For a parent who is new to the world of gymnastics, it sometimes seems as if the gym has a foreign language all its own. Here is another list of commonly used terms to help parents get started in their quest to be come more fluent in the language of gymnastics!
A stunt in which the gymnast turns completely over in the air without touching the apparatus with his or her hands.
A category of gymnastics that includes all of the events. The all-around champion of an event earns the highest total score from all events combined.
The height or degree of execution of a movement. In general, the higher the salto or the more breathtaking the movement, the better the amplitude and the score.
One of the various pieces of equipment used in gymnastics competitions.
The body is curved backwards.
A double salto with a full twist (the complete twist performed during the second salto).
“Code of Points”
The official FIG rulebook for judging gymnastics skills.
The structure of a gymnastics routine. Each individual movement or skill is a building block; the arrangement of the moves in the exercise is called the composition of the routine.
Points taken off a gymnast’s score for errors. Most deductions are pre-determined, such as a 0.8 deduction for a fall from an apparatus or a 0.1 deduction for stepping out of bounds on the floor exercise.
To leave an apparatus at the end of a routine; usually done with a difficult twist or salto.
Events: The four women’s events in gymnastics are Floor, Uneven Bars, Beam, Vault. The six men’s events are Floor, Pommel Horse, Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars, High Bar.
The performance of a routine. Form, style, and technique used to complete the skills constitute the level of execution of an exercise. Bent knees, poor toe point and an arched or loosely-held body position are all examples of poor execution.
The International Gymnastics Federation is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and is responsible for the governance of the sport of gymnastics on the international level.
The range of motion through which a body part can move without feeling pain.
Also known as a flip-flop or back handspring. Take off on one or two feet, jump backwards onto hands and land on feet. This element is used in a majority of tumbling passes on the floor exercise. It’s also used a great deal on the balance beam.
A double salto with a full twist (the complete twist performed during the first salto).
On high bar, a front giant into a one-and-one-half front salto over the bar to regrasp. First done by U.S. gymnast Mitch Gaylord.
A swing in which the body is fully extended and moving through a 360 degree rotation around the bar.
Grips: Grips are the leather straps that gymnasts wear to help keep a grip on the bars or rings. The purpose of grips is to help maintain a firm grip on the equipment.
A double salto with a half twist on the first salto and a half twist on the second salto.
Springing off the hands by putting the weight on the arms and using a strong push from the shoulders; can be done either forward or backward; usually a linking movement.
Movement from a position below the equipment to a position above, usually on the uneven bars, parallel bars or high bar.
A stretched body position.
The international competition order that is decided by the FIG. Olympic order for women is vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise.
Men compete in the following order: floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar.
Olympic order for rhythmic gymnasts is rope, hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon.
Body bent forward more than 90 degrees at the hips while the legs are kept straight.
Changing direction or moving in a circular motion by twisting in the handstand position.
Punch: Bouncing off of the floor or apparatus rather than jumping. Jumping involves bending your legs and pushing, while “punching” involves anticipating the floor and springing off using both any spring in the floor as well as power in your legs.
Leaving the bar to perform a move before re-grasping it.
A dynamic turning movement, with a push-off on one leg, while swinging the legs upward in a fast cartwheel motion into a 90 degree turn. The lead-off to a number of skills.
A combination of stunts displaying a full range of skills on one apparatus.
Flip or somersault, with the feet coming up over the head and the body rotating around the axis of the waist.
A combination requirement in a competitive routine on the pommel horse, which combines cuts and undercuts. It begins in a stride support and ends in an opposite stride support.
Two or more positions or skills which are performed together creating a different skill or activity.
Slang term used for when a gymnast executes a landing with correct technique and no movement of the feet.
A position in which the knees and hips are bent and drawn into the chest; the body is folded at the waist.
Not to be confused with a salto, a twist occurs when the gymnast rotates around the body’s longitudinal axis, defined by the spine.
Tight: A tight body position is not simply straight or extended, but taught. The muscles involved in the extension are squeezed. Positions are held rigid so that different parts of the body can move together.
The artistry, or the degree of rhythm and harmony, displayed while a movement is executed. In general, the more flowing and seamless a series of skills appears to be, the greater the virtuosity and the higher the score.
Round-off entry onto the board, flic-flac onto the vaulting table and salto off of the vaulting table. The gymnast may twist on the way off.