Let me share my experience and views on the best Beams for use at home. Whilst it’s very tricky to get a full-length 16 feet beam into your house, there are plenty of other options to provide a safe practice space at home.
Before making a decision on which one is right for you, consider:
- How much space you have.
- Where you will store it.
- The size and ability of the person who will use it.
- If you will need additional safety matting.
If you have the space, I’d recommend going for at least an 8 feet long Beam as this will suffice for most gymnasts at home. Anything less than 8 feet could become too small as your gymnast advances. If you do opt for less than 8 feet try to find something that can be extended easily either by velcro or something similar.
Table of Contents
- Best Beam on a Budget: Marfula Folding Beam
- Best Extendable Beam: Tumbl Trak Brianna
- Best Adjustable Beam: FB Sport Adjustable Beam
- Best Floor Beam: Z-Athletic Reversible Cartwheel/Beam Mat
- Best Beam for Storage: Z-Athletic Roll Up Balance Beam
- Best Competition Length Beam: Tumbl Trak Laser Beam PRO
At less than $40 this is your best choice in terms of low cost. In the past I’ve been weary of buying Gymnastics products via Amazon but the Marfula Beam is well made and has one year guarantee. Their customer service is efficient as well.
Even though it’s on the cheaper side, there is still an anti-slip surface on the bottom (an essential feature) and overall it’s well made. A rating of 4.7 out of 5 from over 400 reviews is reassuring too. The top is made with Vinyl which makes it easy to clean (we have started using Vinyl mats in the gym for the same reason).
There are 6, 8, 9 and feet versions, all with velcro ends to enable them to connect up and extend safely. The carry bag is a nice touch as well.
The Tumbl Trak Brianna Beam is a perfect choice if you need something that can be extended (or shortened) easily. The velcro flap at each end reveals a slot to fit a wooden dowel. Once connected, the flaps then cleverly give the look of one long beam.
This is ideal if you’re starting out with an 8-foot beam but need more length in later years. Simply buy another Brianna and you then have your full-length 16-foot beam.
Even when connecting multiple beams, they are really sturdy thanks to the large, padded stands. This makes it suitable for intermediate and more advanced skills.
The FB Sport Adjustable is a great beam for when you want to future-proof your purchase. By adjusting between 18-24 inches gymnasts will be able to increase height as their confidence grows. This beam can also be set up as a floor beam by switching the adjustable risers with lower floor stands but this will take a few minutes and some tools to unscrew and switch over the legs so you won’t want to do that too often.
Once it’s in the high mode it feels strong and sturdy and the feet prevent it from slipping. At 8 feet long it’s half the length of a beam you’ll find in the gym. You’ve also got the choice of four colors to pick from which is cool.
If you are looking for something even lower than a beam, a floor mat with a printed beamline is ideal. The advantage for younger or newer gymnasts is that there is zero danger of slipping off. The mat will still act as a great guide for keeping a cartwheel, roll or walkover in a straight line.
Many of these types of mats are reversible as they will have prints on either side. For example, the Z-Athletic Mat has cartwheel hand and feet layouts. I’ve also seen some with Hopscotch marked out.
Because of the size, these mats are great for up to age 6 or 7. I find many gymnasts get too tall after that. You could join two mats together, but I’ve not come across any that are purposely designed to join up with velcro.
Anyone familiar with gymnastics floors will recognize that the Z-Athletic Roll Up Beam is simply a narrow strip of full-size roll-up floor found in many gyms. The flexible foam allows it to roll up when not in use, saving plenty of space and making it easy to carry.
This is a good beam for beginners that need to work on traveling steps or static balances. But it’s not so great for more advanced skills as the beam can move and lift at the ends. You could attach tape or velcro underneath to stop this from happening but I wouldn’t recommend it – I’d probably invest in a foam beam instead.
At around $85, this isn’t the cheapest option but is certainly the best for storage.
The best competition length beam at home is the Laser Beam PRO because of two main features:
- It is suede so replicates the feel of a real beam in the gym
- It is wider than a competition beam and has bright lines that clearly show where the edge of a competition beam would be
Although the Laser Beam Pro isn’t designed to be more than a couple of inches from the floor, the length and feel help build confidence and develop more advanced skills safely. The distinctive colored lines help gymnasts spot their landings and develop better spatial awareness.
Tumbl Trak equipment is found in gym facilities around the world, including my own, so you know you are getting a product that is used by professionals. The Laser Beam is a solid wood beam wrapped in foam to cushion landings. It is then finished with a suede surface to replicate professional balance beams.
The Laser Beam Lite version is shorter at 8 feet long but is a great pick if you don’t have room for the full 16 feet Pro version. Two Lite version beams can be velcroed together to create a full-size FIG competition length beam.