The Definitive Guide To Rhythmic Gymnastics

By Daniela Michaely | March 16, 2021

Gymnastics is a physically challenging practice that dates back to ancient times. It is a combination of sport and art that requires discipline and many hours of training.

But gymnastics is a lot of things, and it’s so easy to confuse rhythmic gymnastics to another type of gymnastics.So, what is rhythmic gymnastics?

In this guide, we’ll show the difference of rhythmic gymnastics to all other gymnastics disciplines, everything else a person needs to know about it, and how to start rhythmic gymnastics.

Here is the ultimate guide to learning the art and sports of rhythmic gymnastics!


TABLE OF CONTENTS:

CHAP 1 IMAGE
CHAPTER ONE
THE BEGINNING OF GYMNASTICS, ITS DISCIPLINES, AND BENEFITS
CHAP 2 IMAGE CHAPTER TWO:
THE ART OF RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS
CHAP 3 IMAGE CHAPTER THREE:
THE APPARATUS OF RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS

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CHAPTER FOUR:
RG STARTER KIT
CHAP 5 IMAGE CHAPTER FIVE:
THE CODE OF POINTS IN RG
CHAP 6 IMAGE CHAPTER SIX:
HISTORICAL RECORDS IN RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS
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CHAPTER SEVEN:
HOW TO CLIMB FROM CLUBS TO INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS
CHAP 8 IMAGE CHAPTER EIGHT:
BENEFITS OF GYMNASTICS

CHAPTER ONE: THE BEGINNING OF GYMNASTICS, ITS DISCIPLINES, AND BENEFITS


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Gymnastics has a rich and broad history dating back to Ancient Greece where it was born. It then started to travel and transform to become the most graceful and attractive sports of our time.

And since history holds the key to understanding where gymnastics is today, it’s only right to learn its beginning, the important personalities that gave birth to modern gymnastics, and the evolution that led to its different disciplines.


HISTORY OF GYMNASTICS

The word gymnastics came from the Greek word γυμνόϛ (pronounced as gymnós) related to the word γυμνáζω (gymnazo) meaning " train naked."

Gymnastics is one of the oldest Olympic sports and is closely linked to Ancient Greece’s Games. The athletes then competed in various events under the generic title of gymnastics.

After conquering Greece, the Romans developed gymnastics into a more formal sports activity and used it to train men for wars. However, as the Roman empire’s power declined so did the popularity of gymnastics, leaving it just as a form of entertainment.

PRECURSOR OF MODERN GYMNASTICS

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Johann Bernhard Basedow

Was a German educational reformer who introduced physical exercises and other forms of education at his school in Saxony that led to the start of the modernization of Gymnastics in 1774.

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Friedrich Ludwig Jahn

Toward the end of the 18th century, Jahn, who’s also a German, developed the jumping events, the sidebar, the parallel bars, the horizontal bar, and the balance beam.

He is considered as the "father of modern gymnastics."

The opening of Jahn’s school in 1811 Berlin was followed by the opening of many gymnastics clubs in Europe.

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Dr Dudley Allen Sargent

He popularized the sport in the United States and began to teach gymnastics in some US universities just before the beginning of the Civil War.

He is famous for the invention of approximately 30 gymnastics equipments.

TIMELINE OF MODERN GYMNASTICS

1896- Men’s gymnastics was included in the first rhythmic gymnastics Olympic Games

1928- In Amsterdam, women made their first appearance in Gymnastics.

1936- All-around competition for women began as an Olympic gymnastics competition

1938- Artistic gymnastics underwent regular changes, such as replacing parallel bars to uneven bars for women.

1948- first indoor Olympic Games

1950s- European countries as well as the Soviet Union started to train top gymnasts.

1952- The men’s artistic gymnastics and women’s artistic gymnastics acquired its final form that we know now

THE MAJOR GYMNASTICS DISCIPLINES

In the early nineteenth century, Friedrich Ludwig Jahn was the advocate of modern gymnastics. And during that time the different disciples of gymnastics emerged. Presently, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) recognizes seven disciplines in gymnastics:

  1.    1.  Gymnastics For All (Gfa);
  2.    2.  Men's Artistic Gymnastics (Gam)
  3.    3.  Women's Artistic Gymnastics (Gaf)
  4.    4.  Rhythmic Gymnastics (Rg);
  5.    5.  The Trampoline Gymnastics;
  6.    6.  Aerobics;
  7.    7.  Acrobatic Gymnastics.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VARIOUS GYMNASTICS DISCIPLINES

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1. GYMNASTICS FOR ALL (GFA)

Gymnastics for All is the top discipline of the sport because of the notion that it's for everybody, regardless of age, gender, and capability. It offers a diverse variety of activities, events, and competition suitable for everyone interested.

It’s a good activity to prepare young children who want to participate long term in gymnastics. GFA greatly contributes to the well-being, health and fitness of the gymnasts.

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2. ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS

Artistic Gymnastics is the most popular discipline of gymnastics. It promotes physical strength, agility, flexibility, coordination, balance and power. The sport involves the use of various gymnastics apparatus and floor exercises.

Artistic gymnastics is divided into two categories: Women\s Artistic Gymnastics (Gaf) and Men\s Artistic Gymnastics (Gam). Women compete in four events: the uneven bar. vault, balance beam, and floor exercise. There are events for men to compete like: pommel horse, vault, parallel bars, floor exercise, high bar, and still rings.

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3. RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS (RG)

Rhythmic gymnastics is a combination of art and sport where only women compete. It’s a beautiful routine composed of expressive dance movements with skillful manipulation of the rhythmic gymnastics apparatuses: ribbon, hoop, clubs, rope, and ball.

RG routine uses a high degree of athletic skills that includes flexibility, agility, endurance, strength, and power. The handling of the apparatus adds a level of difficulty a gymnast must endure during competitions and training, but without doubt one of the most graceful and beloved disciplines of gymnastics.

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4. THE TRAMPOLINES

Trampoline gymnastics is the discipline perfect for high-flyers who enjoy doing twists, saults, tumbling and jumps while airborne. It teaches aerial skills, body awareness, and develops coordination.

The discipline involves bouncing on a trampoline while performing acrobatic moves like simple jumps to complex combinations of saults and twists. There are four components of trampoline namely: Individual trampoline, Synchronized trampoline, Double Mini-trampoline, and Tumbling.

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5. AEROBICS

Aerobics gymnastics are perfect for gymnasts who want to burn some extra energy. It involves a complex, fast-paced, and high intensity routine to heart pounding music.

It utilizes flexibility, agility and strength performed individually or by groups or pairs.

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6. ACROBATIC GYMNASTICS

Acrobatic gymnastics is an ancient activity that combines acrobatic moves with the beauty of dance.

It is for those who want to share the excitement of performing flips, twists and hand-on-hand acrobatics with friends. Athletes during a routine display balance, flexibility, strength and agility.

Its categories are Women’s Pairs, Men’s Pairs, Mixed Pairs, Women’s Groups, and Men’s Groups.

CHAPTER TWO: THE ART AND HISTORY OF RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS


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Rhythmic Gymnastics is one of the most popular disciplines of gymnastics aside from artistic gymnastics and trampoline.

Many historical findings suggest that the esthetical form and movement expression unique to rhythmic gymnastics originated from the ancient Greek orchestra dance, and over time it incorporated an original mixture of artistic, sports, and pantomimic features.

In the previous chapter, the general history of gymnastics and its disciplines were discussed. Now, we’ll dive deep into the colorful Rhythmic Gymnastics history and tackle who contributed to its evolution and then differentiate individual and group gymnastics.


RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS HISTORICAL AND MODERN TIMELINE

1940 - Rhythmic gymnastics was developed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or USSR.

1946 - Rhythmic Sportive Gymnastics was created as a sport discipline in compliance with the resolution of Council Ministers of USSR.

1948 - Moscow organized the first Soviet National GRS Championship.

1947 - The International Gymnastics Federation incorporated the discipline as a competitive sport for women.

1960 - It was recognized as a discipline on its own under the name of “Modern Gymnastics”.

1963 - The first championship was held in Budapest.

1967 - The apparatuses were standardized, and in the same year the exercises performed in groups appeared for the first time in addition to the individual exercises.

1967 - The first group competition took place when the USSR team won a gold medal at the World Championship in Copenhagen.

1975 - Modern gymnastics changed its name to Rhythmic and Artistic Gymnastics.

1984 - The discipline became part of Olympic Games (individuals).

1996 - The groups category (which is now composed of 5 gymnasts) was added to Olympics.

2002 - The discipline adopted its current name, Rhythmic Gymnastics.


THE CONTRIBUTION OF NOVERRE, DELSARTE, DUNKAN AND JAQUES-DELCROZE

Rhythmic gymnastics is the most artistic among all gymnastics disciplines. Therefore, its history is inseparable from the history of ballet and dance in general. The great figures in the history of ballet such as L.G.Noverre, F. Deslatre and R. Bode were the first to incorporate the movement from dance into the classic ballet techniques.

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L.G. NOVERRE

L.G. Noverre is the French choreographer and theorist of dance.

Noverre worked a lot on expressive dance, which he also calls dance in action. It is also called pantomime dance. It paved the way for a performance where ballet stands out from the lyrical way: ballet-pantomime.

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FRANÇOIS DELSARTE

François Delsarte was a French singer, pedagogue and theorist, student at the Paris Conservatory, then tenor at the Opéra-Comique.

Delsarte’s teachings played a decisive role in the emergence of modern dance and are more generally considered as one of the sources of modernity in the performing arts.

F. Delsarte is considered as the creator of the first system preceding the rhythmic gymnastics. He was the first to perform in-depth research on the human body's movements, gestures, and expressions.

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ISIDORA DANKAN

The creative work of the American dancer and choreographer Isidora Dankan represents the direct influence on women's dance and expressive gymnastics.

She was an American dancer, born in San Francisco in the late 19th century, and arrived in Europe in 1899. Recognized as a pioneer of modern dance, Isadora Duncan is also perceived as the one who freed classical ballet from its codes. Then, for having assumed the image of her scantily clad, barefoot dancing.

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THE WORK OF JAQUES-DALCROZE

Finally, one of the staples of modern dance and expressive gymnastics, is the work of Jaques-Dalcroze. His rhythmic and musical pedagogy is based on bodily movement.

Feeling the music in your body is the pillar of this thoroughly educational process which combines body and mind. The rhythm reveals the natural links between bodily movement and musical movement, thus facilitating artistic discovery.

According to Dalcroze, musical culture development includes the body exercises that train the good ear to music and the sense for the rhythm.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS IN RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS

RG can be practiced individually or in a team. With its aesthetic and playful sensitivity, this sport can be started at a young age. It is even an excellent springboard to other gymnastics disciplines.

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INDIVIDUALS

The whole attention is focused on one rhythmic gymnast. She will manipulate one apparatus at a time. The participant should be able to perfectly handle all kinds of apparatus because the flawlessness of apparatus catches and throws affects the visual appeal and therefore, overall score.

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GROUPS

Performed with smooth and flawless interaction between five participants. The team's gymnasts are equal in completing the tasks together. With the fact that five participants can handle different apparatus during the show, the pleasure of properly done performance arises. It makes the spectacle even more exciting to watch.

For the effectiveness of performance in a group, the gymnasts have to develop specific qualities. Some of the group performer's most important qualities are attention, self-control, communication skills, aspiration to victory, and strong determination.

Mistakes made during the rhythmic gymnastics group routines have heavier consequences than in individual performance. For instance, if one gymnast catches the apparatus incorrectly, the whole group can lose its cadence.

CHAPTER THREE: THE APPARATUS OF RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS


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Rhythmic gymnastics (RG) is certainly the most feminine of the gymnastics disciplines. The athlete presents a graceful rhythmic gymnastics routine, punctuated by music. It is a combination of dance, acrobat, and even ballet while in manipulation of an apparatus.

As a rhythmic gymnast, an individual should be well rounded and knows how to manipulate or execute the different apparatus than can be used in RG.

Let's take a look at the specificity of each of these apparatus.


THE FIVE APPARATUS OF RG

In rhythmic gymnastics, five apparatus are used by the gymnasts in their sequence:

  • Rope
  • Hoop
  • Ball
  • Clubs
  • Ribbon

The apparatus must continuously be wielded by the gymnast all throughout their performance. In international rhythmic gymnastics competitions, the five apparatus are never used in the same routine.

Individuals present four routines, with a different apparatus per sequence while the groups present two performances, one with a single type of apparatus and a mixed one with two types of apparatus: three of one kind and two of another.

THE HOOP

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Maybe one of the most underrated apparatus, the hoop requires extremely good coordination. It allows for various rhythmic gymnastics moves (throws, rolls, rotations), inside passages, and rollovers.

Some of the greatest achievements in rhythmic gymnastics hoop routine belong to Azerbaijan gymnast Marina Durunda especially during her performance at the 2017 European Championships.

To determine the hoop that fits a gymnast, she must stand with her feet together and put the hoop against her legs. The hoop's size corresponds to the length of the gymnast’s legs (hoop placed next to the hips).

Dimension: It weighs around 300g, with the diameter between 80cm and 90cm. It can be made of plastic or wood. Rhythmic gymnastics hoop tape with adhesive is used to personalize the apparatus.

THE BALL

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The ball allows the gymnast to highlight its grace and softness. The dominant body element should be flexibility.

It is a difficult device to handle because the ball should never be gripped but always balanced on the gymnast's hand. The performer can also roll on her body or on the ground, bounce or even be thrown over the head.

One of the most impressive routines with the rhythmic gymnastics ball was the performance of Alexandra Soldatova from Russia during the European Championships Ball Finals performance in 2017.

Some of the other famous routines with a ball were performed by Viktoria Mazur, Linoy Ashram and Alexandra Agiurgiuculese.

Dimension: The ball usually weighs 400 g minimum with a diameter from 18 to 20 cm.

The commonly used are from the brands of rhythmic gymnastics ball Sasaki, Chacott, Pastorelli, and Tuloni.

THE CLUBS

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Clubs is a rhythmic gymnastics equipment which the gymnast must handle two during the performance. Also, during the performance, the dominant body element must be balance.

The gymnasts that have lately shown tremendous skillfulness with the rhythmic gymnatics clubs’ routine are Bulgarian Boryana Kaleyn, Russian Dina Averina and Salome Pazhava from Georgia.

To check if the club suits you, place the club on your right arm.The club length should match the length of your forearm (from the inside of your elbow to your fingertips). For the training, you must always have 2 pairs of clubs.

Dimension: The usual length is 40 to 50 cm, weight: 150 g minimum each. They are made of wood or synthetic material. Clubs can be personalized with adhesive tape.

THE RIBBON

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The ribbon is the apparatus that allows the gymnast to express her grace in ample and precise movements. It’s considered the most graceful but it’s also the most difficult to handle. The rhythmic gymnastics ribbon is considered as the most iconic RG apparatus.

While performing with the ribbon, the gymnast must always be on the move. It is often the favorite apparatus of RG fans and spectators. The additional difficulty is that it must not touch the floor during a presentation; otherwise, the performer will lose points.

The gymnasts with the most impressive elements with the ribbon routine are Bulgaria's Neviana Vladinova, Ana-Luiza Filoreanu from Romania, Milena Baldassarri from Belarus.

Dimension: the stick is 50 to 60 cm long and less than 1 cm in diameter. The stick is usually made of wood, bamboo, plastic, or fiberglass. The ribbon sizes vary between 4 and 7m in length and are usually 4 to 6 cm wide. It weighs 35g minimum, and it's made of satin.

If you are one of its fans you can check our article regarding the Fame Of Ribbon And Its Exercises.

THE ROPE

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The rope is an interesting apparatus because it allows originality in the way it can be handled. It allows the gymnast to show her dynamism and her endurance.

Proportional to the height of the gymnast, with one or two knots at the ends. It does not have a handle, but the gymnast has the option of making one or two knots at each end.

The rhythmic gymnastics rope routine requires a speed of execution and precision in the control of the apparatus. Unfortunately, since 2011, the FIG cancelled the implementation of rope in senior individual competitions.

The material is usually hemp or some kind of synthetic that maintains the lightness. In order to ease holding the rope during the performance, the rope has one or two knots at each side's end. Also, the anti-slip material covers the ends of the rope.

Dimension: The maximum cover length is 10cm. The rope can be of uniformed diameter or thicker at the center. Also, it must be colored partially or entirely.

MEASURING TABLE

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Rhythmic gymnastics measuring table is required for all official competitions to make sure every gymnasts’ apparatus are up to standards and not giving them advantage over the others.

The table is equipped to measure all types of apparatus used in RG.

RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS MUSIC

Music is one of the most important components of a rhythmic gymnastic routine. Without it, a gymnast has no routine.


In its early days, RG performances used to be completely instrumental and the gymnasts used to travel with a pianist to competitions.

This presents an additional challenge because the pianist and the gymnast are two different people, and they have to sync at all times.

With one hitch from the pianist, a gymnast can lose her whole routine, but with enough repetitive practice, the gymnasts and their pianists can find the perfect tempo together.

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Due to this challenge and the rise of electronically played music, the sport has evolved and the gymnasts learned to dance with a pre-recorded musical accompaniment. But the clincher is that it has to be void of lyrics.

Eventually, in 2013, the FIG started accepting music with lyrics.

In the 2017 code of points, individuals can now perform two out of the four routines with lyric music.

CHAPTER FOUR: RG STARTER KIT


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In gymnastics, it is important to perfect a routine and execute every movement on point.

Likewise, personal presentation is equally as vital as the performance itself.

The rhythmic gymnastics outfits, hair, and makeup is a crucial part of the presentation. There are times that a gymnast gets a bad score due to wrong choice of rhythmic gymnastics costumes, make-up, or hair accessories.

We will help you have an advantage by providing the list of things needed to start Rhythmic Gymnastics.


LEOTARDS

It is the unmissable part of the rhythmic gymnastics athletes’ apparel but it wasn't always like that. Since its creation, it’s worked its way into today’s fashion and been used by gymnasts, acrobats and dancers.

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Elastic knits adapt to each stretch of the body and, with the right fit, act as a second skin on the body. Comfort, low weight, endless elasticity - without these properties, sportswear is no longer possible today.

A beautiful rhythmic gymnastics leotard emphasizes the character and athletic physique of a gymnast during a performance or competition.

DIFFERENT STYLES OF THE LEOTARDS

Over the decades the leotards have evolved in styles. Today we have two main types of leotards. These are rhythmic gymnastics unitard and singlet.

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UNITARDS

It covers the upper part of the body as well as the legs. They are also called body stockings. There are real fashion trends from velvety to shiny, from printed patterns to glittering unitard covered in rhinestones.

SINGLETS

are one-piece apparel that covers the top part of the gymnast's body and similar to tight-fitting shorts.

OTHER RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS ACCESSORIES

Besides beautiful leotards, the gymnast's apparel is always completed with accessories such as hair buns, knee paddings for training, and toe shoes.

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HAIR BUNS

When it comes to hairstyles during the competition, the important thing is it should withstand several hours of flipping. Nevertheless, the most common hairstyle for a gymnast remains the hair bun.

There is a range of hair buns styles like a fun bun, crown bun, infinity bun, simple top knot and many more. Some gymnasts even prefer some simple braids with little flowers, like Austria’s Nicol Ruprecht.

TOE SHOES

Rhythmic Gymnastics toe shoes are an immensely important part of the apparel because the feet are the most sensitive part of a gymnast’s body that is prone to injuries.

It should give a sufficient amount of grip to the gymnast carpet, due to the fast movements and the pirouettes.

The rhythmic gymnastics shoes shouldn't be loose and have to fit the gymnast's exact size but with no pressure. So, don't buy the toes shoes with the room to grow because they become worn out quickly.

Gymnastics toe shoes come in different colors and fabrics. Gymnasts often tend to match the color of the shoes with their skin tone.

CHAPTER FIVE: THE CODE OF POINTS IN RG


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During competitions, the judges use a set of criteria in determining the winner. Similarly, there is a set of standards used in scoring a gymnast’s performance. For RG, there is only one Code of Points book to be followed by all gymnasts.

It’s crucial for a gymnast to know the governing body of gymnastics, and rhythmic gymnastics rules and standards before participating in a competition. Luckily, we have a guide that can aid. Read on.


INTERNATIONAL GYMNASTICS FEDERATION

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The governing body of gymnastics is the International Gymnastics Federation also known as FIG. Established on July 23, 1881, in Liège, Belgium, it is considered as the world’s oldest existing international sports organization. It’s headquarters is currently located in Lausanne, Switzerland and counts 146 national member federations.

FIG regulates all facets of the international elite competition and designed the Code of Points that is used in judging during these competitions.

GENERAL RULES IN RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS SCORING

Rhythmic gymnastics is exclusively a female discipline that competes individually or in groups. When it comes to the duration of the sequence for individual performance, it's between 1 min. 15 sec. and 1 min. 30 sec., while in the group performance, it's between 1:30 and 2:30 min.

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In international competitions, the rhythmic gymnasts are judged following the Code of Points compiled by the International Gymnastics Federation. In RG’s earliest days, the judges mark the composition with a maximum of 20 points. They add up the difficulty points (max 10 points) and subtracts the penalties from the execution points (10 points) if any.

In the latest version of CoP that came into effect on February 2018, the total score is still the addition of the D-score and E-score, but the D-score does not have a limit anymore. This means that the scoring system for RG became open-ended both for the individual and group categories.

EXECUTION OR “E-SCORE”


Execution notes the precision of the handling of the apparatus, the use of both hands’ accuracy of movements: points, arms and legs straight, and also choreography, energy, level changes, formations, expression, and synchronization with the music.

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The execution is essential because it determines half of the gymnast's final score. This part represents the faults made by the gymnast. The base E-score is still 10, and any penalties or faults are then subtracted from it.

The execution score now includes artistic faults and technical faults, for example, falls of apparatus and movements of the gymnast, incorrect handling of the apparatus (scratched ball, alteration of the design of the ribbon, etc.), and incorrect body technique.

ARTISTIC COMPONENT OF THE EXECUTION SCORE


The unity of the composition, the harmony between music and movement, bodily expression, and space use are all areas where artistic faults can lead to deductions in performance score.

The gymnast's choreography should be as varied as possible, i.e., using changes in level, energy, direction, movements and implementing all possible body groups and maneuvers: figure-eight movement, circumduction, throws, fumbles, rolls, etc.

For the group performances, in addition to all this, several formations (in a circle, diagonal, staggered, etc.) are requested. Left and right hands must have balanced work.

The gymnast must be accompanied by music during her appearance in front of the judges. The music used can be instrumental or contain voices without words. The lack of coordination between music and choreography can also be penalized.

DIFFICULTY OR “D-SCORE”


The components affecting the difficulty score are body difficulties like dance step combinations, dynamic elements with spin and throw, and apparatus difficulties.

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The bodily difficulties of choreography come in 3 categories: jumps, balances and rotations. During the performance, the gymnast has to mix all these technical elements in a balanced way.

The "flexibilities and waves" group present in the previous Codes of Points has disappeared from the 2013-2016 Code of Points. The difficulties of this former group are balances and rotations.

Each difficulty has a particular value, granted to the gymnast when it is correctly performed (from 0.10 to 0.50). At the start of the competition, each gymnast or group must provide a composition sheet showing all the difficulties they will try to achieve during their performance.

THE MOST IMPORTANT DIFFICULTY SKILLS IN RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS

If you search rhythmic gymnastics youtube, you will find loads of rhythmic gymnastics videos that showcase the different athlete’s skill that a gymnast must possess.

The list below contains the most important skills that affect the D-score of a rhythmic gymnast.

BALANCE

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This is the foundation skill of the gymnasts. The balance routines come in a standing position (support on one leg and on demi-pointe) or on the ground (support on one knee, or foot).

Balance should be a good shape and is held visibly.

There are also several kinds of balances: off, to the side, attitude, curl, whipped, etc.

These can be set up in two ways: up or down. The lift consists of balancing on a straight leg by flexing the knee and ankle. We start from heel support on the ground to an elevation on demi-pointe.

ROTATIONS

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There are two main types of rotations:

Rotations on the foot or relevé (Pivot) and rotations on other parts of the body, such as kneeling arch. Minimum rotation should be of 360 or 180 degrees, well-shaped with slight deviations.

The evaluation considers the number of rotations, and if the rotation is interrupted by the hop, just the value of the rotation performed before the hop is valid.

Rotations have to be in correlation with a minimum of fundamental apparatus technical element.

JUMPS

The gymnast performs a figure in the air while jumping. There are several kinds of jumps:

  • leap jump
  • straddle and split
  • pike and tuck
  • cabriole
  • Cossack
  • scissor jump and etc.

All the jumps are carried out in three phases: The first phase is called run-up, second phase is take-off, and last phase is called flight.

At the last phase, there is a full extension of the leg off the ground. When taking off, the position is clearly defined. On landing, there is flexion of the ankle and knee to cushion.

CHAPTER SIX: HOW TO CLIMB FROM CLUBS TO INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS


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Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport of more or less early maturity. Gymnasts pass through different levels to gain different skills and further their development before they can participate in national and international competitions. If you think getting started with gymnastics and becoming an Senior Elite is a piece of cake, you might be getting the wrong impression.

It all starts as children take rhythmic gymnastics classes. Below is the step-by-step guide into becoming a world class rhythmic gymnast and how rhythmic gymnastics skills are developed.


BEGINNER LEVEL

At this stage, the coach has a huge role in cultivating and motivating the children's taste for the sport. That is why clubs are a great help in rhythmic gymnastics training.

The rhythmic gymnastics training for beginners ages 4-8 years old are based primarily on exploration, safe space, and the development of fundamental and global motor skills like balance, locomotion, and gripping.

BEGINNER GYMNAST IMAGE

Developing their muscle and cognitive memory is the main step in learning gymnastic skills. It is decisive for their future career. And it is only achieved through regular exercise.

Eventually, when the rhythmic gymnast is ready, she is introduced into a floor routine and two apparatus routines. At this level, the gymnast develops body skills and essential apparatus handling techniques.

The girls can also enter the local competition programs while acquiring new skills to build the strong foundation necessary for higher-level gymnastics.

INTERMEDIATE LEVEL

At this level, the athlete is around 6-8 years old and proceeds to achieve better flexibility and development of muscles in gymnastic movements. In rhythmic gymnastics flexibility and balance are vital skills in order to execute complex routines.

INTERMEDIATE GYMNAST IMAGE

The gymnast continues to train with two apparatus routines. She can also compete at in-house events and prepares to attend club competitions.

More difficult skills are slowly getting acquired here too, like rotations and leaps.

ADVANCED LEVEL

At this point, the gymnast is above 8 years old. Her self-discipline becomes crucial since the girls gradually develop higher-level techniques and the apparatus handling skills required in all four individual routines.

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The advanced level is also the stage when girls prepare for entering the elite competitive stage and therefore have to master risk tossing maneuvers and difficulty in body skills like the balance on one leg and pirouettes, which are polished by repetitive training.

JUNIOR LEVEL

The rhythmic gymnastics junior category is for girls aged 10 and above who are fully dedicated to develop their skills in competitive rhythmic gymnastics as they will be eligible to compete locally and overseas.

JUNIOR GYMNAST IMAGE

The gymnasts can participate in any international RG tournament all over the world.

Upon reaching 13 years of age and with ample skills, they are subject to qualifying for the national quad by ranking at the top of National Championships.

If the gymnast is included into the national squad, the gymnasts will be able to represent her country on the world stage of RG – such as SEA Games, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, World Championships, and Junior Olympics.

THE SENIOR ELITE STATUS

This is the most advanced stage in the rhythmic gymnastics training program. Once they are old enough and depending on their skills, at around 15 to 17 years old, the gymnasts may debut into the biggest international senior-level competitions, also known as Senior Elite.

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Those in the Senior Elite level are allowed to compete in World Championships, European Championships, Continental Championships, and Olympics.


MAJOR RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS EVENTS AND COMPETITIONS

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There is a large amount of rhythmic gymnastics related events in the world. The championships which bring together gymnasts from all over the world are as follows:

  • The Olympic Games brings together gymnasts who have managed to qualify for the biggest sporting event on the planet. They are held every four years. A nation may qualify a maximum of one team and three individual participants. While all Olympic disciplines have been accessible to women since the 2012 Summer Olympics.

    The group event is so far dominated by Russia having won gold medals in the last five consecutive Olympic Games. Second most successful nation is Belarus for winning two silver medals and one bronze medal.

    Likewise, in the individual event, Russia dominated the last five consecutive Olympics. They also had two silver medals and one bronze when four different nations won gold the first four times.

    Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics, along with synchronized swimming, only allows female participants to compete since the men’s program has not been formally recognized by the FIG.

  • The Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships which have been held annually since 1963;
  • The World Cup and World Challenge Cup are competitions organized by season, divided into four stages throughout the calendar year and in four different countries. The overall winner is chosen by adding the performances achieved during the different stages.
  • Rhythmic Gymnastics Grand Prix is also a multi-stage competition, the winner of which is determined at the end of each season.

RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS CONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • The European Games
  •     held every four years since 2015, bring together all the nations of the European continent;

  • The Asian Games
  •    bring together all the nations of the Asian continent every four years.

  • The European Championships
  •     a competition organized every two years from 1978 to 1998 and which has become annual since 1998;

  • The Pan American Games
  •     organized every four years for all the countries of the American continent (North America, Central America, the Caribbean and South America);

  • The South American Games
  •     held every four years in which only the South American continent's countries participate.;

    And if you wish to become a pro we listed the pros and cons on What It Means To Go Pro In Gymnastics.

CHAPTER SEVEN: HISTORICAL RECORDS IN RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS


IMAGE

Even though we are just starting in the sport, having someone to look up to is a great motivation to do our best in every step of the way. Knowing the great achievers in the field can bring inspiration as we take on the journey of rhythmic gymnastics.

So, let's take a look at some of the greatest achievements in rhythmic gymnastics competitions.

FIRST-EVER RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS GOLD MEDALIST FOR INDIVIDUALS

LORI FUNG

LORI FUNG IMAGE

A Canadian, she won the first-ever gold medal for individuals. She earned it at the Olympics 1984 in Los Angeles. Fung was born in Vancouver and began training in 1976 with Romanian rhythmic gymnast Doina Stăiculescu.

FIRST-EVER RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS GOLD MEDALIST FOR GROUPS

SPAIN TEAM IMAGE

The first-ever gold medal awarded for the group performance in Rhythmic gymnastics belongs to the team of Spain. The team won the gold medal during the Summer Olympics in 1996 in Athens.

This was also the first group competition ever held when it comes to rhythmic gymnastics. The team members were:

Nuria Cabanillas, Lorena Gurendez, Marta Baldo, Tania Lamarca, and Estibaliz Martinez.

FIRST RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS PERFECT 10 SCORE FOR ALL 4 ROUTINES

BIANKA IMAGE

The 80's were the years of the rise of Bulgarian Rhythmic Gymnastics team, famous under the name of “Golden Girls of Bulgaria.” One of them is our very own, Bianka Panova.

Bianka Panova

was part of this team and made a tremendous success as she won the first perfect 10 scores for all 5 routines (all around, ribbon, clubs, hoop, rope) at the 1987 World Championship in Varna.

Since then, she continued to sweep the medals by becoming All-around silver medalist at the World Championship 1989, All-around bronze medalist in 1985 and All-around champion in 1986 at the European RG Championship from 1985 to 1989.

Panova won nine World Championship golds, two silvers and one bronze medal.

She was awarded her first gold medal for the ribbon routine in 1985 at the World Championship.

She retired from competition career in 1989 to become a coach of Italian national team.

Her student Katia Pietrosanti won the silver medal in the clubs’ routine at the 1993 European Championship.

RUSSIA’S RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS TEAM

RUSSIAN GYMNASTS IMAGE

And since the short history of rhythmic gymnastics Russia in recent years has been dominating the field.

The last time they did not step in the Olympics podium of winners was in the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta. Since then, Russia’s rhythmic gymnasts have won Olympics gold medals. Part of their success is said to be driven by intra- squad rivalry between the country’s talented young athletes.

RUSSIA’S OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALS

ALL-AROUND, INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP

  • Olympic Games 2000 in Sydney
  • Olympic Games 2004 in Athens
  • Olympic Games 2008 in Beijing
  • Olympic Games 2012 in London
  • Olympic Games 2016 in Rio

CHAPTER EIGHT: BENEFITS OF GYMNASTICS


HAPPY GYMNAST IMAGE

It has been said over and over again that exercise is good for one’s health. Well, you might be thinking why is it so? We quickly answered why exercise is good for one's health and some tips on how to fit exercise in your busy schedule in our other articles. Feel free to check them out.

There are many ways you can do exercise and a good example is doing gymnastics. Some people ask, can rhythmic gymnastics stunt your growth? And the easy response is Rhythmic gymnastics exercises can help your overall health and fitness

Here are some of the advantages and benefits of gymnastics.

1. IMPROVES OVERALL PHYSICAL CONDITION AND FLEXIBILITY

 Gymnastics strengthen the muscles that are responsible in maintaining stability. Also, gymnasts perform difficult movements and routines that require flexibility. This helps maintain proper posture and aids in movements like walking, lifting, and bending over. It also relieves the soreness of muscles and prevents deterioration of the joints. It promotes burning of calories and improves metabolism as well as appetite.

GYMNAST DIET IMAGE

This topic is in depthly discussed in our Strengths of Gymnastics article that you can read on.

2. CONNECTS CHILDREN TO THEIR BODIES AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT

 In addition to the physical demands, gymnastics places great importance on aesthetics. This means that children are fully aware of their movements while positioning themselves perfectly in time and space. Balance of the child will improve as it is one of the benefits of gymnastics.

3. EXERCISES CONCENTRATION

 The benefits of gymnastics are not just physical. Since this is a sport that requires pre-established planning, children cannot neglect what they are doing. As a result, this sport develops memory and attention of children. So, without a doubt, it is an exercise that puts the whole body to the test.

4. STIMULATES COORDINATION

 A gymnast is prone to tumbling or falling without body coordination and balance. Body coordination is improved so as to prevent injuries and aids perfect execution of movements in performing routines.

GYMNAST WITH CLUBS IMAGE

5. IMPROVES LIFE QUALITY

 The overall benefit of rhythmic gymnastics to a person or children is improved mood and helps boost self-esteem and self-confidence. Also, the value of teamwork, mutual support and group fun.


If you want to learn more, we have prepared our Top 10 Health Benefits of Gymnastics and why a child should do gymnastics.

THE LIFE SKILLS KIDS DEVELOPS IN RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS

As early as their first day in training at camps, the gymnastics enthusiasts learn different life skills that they can apply to their day-to-day lives and develop a strong sense of self that can last a lifetime.Aside from the physical skills, RG cultivates the qualities of respect, diligence, devotion, friendship, and many other.


HAPPY GYMNAST IMAGE

Here are some of these life skills:

RG and CREATIVITY

Rhythmic gymnastics music and choreography are two of the components in an RG exercise. The sport develops creative abilities that greatly contribute to create a routine that exemplifies rhythmic gymnastics skills and adds artistic value during performances.


RG and MENTAL TOUGHNESS

RG teaches children not to fear failure. In life, the most successful people are not those who experienced less failures rather they are those who took failure as an opportunity to improve and be the best versions they can be.

In rhythmic gymnastics kids learn to stand up after a mistake and continue forward. And take failures as a good source of motivation to improve. In RG, it's not just about winning a competition. It’s giving your best in every performance and accepting defeat as a room for improvement.


RG and WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

Rhythmic gymnastics being a sport for women helps strengthen our girls’ confidence and self-esteem. This leads them to become strong women who believe in themselves and the endless capabilities they possess, and become courageous individuals who face every obstacle that comes their way.


CONCLUSION


HAPPY GYMNAST IMAGE

Learning the basic ins and outs of RG is an essential tool that helps aspiring rhythmic gymnastics athletes familiarize themselves in the field.

This guide serves as a source of information and motivation to future rhythmic gymnasts who want to take on the journey of RG and/or become world class athletes.

That is the purpose we have in mind in creating this complete definitive guide. You are now equipped with the knowledge needed. It’s time to wear those sequined leotards and start to do some rhythmic gymnastics stretching.

Good luck and stay tuned for the latest in RG!

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