Anon How often should foam be replaced for safety in foam pit?

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Anonymous (ac2f)

The majority of the foam at our gym looks like swiss cheese, or large chunks missing. At what point is the integrity of the foam a safety issue? Especially for advanced flipping off of vault or double back practice off bars for level 10 gymnasts? How much is important just for appearance... and at what point should it be replaced? Also what's the estimated cost to replace a 20x10x5 foot pit with new foam?
 
The space between the pit blocks is far more important than the shape of the pit blocks. Over time, the pit blocks become compacted, which effectively makes the landing surface more firm. This can be dangerous if a gymnast is expecting a nice fluffy landing but the pit blocks can’t absorb the landing because they are all smushed together. To avoid this situation, gyms will periodically “fluff the pit” (i.e. remove all the pit blocks and put them back in). Fluffing the pit is a good opportunity to do other pit hygiene tasks like cleaning the bottom of the pit and throwing away any decaying pit blocks.

The Swiss cheese pit blocks aren’t necessarily a problem from a landing perspective, but it’s good to throw them out when they start falling apart because because the little bits of pit dust can get in your eye, which is painful.

I asked my manager how much a palate of pit blocks cost. He said “I don’t remember…but it adds up fast” 😅
 
They are super expensive, and while I know there are several reasons why its recommended to replace all of them often, its just not financially viable for most gyms. MY gym does an annual clean out where we take all blocks out, sort out the compacted/worn ones, and replace those.
 
My gym also cleans the pit once a year. By my estimation, we throw away about 2% of the pit blocks every year. We try to salvage as many as possible due to how expensive they are.
 

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