Apparatus

Women’s Artistic

Women’s Artistic gymnasts perform on four pieces of apparatus, these are:

Vault

Gymnasts sprint down a runway, which is a maximum of 25 meters in length, before hurdling onto a spring board and then rotating in the air to land in handstand on the vault. The vaulting table is approximately 1m in length and 1 m wide, standing at different heights depending on the age and level of the gymnast. The gymnast then blocks off the vaulting platform into various twisting and/or somersaulting combinations. The post flight segment brings the gymnast to their feet.

Asymmetric Bars

On the asymmetric bars, the gymnast performs a routine on two horizontal bars set at different heights. The higher bar is 2.45m, and the lower bar 1.65m, from the floor. These bars are made of fibreglass covered in wood laminate. Gymnasts aim to swing with a continuous movement passing through handstands.

Beam

The beam is 5m long but only 13cm (4 inches) wide and it stands at 1.2m high for competitions. The gymnast performs a choreographed routine of up to 90 seconds in length consisting of leaps, acrobatic skills, somersaults, turns and dance elements.

Floor

The floor event occurs on a carpeted 12m × 12m square, usually consisting of hard foam over a layer of plywood, which is supported by springs or foam blocks generally called a “spring” floor. This provides a firm surface that provides extra bounce or spring when compressed, allowing gymnasts to achieve extra height and a softer landing than would be possible on a standard floor.

A set floor exercise must last between 70 and 90 seconds and again this must include set elements including, jumps, leaps, spins and tumbles mixed in with choreography that is in time and keeping with the music chosen by the performer.

Men’s Artistic

Men’s Artistic gymnasts compete on six pieces of apparatus, these are:

Floor

Male gymnasts also perform on a 12m by 12m spring floor. A series of tumbling passes are performed to demonstrate flexibility, strength, and balance. The gymnast must also show strength skills, including circles, scales, and press handstands. Men’s floor routines usually have four passes that will total between 60–70 seconds and are performed without music, unlike the women’s event. Rules require that male gymnasts touch each corner of the floor at least once during their routine.

High Bar

The bar is 2.8 cm thick steel or fibreglass, 2.4m long and is set at 2.75m from the floor. The boys should perform continuous clean swinging movements and must not touch the bar with their bodies. They are required to demonstrate changes of grip, swinging movements both forward and backward, plus release and catch moves. Beginners learn this by wearing straps and gloves which attach them to the bar.

Vault

Gymnasts sprint down a runway, which is a maximum of 25 meters in length, before hurdling onto a spring board and then rotating in the air to land in handstand on the vault. The vaulting table is approximately 1m in length and 1 m wide, standing at different heights depending on the age and level of the gymnast. The gymnast then blocks off the vaulting platform into various twisting and/or somersaulting combinations. The post flight segment brings the gymnast to their feet.

Rings

The rings are suspended on wire cable from a point 5.75 meters from the floor and adjusted in height so the gymnast has room to hang freely and swing. He must perform a routine demonstrating balance, strength, power, and dynamic motion while preventing the rings themselves from swinging. At least one static strength move is required, but some gymnasts may include two or three. A routine should have a dismount equal in difficulty to the difficulty of the routine as a whole.

Pommel Horse/Mushroom Trainer

The pommel horse is 1.6m long and stands at 1.2m. A full size pommel horse is too large for young boys so they use a mushroom trainer. Here the boys must perform double leg circles requiring great flexibility in the shoulders. A typical pommel horse exercise involves both single leg and double leg work.. The gymnast swings both legs in a circular motion (clockwise or counterclockwise depending on preference) and performs such skills on all parts of the apparatus. Routines end when the gymnast performs a dismount, either by swinging his body over the horse, or landing after a handstand.

Parallel Bars

Men perform on two bars slightly further than a shoulder’s width apart and usually 1.75m high while executing a series of swings, on their hands, upper arms or on one hand, balances, and releases that require great strength and coordination.

The sport of gymnastics, allows children to gain confidence, patience, respect and discipline - all essential skills of life.