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Vault Matting: Blocks, Tongues and Trapezoids!

Womens-Vault-Table-Trainer-VT-Block_vt942-w_R_23ec866aAll of the best gymnastics training happens in progressions. Progressions are where the gymnast learns elements of a target skill in steps that build up to the final, more advanced version of skill. These steps teach components of the finished, target skill such as bringing the correct body shaping into muscle memory. Or steps in a progression can entail executing that skill in a smaller, less difficult way or on an easier piece of equipment specifically for training.

Vault mat blocks are a great way to ease your would-be vaulters into learning what can be a pretty intimidating gymnastics skill. They are, after all, running full speed down a runway where they punch or round-off themselves onto a springboard that, in turn, bounces them onto a raised, hard vault table from which they must complete movements in the air such that they land safely on their feet with not so much as a bounce or step.

Spelled out, it’s not so hard to see why performing vault can be intimidating to many gymnasts and why learning it slow and easy, in baby steps, is a really good idea for your gymnasts both physically and mentally.

Enter the vault mat block system. The vault mat block system is shaped like a vault table, but made of foam cushions in segments that allow for slowly increasing its height, as the gymnast grows stronger physically and mentally.

Our Women’s Vault Table Trainer VT Block does just that. It features four 36″ wide x 43″ long blocks and will adjust in increments of 21″, 39.5″, 44.5″, 48″ and 53” to meet the needs of gymnasts at all vault skill levels. Coaches training male gymnasts use this as a base to which they attach the men’s block (sold separately).

The 21″ height allows the younger gymnast to start training round-off entry vaults. Adding the women’s block will equal 48″ and with the men’s block the total height equals 53”.

Given the inevitable pounding of gymnasts training vault, these vault block mat systems are designed to take a beating. They’re made with a high density polyurethane foam and covered in 18oz. coated fabric which makes them easy to clean with a simple wipe down.

They’re also built to be secure and to handle the forces of gymnasts bodies at speed. To that end, all sections secure with hook and loop fasteners and can be connected to the vault runway or carpet bonded foam. 

As training using your vault runway involves moving your vault table back and forth, many gyms and coaches use their vault training blocks at the end of a tumbling runway that is served by their gymnastics pit. You can also attach them to your floor exercise mat to use in a variety of conditioning and training drills. (more…)

Accessorize Your Vault Training!

Padded-Vault-Runway-3x84x1-3and8-_t111p_R_174e9245Colors of Vault Runway CloseupVaulting involves more than just a vault table and a springboard. Like just about everything, there are some other essential accessories that round out your gym club vaulting station – the caboodle of the whole kit and caboodle, if you will.

Like the gymnastics vault, let’s take off down the runway.

ByGMR makes a vault runway pad designed to work in tandem with our vault runway tape measure.

Manufactured to be easy to clean and extra resilient, our runways begin with Dollamur Carpet Bonded Foam in either the standard roll-up or the flexi-roll design for easy rollout/rollup and storage. The foam is 1.25” thick for a joint friendly run that’s covered in 26oz, anti-static, plush gymnastics carpet. It measures 3’ x 84’ x 1-3/8” and comes in 9 different colors. You choose! Our most popular color is our vivid royal blue.

Of course, it helps your gymnasts to calculate the complex mechanics and timing of their vaults to mark the start position or the board position – depending on how you do things. That’s where the vault tape measure comes in. It’s 25 meters or 82 feet long – depending how you look at it. Our tape measure hooks directly to the vault runway via a sewn-in 1.5” wide hook connector. Simply roll it out and stick it to our vault runway or any vault runway, for that matter. It works with all of them.

Naturally, you wouldn’t want your gymnast running full-speed then hitting a round-off onto a naked vault board. We offer two vault safety zone mats that protect your athletes as they learn and excel at their gymnastics vaults.

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Baby Boards for Beginners!

Gym GameChoosing the right vault board to fit the needs of your gymnastics club’s programs and their athletes can be a confounding endeavor. Ten-o.com, itself, carries 20 different boards from major manufacturers across the industry and they’re all excellent pieces of equipment.

However, they’re not created equally. Our vault board offerings vary in length and height, number and size of springs, platform covering, guide graphics and punch. Some boards are designed for younger, smaller bodies in recreational classes; while others are geared for the weight, strength and skill of older gymnasts training to compete.

We’ve written a 3 post series to help you sort through the diverse specs of our vault boards to ensure you spend your hard-earned money in the wisest way. To begin, let’s look at vault boards designed to cater to the size and capabilities of your littlest gymnasts.

These boards are: By GMR’s “Little Stars” 5 mini-spring vault board, Norberts 4 spring Performance Top Pre-school board, Spieth-America’s 3-spring “Little Thumper”, Gibson’s 3-spring “Bronco” board and AAI’s Pre-school 3-Spring vault board.

Our “Little Stars” baby board is the springiest of the bunch and perfect for pre-schoolers who weigh 50lbs. or less; and therein, don’t pack the punch necessary to get a bigger bounce from a harder board. It’s made with 5 mini-springs which are 4 3/8 inches high. The “Little Stars” board’s platform is padded in flexcell foam and covered in carpet with cute, colorful stars to capture their attention and ignite their imaginations, as they launch themselves toward their dreams of being a gymnastics star. Additionally, “Little Stars” is not as tall or as long (measuring 20” x 30”) as other pre-school program boards offering a lower crown and shorter hurdle to younger gymnasts and rec program kids. For smaller children, a springier, shorter board is more forgiving and easier to use when they lack strength, stride and weight to really punch it.

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Intermediate, the Goldilocks of Boards!

goldilocks_insurance_package-1080x675While the flight and the landing are the gutsy, glamorous parts of a gymnastics vault, the run-up is crucial. Gymnasts are judged on that, as well.

In the effort to build momentum to punch the board with enough force to take flight, gymnasts make a fast and carefully choreographed run down the runway up to the vault board which helps generate the force they use to launch themselves onto the vault table and into the air where they execute the meat of the gymnastics vault.

Learning to vault well, and safely, means fine-tuning the transition from a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other run to a two a footed punch on the board.

The hurdle is the leap from the runway to the board for that punch. Middle-sized kids need a mid-sized hurdle.

Intermediate boards usually measure 36” which means a, well, intermediate, length hurdle between that which is native to the 24” of the smaller boards and the 48” of the full-size, competition, advanced boards. They employ between 4 and 6 springs that a middle skill level and middle sized gymnasts can use easily and safely.

Intermediate boards are built for an older, heavier class of gymnast than the beginning boards. Their weight allows them to exert more force to be returned by the springs. Typically, an intermediate board features six springs, though all of our boards use springs which are removable offering you more flexibility in how you deploy the board in your gym.

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Big Boards Bring Big Bounce!

AAI-8-Spring-TAC-10-LZT-Vault-Board_407233_R_1e969525Saving the best for last in our 3 part series on gymnastics vault boards are our advanced, competition boards. Built for bigger, heavier, stronger gymnasts training and competing more difficult skills, these boards bring big bounce per ounce!

In gymnastics vaulting, timing is Everything! The more recoil you have in your springs the faster the gymnast gets off the board, onto the vault table and into the air. When you’re doing more advanced vaults — your Yurchenkos, Tsukaharas or Produnovas — every millisecond counts ’til you stick that perfect landing.

All of our advanced, competition boards measure 2ft x 4ft long and are 21cm high from the ground up. Beyond that, our boards vary by the type of covering on the platform and the number of springs. More springs beget a harder board. 

Some gymnasts prefer a softer board; whereas, other prefer a more firm flex and return. We carry several models from different manufacturers across the spectrum, so that you can cater to your athletes’ individual preferences.

Let’s get into the details, so that you can make the right choice for your gymnastics facility and the gymnasts you train.

AAI offers 6 different vault boards! All of which meet FIG specs for competition. The AAI 8 Spring Stratum comes covered in grey carpet with 1/2in. padding. Its springs are removable so you can fix the firmness to the needs of each athlete. The AAI 8 Spring TAC 10 LZT features the pebbly textured, basketball fabric that provides extra protection against slippage and offers a slightly thicker, more reactive padding and is one of our most popular. It also lets you remove springs to fit individual gymnast preferences for harder or softer. Both of these boards meet competition specifications set out by USAG, AAU, NCAA, FIG and NFHS.

In a busy meet or a high volume gym club, you might not want to take the time to adjust the springs. For that reason, AAI came out with their line of EVO boards that come color coded per preference from soft to medium to more firm.

Softer boards are great for younger gymnasts. They’re easier to punch, less jarring and less fatiguing when you’re hitting the board over and over trying to nail down that Yurchenko timing. Like so much in gymnastics training, evolution of skill happens in progressions. Move to the medium board once you’ve mastered the softer version and prep for the harder, faster recoil board. Or just stay there. With AAI’s EVO boards, you can have your pick of the litter!

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