Artistic gymnastics is a discipline of gymnastics where male and female gymnasts perform short routines ( 30 to 90 seconds) on different apparatus, with less time for vaulting. The sport is governed by the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), which designs the Code of Points.
- A typical pommel horse exercise involves both single leg and double leg work. Single leg skills are generally found in the form of scissors, an element often done on the pommels. Double leg work however, is the main staple of this event. 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. To make the exercise more challenging, gymnasts will often include variations on a typical circling skill by turning (moores and spindles) or by straddling their legs (Flares). Routines end when the gymnast performs a dismount, either by swinging his body over the horse, or landing after a handstand.
- Still Rings
- Still rings is arguably the most physically demanding event. The rings are suspended on wire cable from a point 5.8 meters off 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 must begin with an impressive mount and must conclude with an equally impressive dismount.
- 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, balances, and releases that require great strength and coordination.
- High bar
- A 2.4 cm thick steel bar raised 2.5 m above the landing area is all the gymnast has to hold onto as he performs giants(revolutions around the bar), release skills, twists, and changes of direction. By using all of the momentum from giants and then releasing at the proper point, enough height can be achieved for spectacular dismounts, such as a triple-back salto. Leather grips are usually used to help maintain a grip on the bar.
Artistic gymnasts compete only with other gymnasts in their level or grade. Gymnasts start at the lowest level of competition and advance to higher levels or grades by learning gymnastics skills and achieving qualifying scores at meets.
Levels range from 1 to 10, then junior elite and senior elite. Levels 1–3 are usually considered recreational, or beginner; 4–7 intermediate, and 8–Elite advanced. Levels 1–3 are basic skills, such as handstands, cartwheels, etc. 4–6 are compulsory levels, and 7 is an in-between level, with strict requirements but still allowing the gymnast to add in their own creativity.