Cushions Used For Gymnastics

By: Jim Brown

There are various cushions and padding that is used for gymnastics exercises, but people who are in training to become a ballerina, or those that do dance routines for recreational or professional purposes can also find them to be very helpful. The main purpose for all of these cushioning devices is to give the athlete a certain measure of safety when they are performing stunts that could injure the spine or break a limb.

Most gymnasts will use a tumbling mat for practicing their cartwheels, flips and other moves that will be combined in succession until they are refined enough to incorporate into an elegant floor exercise one day. These mats are often seen stacked up on the side of the gymnasium when not in use. Coaches prefer to use this type of cushioning if they are teaching classes because they are lightweight and can be set up in any location in a gymnasium in a matter of minutes.

The floor exercise is one of the areas where gymnasts have the opportunity to show off their talents the most during any gymnastics competition. A gymnast will perform various routines in a precise amount of time and most of the gyrations of the body will require a tumbling area that can stand up to high impact exercises. Crosslink foam flooring is used as a permanent grade of cushioning while gymnasts are performing their floor routines.

Some sports centers choose to mount this cushioning over an area that has been enhanced with springboard platforms. This type of support system will serve the gymnast well while they are performing routines where running is involved because the board will give under their weight and allow them to reach greater heights when they are performing a floor exercise. The corners of this foam cushion will serve as markers that every gymnast must land on after a tumbling exercise to receive the highest marks by all judges.

Colored cushions are used to define runways for vault exercises. Gymnasts will run at high speeds and use a springboard to launch their bodies in the air, and tumbling mats will be used to cushion their landings. Individual strips of crosslink foam flooring can also be used in this high impact area because it can be easily rolled up and transported to other areas when needed. Gymnasts do not have to worry about this type of cushioning moving or slipping when they land on it.

Any exposed areas of the floor in a gymnasium will be covered with some sort of padded, cushioning device. All exposed areas of the gym floor where gymnasts train will require them to use equipment that is supported by metal stands and tightening devices and levers. A cushioned mat is used to cover all exposed pieces of metal and is used for cushioning falls that occur directly under these devices. Some gymnast will use cushioning pads on the balance beam while they are training to lessen the amount of bruising that occurs to various body parts.

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