There’s so much to think about when designing and then installing equipment in your gymnastics gym. SO much! It’s easy for seemingly small details to go unseen or slip through, forgotten, in the mountain of minutiae one must sort through when birthing your dream gym vision into your gym’s reality. Many of these bits, probably wouldn’t even occur to you to think about until, well, they announce themselves by smacking you upside the head once all your gymnasts are chalked up and starting to swing.
In life, we live and we learn. But, hey! After over 40 years in the biz, we’ve done a lot of living and learning, so let us help make sure our lessons, don’t become your could-have-been-avoided-mistakes.
In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed the importance of doing research into the water table native to your area before digging out your pit. We’ve talked about how important it is to go over your gym’s blueprint design with your building contractors before you break ground. Here, we’d like to also recommend you share your gym club’s blueprint with your electrician, too!
Why’s that you may ask? Well, it’s because where you put your lights relative to your uneven bars, high bar and trampoline matters, also. Or, if you’ve already got lights installed, then it’s important to share your facility’s blueprint with whomever is planning or implementing your equipment install.
For trampolines’s, it’s easy to see that you’re going to need a heckuva lot of clearance between gymnast and ceiling or anything that hangs down from your ceiling, such as lights.
But, what you may not realize, until it’s too late, is that for safety’s sake, you really want to avoid putting lights directly over your high bar or uneven bars. Not only to ensure that you have enough clearance for giants and dismounts, but also to avoid having your gymnasts blinded by the lights above them.
As a gymnast comes through the bottom of their swing, their eyes will be pointed upward facing the ceiling until they crest the bar. If you’ve got lights right above that bar, they can’t help but look directly into them, as they swing upward. No one wants to be blinded when doing gymnastics, but it’s especially bad, if they’re trying to grab the bar back on a release move. That moment of blindness or the after images that may appear in their vision can prove disorienting and cause them to miss the bar and fall.
Ideally, you wouldn’t have lights over your balance beams, either, but that can be pretty hard to do as beams are so long and space is often limited. With beams, gymnasts may get a split second flash on an aerial or flip, if the lights are overhead, but for the most part gymnasts on a beam are traveling back and forth on a horizontal plane rather than the verticality of bars.
So, you don’t end up having to replan your whole gym or, worse, move and reinstall equipment that’s ended up beneath your lights, we heartily recommend you share and discuss where you’re going to put your bars or trampoline with your electrical work contractors, as you plan your gym’s lighting. If you’re moving into a building where all the infrastructure is already installed, we emphatically suggest you consider where your lights are, as you plan where you want your equipment to go. If you’re working with an equipment manufacturer, such as ByGMR to design and implement your equipment installation, we’re going to ask to see a blueprint of your facility, so we can ensure all elements of your gym come together to work safely and ergonomically.
Sometimes, however, putting lights over your bars can’t be avoided, in cases where they’re already installed and that’s really the only spot you can place your bars. In that event, you want to ensure you’ve got enough physical clearance, so those perfectly pointed toes won’t graze your light fixtures. To check for that, have your tallest gymnast hit a handstand on the highest bar, so you can make sure there’s plenty of room for them to swing freely (and boldly) without hitting the light fixtures.
Another quick note on lights in gyms that you may not have thought about!
Light, as we know, is super important in any and every gymnastics gym. Gymnasts need to be able to see their equipment very clearly and easily in order to execute the daring moves we (and the judges) love so much. A dim gym just won’t do!
What you might not realize is that gymnastics mats and floor ex carpet, which are traditionally and frequently a dark blue color, will absorb a great deal of the light emitting from those fixtures you’re about to spend a lot of money to install. What looks like a very brightly lit building when completely empty, will appear much dimmer when it’s filled with a dark carpeted spring floor and packed with dark blue landing mats and skill cushions. That’s, yet, another reason it can be highly beneficial to work with a gymnastics industry professional when designing and implementing your dream gym.
On the subject of lights and light bulbs, we recommend LEDs. LED lights offer more lumens and are thus brighter. They’re also cheaper and more cost efficient to run. In short, LED lights give you brighter bang for your light bulb buck.
In short, let their be light, but be careful where you put it!