pool giving your gym that water oasis paradise feel. If you like, we can custom make them to add your gym name into the design.
When you dip a hand or toe in our gymnastics pit cube pool, you fulfill one of your Golden Ticket Treasure Map tasks that play a part in your entry to win USA Congress 2018 super sweet gymnastics prizes.
Die pit fluffies! DIE!
Let’s see… What else can we fix? Oh! That’s right! Grips issues! Gymnastics grips help you stay on the bar and they help your skin stay on your palms. But, they can come with their own complications. Your grips’ finger holes grow looser with wear. Leather is tough on the wrist. Strap velcro can pop off at the most inopportune times and those little velcro hooks can snag your gorgeous, but not at all cheap, competition leotard.
Ten-o is always thinking, always thinking…
Not every pit project is a fresh concrete pour or a big spankin’ new set of concrete block walls. Sometimes, you put a new spin on what you’re already workin’ with.
That’s what our friends at Midwest Twisters did out in Hartland, WI.
“It’s the easiest install and the best pit system I’ve ever seen. Your pit system is great. It fixes every problem with the old, full tension tramp systems. It is much ‘softer’. Now, I have one more thing in the gym exactly like I want it,” Justin Slife owner of Midwest Twisters.
Justin wanted a complete redesign for the hole he already had in his facility. He had built 2 platforms for drop in trampolines. He had some resi pits and he had one 9.5ft x 14ft foam pit. That pit was the old style, tight trampoline bed that everyone used before By GMR came out with our innovative Sag Bed Pit System. The old style trampoline bed system sets the trampoline bed further down the wall and strings the trampoline very tightly to support the weight of the cubes. Theirs was set 4 feet down. With age, as happens to us old gymnasts, too, the springs had gotten stretched out.
To combat nature’s inevitable forces, Midwest Twisters did what many gymnastics gym owners have had to resort to: under-pinning their foam pit trampolines with foam pylons to support their trampoline bed.
As is the case with that type of work around, it just wasn’t giving them the deceleration of forces they need from their gymnastics foam pit. So, they called us to upgrade to our Sag Bed Pit System and get some help with redesigning their gymnastics pits to improve function and flow.
They decided to convert some of the space in their gymnastics pit hole to a 9.5ft x 30 ft x 7ft Sag Bed “Skinny Pit”.
To us, anything less than 12 feet wide, we term a “skinny pit” because the frame is installed 3 feet down from the top. You see, the wider the pit, the more the pit will sag. So, if a gymnastics pit is wider than 12 feet across it will sag more to cover that area. To compensate for that width and sag, we install the frame a foot higher.
Let’s look at some pictures!
We at By GMR have had the pleasure of working with the good folks at Bull Run Academy of Gymnastics out of Warrenton, VA, on putting together their beautiful new gymnastics gym. They gave us the dimensions of their building and the list of equipment they have and what they wanted to add and asked us to help them design the best, most safety conscious and space efficient layout for their facility. We discussed the pits they wanted and — very importantly: what types of skills they wanted to train into those pits and how they wanted them laid out.
We talked gymnastics gym design. We talked gymnastics classes. We talked gymnastics gym flow.
We then came up with a blue print of all the equipment and mats for the gym itself. We provides them blueprints of the gym with the pits. We provided blueprints of the pits only to their contractors. We also provided several 3D rendered views so the gym owners could see what their gym would look like from all the vantage points they wanted.
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, at all, you may have picked up on the fact that Mike is a bit of a gymnastics pit design nerd. This is literally the 6th post we’ve done on the subject, lol.
But, there’s a lot to dig into on the topic! What’s special about this particular gym pit post is that this one offers photos of a gymnastics pit made with concrete blocks rather than poured concrete! Also, it offers a good look at the beginnings of a gymnastics pit in its early construction. So without further ado…
Here you see the single bar trainer and trench pit leg attached to a 24 inch resi pit. It will contain a 8ft x 18 ft curved trench bar mat. In this instance, they made the entire trench 7 feet deep and built a wood platform for the resi, to sit on. The wood you see here is a temporary framing that helps keep the walls straight while they dry. All of the concrete blocks are filled with concrete and reinforced with rebar. As it should be with every pit, they are built in accordance with their local building codes.
This photo shows the main pit which is 18 ft x 34 ft and 7 feet deep. The pit only needs to be six feet deep, but the wanted it to be 7 feet deep to accommodate the trench bar mat.
This photo offers a really good top view of the concrete blocks filled with concrete and their rebar reinforcements. You can also see how they are tied into the concrete floor via the rebar and the poured concrete. We can’t stress it enough. Check your local building codes! We know of a gym that didn’t build to code and they had to scrap everything and start over. Don’t let that happen to you!
Rocky the Raccoon held the whole world captive with his amazing 25 floor ascent of the UBS Plaza Building in St. Paul, Minnesota this past June, 2018. We know raccoons are famous — at times, infamous, trouble-makin’ climbers. They scale trees and rockfaces, so why not buildings? They’ve got those irresistibly cute little hands!
But, come a little closer, gentle reader, we’ll let you in on what we think was the secret to his astounding 25-story Climb!
We bet Rocky was wearing his Ten-o grips!
Ten-o gymnastics grips are made with thick, strong leather that protects the wearer from the rigors of the activity in which they’re engaged. Maybe that leather protects the ripped up palms of a 12 year old gymnast swinging giants. Maybe it guards the teeny hands of daredevil, trash panda scaling one of the city’s tallest buildings!
It does beg the question… Was Rocky wearing a grip like a gymnastics palm grip that we recommend for beginner gymnasts who are just starting out? We do think this was his first building climb.
Palm grips let younger gymnasts get used to the feel of wearing something between their hands and the bars. Our Pixie and Gecko palm grips use a lighter weight “baby suede” whereas our 2nd Grip Palm Grips are the next step up. They employ a heavier leather preparing your young gymnasts for the “Big Gymnast” dowel grips.