Artistic gymnastics

The competitive disciplines of artistic gymnastics

Artistic gymnastics is a great way of working out the body, with various health and fitness benefits. Here's the quick realbuzz.com guide to getting started in the world of artistic gymnastics, from floor skills to successful vaulting.

The equipment and disciplines of artistic gymnastics
The gymnast seeks to get the best possible score out of 10 in one or more disciplines.

There are also all-round events and team events, also scored over each apparatus.

In Olympic competition there are two evaluating judges for technical content, and six to mark execution. The highest and lowest marks are discarded and an average of the rest is worked out to give the final score out of 10.

Male artistic competition
Men compete in floor, and on the pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bars.

  • Floor gymnasts perform a spectacular 70-second acrobatic routine on a square mat. The floor exercise is a demonstration of power and strength, and is performed without music.
  • Pommel horse a solid apparatus with two handles that men use for a series of circular movements, all along the length of the horse, while holding themselves above the apparatus.
  • Rings parallel rings 50cm (19.7in) apart suspended from a cable that are held in each hand to perform a series of swings above and below the rings, to show strength and stillness, and a dismount.
  • Vault a solid apparatus used in conjunction with a springboard to produce handsprings from a running approach. Judges are looking for the gymnast to display height and distance as well as a tight body position.
  • Parallel bars two wooden rails shoulder width apart used for swinging, vaulting and balancing exercises.
  • Horizontal bars a bar standing 2.75m (9ft) high, which is used to perform a series of swings, release skills, changes of direction and a dismount.

Female artistic competition
Female gymnasts compete on the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor.

  • Vault a solid apparatus used in conjunction with a springboard to produce handsprings from a running approach. Judges are looking for the gymnast to display height and distance as well as a tight body position.
  • Uneven bars a top bar 2.4m (7.9ft) above the floor and a lower bar 1.6m (5.25ft) high, used for a continuous series of moves including grip changes, releases and new grasps.
  • Balance beam a narrow beam on which a breathtaking 90-second routine of leaps, backflips and somersaults is performed.
  • Floor as above, but with particular emphasis on the gymnast’s artistry and personality. Unlike the men’s event, this is performed with music.

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