Gymnastics involves manipulating the body to execute routines that may involve flips, somersaults and extreme body control. Gymnastics training generally takes place in a gymnasium that contains equipment such as parallel bars and vaults. For those wanting to train at home, there are several pieces of equipment available for home use.
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Mats are used in gymnastics to provide a padded surface for gymnasts. This helps reduce injuries by relieving some of the impact felt on the body after routines such as somersaults and flips. Gymnastic mats used at home generally are made of foam and are available in a variety of thicknesses. For homes that do not have a lot of space, there are mats that can be folded for easy storage.
Beams can be used at home to practice balance. Beams that are designed for use in the home are generally 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inches) in height, four inches wide and eight feet long. They are available with varying degrees of padding. However, the more padding on the beam, the more it will cost. Portable beams that can be folded up and taken to different rooms or locations are available as well.
Training bars are available for home use. These bars snap and lock into place and are adjustable from 82.5 to 120 cm (33 to 48 inches) in height. They are free-standing and do not need to be anchored into place. Level 4 and under gymnastics techniques may be safely done on an at-home training bar. These techniques include back and front hip circles. Training bars are made out of fibreglass and wood.
A trampoline at home can be used to practice flips. Waterproof fabric is attached to the base by using coils or rods. Trampolines are available in a circular, octagonal or rectangular shape. Trampolines are also available in a mini version or trampette. Flips should not be attempted on a trampette, but can be used as a form of exercise that can build muscle and tone in the legs while not putting stress on the bones or joints.
Using gymnastics equipment at home can be dangerous if not used properly. Before using any of this equipment, it is important to read the documents that come with the equipment and making sure it is set up correctly. It is best to use this equipment with supervision and guidance from a gymnastics coach. The risks and benefits of using gymnastics equipment at home should be discussed with a doctor.