The 10 Best Balance Beams

Updated October 04, 2017 by Sheila O'Neill

10 Best Balance Beams
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you have a budding gymnastics star in the family or are looking for a new way to help your preschooler develop mobility and coordination, one of these safe and durable balance beams will be perfect for your needs. Get your kids up off the couch with a fun, dynamic activity and watch their skills develop before your eyes. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best balance beam on Amazon.

10. Guide Craft Eco

The Guide Craft Eco is a sturdy, simple option constructed of solid birch wood that will last for years. It can be turned to create a wide side or a narrow side depending on your skill level, so it is great for multi-kid homes.
  • stays securely in place
  • price is a bit high
  • hard surface can hurt if you fall
Brand Guidecraft
Model pending
Weight 20 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Team Sports Flexible

The Team Sports Flexible has a unique rolling design that is easy to set up and take down. All you have to do is unroll it on a flat surface and it is ready to use. Plus it is light enough that young kids can move it with ease.
  • 6 inches wide for easy balancing
  • extremely compact when rolled up
  • foam is softer than is ideal
Brand Team Sports
Model pending
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Everlast WeeKidz

Kids will enjoy fitness and learning at the same time with the Everlast WeeKidz. It integrates brightly colored letters and numbers on a 3-inch foam-covered vinyl surface, making it a good teaching tool in preschools, gymnastics classes, or right in your own home.
  • attach multiple beams via velcro
  • great for therapy facilities
  • numbers and letters sold separately
Brand Everlast
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Z-Athletic

The 9-foot long Z-Athletic is a lightweight but high-density training tool that is great for practicing dance jumps and leaps. Setting it up is so easy it can be done in mere minutes, and it folds in half for convenient storage and transport.
  • comes in 3 color options
  • soft texture for comfort
  • covered in synthetic suede
Brand Z-Athletic
Model ZATH-TLB-Purple
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Children's Factory CF321-303

The Children's Factory CF321-303 helps toddlers master their coordination in a safe way, with an extra wide base and a soft cushioned covering to prevent any injuries. Your kids can try more challenging exercises without fear of getting hurt, even if they fall.
  • sits 9 inches off the floor
  • great for kids who love to climb
  • 50-inch length is fairly short
Brand Children's Factory
Model CF321-303
Weight 7.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. Gymnast Hut BB8-12

Kids with a little experience under their belt will appreciate the Gymnast Hut BB8-12. It stands one foot off the ground on the included risers, which are sturdy and wide enough to keep the unit nice and stable during practice.
  • can support up to 250 lbs
  • polyethylene foam top padding
  • threaded inserts for mounting legs
Model BB8-12
Weight 40 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Spri Airex

The Spri Airex is made of durable, tear-resistant foam with closed cell construction. It provides a flat and stable nonslip surface that helps prevent injuries and makes it comfortable and easy to use for almost any skill level.
  • sanitized to combat bacteria
  • easily cleaned with a damp cloth
  • will not absorb water
Brand SPRI
Weight pending
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. The Beam Store PK8001

For realistic training, turn to The Beam Store PK8001. It is a competition style model with the same rounded edges professionals use, and it is constructed of cross grain laminated wood that provides strength without flexing. It also comes in a variety of colors.
  • 12-inch wide steel support braces
  • no exposed staples
  • brace padding keeps floors safe
Brand The Beam Store
Model PK8001
Weight 42.4 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Rc Beams Purple

The durable Rc Beams Purple is great for beginners and ideal for all ages. It is water resistant and covered with an absorbent padding and marine grade vinyl, so it will stand up to years of use. For less than $100, the quality makes for a great value.
  • height and length can be customized
  • high end wood won't warp over time
  • can be used indoors or outside
Brand Rc Beams Purple
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Tumbl Trak Brianna

The innovative Tumbl Trak Brianna is constructed with a solid wood core and 1/4" rubber cell padding to mimic the feel of a competition beam. It has a soft brown synthetic suede covering, making it comfortable on the feet and great for barefoot practice.
  • no tools required for assembly
  • attractive studded vinyl legs
  • multiple beams can connect together
Brand Tumbl Trak
Model LbrbJ0-8-Parent
Weight pending
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Choosing A Balance Beam For Every Level

Whether your child has just asked to start taking gymnastics lessons, has been in the sport for a while, or is already appearing in regional competitions, there are specific balance beams suited for each level. Beginner gymnasts will mostly focus on strength and flexibility. They won't even consider performance-style tricks, like those done on vaults or uneven bars, until much later. At this stage, it's simply important that they become comfortable with their beam. So, for beginners, you want a balance beam that is low to the ground. Around two inches high is ideal because it familiarizes your child with the feel of a balance beam, without distracting her with the fear of falling. Beginners' beams should also have a wide top surface (around four inches wide), giving your little gymnast plenty of room to move around without falling off. They should have an even wider base (around six inches wide) to provide stability. Beginners' beams should be made out of a thick foam, to provide your child's joints with plenty of support.

When your kid is ready to move to intermediate exercises, like back walkovers, cartwheels, and tumbling, you can upgrade her to a beam with a wood core and suede covering. This will get her more comfortable with the stiff feel of performance beams. Intermediate beams will sit slightly higher off the ground than beginner ones, at around four inches tall. These will also be longer than beginners' beams, at around 10 feet in length, to allow for more advanced exercises. Intermediate beams, unlike beginner ones, won't sit flush against the ground, but rather will stand on short supports.

If your child is already competing in front of judges, she's ready for an advanced beam. These run about 12 feet long and offer plenty of room to pull off back handsprings, standing back tucks, and other tricks that will impress in competitions. Advanced beams will have a steel core because they need to be able to withstand the pressure gymnasts might apply to them when they land after advanced tricks. Advanced beams do, however, have a padded top to prevent gymnasts from hurting themselves when they land. These beams will stand on elevated supports and may rise as far as 12 inches off the ground.

The History Of The Balance Beam

Balance beams have evolved significantly since their creation. Over 250 years ago, German physical education teacher Johann Christoph GutsMuths made one of the first beams. It was simply a rounded pine tree trunk that ran about 64 feet in length. GutsMuths wrote an entire chapter about this beam in his book Gymnastics for Youth, which circulated through P.E. programs at the time, offering fun exercises for children.

Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, also known as "The Father of Gymnastics" improved upon the beam around 1816 by adding supports, elevating it like the advanced models seen today. People didn't start using beams in competitions until 1921, in Leipzig, Germany. The beam remained very long (likely between 40 and 60 feet long) until the 1950s, when it was finally reduced. In 1966, Erika Zuchold became the first woman to perform a back handspring on a balance beam at the World Championships. In 1968, gymnast Věra Čáslavská made history as one of the first women to perform a front handspring on the tool.

Zuchold's and Čáslavská's popular tricks inspired a few adjustments to the beam. Handsprings put a lot of pressure on the beam, and so models with two additional legs in the middle started to show up. Slowly but surely, gymnasts started creating and performing more flipping exercises that necessitated a few more improvements we still see today, like a suede covering and padding.

The Health Benefits Of Gymnastics

There is a reason plenty of people aspire to have a gymnast's body. This type of exercise doesn't only make one look good, but it also enhances a lot of other important features of a person's wellbeing. Doing gymnastics regularly can improve your flexibility. It lengthens and stretches your muscles, which allows them to achieve a greater range of motion over time, using less energy. This can greatly reduce your chances of injury. Doing gymnastics on a regular basis can prevent injury in another way, too: through better coordination. Gymnasts tend to have less of a startle response to sudden changes in stimuli, which helps them react to sudden movement with more caution.

Weight-bearing activities, such as gymnastics, can improve bone strength, too. In fact, one study found that weight-bearing activities can reduce the production of a harmful protein in men's bones and promote a bone growth hormone. Those who aren't comfortable with lifting weights might enjoy the fact that all they need to use is their body and a beam to get the weight-bearing benefits of gymnastics.

Gymnastics also help children develop cognitive skills. Gymnastics requires a certain level of problem-solving in order to pull off tricks safely. Gymnasts have to make very precise calculations to ensure a trick will go as planned. This can sharpen their brains in other areas of life, too. Gymnastics can even encourage a healthy diet. Since gymnasts perform mostly body weight exercises, keeping a healthy BMI is an important part of being able to execute certain skills.

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Last updated on October 04, 2017 by Sheila O'Neill

Sheila is a writer, cosplayer, and juggler who lives in Southern California. She loves sitting down with a hot cup of tea and coming up with new ideas. In her spare time, Sheila enjoys drawing, listening to podcasts, and describing herself in the third person.

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