The 10 Best Tumbling Mats
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Hobbies and sports fall into two categories: those that are lots of fun, and those that are lots of fun and can also hurt you. For activities in the latter group, including gymnastics, martial arts, and cheerleading, you might want to invest in a tumbling mat. These thickly cushioned floor coverings let you practice tumbling passes, throws, and lifts with the reassurance of a soft landing. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best tumbling mat on Amazon.
The Benefits of Tumbling
When children learn beginning tumbling skills they improve their strength, flexibility, and motor control without even realizing that they are doing the work.
Practicing tumbling skills is not quite the same as practicing times tables or the violin.
A powerful and entertaining tumbling routine is often the scene-stealing event at any gymnastics competition. The explosive strength and agility required to perform these feats might make tumbling seem like an activity that should be left to aspiring Olympians, but learning some basic tumbling moves can be beneficial to athletes and non-athletes alike.
A basic tumbling class a good investment for children of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Practicing tumbling skills is not quite the same as practicing times tables or the violin. When children learn beginning tumbling skills they improve their strength, flexibility, and motor control without even realizing that they are doing the work. Most children will see tumbling as an extension of their play and incorporate their new moves into their active play and sports activities.
The coordination required to complete a simple forward roll develops a better sense of body awareness and control. Overcoming a fear and learning how to safely complete a cartwheel or flip gives children a boost of self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment.
Tumbling generally falls under the larger umbrella of gymnastics, so when searching for a tumbling class, check your local gymnastics studios.
Adults can also benefit from incorporating tumbling into their regular workout routines. Maybe you already remember how to do a cartwheel but it doesn't look too good. Devoting a small part of each workout to improving your form builds strength and flexibility, while adding a dash of variety and fun to your routine. As an added bonus, you'll have something to show off at your next family picnic.
Choosing the Right Tumbling Mat
Whether you have a budding Olympic medalist under your roof or just an energetic child with cabin fever, a tumbling mat is your best bet for making any workout or play area safe and comfortable.
There are two basic types of foam available on the market, polyfoam or cross-linked.
Some children don't need a gymnastics class to inspire them to perform death-defying back flips. These little jumping beans seem to have been bouncing off the walls since they learned to walk. Even if they never take a formal tumbling lesson, you'll need to offer them some extra padding.
It's important to note that there is a big difference between a rubber mat and foam tumbling mat. While a thicker rubber mat might offer a bit of cushioning, they are designed to prevent slipping and will not absorb impacts they way foam will.
The primary things to consider when choosing a mat is the type of foam and its thickness. The thicker the mat, the higher the impact it will absorb. Most mats will range from 1-3/8 to 2-3/8 inches.
There are two basic types of foam available on the market, polyfoam or cross-linked. Inexpensive polyfoam is a soft, spongy foam designed to cushion a fall. Cross-linked foam has a firm, closed structure that is more durable and has better rebound capabilities.
A thick polyfoam is best for young children who fall harder and faster than a more disciplined athlete. It will not last as long as cross-linked foam, but will provide more cushion for less money.
Cross-linked foam is the best choice for workouts and training because its superior rebound will help prevent overuse injuries.
A Brief History of Gymnastics and Tumbling
The word gymnastics is derived from a Greek term that is translated “to exercise or train naked”. The modern sport of gymnastics also has its roots in Ancient Greece.
In their culture, body development and physical fitness was highly-prized, with vigorous gymnastic activities practiced by both men and women. Some modern gymnastic techniques evolved from the exercises Greek soldiers practiced as part of their training for war, such as the mounting and dismounting of horses.
When the games were televised, audiences were wowed by the increasingly difficult and disciplined performances, making the sport more popular than ever.
After the decline of Ancient Greece, interest in gymnastics waned and tumbling feats remained as a form of entertainment.
In the late 18th century, two physical fitness instructors, Johann Friedrich GutsMuths and Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, designed exercises for boys and young men on many of the apparatuses used in modern day gymnastics competition. The popularity of these exercises spread to other countries, leading to international competitions and inclusion in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
By the 1954 Olympic Games, the events apparatuses and grading system for gymnastic events had been standardized into the format you see today. When the games were televised, audiences were wowed by the increasingly difficult and disciplined performances, making the sport more popular than ever.
A crowd-pleasing floor routine consists primarily of tumbling interwoven with artistic elements. Whether it's a cartwheel on the balance beam, or a double somersault to dismount the parallel bars, eye-catching tumbling skills are an important part of every competitive gymnastics routine.
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