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The Battle of Bull Run

Pardon us while we BRAG (Bull Run Academy of Gymnastics) about our latest Sag Bed Pit System install:

It went like clockwork.

We worked with the owner, Mary and Drew Henry, for over a year to plan everything down to the most minute detail. Every spring, pad and piece of foam was cut to spec, made in the color of your choice and right there when and where we needed it because we offer a Total Turn Key System. We talk about how important it is to plan ahead in our Call Before You Dig post. We can’t emphasize it enough. If you’ve ever put together a piece of IKEA furniture, let alone cut a hole in your floor and filled it with a trampoline bed and foam, you’ll know what it means to have everything at your fingertips fit to form.

When designing their new gymnastics pit, we talked with the Bull Run’s owners about what they wanted to train into it and what they were looking to get out of it, besides safely decelerated gymnasts.

They said they wanted one big, mega, multi-purpose pit to train vault, rod floor, beam dismounts, spring floor, a tumble track, a single bar trainer and a 7ft x 14ft inground trampoline. Basically, everything leads to this pit. We said: Okay, we got you.

They said they wanted their pit to be on par with big gymnastics star universities like University of Florida, LSU and UGA. We said: Cool! We designed the gyms for UGA and LSU. We did LSU’s custom pits and mats in 2016?

Now, Bull Run Academy of Gymnastics in Warrenton, VA is the only independent, non-university gymnastics training facility with an 8 foot trench bar mat like those found at the top shelf, college gymnastics programs.

Their shiny new all-purpose, gymnastics pit measures 19ft x 34ft x 7ft deep. Most pits are six feet deep, but they wanted a college degree trench bar mat, which is 7 feet tall, so they dug the pit sized to accommodate it. Their pit also features a shallow, resi pit area connected to it, that you see is set up on the specially designed deck in the photo below.

bull run first pic

Some gym owners build the different levels into the actual pit pit or hole. Bull Run wanted to do it differently so they built a deck for their 24inch resi mat. This pit is also unique in that the trench bar and its massive mat are on the other side of the resi pit.

Most gymnastics gyms do a gymnastics trench bar with a pit of its own that’s either 38 inches wide or 96. Bull Run’s trench bar pit is 96inches wide. Connecting their trench bar pit to their resi pit will also allow them to get creative and do things like use their trench bar mat as part of their ninja program, should they so desire.

One of the things that’s so much fun about doing your gym design with someone that’s been in the business for 40 years *cough* us, lol, and that makes pit planning such a crucial part is that you weave your gym real estate, equipment and program offerings in ways that let you make the most of your gym space.

This configuration also let them save money in that they didn’t have to build an extra wall on their pit to accommodate the resi and the trench bar pit. Thinking… Thinking… Always thinking!

bull run minus pit pads

This photo gives you a good sense of what we mean by sag in a Sag Bed Pit System. Outmoded pits of yore are set low and strung tight. Installed further down from the pit’s edge at the floor, they’re harder to climb out of. Strung tight, you don’t get your money’s worth in deceleration of forces annnnnnd your foam fluffs out faster from all the harder landings. Sagging your trampoline bed keeps landings loosey goosey and easier going on the bodies of your athletes.

Here you can see this gym pit installed in almost all its glory: the frame and padding, the springs and their inter-spring foam padding with the wall padding. No concrete is ever left exposed for maximum safety. Only thing not shown here are the pit pads. We’ll get to those in a sec. With our turnkey pit system, you’re not having to scrape around the gym for extra bits of foam to pad the walls or frame. It’s all right there: cut to measure, and if you like, manufactured in your gym’s colors!

uprights bull run

Pictured there are the Double L uprights of their future single bar trainer. We designed these bar uprights specifically for their stability and fit at the center leg of a T-shaped pit.

bull run pads

Now, we’ve added the pit pads in their gym’s preferred lime green. They’ll look great with with their blue pit cubes!

trench pit with resi deck

There’s a lot going on in this photo. Here, you can see the way the resi deck relates to the trench bar pit before we dropped the giant trench bar mat. We capture that moment of glory (tbh, it took a couple of tries) in the video at the beginning of this post.

The walls are padded with 1-3/8in. crosslink foam. The pit pads are notched on each side to fit our trench bar deck that was not installed when this was shot. They chose an advanced spotting Slide Out Deck that allows their coaches to really get in close for the spot to make posture corrections or slide in a mat to conduct skill drills.

Think of it kind of like a pirate’s gang plank that can be slid forward or retracted back for efficient use of space and professionally directed attention to your athletes.

trench mat bull run

Same trench bar leg of the pit, now, with the HUGE 8 foot wide trench bar mat installed, just like the high calibre training centers at major universities use. You can tell it’s a brand new mat by the wrinkles in the cover where gymnasts have yet to christen it by walking and throwing themselves onto it.

alles bull run

Here you have the full frame, pads and bars install minus the pit cubes. Note, the channel foam in the resi mat in the center of the photo. We designed that mat with those channels to provide a softer landing than you would get with just a solid block of foam. Air in the channels is pushed out through the end that is covered in mesh, rather than solid vinyl. Forward thinking wins the day when it comes to the physics of gymnastics at play!


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9:00am - 4:00pm Friday EST


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