Since my last post about the biggest mistake when learning how to do a cartwheel, you all have been asking a lot about gymnastics mats to setup at home for level 1 skills like cartwheels. Do not worry, I have found the best cartwheel mat for learning to perfect this skill.
How long it takes you to learn/teach this skill is completely up to you though, I’m just the person who illuminates the most safe products for gymnasts.
Ways the cartwheel mat helps
Yes, you can injury yourself doing cartwheels, thanks for asking. Equipment like this is here to help correct your mistakes over a safe net before getting crazy with your cartwheels.
Line of sight is a big influence for balance, and since we will be inverting our bodies you bet it’s important to have a visual example. The line of sight refers to the line which goes down the middle of the mat that basically serves as a visual queue, this is more common on cartwheel mats for kids. The line also aids when doing straight tumbling, leaps, jumps, and cartwheels so we aren’t all over the place. Hand-eye coordination helps A LOT.
Injury prevention is highly valued by coaches and parents, we want the little ones to have fun AND be safe. Each recommended cartwheel mat is plenty firm for safe support with at least 1 1/2 inches of padding.
Elements of a quality cartwheel mat
To get the right cartwheel practice mat for your gymnasts consider these specific characteristics which could benefit them more.
Consider the weight of your gymnasts when paying attention to the padding of the cartwheel mat. The height of padding in a cartwheel beam mat is proportionate to the weight of the gymnast who is using it, to a certain extent. So although they may be in the same age group, another gymnast could need more padding, but it’s typically lenient.
Sizing varies between each mat, so know the dimensions of each product before deciding. Ages 3-7 is the sweet spot for each cartwheel mat, I’ve never had an issue with any cartwheel mat not being long enough for this age group.
Storability can sometimes be an issue depending on the size and flexibility of the cartwheel mat you are using. This is probably more relevant to coaches, parents, and gymnasts who have a smaller gym or practice at home, which brings me to my next topic.
Can I use this at home?
YES, you certainly can use each cartwheel mat at home, and depending on how well the cartwheel mat can be stored, you can also take it to and from a gym.
To set up these cartwheel mats for kids, basically find an open proximity flat space outside (or inside if you’re bold enough) where you won’t come into contact with anything, and lay the cartwheel mat down. It helps to NOT do this on concrete or wood flooring, just for the sake of errors and your knee caps.
Best cartwheel mat available
The Tumbl Trak Cartwheel Beam Mat is the most common cartwheel mat manufactured by Tumbl Trak, a well known company in the gymnastics world so you get this cartwheel practice mat with the reassurance of a reliable brand dedicated to consumer quality assurance and satisfaction. There are varying color options available in pink and light blue, purple and lime green, and orange and yellow.
The Tumbl Trak Mat is perfect for ages 3-9 learning basic skill levels for beam and floor. It does not contain lead and has firmly been tested and has passed testing requirements enacted by the Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act of 2010. Although this choice is the most expensive (not by much) it does offer a pad for practicing more than just cartwheels.
This cartwheel beam mat has similar attributes to other mats, but the important ones to know are:
- White practice beam stripe and hand/foot print cartwheel guide markers on either side
- Made with 18 oz. on vinyl and 5/8 in industry standard, cross-linked polyethylene foam
- 2 ft x 6ft
The area this Tumbl Trak product excels is its multipurpose functionality to be able to practice more than just one skill. It’s thin frame is easily place in crevices for storage, so practicing at home is that much easier. The Tumble Trak mat is the most versatile choice among the three.
- Most versatile for learning more skills
- Has passed testing enacted by CPSI Act of 2010
- Folds in half for easy storability
- More expensive choice, but is the best option
Best padded cartwheel mat
The Z-Athletic Gymnastics Cartwheel/Beam Training Mat offers some similar perks to the Tumbl Trak version. The most immediate thing to notice are the hand and foot prints to teach left AND right-handed cartwheels. On the opposite side the line displays footprints to practice balancing for beam routines, so this option is also not just limited to one skill.
Z-Athletic is another leading retailer for gymnastics equipment, more specifically they specialize in practice mats, beams, bars, and other accessories for gymnastics facilities and consumers.
As most gymnastics mats do, this product comes in various colors including blue, purple, and pink and is covered with 18 oz. vinyl. The dimensions are also very similar to the Tumbl Trak mat, this one is 6′ x 2′ BUT the most important aspect is it has 2″of padding which is safer, as opposed to 1.5 inches of padding in the previous mat. Although this could make it harder to put away (basically you just won’t be able to fold it), but that’s not such a big deal when you take children’s safety into account. It will support ages 3-9, anywhere past that it might not be so effective depending on weight and height. That being said, this cartwheel beam mat can withstand the most weight out of the three listed.
Considering all aspects of each cartwheel beam mat, and since the main goal here is to find a safe mat to do cartwheels on, the top two out of the three are without a doubt the Tumbl Trak brand and the portable mat by We Sell Mats.
Both are so easily stored that its convenience alone makes me so grateful for purchasing mine when I did. The multipurpose functionality is a huge plus, because your gymnasts are definitely going to want to try more than one skill. The hook and loop fasteners on the portable one is such a great idea for gymnasts who are taller or want to connect their cartwheel into another skill.
If it had to come down to one or the other, I would say to go with the Tumbl Trak. Like I had said before, the main goal is to find a mat to do cartwheels on, and since this has the perfect hand and foot indicators that make it that much easier to teach, of course I’m going to recommend it.