One of the most frequent inquiries we get at Ten-o is, “What first piece of equipment should I buy for my boy’s rec program.” That’s an excellent question! We’re glad you asked!
Many gymnastics gyms and clubs, out there in the community, have a really popular, very strong girl’s gymnastics program. It’s unfortunate that boy’s gymnastics is not as popular, but, alas, them’s the facts.
Understandably, gym owners who aren’t specifically focused on boy’s gymnastics, especially competitive boy’s gymnastics, are reluctant to invest a lot of money into equipment that’s not going to be as frequently used or will not be a part of their competition gymnastics offerings.
Yet, gym owners still have parents asking to bring their boys in to do recreation gymnastics, particularly, if they’ve already got a girl in their gymnastics programming.
Also, Ninja Programs and Parties have become a big hit for both boys and girls and a strong selling point for gym owners, so rings make for a great addition to those programs.
Recreational gymnastics for boys and girls offers a great way for kids to burn off some of that extra energy before settling in to dinner, homework, bath then bed. Kids learn to face and conquer their fears, wait their turn in line and participate with team and program mates. In short, gymnastics at both the rec and competition levels gets kids moving, building both strength of body and character.
Our recommendation for a gymnastics club or gym with a rec program, a ninja program or a gymnastics club that wants to explore expanding their offerings into boy’s competitive gymnastics is to start off with a set of rings.
As astounding as they look at the competition level, rings are the easiest piece of equipment for boys to pick up and play around with. Boys gymnastics events such as pommel horse, high bar and parallel bars all involve more advanced skills and strength than rings do, at the beginner level.
Another advantage to rings for ninja and boys recreational programs is that rings can be easily adjusted to accommodate smaller boys with less strength using our extender straps. Add in a rope hoist system and they can be quickly stored up, up and away — saving you valuable space in your gym. Plus, responsible gym owners, schools and recreational sports programs can ensure they are safely Out of The Way when additional supervisory staff isn’t available. Everybody wins!
A value-conscious, first investment would include a set of ceiling mounted rings. Ceiling mounted rings are, typically, hung from a steel I-beam by a clamp. Our adjustable I-Beam Clamps accommodate widths between 4 and 9 inches.
Ok. How high? How wide?
Well, to get some perspective, let’s talk competition rings specs for comparison. Competition ring specs demand the rings be 50cm wide (about 19 3/4 in.) and are 110 inches above the floor. This is entirely too wide and too high for beginners or boys not looking to invest the time and commitment it takes to develop the skills and musculature of a competitive male gymnast. The wider apart the rings are placed, the more strength it takes to support one’s self. (Those Iron Crosses are no joke!) Further, keeping your gymnastics rings closer to the floor means coaches don’t have to lift as high to set the gymnast into them and they come off as less imposing to the younger kids.
Most gyms are in warehouse type buildings and therein have a ceiling that’s about 25 feet high. At GMR, we can customize your cables to accommodate your gym and your gymnast’s needs. Want them 7 feet above the ground? 8? We got you. FIG spec competitive rings height is 9 feet 2 inches. We do that, too!
Want to mix it up? Our self-hoist solution lets you adjust the height of the rings to the skill level of the gymnast: low for beginners and the little ones, mid-height for intermediate gymnasts or competition height for the more advanced.
Conversely, we sell a set of rings and adjustable straps that don’t involve cables at all! They include straps, rings and a delta quick link! These are great for home conditioning and rec programs. Our adjustable strap rings can be hung from a joist in your home basement! Naturally, you’ll always want some matting underneath and supervision for the young ones!
Other considerations for determining the height at which to set your rings is where you’re going to hang them and what type of matting you’re going to need underneath. Over a spring floor makes for a good choice. If you go that route, you’ll still want at least a 4 and 3/4 in. landing mat or an 8 to 12 inch skill cushion. Where to hang and the thickness of the matting you’ll want underneath are important factors to your decision of how high to hang ‘em. It just so happens we know how to figure that out!
Of course, the longer the cable, the more swing they pick up. For recreational gymnastics, this isn’t a big concern, but if you’re looking to explore boys’ competition gymnastics you’ll want to think about getting swivel spring rings and/or a ring frame — more on those later.
Our easy stow, starter solution for recreational gyms, clubs is a self-hoist mechanism. We can help you with that or you can go to your local Lowe’s or Home Depot and purchase a 1/4 inch rope and pulley system with a snap bolt to raise and secure it out of the way.
Naturally, you’ll need a counter weight to get them back down, as the rings are so light. We sell sandbags for this purpose, but a barbell weight or a spotting belt will do the trick! Every gym has a spotting belt, the downside being that if it’s hanging from the ceiling, you can’t use it to spot…
The next level rings, if you will, is our set of swivel spring rings. More advanced skills entail greater forces at the bottom of the swing. The greater the force, the bigger the jolt to the athlete’s body: to help offset this force, we recommend a set of rings that not only swivel, but also include a spring for added shock absorption.
Another built-in element to reduce the jolt incurred at the bottom of a strong swing comes in our competition ring frame. Our ring tower is a standalone piece of equipment constructed such that the uprights and the top flex — adding to the shock absorption of the swivel spring rings. The ring tower makes for a great solution for gym’s whose ceilings are simply too high to mount them there. Our ring tower meets FIG specifications for competition, so you’re already in the game!
But, what about the rings themselves? At GMR, we offer wood and polycarbonate constructed rings. What’s the difference? Polycarbonate is cheaper, very strong, but are generally not the type of rings used in gymnastics competitions. We carry polycarbonate rings in both junior and FIG competition sizes. They’re excellent for a recreational department or gymnastics gym that’s not looking to compete.
Our wood rings meet FIG competition specifications and are extremely strong, as a result of our 30-ply construction technique! Starting out with wood rings, will enable your gymnasts to begin meet ready, as they will already be fully familiar with the feel of the rings they’d use in competitions.
From simply laughing and swinging with their friends, to turning upside down or “Skin the Cat” all the way up to the iconic Iron Cross, By GMR is happy to help you and your gymnasts swing as hard and as high as you like!