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Artistic Gymnastics [ History, Rules, Categories, … ]

Artistic gymnastics is one of the oldest sports out there, being already practicing before it became a sport, which only many centuries later began to be regulated with rules and thus creating its history.

History of Artistic Gymnastics

Gymnastics has been practiced since prehistory, as a physical exercise and a way of showing this ability on the part of man.

In Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece, it was where gymnastics really started gaining more popularity and number of practicing although it is still not a sport.

In Egypt it was more practiced by men by the street with the intention to amuse who passed, almost like the circus although it does not exist at the time.

In Ancient Greece the same thing happened, but it also began to be adopted by soldiers who used gymnastics as a form of physical preparation, something that was lost with the Roman Empire.

Only many centuries later, by the 1500 years, artistic gymnastics has once again increased its popularity due to artists. At that time, the forms of the human body began to take on a lot of importance, and gymnasts who practiced circuses emphasized these forms in their defined exercises and bodies.

It was in 1811 that the first gymnasium was created, aimed at its practice and not only as part of a circus, this by Professor Friedrich Ludwig.

And with the evolution of the sport and its practice, the emergence of new rules constantly and regulations, along with some competitions this eventually became so popular that 1891 was founded the International Gymnastics Federation.

Gymnastics in the Olympic Games

Gymnastics is one of the sports that figured in the first edition of the Olympics of the modern era in 1896 in Athens.

For a long time, this sport was only practiced by men, mainly due to its origin. From the beginning, it was only the men who practiced it and made it naked from the waist up, something that was inconceivable for women.

It was then that in 1928 women could also start to participate in the Olympic Games, on the premise that competed with the whole body covered.

gymnastics-olympic games

Characteristics of ARTISTIC Gymnastics

Let’s look at the different things that make up this sport and that sometimes can not see tackled everywhere, from some of their movements to physical preparation.

Age to compete

If you’ve ever seen practicing artistic gymnastics on TV, you’ve probably noticed that mostly young girls are quite young, and sometimes they even look like real children since they are not usually too tall either.

Since the beginning of artistic gymnastics as a sport, especially since women were introduced (men usually begin to compete later and also fail to compete later), the minimum age has always been a subject under discussion.

At first, it was defined as 14 years, but it was something that did not worry much since normally even women only from the 20 is that they started to compete.

By the mid-50 years, much younger athletes began to emerge with 15 and 16 very talented years and it has since been that women begin to compete ever new.


There were quite a few requests to make exceptions and let a certain gymnast compete with 13 or 12 for years and that’s when the International Federation changed to 15 the minimum age (which is currently at 16).

Although rare, age counterfeiting is a problem in this sport, and girls say they are of an age when they are actually younger and should not be able to compete.

When one of these cases is caught, the athlete loses all the titles she has won previously and may even have some very heavy penalties for her future.

Physical Preparation

Gymnasts are the sportsmen who have to be careful with their body and physical preparation since gymnastics requires a lot of their body and to compete among the best (which are few) has to be at its best.

– Technician

This preparation begins with the presence of a good coach to accompany the athlete throughout the course of his career, elaborate the training plans, advise him on certain decisions, help him withstand the pressure of being a gymnast, among others stuff.



The athlete himself has to have a good genetics for gymnastics if he wants to reach the top.

Daily workouts ranging from 4 to 8 hours, all to maintain fitness and flexibility. Most of the training consists of repetition of the movements until the simplest ones are totally automated by the body of the gymnast.

After that is to train the technical part and specific acrobatics in order to increase your income and performance.


– Medical Team and Exercises

Artistic gymnastics is a fairly safe sport considering that they pull the most out of your body and defy gravity many a time.

Many mattresses are used to trim potential falls or imbalances

It is also with the accompaniment of doctors and physiotherapists it is important to recover after a test or training and advise what the gymnast should or should not do.

This all accompanied by good stretches before and after any exercise in order to avoid some muscle and joint problems.


– Feeding

This should also be fairly balanced and controlled by whoever accompanies the athlete.

It is based essentially on carbohydrates that give energy so that you can practice gymnastics in the best way and for a good period of time.


In artistic gymnastics, there are innumerable movements that can be carried out by the different devices used.

Let’s now list just a few of the most common movements just to have a reference of the names:

  • Opening
  • M
  • Carpade
  • Diamidov
  • Double Twist Carpado
  • Handles
  • Extended
  • Flic-Flac


Gymnastics is divided into two categories: male and female. These two categories have different devices, which have been defined by the International Federation over the years.

In the case of men, the goal is to have devices that highlight the physical ability and balance of the gymnast, and the devices used are:

  • Solo
  • Jump on the table
  • Horse with handles
  • Parallel bars
  • Fixed bar
  • Rings

Already in the case of women, the chosen devices were with the intention of highlighting some of the beauty of the gymnastics and that gives to have a more defined choreography.

The appliances are:

  • Beam
  • Solo
  • Jump on the table
  • Asymmetric bars

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