If there is one gymnastic event which requires more skill than others, then it has to be any activity that involves a balance beam. Anyone who is familiar with the competition in gymnastics knows that the competitors require an extreme level of precision and skill while displaying their craft that requires them to use a beam of this sort.

A standard regulation beam measures 4 inches in width and utilizing this space, a gymnast spins, rolls, cartwheels, and performs other stunts while making the entire act look like child’s play.

A standard regulation beam measures 4 inches in width

For many aspiring athletes, the journey of taking part in professional events often start at home during their younger years.

If you or someone you happen to know dreams of being a professional gymnast, then knowing how wide is a balance beam should be an absolute must. After all, expert craftsmen must have intricate knowledge of their tools.


Dimensions of a balance beam

In the early days of competitive gymnastics, balance beam almost always happened to be made out of wood. Nowadays, there are covered in either leather or suede to provide a better grip for the athletes.

The precise universal dimensions as set by the International Gymnastics Federation is at 4 inches wide, and 16’5″ long, and they are to be kept around 4 feet off the floor.


Skills levels

Apart from knowing how wide is a balance beam, you should be aware that foam balancing beams are available for young gymnasts who are just learning to walk around this tool.

Athletes mostly complete depending upon their skill levels in most parts of the world.

  • 1 to 4 is considered to be beginner level;
  • 5 to 7 intermediate;
  • 8 to 10 advanced;
  • and beyond that, are people who qualify for national competitions.

Not buying a beam according to skill level can turn out to be a disaster.


1. Beginner balance beams – for the start of a new journey

An athlete requires strength, stability, control and flexibility to master the art of balancing skills upon a beam. When starting out, they first learn how to tumble on the floor and then gradually progress to acclimatize to basic practicing moves.


Learn All About How Wide a Balance Beam is


Running, walking, kicking, etc. are all a part of the fundamental balancing act that leads to more complicated moves like leaps and jumps. At the intermediate stage, a person is expected to perform splits, cartwheels, back bends, flips, and many other moves to prove their prowess as a developing gymnast.

Material used: The interior portions of beams made for beginners come with padded foam as it makes the beam appropriate for secure holding positions.

However, if by any chance the gymnast slips and falls on the beam, they would not suffer injuries as much as they would have if they slipped onto a regulation beam made out of wood.

This soft material plays a key role in familiarizing beginner athletes with the apparatus without any serious risk of injury.


2. Junior balance beam – for the stars of tomorrow

These are the low beams suitable for athletes of intermediate level. Mostly used for practicing cartwheels and tumbling, the most prominent difference between a junior beam and a beginner beam can be identified by seeing its shape.

Junior beams, contrary to the impression that the name would give, looks quite identical to the ones used in competitions.

Material used: The inner core of these beams are made of wood while suede is used to wrap up the entire apparatus like professional quality competition beams.

The classic beam shape is retained, and its dimensions are 4 inches across on the top and 4 inches tall, which is exactly similar to a regulation beam. This particular material is used so that athletes can get started with practicing tumbling and cartwheels.

Height: even though a junior beam almost looks identical to a professional model, the risk factor that comes with increased height is not present in this apparatus.

There are wooden supports on both ends there are also beams that have support in the middle portion as well. The point of this law height is to minimize the risk of fatal injury.


3. Advanced balance beams – for Masters at work

For experienced a gymnasts, starting at level 7, these beams offer greater maneuverability mainly due to its height factor.

While the looks of these beams are almost similar to the ones used by beginners, this one allows one to perform better skills like dips and ducks without the extra height of a standard full-size beam. These beams sit just the foot off the ground which is ideal for advanced level gymnasts.

Material used: The interior of this is constructed of steel regardless of how wide is a balance beam, making them extremely sturdy. There is extra protection layer padded at the top while the entire shaft is wrapped in suede.

There are also steel legs present at either end of the 8-foot long setup. The extra durability offers more assurance to the performers that the beam won’t break, regardless of the kind have pressure it has to withstand.


Learn All About How Wide a Balance Beam is


To sum it up

Learning the tricks of a balance beam requires unfaltering dedication and tremendous perseverance. At the first glance, looking at a gymnast may not give you the idea how tough it is even to learn the basic moves, let alone the ones performed by professional athletes.

Knowing how wide is a balance beam is just the tip of the iceberg as far as being educated in this matter is concerned. If you are looking to buy a beam of your choice, then you may consider checking various e-commerce sites that would probably have what you need.

There are also many tutorials available on how to make these beams at home, but you should not attempt to do this unless you are completely sure that you can make it without any design flaws or other errors.

So, it is advised that you go for a reputed company that deals with making professional quality balance beams. Check out these reliable yet not so expensive beams for beginners.

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I'm a former acrobatic gymnast from Edmond, Oklahoma. I started doing acrobatic gymnastics in 2001 after watching my best friend practice acrobatic gymnastics. I would like to share my and other gymnasts experience and knowledge through Gymnasticslab.com and make it a valuable source of information for young and senior gymnasts. Kindly add our website to Favorites and follow us on social media!