where-to-begin

Where to Begin

There’s much to be said for a gymnastics practice area in the home, and gymnastics mats and equipment have become much more available and affordable in recent years for such purposes. They come in all shapes and sizes, so your biggest problem as you embark on the home gymnastics journey is going to be figuring out which pieces you need to pick up first, and which sort of secondary options you’re going to get the most mileage out of if and when it becomes practical to acquire them.

There are a few easy ways to start looking at this—let’s whittle it down from the top end and the bottom end: From the top, you can basically rule out a lot of the bigger, heavier, squishier gymnastics mats you’ll see among the items on gymnastics mat retailers’ websites. They don’t typically distinguish between home-use and gymnasium-use when they create those inventories, so, it seems obvious, but if the mat is going to take up the entire floor, it’s probably not ideal for your purposes, and unless you’ve got high ceilings and short gymnasts, there are going to be some incline wedges and stuff that are just too big to fit inside the space you’re looking at. So, while a wedge or a crash pad is a good purchase any time, be sure to check the dimensions and make sure it’s practical for your purposes. These larger items are going to tend to be the most expensive ones too, so while you’re shopping, look at price points, as they can actually be a useful indicator of a mat that’s meant for a bigger practice space.

Then on the lower end, you can safely rule out anything that seems like the deal you’re getting is too good to be true. It’s a cliché at this point, but, well, if it seems that way, it probably is. That’s not to say that there aren’t really good deals on basic floor mats and such, and there are a handful of really reputable retailers (who love alliteration) that sell well-crafted, no-frills basic stuff, but if you want a guarantee of the absolute highest quality, you’ll probably want to take a look at Nastia Liukin’s signature equipment and consider spending a little bit more for gear that’s going to last you a long, long time with a gold medalist’s seal of approval. This should be a good, common sense place to start as you begin shopping—best of luck!