The beauty of air tracks is that they can be used for many different skills and tricks. We talked about how other athletes use them for their sports, but inflatable gym mats are particularly helpful for learning gymnast and tumbling skills.
Some of these skills are as basic as balance and strength, and some involve acrobatics.
For beginner tumblers, air tracks are amazing in removing the fear from doing dangerous tricks, and giving them the necessary confidence boost.
Advanced and more adventurous gymnasts use different inflatable mats to spice up their routines and challenge themselves to new limits.
Air tracks are excellent for numerous tricks and skills, but today we’ll focus on these three moves and explain how inflatable mats improve the experience.
Front tucks are considered to be level 1 in power tumbling. You perform them by running towards your mat, pausing to jump, tucking your legs up, holding them briefly with your arms, doing a flip forward, and landing with your legs a little crouched and arms outstretched sideways.
Beginners practicing front tucks on air tracks will appreciate the soft surface that gives them the necessary bounce and softens their fall. For more challenge and playfulness, gymnasts can use an air spot or air block as a launch pad to jump off into their front tuck.
A long air track is perfect for doing a series of front tucks (linking front tucks).
Standing Back Tucks
Standing back tucks are level 3 in power tumbling. The move is self explanatory: You move from the standing position backwards, with your feet going up in the air in front of you and your head tilted back. You tuck your feet up, and flip backwards, landing on your feet.
You can master this skill in several weeks, if you practice hard. Just make sure you have enough room to land on the air track when you fall. Also, you don’t want your inflatable mat to be too soft or too bouncy, so you need to set the air pressure just right.
Once you master standing back tucks on your air track, you can try the trick with a raised surface — for example, you can put an air spot on your air track and try landing on it.
Aerial cartwheel looks like a regular cartwheel without using hands, but the techniques are completely different. To do an aerial cartwheel, you need very strong legs.
This is an expert move, a level 4 in power tumbling, so don’t expect to master it quickly. Also, you can only start practicing this move if you’ve mastered all the basic and previous level moves necessary for the aerial.
Start with your legs and shoulders apart, one leg in front, and one pushing back. Move the leg in front up to gain momentum, then plant it firmly on the ground with your knee bent, swinging your other leg backwards. Let the force of the swing move your other leg backwards as well, until you make a flip, swinging both legs over your head. Your hands are not touching the ground, they are outstretched sideways. Land onto your first swinging leg.
If this sounds confusing, take a look at our aerial tutorial, with tips on how to prepare for it.
Aerials can be practiced on any soft surface, but air tracks give gymnasts the confidence boost we talked about, as well as the wonderful feeling of being light as a feather. A feather with really strong legs.
Hopefully you’re enjoying these and many other tricks on your wonderful inflatable gym mats!