The first, most popular, and most widely-practiced, is artistic gymnastics. This is the form you probably imagine when you think of gymnastics. This type is divided into men’s and women’s gymnastics. The two share only two events: vault and floor exercise. Only women compete in uneven bars and balance beam, while only men compete in the pommel horse, still rings, parallel bars, and high bar. The sport revolves around the use of these various gymnastic apparatus, as well as using the floor for different exercises.
Rhythmic gymnastics is increasing in popularity. The Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), gymnastics’ international regulator, formalized the discipline in 1961 after the Soviet Union began competitive rhythmic gymnastics events in the 1940s. Rhythmic gymnastics involves athletes manipulating one or two pieces of apparatus to emphasize grace and flexibility. Rope, hoop, ball, clubs, and ribbon are the five types of apparatus used. Women’s rhythmic gymnastics has been an Olympic event since 1984. Men’s rhythmic gymnastics is still seeking recognition by FIG, though there are many male gymnasts who practice and compete in it. It is most popular in Japan.
Trampolining and tumbling are another categories of gymnastics. In gymnastics, trampolining is about performing a sequence of aerial skills. It was formally recognized as a FIG discipline in 1999 and included in the Olympic games since 2000. Tumbling involves a dynamic series of flips and twists down a tumbling track. It was featured in the men’s artistic gymnastics event in the 1932 Olympics, but now are folded into the trampoline as one of the four events. The other three are individual trampoline, synchronized trampoline (same as an individual but with a partner), and double-mini, which involves a run-up, a smaller trampoline, and only two moves per routine.
Acrobatic gymnastics is also known as ‘acro’ and formerly known as sports acrobatics. It’s a group gymnastic discipline for men and women. Operating together, small groups perform floor routines. There are five events: women’s pairs, men’s pairs, mixed pairs, women’s group of 3, and men’s group of 4.
Aerobic gymnastics (formerly sport aerobics) is another gymnastic discipline. It involves a greater emphasis on strength, flexibility and aerobic fitness than acrobatic or balance skills. Events include individual women and men, mixed pairs, trios, groups, dance, and step.
Parkour is the most recent gymnastic discipline to be recognized by FIG. The first Parkour World Championships will be held in 2020. Parkour involves resourceful, fast, and fluid movement. The two current events are speedrun and freestyle.
Los Angeles School of Gymnastics offers classes in all the above types of gymnastics, as well as cheer, which draws on certain acrobatic gymnastic techniques. We understand that beginners may have other questions about gymnastics, so we have tried to offer a variety of answers to the most frequently asked questions.