Never underestimate the power of the inflatable tumbling mat because this small piece can be used for a variety of activities and offers quite a lot of benefits. You might be wondering what is an air track in gymnastics? These pieces have become essential in gymnastics because they are thick enough to support the body while protecting it from an injury in case of a fall. They are durable and sturdy and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
Aside from being perfect for gymnastics, these mats can also serve as a surface for kids to develop their motor skills. Many daycare centres also use them to prevent kids from injuring themselves if they accidentally fall. Also, they are often used in martial arts, cheerleading and other school sports, which makes them the perfect training and competition landing platform that ensures safety.
A quality gymnastics air track can reduce the chances of you getting hurt during your training and help you stay focused on your exercises. It is easily portable and it can be rolled up and stored when not in use. Airtracks are available in different lengths to accommodate different spaces and needs. So, if you are looking to buy this piece of equipment but are not sure what to look for, here are a few shopping tips for you.
Usually, these mats are around 90-105 cm wide and 10-20 cm high. However, they come in different lengths. Before deciding on the size, consider the available space you have and decide how you’ll use the mat. For some activities, like yoga or martial arts, you’ll probably need about 120-150 cm. To perform activities like cheerleading and tumbling, you might need more space.
You can find Air Tracks made from different materials. Choose one that’s sturdy, durable and quality to protect your body when performing complex exercises.
- PVC Plastic – Strong and durable, PVC is usually used as an outer covering while the top side of the track may have a softer coating to protect the skin from abrasion and scrapes;
- Double-Wall or Drop-Stitch – This technology has been around for many years and it involves thousands of polyester threads that connect two woven pieces of polyester. These treads enable the gymnastics Air Track to stay flat and be filled to high pressure. Without them, the mat would bulge under the necessary air pressure.
- Rail Tape – Usually made of PVC, rail tape wraps around the outer edge of the track securing the seams and the area around the valves.
Aside from coming in different sizes and materials, air mats can also come with different features.
- Carrying handles – You may be able to inflate the Air Track and position it where you are planning to use it, but sometimes you might not manage to do that. For that reason, it’s a good idea to look for a mat that features carrying handles on both sides. This will allow you to easily move the mat from one place to another if necessary. Handles with a finger grid and rubber coating provide better control. The number of handles depends on the size of the mat. So, the larger the track, the more handles it should have.
- Dual valves – One of the great benefits of using this mat is being able to control the air pressure. Dual valves provide more control, allowing you to let out or fill the mat in order to reach the needed pressure without affecting the overall inflation.
- Splicing features – These mats are usually 90-105cm wide which means there might be not enough room to perform certain activities. There are models that come with Velcro strips on the bottom sides which can be used to connect two mats side-by-side.
- UV coating – Your backyard can be the perfect place to enjoy some outdoor activities. If you are planning to use the Air Track outside, it’s a good idea to look for one that comes with UV coating in order to reduce sun damage.
- Extra accessories – Depending on the retailer and the manufacturer, some inflatable tracks may come with additional accessories. If there is one accessory that people want to come with their mat it’s the air pump. Fortunately, the pump is almost always included, but if you need to buy one separately make sure you choose a quality, high-speed model. Also, a carrying bag is a great accessory as it can increase the portability and storage of the track. A mat that comes with a repair kit is a good choice since most of the patch jobs can be done at home as long as you have the right tools on hand.
Wondering how much is a gymnastics air track? The price depends on many factors: manufacturer, size, materials, features, etc. Small, square mats are usually cheaper but they also lack handles and orientation markings. Middle range mats are bigger, they have orientation lines, handles and Velcro straps. Larger mats are the most expensive. They are the biggest ones you can find and usually always come with all the features and accessories.