Not all gymnastics gym installs are created equal. As any adult can atest: life is full of surprises. With Mike and Grant on hand to oversee construction contractors and install your gymnastics club’s equipment, foreseen and unforeseen architectural easter eggs can be worked around, or in the case of Gymtime in Pennsylvania, worked up and over or drilled through.
Gymnastics training pits must be 6 feet deep for physics and safety reasons. 5.5 feet ain’t gonna cut it. Alas, when digging in to create Gym Time’s gymnastics pit’s pit, it was discovered this was also the location of one of the building’s footers.
A building footer is a crucial part of a building’s foundation. It’s what creates the support for structures to build upwards. Picture a concrete column with a wider base at the bottom and that’s basically it. Kind of like your own leg that doesn’t just end at the ankle, but spreads out into your wider, longer foot-er to support your body.
One of the footers for Gym Time’s gymnastics pit lives at 5.5 feet under their building, inconveniently, exactly where they planned their 6 foot deep pit hole. Obviously, digging another six inches under it wouldn’t be a good idea. One does not argue with a building’s footer supports. So, what the contractors did was pour a six inch lip above the intended edges of the pit to achieve that vital 6 foot depth.
However, that meant that the equipment served by the pit: the rod floor, uneven bars, single bar trainer and vault, needed to be raised to lead into it on the same plane.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Enter the plywood deck!
Frequently, for varying reasons, gyms will build a raised deck on which to put their equipment. Usually, it’s because a pit hole can’t be dug, so they, as in this case, build up to compensate for facility features.
While, the plywood deck provided a viable work-around for the footer issue, it did raise it’s own complications in that the equipment floor plates cannot be anchored into mere plywood. Luckily, Mike and Grant bring many, many tools, bolts, drills and bits along when they do an install which allowed them to drill and anchor the equipment floor plates safely into the concrete floor below.
After 40 years in the business, Mike and Grant know how to identify and vanquish the challenges that arise when even the best laid plans meet their execution in reality.
That also meant that when it turned out there was sheet rock with insulation behind it on the back wall of the pit, Mike and Grant were able to engineer safe solutions to drill through it and get the pit frame safely anchored into the concrete support wall behind it all.
After a year in the works of Mike and Grant collaborating with the owners to design, plan and place the equipment, Gym Time’s new gymnastics facility turned out beautifully!
We are very proud they chose ByGMR brand equipment to kit out their exquisite gym including: our spring floor, carpet, 2 inch EVA foam (the springier stuff), rod floor, star bars, uneven bars, beams, single bar trainer and spotting deck, strap bar and our sag bed pit system. All the mats are ByGMR, as well. We were happy to help them work in their own, previously used JF vaulting table to trim costs where they could.
Our gymnastics customized, 3-D computer rendering design software knows all the dimensions of any piece of gymnastics equipment, ours or that of another company, and Mike and Grant stand ready to help you design and install the gym of your dreams!
Location! Location! Location! Success in a brick and mortar based business really does boil down to real estate and location. Success in the gymnastics business is no different, in fact, it doubles down when it comes to functional real estate *Inside* your gymnastics gym. Smart gymnastics club owners plan and use every inch of their space to pack in as much equipment and practice space, as possible.
To that end, having a star bar station (also known as a quad bar, so we’ll use both terms throughout this article) is a great way to keep all your athletes focused and working and to maximize the efficiency of your coaches’ time.
A star bar station looks kind of like a star? Errr, not exactly, but some folks in the gymnastics industry just took to calling them that, so we’ll roll with it, too. It’s essentially a set of 4 single bar trainers that share a common center upright that allows four gymnasts to practice drills and skills, simultaneously, while being coached and corrected by a single staff member.
Even better, those 4 rails – hence the quad bar moniker – are easily adjusted and can be kept at 4 different heights!Therein, you can set them up at varying heights and have one gymnast move through 4 different drill stations in one more compact spot!
If you had all of these single bar trainers set out separately in your gym, you’d need a whopping 8.5 feet x 60 feet of space! Depending on the length of rail you choose, (rails are purchased separately) the quad bar system brings that space requirement down to 17’ x 17’ for an 8 foot rail or 13.5’ x 13.5’ for a six foot rail. Yay! Multi-use, super efficient, compact rail estate!
All 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…)
Vaulting 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.
Vault trampolines are, simply put, easier to use than vault springboards. Imagine it. The gymnast is pushing off of a stretchable piece of fabric attached to many springs instead of pushing off of a piece of hard board attached to a few springs.
For younger gymnasts who don’t have the strength and body weight to aid them in creating greater rebound from a vault board, the vault trampoline makes a user-friendly type of training wheels experience, as they learn the mechanics of the run-up, punch and take off needed to execute a competition vault. In short, it’s easier to get more rebound from a vault trampoline and when you’re learning to vault or learning to do more complex vaulting skills, getting that extra oomph that takes you to the vault table can make a big difference.
Bigger, older, more experienced gymnasts benefit from using a vault trampoline when learning and acclimating to new skills, as well. In fact, when any gymnast is engaging in the repetition that turns practice into perfect using a piece of equipment that requires less force is going to be less fatiguing. Taking that drain out of the body helps the athlete focus on other elements in learning a new skill such as timing, getting the right height, rotation and mentally clearing out the fear factor that is part of doing new or more advanced gymnastics skills.
Just because it looks easy when gymnasts do it in competition, doesn’t mean it was easy to get there. Not by a long shot!
Vault trampolines are predominantly used by younger gymnasts in levels 1-4 and by Xcel Optional Gymnasts (the gymnasts formerly known as Prep Optionals), though any and all gymnasts can benefit from training on a vault trampoline when working a routine over and over.
Our most popular vault trampoline is our very own ByGMR Air Lift Board. It’s affordably priced and offers a couple of special features which set it apart from the rest. For one, it’s got the sturdiest frame on the market. Most vault trampolines are just set up on legs. The Air Lift board is set on legs that are built into a heavy steel frame that goes all the way around the base of the board on the floor. For that reason, you just don’t get the wobble that you see with other boards.
The ByGMR Air Lift board also provides padding that covers both the frame and the springs. No step through! No hitting the springs. No getting stuck or tearing a foot you need to compete on two weeks. Nothing is a bigger bummer than a last minute injury when you’ve been working your tail off for months to get ready for a meet!
While it’s shaped like a vault board, and it meets FIG specs for vault board height, the Air Lift Board features a lower approach height and longer take-off zone that’s highly conducive to vault training. When you’re learning something new, it’s always good to have a little extra margin for error, as you incorporate and refine new movements.
It’s also good for your gymnasts to have highly visible
targets on their run up. The Air Lift board gives you all that in the form of thick purple padding around the outside of the frame and a bright, lime green rectangle sweet spot that leaps off of the black bed behind it. Vaulting gymnasts have a whirl of details whizzing through their heads as they pitch themselves down the runway. A vault trampoline sweet spot that pops shows them where to hit the punch making it one less thing they have to worry about in those few seconds.
Coaches and gymnastics club owners really enjoy its portability. Because it’s got wheels! So when you need to drag it across the gym, you just tilt and roll!
Spieth America’s vault trampoline does wheelies, too! It’s bright red frame padding keeps a fast-moving gymnast focused as they run at a calculated barrel toward the red cross set against the white trampoline bed. It’s a killer bet for a mini, adjustable trampoline with a total top trampoline surface of 24” x 36”.
Another vault trampoline offering with easy transport wheels is AAI’s Eurotramp Booster/Vault Trampoline. It’s approved by USAG for use in Xcel programs and also makes a great addition to rec programs, parkour training, school sports and indoor free running. It’s got a barrier free jump-in and when you need to, you can adjust the height from 26.5cm to 32cm.
AAI has another fine vault trampoline offering in its Premier Vault Trampoline. This vault tramp (to use gym vernacular) has the same profile as AAI® Vaulting Boards and is used for levels 1-4, Xcel optional athletes and team gymnastics to learn and train vaulting exercises. Adjustable rear legs let you set it to three different heights: 13″, 14″ and 15″ (33cm, 36cm & 38cm) Front can also be adjusted to lower the bed to sit on the floor. Very versatile!
Norberts Power Incline 2.0 meets USA Gymnastics vaulting trampoline specifications for JO Level 1 and 2, and XCEL Bronze, Silver and Gold Divisions. It’s unique all-in-one pad attaches to the bed with Hook and Loop fasteners and uses tabs to attach to the frame to prevent the pad and bed from separating during use.
All in all, a vault trampoline is a great piece of equipment to have around. It’s fun for the rec kids. It can expand your indoor free running and parkour offerings. Your younger gymnasts can use it to learn and compete in lower levels as they gain skill and strength. Your older gymnasts will thank you for giving them an alternative to hitting the same hard board time after time, hour after hour they spend in the gym.