As a gymnastics coach, I am often asked about the differences between a tumble track and an air track. Both are useful tools for gymnastics training, but there are some important differences that gymnasts and coaches need to be aware of.
Learn about the differences between a tumble track and an air track in gymnastics training. Discover the benefits and safety considerations for each, and find out which types of skills are best suited for each type of track.
Featuring popular brands like Air Track US, Air Track Nordic, Tumbl Trak, FB Sport, Gymnova, and Skakun, this expert guide is a must-read for gymnastics coaches, gymnasts and parents alike.
Table of Contents
- The differences between Air Track and Tumble Track
- Safety considerations
- Brands of air tracks
- Brands of Tumble Tracks
The differences between Air Track and Tumble Track
A tumble track, also known as a rod track, is a track that uses rods to provide a springy surface for tumbling. This type of track is commonly used in the FIG discipline of tumbling, where gymnasts perform a series of acrobatic skills in succession. The rods in the tumble track provide a consistent level of bounce and can help gymnasts develop the power and technique needed to perform high-level skills.
An air track, on the other hand, is an inflatable track that provides a soft, bouncy surface for gymnastics training. Air tracks come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and are often used for tumbling, vaulting, and other gymnastics skills. Some popular brands of air tracks include Air Track US, Air Track Nordic, Tumbl Trak, and FB Sport.
Just to make things a little more confusing there is a well-known company by the name of Tumbl Trak that sells inflatable Air Tracks and also designed the Tumbl Trak (or Fast Track) which is a long trampoline made for tumbling.
I hope you’re following all this!
Both an Air Track and Tumble Track are designed for performing Tumbling like back handsprings, flips and somersaults.
One of the key benefits of an air track is that it is very portable and can be easily inflated and deflated for storage and transportation. This makes it a great choice for gymnasts who need to train at home or in other non-traditional settings. Additionally, the soft surface of an air track can be beneficial for reducing the risk of injury when learning new skills.
Tumble tracks, on the other hand, are typically found in gymnastics facilities and can provide a more consistent level of bounce than an air track. Tumble tracks are also ideal for practicing more advanced tumbling skills that require a higher level of power and technique.
When it comes to safety considerations, it is important to note that both tumble tracks and air tracks can be dangerous if not used properly. It is important to follow proper safety protocols when using any gymnastics equipment and to always have a spotter present when practicing new or advanced skills.
Air Tracks generate more bounce and height which can pose more of a danger when landing. It can also cause gymnasts to over-rotate because they are in the air for longer than they would usually expect.
It’s a good idea to have soft landing mats at the end of both an air track or a tumble track. This will help the gymnast to stop and land with control and helps prevent injuries to ankles and knees.
In terms of the types of skills that can be performed on each type of track, both tumble tracks and air tracks can be used for a variety of gymnastics skills. Tumble tracks are particularly well-suited for tumbling passes and series, while air tracks are ideal for practicing skills like back handsprings and aerials.
On a full-length tumble track gymnasts can perform up to 8 skills linked together. Generally, a run will start with a round-off and end with a big somersault. The skills in between are usually back flips or whip backs which are used to build up speed and power into the final skill.
Air tracks are used in gym facilities to help develop new skills before moving them onto the less bouncy tumble track.
Brands of air tracks
If you are looking for a high-quality air track, some great brands to consider include AirTrack, Air Track Nordic, and Tumbl Trak. For those on a budget, FB Sport offers great quality air tracks at a more affordable price point.
Which air tracks made my top six recommended? Find out here.
If you are still deciding whether buying an air track for home use is worth it, check out this article here.
Brands of Tumble Tracks
Gymnova and Spieth are popular brands for those looking for full-length tumble tracks, but unless you have a huge space at home you will probably be looking for an air track instead. Most Tumble Tracks will only be found in professional gymnastics facilities.
Skakun is a pioneer of the original rod tumble tracks. The Russian company started out making tumble tracks using ski’s before developing rod tracks and now fiberglass tumble tracks.
In summary, both tumble tracks and air tracks have their own unique benefits and are useful tools for gymnastics training. Whether you choose an inflatable air track or a traditional tumble track, it is important to follow proper safety protocols and to always work with a trained coach or spotter when practicing new skills.
If you are keen to find out more about Power Tumbling, I have an in-depth guide here.