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What is Power Tumbling/TNT?
Power tumbling is a form of gymnastics that slightly different from the “traditional” gymnastics that is shown on TV. In traditional gymnastics girls and women, perform skills on the floor, balance beam, uneven parallel bars and vault. Boys and men perform their skills on the floor, pommel horse, vault, rings, high bar and parallel bars.
So then, what is power tumbling? Power tumbling involves many of the same skills as artistic gymnastics, but uses a different set of equipment. In power tumbling, men, women, boys and girls alike all perform tumbling skills on the floor, a traditional trampoline and a double mini trampoline.
Power Tumbling Apparatus: Rod Floor
In power tumbling, the piece of equipment known as the floor is a long, narrow, slightly elevated tumbling surface. It is often referred to as the “rod floor,” because it is made from a series of fiberglass rods. The rods flex and provide additional bounce that an ordinary floor does not. The rods are covered in padding, and the padding is covered in a flooring material suitable for tumbling.
Unlike traditional artistic gymnastics, where routines are performed on a large 39′ x 39′ floor, power tumbling’s rod floor is a 6′ x 84′ runway. Although some lower-level skills are executed from a standing start, power tumblers typically begin at one end of the floor, take a running start, and then complete a series of skills called a pass. In competition, power tumblers perform and are judged on two, three or sometimes four passes, depending upon their skill level and the rules of that specific competitive meet.
Many of the skills performed in power tumbling passes, such as back handsprings, layouts, whips and tucks, are the same as those performed in artistic gymnastics floor routines. However, artistic routines take longer to perform than power tumbling passes, and female artistic gymnasts perform their routines to music. Power tumbling passes are not set to music.
Power Tumbling Apparatus: Trampoline
Power tumblers also perform skills on the trampoline. Regulation competitive trampolines are similar to standard back yard trampolines, but are designed to provide a higher, more powerful bounce. Competitive trampoline routines look effortless as the athletes fly high into the air, sometimes performing multiple skills within each bounce. Lower level athletes typically perform and are judged one trampoline routine. Higher-level athletes may perform two routines, depending upon their level and each meet’s rules.
Most athletes compete individually. However, higher-level athletes may also choose to compete in synchronized trampoline, provided they have a partner and attend a competitive meet that offers this event — not all of them do. In synchronized trampoline, two athletes perform the same trampoline routine at the same time, on side-by-side trampolines. Each two-person team is judged on how well they execute the routine, as well as how closely the athletes’ movements mirror one another.
Power Tumbling Apparatus: Double Mini Trampoline
While just about everyone knows what a trampoline is, most have never seen or heard of a double mini trampoline. From its name, you have probably already guessed that a double mini trampoline has two jumping surfaces and is much smaller than a standard trampoline. To perform a pass on a double mini trampoline, athletes typically take a running start, jump onto the first jumping surface, which is angled toward the floor, jump onto the next surface, which is parallel to the floor, and then perform a tumbling skill as they dismount. In competition, athletes usually complete two different double mini passes. The scores from each pass are added together to get the athlete’s final score.
Power Tumbling for Fun, Recreation and Fitness
Of course, you don’t have to compete in power tumbling. You can always take tumbling classes for fun, recreation and fitness. It’s great exercise and with hard work, plenty of practice and a solid coach, you’ll learn lots of impressive skills. If you’re into cheerleading, tumbling classes are a terrific way to improve your cheer skills. In fact, many cheer coaches require their cheerleaders to take tumbling classes.
Tumbling classes are available for all ages and all levels, from toddlers to adults and beginners to advanced tumblers. To find tumbling classes for your level, please call us to set up an informal placement audition.
Competitive Power Tumbling
Like artistic gymnasts, power tumblers may choose to compete against other athletes who are at the same skill level, are the same gender and around the same age.
If you’re serious about competing in power tumbling and do well, you can travel the world for your sport. In the United States, competitions start at the local level, and advance to state, regional, and national levels. If you are 12-18 years old and progress past USAG level 10 to the elite level, you may qualify to compete at the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) World Age Group Championships, an international competition which is held in a different location each year. Some recent past locations include Birmingham, England, St. Petersburg, Russia and Metz, France.
Governing Body: U.S.A. Gymnastics (USAG)
In addition to trampoline and tumbling, this organization governs artistic, acrobatic and rhythmic gymnastics across the country. The USAG is associated with the FIG and feeds its best and most dedicated gymnasts into programs, which can take them all the way to the World Age Group Championships and the Olympics. According to their website, “USA Gymnastics is the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of gymnastics in the United States, consistent with the Ted Stevens Olympic & Amateur Sports Act, the Bylaws of the United States Olympic Committee and the International Gymnastics Federation. The mission of USA Gymnastics is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of gymnastics.”
In other words, if you dream of some day competing in the Junior Olympics, Olympics, World Age Group Championships or FIG World Championships, train with a gym that belongs to and competes through the USAG.