Z-Athletics is a well established, family owned, retailer for all gymnastics equipment that sells to both consumers AND gymnastics facilities. The company distributes their high quality products straight out of Noblesville, Indiana. Of their highly acclaimed quality gymnastics apparatus’s for home, the Expandable Junior Training Bar seems to be the most recognized. Before I explain why this is, here are important product details:
- Comes in colors blue, pink, and purple
- 130lb weight limit making it the sturdiest in the market
- Only takes up 4.2ft X 4.2ft of floor space
- Bar height adjusts from 36″-59″
- It is recommended to purchase the extension kit for Level 6 skills.
- Indoor use and storage only
Comes with a 1 year factory warranty for any missing or damaged items
Expandable Junior Training Bar
A junior training apparatus like this one is often times seen in the homes of young gymnasts and inside gymnastics gyms for low level classes. Although the product works fantastic and is reliable for training skills, there seems to be a general favoritism for its competing version: Tumbl Trak Junior Pro Bar.
Perhaps parents and coaches like the rounded corners or the fact that it doesn’t need an extension kit, who knows! What I know, is that although this model looks a little plane jane compared to its predecessor, it takes up less space, holds more weight, and comes with a 1 year warranty. I think THAT is pretty worth it in exchange for rounded corners.
Points of Interest
Among the many conversations I’ve had about gymnastics bars for home with parents, I’ve taken their concerns with me to my bar training classes as mental notes and accumulated enough time and testing to put their minds at ease. Here are what parents favored most about the Z-Athletic Junior Training Bar:
Adjustable Bar Rail
This FIG approved bar rail can be adjusted to accommodate the gymnasts height, anywhere between 36″ to 59″, that’s 2 more than most bars for home are capable of. The rail however is slightly smaller than the competition size, but it is built with a fiber glass core and real wood to perfectly match the style.
The bar is made of solid steel that can withstand 1000lbs of direct pressure. But don’t get it confused, due to the types of skills (back hip circles, kips, casts, etc.) that this bar is designed to teach, the weight limit for this bar is 130lbs, 5 lbs more than the Tumbl Traks PRO bar. Level 6 skills recommended to use extension kit with it.
Flat Crossed Bar
To prevent toe stubbing and either landing uncomfortably on metal rails, Z-Athletic made the supporting bars flush with the ground for a convenient practice mat placement. Great idea, but almost seems unnecessary since no one is going to not put a gymnastics mat down underneath the bars for protection for when they fall, even if the width dimensions are a little off. However, it does help with ground support for when skills are being practiced.
The amount of space equipment takes up is a little tricky, because usually how it works is if equipment takes up a lot of ground space then it means it is more robust/able to withstand more weight and skills. With equipment that takes up less ground space it can sometimes mean the opposite. This is not the case for Expandable Junior Training Bar. It only takes up 4.2ft X 4.2ft of ground space, average length of bars are 6 ft.
The last gymnastics bar I reviewed was the Tumbl Trak PRO, and talked about how I couldn’t get over how small the rubber stoppers were, which are meant for stabilization for doing higher skills. Well, Z-Athletic’s Expandable Bar has a much more comfortable rubber resistance design on all legs. You can see it fully covers the ends by a few inches, compared to what most companies do which is just a circular rubber stopper, no bueno.
I know the weight limit says 130 lbs, but do you know what the age is for the average 130 pound female gymnast?
It’s 20 years old.
And for males: 16 years old
I can guarantee your gymnast will learn fast and push the limits of the bar well before they hit 130 lbs. All of mine definitely have. So it is best to get the extension kit for gymnasts who are near 80 lbs (average age for this weight is between 10-12) to ensure their own safety.
The apparatus as a whole holds up great if you follow the instructions for setting it up diligently. Even with a significant amount of strain put on the bar there’s no tilting, skipping, or tear on the equipment.
This is a cheaper alternative to the Tumbl Trak version, but with the extension kit you’ll for sure be cutting that pretty close. All worth it for keeping gymnasts safe during practice. The only classes I use this gymnastics bar WITHOUT the extension kit are Pre-K and Level 1-3. Everything past that I apply the extension kit just to make sure.
Please, for the love of the gymnastics gods, get a practice mat. This is not the whole package so if you are planning on having this in your home then be sure see some tumbling mats for sale that will fit the dimensions of the apparatus.
Very reliable product, in some ways more so than its competitor. Extra stability is always reassuring to parents and gymnasts trying to learn new skills, but not for the 20 year olds that are 130lbs, stay on the full sized competitive bars. Any skills past level 6 will need to be practiced inside the gym as well.