How to Make a Gymnastic Practice Mini Bar at Home (under $40!)
Don’t miss our latest Do It Yourself Tutorial with easy instructions, plans and a full supply list that shows How to Make a Gymnastics bar! Please make sure to read our caution and disclaimer before building this.
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If you’re a gymnastic parent like me, then you know how expensive gymnastics meets, leotards, classes and equipment can be! Even the essentials cost a lot. It’s not cheap, that’s for sure! Love cheap gymnastics equipment? Don’t miss our incredibly easy DIY Gymnastic Balance Beam, which takes just a few minutes and costs under $10!!
Our Story: My daughter started gymnastics last year, and now she wants to practice at home. I checked out gymnastics equipment and gymnastics mats on Amazon but couldn’t find anything decent in my price range. So, next I turned to Craigslist and my local Facebook garage sale groups in hopes of finding cheap gymnastics equipment. Sadly, there was nothing available. And, the few things that were for sale either sold incredibly fast before I could respond to the classified ad, or the item was priced higher than new! So, as a last resort I wondered how to make gymnastics practice mini bar at home. I Googled it and got quite a few ideas, but not one single post I found showed actual plans or really explained what they did. So, my husband agreed to help and we headed to the home improvement store.
Cost Breakdown: I wasn’t able to find a highly rated Gymnastics Practice Bar online for under $300. The cheaper mini bars are rated for 3-4 year old children. My daughter is 9, so that would never work anyway. I really don’t have $800 to spend on a gymnast bar! We had the screws and tools, and we could have used a closet pole we had but decided we wanted to use a steel bar (which was only $8). We got the couplers, small steel end bars and washers in our little town. So, we came in just under $40 for this project. We could have been under $25 if we had done it differently, but I’m happy with it!
- $8.10 = quantity 2 – 12′ 2x4s (we got construction-grade pine lumber at Menard’s)
- $3.09 = quantity 1 – 10′ 2×4
- $7.35 = quantity 3 – 8′ 2x4s
- (we had these) 3″ and 2.5″ wood screws
- $8.48 = quantity 1 – 4′ bar, 3/4″ (inside measurement), black galvanized steel bar with threaded ends
- $4.38 = quantity 2 – 4″ threaded pipe
- $5.96 = quantity 4 – 3/4″ couplers (aka “bushings”)
- $0.92 = quantity 4 – 1″ hole steel washers (True Value Hardware charged us by weight rather than by piece which was much cheaper!)
- (we had) Wood glue
Total = $38.28
Compare to Gymnastics Practice Bars on Amazon.com!
How to Make a Gymnastics Practice Bar
- 2 – 12′ 2x4s (we got construction grade pine lumber)
- 1 – 10′ 2×4
- 3 – 8′ 2x4s
- 3″ and 2.5″ wood screws
- 1 – 4′ bar that is 3/4″ wide, inside measurement
(use whatever works best for you, we got a black galvanized steel bar with threaded ends for $8)
I read that you could use a 1.5″ or 1.75″ diameter wooden bar (dowel). If you happened to have one laying around from a closet pole, you may be able to use that if it’s sturdy and in tact. I didn’t do that, so I don’t know if it works
- 2 – 4″ threaded pipe *
- 4 – 3/4″ couplers (aka “bushings”) *
- Steel washers *
- Wood glue
* Items noted in materials list with an asterisk are optional. If you’re building it like we did with a threaded galvanized steel bar you can do it this way. If you’re using a different bar system, like a wooden pole, then you won’t need the starred items.
- Saw (or, you may be able to have the home improvement store make your cuts for you)
- Hole saw (looks like a drill bit with a wide end) – for our 3/8″ pipe, we used a 1-1/8″ hole saw
- Cordless drill or screwdriver
- CUT LEGS: Cut the 12 foot 2x4s into two 6′ pieces. Repeat for both boards. You will end up with four 6′ boards.
- BUILD LEGS: Take two of the 6′ boards you cut in step 1, and glue and screw them together with 2.5″ wood screws, face-to-face to make a double 2×4 (4×4). Repeat, to make two double 2x4s. These are your gymnastics bar’s legs.
- CUT FEET: Now, cut the 10 foot board into two 5-foot pieces. These will be the bottom of your gymnastics bar’s legs, also known as the feet.
- FIND CROSSBARS: Now, find your longest 8 foot board (they will probably vary in lengths). Set it aside for later!
- CUT LEG BRACES: Cut the remaining two 8 foot boards into two 3-foot pieces, mitering the ends to 45 degrees so they will act as braces on the legs for strength and stability. Note: the miter cut is lengthwise. so, when you set the board on the floor and look at it from the side view, it will look like what’s pictured below. You will end up with 4 leg brace boards and two 2′ scrap pieces (you can use the scrap for our DIY balance beam project, so hang on to them!)
- DRILL HOLES: Using the double-2×4 (4×4) legs, measure up from floor to the height you want your bar. The bar should be about chest height to the gymnast, but also figure in the gymnastics mat height. See below for help in determining your bar’s height. Measure up from the bottom (not down from the top) and mark where the hole will go. Then measure across the board and mark with a t. Drill a 1-1/8″ hole through the face of the double 2x4s. Repeat for the other leg.
- ATTACH FEET: Attach 5′ boards (feet from step 3) to the double 6′ boards (legs from step 2) with 3″ screws, coming up from the bottom. Do this for both legs. Make sure your hole for bar is facing the right way! 🙂
- ATTACH LEG BRACES: Attach the 3′ mitered leg brace boards on either side of the main leg and on feet with 3″ screws. Measure about 25″ from either side so they’re square. Use two leg brace boards per side, for a total of 4 leg braces.
- ATTACH BAR: Put the bar through the holes on each side. If you’re using a wooden pole, you can attach with screws – just make sure it’s stable and strong enough. If you’re using a threaded steel bar, thread a coupler on both ends of the 4′ bar. Then, thread a short 4″ bar to the end of each coupler. Add a steel washer to end and fit the bar through the hole. Add a washer on the outside of leg, and thread on another coupler to be the outside cap. Tighten with a wrench. Repeat for the other side.
- ATTACH CROSSBARS: For extra stability, take the 2×4 board you set aside in step 4, measure width between two legs and cut 2×4 to size. Attach one half to the front on the floor between the two sides, and one to the back using 3″ screws or longer.
click any image in steps to enlarge
Construction and Lumber KEY:
- 12′ is another way of saying 12 foot as a unit of measure – the same as 12 feet or 120 inches
- 2×4 is a board that is approximately 1.75″ thick and 3.5″ wide (they’re not really 2″ x 4″)
- Measure your lumber; 12 foot 2x4s aren’t always exactly 12 feet long. This is a “big nails” type of project where precision isn’t all that important. If one side is slightly longer than the other it’ll still work.
How to determine the height of your bar: You can look up Gymnastics regulations which is also a great resource for matting requirements. Standard height for a low bar is anywhere from 5′ to 38″ tall. We went with 53″ for ours. You will need to decide for yourself what’s right for your kids. you can try measuring to chest height and adding a few inches for your floor mats. It really all depends on the size and height of your gymnast. That’s why they sell adjustable bars! 🙂
CAUTION: Before you begin, here are a few things to think about. This is a great way to save money if you’re looking to buy gymnastics equipment. But, this does not replace a trained gymnastics coach or gymnastics classes. Keep in mind that practicing at home might cause sloppiness or bad form if you don’t coach your kids. Talk to your coach about it, and ask for pointers! A homemade gymnastics bar should ONLY be used under strict adult supervision. Although, when built right, it is very sturdy – it is not intended for swinging on, standing on, doing flips or spins or anything else. If, after you build it, you must inspect it and you determine that it is safe. If it is, it can be used for basic candlesticks with adult supervision. And, it makes a great chin up bar. Again, this is only with the full attention of an adult – always within arm’s reach! If you’re unskilled at building things, ask a friend or family member to help. Please use caution and common sense!! Obviously, if it feels like it might fall down, it’s not safe and should not be used. And, even if it feels solid and sturdy, you still must not let your kids play on it unsupervised.
DISCLAIMER: The plans provided here are rough drafts. You will need to adjust to fit your needs. If you decide to build anything, YOU take full responsibility for all of it – for the construction process, for your structure and for it’s use. Because of all the variants in how this project could be built, and because you are doing it yourself with an infinite amount of different things you could do, by building or using a structure similar to this – you agree to hold harmless this website and any of the suggestions and tips herein, including those found in the comments, social media, or anywhere relating to this article. Please do not build this if you’re worried your kids might misuse it. It’s a fun way to practice and get exercise, but there’s nothing fun about getting hurt! We want you to be safe! I don’t know your construction skill level, or your kids’ gymnastics skill level (or, their level of obeying rules!!), so I want to make it very clear that you have to use your best judgment to decide if this project is right for you. For example, gymnastics bars sold on Amazon are restricted to various weight limits, such as under 50 lbs for a basic mini practice bar. If your child is a teenager, this is probably not right for you. Ours can probably support up to 125 lbs, but that’s a guess. Please check it out thoroughly, regularly to ensure that it remains sturdy, stable and safe!
And don’t forget you’ll need a good gymnastics landing mat, throw skill cushion or manufactured sting mat for under the bar. The mats shown in picture are little tumbling mats we have, which are not suitable for practice bar landing mats. I haven’t found a great price on gym mats, but sometimes you can find them on Craigslist. Just make sure to do a quick Google search to compare prices since sometimes CL prices can be higher than new!