Gymnastics Artistic Activities and events for women
- Uneven bars
- Balance beam
Gymnasts sprint down a runway, which is a maximum of 25 meters in length, before hurdling onto a spring board. The gymnast is allowed to choose where they start on the runway. The body position is maintained while punching (blocking using only a shoulder movement) the vaulting platform. The gymnast then rotates to a standing position. In advanced gymnastics, multiple twists and somersaults may be added before landing. Successful vaults depend on the speed of the run, the length of the hurdle, the power the gymnast generates from the legs and shoulder girdle, the kinesthetic awareness in the air, how well they stuck the landing and the speed of rotation in the case of more difficult and complex vaults.
On the uneven bars, the gymnast performs a timed routine on two parallel horizontal bars set at different heights. These bars are made of fiberglass covered in wood laminate, to prevent them from breaking. In the past, bars were made of wood, but the bars were prone to breaking, providing an incentive to switch to newer technologies. The width and height of the bars may be adjusted to the size needed by individual gymnasts. In the past, the uneven parallel bars were closer together. The bars have been moved increasingly further apart, allowing gymnasts to perform swinging, circling, transitional, and release moves that may pass over, under, and between the two bars. At the Elite level, movements must pass through the handstand. Gymnasts often mount the uneven bars using a springboard or a small mat. Gymnasts may use chalk (MgCO3) and grips (a leather strip with holes for fingers to protect hands and improve performance) when performing this event. The chalk helps take the moisture out of gymnasts’ hands to decrease friction and prevent rips (tears to the skin of the hands); dowel grips help gymnasts grip the bar.
The gymnast performs a choreographed routine of up to 90 seconds in length consisting of leaps, acrobatic skills, somersaults, turns and dance elements on a padded beam. The beam is 125 centimetres (4 ft 1 in) from the ground, 5 metres (16 ft 5 in) long, and 10.16 centimetres (4.00 in) wide. This stationary object can also be adjusted, to be raised higher or lower. The event requires balance, flexibility, grace, poise, and strength.
The event in gymnastics performed on the floor is called floor exercise. The English abbreviation for the event in gymnastics scoring is FX. In the past, the floor exercise event was executed on the bare floor or mats such as wrestling mats. The floor event now occurs on a carpeted 12m × 12m square, usually consisting of hard foam over a layer of plywood, which is supported by springs generally called a spring floor. This provides a firm surface that provides extra bounce or spring when compressed, allowing gymnasts to achieve greater height and a softer landing after the composed skill. Gymnasts perform a choreographed routine up to 90 seconds in the floor exercise event. Depending on the level, the gymnast may choose their own routine; however some levels have compulsory routines, where default music must be played. Levels three to six the music is the same for each levels along with the skills within the routine. However, recently, the levels have switched. Now, levels 6–10 are optional levels and they get to have custom routines made. In the optional levels (levels six to ten) there are skill requirements for the routine but the athlete is able to pick her own music without any words. The routine should consist of tumbling passes, series of jumps, leaps, dance elements, acrobatic skills, and turns, or pivots, on one foot. A gymnast can perform up to four tumbling passes, each of which usually includes at least one flight element without hand support. Each level of gymnastics requires the athlete to perform a different number of tumbling passes. In level 7 in the United States, a gymnast is required to do 2–3, and in levels 8–10, at least 3–4 tumbling passes are required.
Scoring for both Junior Olympic and NCAA level gymnastics uses a 10.0 scale. Levels below Level 9 start from a 10.0 automatically if all requirements for an event are met. Levels 9 and 10, and NCAA gymnastics all start below a 10.0, and require gymnastics to acquire bonus points through connections and skills to increase their start value to a 10.0. During a routine, deductions will be made by the judges for flaws in the form of technique of a skill. For example, steps on landings or flexed feet can range from .05-.1 off, depending on the severity of the mistake.