Gymnastics: Flipping Through History

Gymnastics: Flipping Through History


 Womens (Girls) Gymnastics History

Gymnastics is one of the most technical sports around. A gymnast must be able to keep spatial awareness of their body as it flips AND spins through the air, sometimes over a wooden beam that is just 4” wide.


To become a National level gymnast, competing in the World Championships or even Olympics, takes years of dedication. Most high level gymnasts practice 40-60 hours a week while attending school, because your Olympic level gymnasts are all under the age of 20…


This sport is dominated by teenagers and must be because as the female ages their body and biomechanics change. The physics of gymnastics does not work as well as the hips start to widen, and females grow into their adult form. This means, all the precision of movement, dedication to perfection, and pressure of being a world class athlete is regularly place on the shoulders of 16, 17 and 18 year old girls around the globe.


Gymnastics is a truly amazing sport, and the athletes are phenomenal to say the least. But the form of gymnastics you see today is not representative of what gymnastics used to be. Started by Greeks, gymnastics was once just a form of body weight movements. Today it is a series of flips and twists over, under and around several apparatus. The sport has grown tremendously and continues to grow beyond measure. The athletes, routines, scoring and apparatus are constantly being updated. We are here to take you through the history of gymnastics one event at a time.


Gymnastics From Greece to Now

Before looking at the progression of each apparatus let’s first look at the progression of the sport, so you are familiar with what gymnastics entails.


Physical fitness was a highly valued characteristic of individuals in ancient Greece. To be a master of movement and master of your body was highly sought after. The original form of gymnastics, referred to as gymnazein by the Greeks, included all forms of bodyweight movement: running, jumping, swimming, throwing, wrestling, and tumbling1


The popularity of this gymnazein grew with the looming presence and pressure from the Roman Empire as the standard workout program for Greek warbands. As Rome’s power dwindled however, so did this form of exercise.


The sport did not gain traction, or form, again until the late 1700s. A Prussian teacher by the name of Johan Bernhard Basedow  brought gymnastics into the Germanic school system as a physical education curriculum1. Doing so required Basedow to create a uniformed set of standards by which teachers could instruct students. This structure helped the sport gain popularity.


By the end of the 18th century, the side bar, horizontal bar, parallel bars, balance beam and a jumping event had been invented by Friedrich Ludwig Jahn1  (The Father of Gymnastics) the first apparatus of gymnastics. In 1811 Jahn even opened up his own gymnastics school to teach children from of any age about these apparatus and how to perform body weight movements using them. Gymnastics clubs started appearing throughout Europe, spreading the sport. By the 1880’s gymnastics had spread to the US where Dr. Dudly Allen Sargent tried inventing and introducing more than 30 new apparatuses1. Sadly, none of these made it through to today.


The 20th century has seen the largest growth and progression within this sport since it’s creation. By the time 1900 has come around, gymnastics had settled on 4 apparatuses for women to use. These were the floor exercise, the balance beam, the uneven parallel bars, and the vault.


Today, women still use these four events but they have changed quite a bit from their inceptions in the 18th and 19th centuries. With the popularity of gymnastics worldwide an International Gymnastics Federation, referred to as FIG, has been created and maintained to govern the rules and progression of gymnastics. FIG was founded in 1881 and has set the standards for competition ever since. Any and all changes on the international stage have been created by this governing body, with national committees following along to keep the sport as uniform as possible.


Next up we will look at how FIG has evolved each apparatus, and the subsequent movements you can perform on each since the late 1800’s.


The Gymnastics Floor Exercise


The floor exercise has been a part of gymnastics since its origination; today it is just a little more structured than before.


Looking at the modern era of gymnastics we can see that the floor exercise has always been contained to a squared off area. When the sport first debuted in the Olympics it was a series of mats pressed together for the gymnast to perform their routine one. As manufacturers started taking interest in gymnastics equipment, the floor evolved into padded floors covered by carpet, and are now much more advanced.


When watching a routine in todays sport one might think the gymnasts are springloaded due to the height and trajectories they can obtain during their routines. This is partially correct, though it is the floor that is spring loaded and not the athlete. Floors today are a series of springs pressed between two layers of plywood, covered in a thing mat with carpet placed overtop.


FIG specifies that the floor apparatus is2


            - 12m x 12m spring floor, with the configuration pictured to the left

            - does not exceed 6” in height

            - is surrounded by a 2m border for safety of gymnasts

Who travel out of bounds

Gymnastics Spring Floor



Creating a Solid Gymnastics Routine

            What originated as a series of slips and movements to demonstrate strength (such as walking on one’s hands or jumping as far as possible) has now become an elegant showcase of power. Floor routines mix dance movement with tumbling series and some music to create the bulk of this sports entertainment. Each routine must last between 70-90 seconds and contain the following skills3:


  • At least 1 but no more than 4 tumbling passes consisting of salto (flips) elements
  • Salto (flip) with 360-degree turn
  • Double salto (two flips, end over end before landing)
  • Salto forward leading into salto backward
  • A dance passage with 2 different skills (leap, jump, twist, etc.)
  • A turn on one foot of at least 360 degrees


A family favorite, the floor routine now incorporates the most technical and graceful movements in gymnastics. Accompanied by music, these routines can be the most entertaining and remembered of the competition.


Simone Biles (USA) - Balance Beam - 2016 Pacific Rim Championships Team/AA Final (USA Gymnastics)



The Gymnastics Balance Beam

One of the most difficult events, and one that is unique to the women’s side of competition, is the balance beam.


This apparatus has always been used to test balance and coordination but has seen some drastic changes throughout the years as skills have become progressively more difficult and dangerous. For starters, the beam used to be round4. This was not very user friendly as gymnasts started added leaps and saltos to their routines.


In 1921, FIG switched from the 10 inch rounded beam to a square that was 3.15 inches wide4. The change in width did not seem too drastic, since the high point on a log is well under 3.15 inches, but FIG soon increased the standard width to 4 inches as they accommodated to how gymnasts were using the apparatus.


Routines progressed from primarily dance movements to salto type movements more commonly seen in the floor routines. This progression of difficult called for a wider beam for gymnasts to support a full hand or foot on mid flights, as well as a padded cover (to protect the joints) and some suspension or give to absorb forces produced while tumbling.


The 10 inch log has now turned into the following2:


-  a 10 cm x 16 cm x 5 m beam covered in no more than 1cm of padding

            - set to the at least 100 cm in height and no more than 125 cm

            - two metal legs, one on either end, that provide suspension with movement

            - a landing area extended 18’ out from one end and 12’ out from the other with a

minimum of 7 ½’ in width

            - a safety mat spanning the length under the beam and at least 15’ wide

Gymnastics Balance Beam Size Width Length


These new standards have kept up with the progression of skills, but this is still one of the more exhilarating and risky events to watch.


            Creating a Gymnastics Balance Beam Routine

            With an apparatus that is only 10cm wide it can seem like a miracle that gymnasts are able to stay on so often. These athletes are able, and required, to execute skills with precision of landing down to a centimeter. Each routine performed at the international level must include3:


  • Mount
  • A series of dance elements consisting of at least 2 different dance skills
  • A minimum of 360-degree turn on one foot
  • A salto series, minimum of 2 elements
  • A forward salto and backward salto
  • Dismount


Everyone, except the gymnast, holds their breath during these routines. Gymnasts must remain calm and extremely focused as the fly through the air and try to land back in the same exact spot. The accuracy and skill level of this apparatus has come a long way since its formation as a log in the 1800s.


The Gymnastics Uneven Bars

What started out as the parallel bars from men’s competition set at different height, has turned into it’s own amazing piece of equipment.


From creation in the 1880s until the 1970s, the women’s apparatuses were fashioned from men’s. At the time (and still today), one event on the males side was the parallel bars. Two bars of the same diameter, set to the same height, roughly shoulder width apart. When it came time for the women to compete the same apparatus was used but one bar was raised, while the other was lower to create the uneven parallel bars.


This configuration meant women could be in contact with both bars at the same time even though they were only hanging on to one. Skills often required gymnast to hang from the top bar while they jumped, walked along, bounced from, or circled around the other bar.

In the 1970s FIG called for a redesign of this apparatus as the two sides of the sport (mens and womens) started to grow apart. The new apparatus resulted in two bars spaced far enough apart for gymnasts to swing between and now must meet the following standards2:

 Gymnastics uneaven bar new standards

- the top bar (high bar) is to be set at 250 cm height while low bar is 170 cm in height measured from the floor to the top of the rail. Gymnasts can adjust but must meet these minimums and the maximum difference between heights cannot exceed 80 cm

  - the distance between bars is to be at least 130 cm with a maximum separation of 180 cm

 - bars must be made from fiberglass rail with wood covering with a diameter of 39 cm

 - the apparatus must include a minimum of 19’8” and maximum 26’ 3” matting area with at least 4” of mats throughout

Gymnastics Uneaven Bar Size and Width



            Creating a Uneven Bar Routine

            Now that the bars are further apart, gymnasts can transition from one bar to the next. Often these transitions include saltos between the bars. Routines may also include saltos over a bar without transitioning from one to the next, and of course saltos from the high bar to the landing mats to end a routine. As defined by FIG every elite level routine must include3:


  • A mount
  • Circle around both high and low bars
  • Flight element from high bar to low bar
  • Flight element over one bar without transition to the next
  • Various grips (overhand, underhand or mixed)
  • 360-degree turn
  • Dismount


For those who love to watch the high-flying flips and twist this is your event. Gymnasts can now soar over, through and off the bars to wow their audience.


 1958 - Larissa Latynina (USSR), 1962 - Vera Caslavska (Czechosovakia),1966 -Vera Caslavska (Czechosovakia), 1970 - Erika Zucholg (East Germany), 1974 - Olga Korbut (USSR) , 1978 - Nelli Kim (USSR), 1979 - Dumitrita Turner (Romania), 1981 - Maxi Gnauck (East Germany), 1983 - Boriana Stoyanova (Bulgaria), 1985 - Elena Shushunova (USSR), 1987 - Elena Shushunova (USSR), 1989 - Olessia Dudnik (USSR), 1991 - Lavinia Milosovici (Romania), 1992 - Henrietta Onodi (Hungary), 1993 - Elena Piskun (Belarus), 1994 - Gina Gogean (Romania), 1995 - Simona Amanar (Romania) + Lilia Podkopayeva (Ukraine), 1996 - Gina Gogean (Romania) , 1997 - Simona Amanar (Romania), 1999 - Elena Zamolodchikova, (Russia) 2001 - Svetlana Khorkina (Russia), 2002 - Elena Zamolodchikova (Russia), 2003 - Oksana Chusovitina (Uzbekistan), 2005 - Cheng Fei (China), 2006 - Cheng Fei (China) ,2007 - Cheng Fei (China), 2009 - Kayla Williams (USA)

The Gymnastics Vault

In ancient Greek times the vault was a running and jumping event that looked vaguely similar to long jump in track and field. Today it considered the powerhouse of the gymnastics world and requires gymnasts to run full speed a stationary object (the vaulting table), propel their bodies off a springboard, and perform multiple flips with twists prior to landing on their feet behind the vault.


Regulations specify that2:


            - run distance is a maximum of 25 meters, measure from the front edge of the table to

the inner side of the block attached at the end of the vault run up mat

            - springboards are required and must be no more than 22cm tall

            - if an entry mat is needed for round-off entry vaults they must not exceed 120 cm x 100cm

            - if gymnast is performing a round-off entry vault a safety mat is required to surround

the springboard

            - the vaulting table must be 120 cm long and set to a minimum of 135 cm tall; the height

can be adjusted upward depending on the gymnast’s preference

            - the landing area I 8’ by 19’ 6” with a 1 ¼ inch base mats and at least one 8’ x 15 ½’ x 8” landing mat

2001 Gymnastics Vault


The vault did not also have this shape however. Up until 2001, the vault apparatus was simply a pommel horse (from the men’s competition) without handles and looked like such

 Vintage Gymnastics Vault Pommel Horse


When in this configuration, the vault was commonly known as a horse. This reference dates all the way back to ancient days when the beginning stages of this event was a training exercise for troops to mount their horses mid battle. In fact, the Greek’s even modeled their vaulting “horses” in the shape of a horse to make training more realistic. The vault of their day looked like so


Vintage Gymnastics Vault on a Horse Training

Figure 1 Vaulting onto a horse for battle training4


Up until the switch to a vaulting table, men continued to vault over this apparatus in the lengthwise formation. Since women are typically lighter and aren’t able to produce as much force from the springboard, the horse was turned sideways for them to reduce injury.


The eventual change to the table like apparatus occurred with the progression of vaulting skills. What begun as a training tool to jump onto a horse back progressed into forward flips over the horse, and then into twisting and backward flips. With this final progression, it was very common for gymnasts to miss the vaulting horse, resulting in serious injury to the young athletes. FIG introduced the table in 2001; since then injuries have been greatly reduced and the progression of movements have sky-rocketed.


            Creating a Gymnastics Vault Routine

            Vault is unique in the fact that it lasts a matter of seconds AND that gymnasts have the option of performing their vaults twice. From level 1 up to elites, this is the only event you get a do over on.


When competing for an all-around title, gymnasts are only permitted one vault each; however, for those wishing to compete in the event finals, two different vaults are performed and judged. The gymnast is able to choose the better of her two scores for ranking purposes. All vaults must come from one of five predefined groups3:


            Group 1- Vault without salto

            Group 2- Handspring forward with or with turn in first phase and with or without salto

in second phase

            Group 3- Handspring with ¼- ½ turn in phase 1 and backward salto with or without twist

in phase 2

            Group 4- round-off with ¾ turn onto the springboard for backward entry in phase 1,

salto with or without twist in phase 2

            Group 5- round-off with ¾ turn onto the springboard AND ½ turn onto the table for

forward entry in phase 1, salto with or without twist in phase 2


When discussing the vault groups movement is broken down by phases. Phase 1 refers to the time from the springboard to contacting the vault table, while phase two is from contact to landing on the mats.


From jumping onto an apparatus that looks like a horse to backward entries into a flip with 2.5 twists, this event has experienced the most drastic changes throughout the history of such a wonderful sport.


Gymnastics is an exhilarating sport to watch, and to compete in. The dedication and pressure these teenage superstars face is insurmountable, and continues to grow. FIG reassess the sports rules, regulations, and apparatuses every four years and constantly make changes dependent on how the athletes are progressing.


From performing hops on a 10 inch log to tumbling over a 10 cm wide wooden beam, the sport is always evolving. And the evolution is not slowing. The latest major apparatus change came about in 2001 but height requirements and landing mat regulations are modified every 4 years.

We don’t know what the next big change will be, but FIG is set to rewrite their code of points in 2020. The history of gymnastics is known and well recorded, the future is determined by 16, 17 and 18 year old athletes dedicating their young lives to precision and repetition. Who knows what the next change may be, but we are all excited to watch and follow along with this awe inspiring sport of fitness.



 Mens (Boys) Gymnastics History

Where women typically hit their peak performances before age 20, men can compete at an elite level into their mid 20’s. Demands for men’s apparatuses are more strength based than flexibility base. Thus, a male athlete can continue to see performance improvements as they approach their late 20’s.


Men’s gymnastics have been featured at every modern olympic games, alongside athletics, swimming, and fencing - since 1896. The 1924 games saw the first male athletes competing for individual medals, since 1906, on seven different apparatuses. The notable exclusion in the lineup is the rope climb. From 1896 to 1932, this event was included as an individual contest on five occasions. The men ascended a 7.6 meter high rope using only their hands and were judged on speed and style.


Following rope climb’s discontinuation from the Olympic games, it continued to be a competitive event in America for the following three decades, sanctioned by the AAU and NCAA.


Today’s International Championships feature six events done in the following order: floor exercise, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar.


Floor Exercise


The floor exercise was introduced into the artistic gymnastics program in 1936 for men and 1952 for women.


Along with the vault, the men share the floor exercise with their female counterparts, however, there are several notable differences. In the men’s competition, points are favored for displays of strength through tumbling passes and flips. Points for leaps and jumps performed to a soundtrack mark another uniqueness in the women’s performance that the men do not compete for.


The FIG specifications for the floor apparatus are the same for both genders:


  • 12m x 12m spring floor
  • Does not exceed 6” in height
  • Surrounded by a 2 meter border for safety of gymnasts who travel out of bounds.


Creating a Solid Floor Routine


In the modern era of the floor exercise, athletes are performing dynamic tumbling movements that, until recently, were only familiar to trampoline routines. Each male competitor is given up to 70 seconds to perform his routine. A successful floor exercise elegantly strings together

dynamic acrobatics, static displays of strength and balance, and tumbling passes showcasing the gymnast's strength. Each routine typically opens and closes with a series of handsprings,


cartwheels, and forward or backward somersaults. To achieve the highest score possible, the men’s routine must consist of elements from all four groups6:


  • Group 1 - Non-acrobatic, including presses, jumps, circles and flairs
  • Group 2 - Acrobatic, including saltos and handsprings
  • Group 3 - Backwards acrobatic elements without turns

Group 4 - Arabian elements including saltos with and without turns and roll outs

 Gymnastics Artistic Men's Floor Exercise Final - China Gold, ZOU Kai - Japan Silver, UCHIMURA Kohei - Russian Fed. Bronze, ABLYAZIN Denis -Highlights from the North Greenwich Arena at the London 2012 Olympic Games. -- 5 August 2012


Pommel Horse


The origins of the pommel horse, or side horse, go as far back as Alexander the Great, who was believed to use them to train his men to mount and dismount their war horses. Nineteenth century versions of the competition pommel horse apparatus, with influence from Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, were made from a metal frame, wooden body, and covered in leather. Modern versions incorporate foam coverings and plastic pommels (or handles).


Dimensions and shapes of the pommel horse have varied over time. Early versions were shaped more closely to the back of a living horse. As the sport evolved, later designs were tailored for international competition and in 1948, a symmetrical American design, much more familiar with what we see today, was introduced. FIG standardized the symmetrical design in 1956 for the following dimensions7:


  • Height: 115 cm (approx. 8 ft.)
  • Width: 35 cm (approx. 8 in.)
  • Length: 160 cm (approx. 25 in.)


Creating a Pommel Horse Routine


Unlike other disciplines, the technique and strength required to piece together a productive pommel horse routine are far more nuanced. This is the only apparatus where the gymnast must continually maintain his momentum through the entire series of moves. He must maintain stability while alternating support on one hand at a time. Taller gymnasts tend to have greater success on the pommel as their body types lend to greater momentum during the circular elements of the performance.


Often considered the most difficult apparatus, the finesse needed to master the pommel horse is unlike any other event and can take much more time in the gym to nail down. Each routine consists of circular motions on a horizontal plane with good height on the hips and proper separation of the legs during the scissors portion. The gymnast’s legs and feet must be straight and pointed during the entire routine. Successful athletes will rely more on maximizing their


momentum than trying to maneuver along the pommels with sheer strength, leading to quick fatigue. Men who display excellent strength on the rings may struggle on the pommel because of the increased amount of flexibility required.


Each routine typically starts with a single leg element, leading into a controlled handstand before beginning the circles. There are four element groups a gymnast must perform at international competition:


  • Group 1 - Single leg swing and scissors
  • Group 2 - Circles and flairs, which may or may not include handstands
  • Group 3 - Side and cross support travels
  • Group 4 - Dismount


The best pommel horse gymnasts in the world make these performances look like they’re floating the air just above the pommels.

Whitlock becomes World Champ in Pommel - Universal Sports


Still Rings


Some version of suspended rings have been around since ancient times. In the mid 1800’s a version of rings, called flying rings, were used in competition. These rings were triangle shaped, fashioned with leather wrapped metal, and the athlete performed movements that involved much more swinging and movement along an arch. Today’s competition calls for the athlete to keep the rings as still as possible while performing a variety of static and dynamic strength movements. Today’s rings are typically made from laminated wood.


The body builders of the gymnastics specialties, the athletes that succeed here are some of the strongest in the sport. The feats of pure upper body and core strength and poise are unrivaled on any other apparatus.


FIG standards call for:


  • Two rings, each at 18cm in diameter
  • Right height is75 meters above the floor
  • Cable length of 300cm
  • Space between rings of 50cm


Creating a Still Rings Routine


Stringing together strength elements with precision and control are critical in rings. To avoid point deductions, the gymnast must keep shaking to a minimum, avoid unnecessary swings, and maintain a rigid frame. Strength elements include various “cross” holds and contestants are


judged on how straight and still they can keep their bodies. Cross holds can either be held in a level shape or an L-shape.



Every successful routine on the still rings must include performances from each group:


  • Group 1 - At least one swing to handstand
  • Group 2 - At least one swing to strength hold
  • Group 3 - At least two strength elements
  • Group 4 - A static strength element held for at least two seconds
  • Group 5 - Dismount





The vault is a time-honored apparatus that has seen over a century of competition. The hallmarks of the event have not changed much since its inception. For most of its history, the vault was essentially a pommel horse with the handles removed. For the men’s competition, it was arranged parallel to the runway, and for the women’s, was rotated perpendicular. Following safety concerns, FIG approved the table and saw widespread use by 2003, creating a more consistent and safe surface to vault from.


One of two modern apparatus shared by men and women competitors, the vault consists of a 25 meter run up, a springboard, and a vaulting table. While airborne, the gymnast performs an explosive movement of twists and/or somersaults before aiming to stick the landing between a narrow landing zone.


With only seconds to perform the sprint, jump and acrobatic elements, the vault has perhaps the least room for error of any apparatus. The gymnast must know exactly which foot will land first the moment they commit to the springboard.


FIG Standards for the vaulting table and runway are:


  • Height: 125 cm (approx. 4 )
  • Width: 95 cm (approx. 3 )
  • Length: 95-105 cm (approx. 3-3.5 )
  • Runway width: 1 m (approx. 2 ft.)
  • Runway length: 25m (82 )


Creating a Gymnastic Vault Routine


Each athlete should select from the most difficult group they can perform successfully for maximum points. In the beginning phase of the fault, the athlete must gain maximum speed along the runway before jumping from one foot to two feet, or hurdling, about 3-6 feet out from the springboard. Another option is to perform a more difficult roundoff entry prior to pre-flight.


The brief moment between landing on the springboard and planting the hands on the table are crucial. This moment is known as pre-flight. The gymnast must maintain as much momentum as possible from their runup while keeping the body as rigid as possible with the legs held together and the toes pointed. Once he propels himself off the table, he aims for maximum height, distance, and a stuck landing, all while performing his flips and twists from a predetermined element group.


The gymnasts incorporates elements from the following groups or families9:


  • Group 1 - Forward handspring, and yamashita style vaults
  • Group 2 - Handspring with quarter or half turn in first flight
  • Group 3 - Roundoff entry with backwards second flight
  • Group 4 - Roundoff entry with half turn in first flight and forward second flight
  • Group 5 - Roundoff entry vaults with ¾ or full turn in first flight and backward second


Parallel Bars


Invented by Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, the parallel bars have been part of the men’s competition since the 19th century. The apparatus consists of two wood poles, 5 cm thick, positioned at roughly hand height. The apparatus has been featured in the Olympics since 1896.



The parallel bars require immense stamina, strength and flexibility. A true all round test of gymnastic ability, a robust routine on parallel bars includes handstands, saltos, swinging elements from varied arm positions, and a stuck dismount.


FIG specifications for the apparatus are:


  • Height: 195 cm (approx. 4 ft.)
  • Width (distance between the bars): 42-52 cm (approx. 5-20.5 in.)
  • Length: 350 cm (approx. 5 ft.)





Creating a Parallel Bar Routine


A solid routine must contain at least one performance from each of the element groups. During the routine, the gymnast cannot hold, or pause, a move more than three times. These elements are performed from an underswing, support, hand and upper arm positions.


At International competitions, at least one move from each element must be incorporated:

  • Group 1 - Elements in support or through support
  • Group 2 - Elements starting in upper arm position
  • Group 3 - Long swings in hang, on 1 or 2 rails
  • Group 4 - Underswings
  • Group 5 - Dismounts


Ashley Watson - GOLD - Parallel Bars - 2015 British Gymnastics Championships - Men's Masters


High (Horizontal) Bar


One of the most fundamental apparatuses in a gymnasts’ repertoire, the high bar has been a fixture in gymnastics history since ancient Greece. Positioned about nine feet above the mat, the high bar is traditionally made from a steel pole while more modern versions incorporate a slightly more elastic fiberglass core. Due to the extreme amount of friction generated with all of the twists and rotations on the bar, the gymnast will use leather bar grips on their hands.

Despite its simplicity, this apparatus creates a huge space for the gymnast to let his creativity flow: a powerful showcase of his acrobatic acumin.


FIG specification for the high bar:


  • Height: 275 cm (approx. 9 )
  • Diameter: 8 cm (approx. 1 in.)


  • Length: 240 cm (approx. 8 )



Creating a High Bar Routine


A true test of grip strength and fearless lift offs, high bar routines challenge gymnasts on four different holds; overgrip, undergrip, dorsal grip, mixed grip; and require at least one release and re-grasp of the bar.


Maximum points are awarded when the gymnasts perform from all five elements:


  • Group 1 - Long hang swing with and without turns
  • Group 2 - Flight elements
  • Group 3 - Elements near the bar
  • Group 4 - El-grip and dorsal hang elements and elements performed rearways to the bar
  • Group 5 - Dismounts





1 - Strauss, M. A history of gymnastic: From ancient Greece to modern times. Scholastic. Retrieved



2 - FIG. Apparatus requirements for elite and junior Olympic competitions. Retrieved from:


3 - Federation Internationale De Gymnastique. 2017-2020 Code of points women’s artistic

gymnastics. Retrieved from:


4 - The Evolution of Gymnastics. Balance Beam. Retrieved from:


5 - The Evolution of Gymnastics. Vault. Retrieved from:

6 - FIG, Element symbols for Men’s Artistic Gymnastics. Retrieved from:  et.pdf


7 - FIG, Overview of the Gymnastic Apparatus with Obligatory Tests at FIG Test - Institutes. Retrieved from:  20procedures.pdf


8 - Federation Internationale De Gymnastique. Part Six: Apparatus Requirements for Elite and Junior Olympic Competitions. Retrieved from:


9 - Code of Points, Men’s Gymnastics. Retrieved from:




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