You think football is tough? Try being the master of six pieces of apparatus, each different to the other and requiring a combination of strength, mobility, endurance, flexibility, body control and co-ordination. The physique of an elite male gymnast says it all – years of hard work and dedication.
Roles models like three-time Olympic medallist Louis Smith began the sport at a young age, drawn to the thrill of learning new ‘tricks’, being with his friends and keeping out of trouble. Sound familiar?
With loads of physical activity, balanced with fun and excitement to test the craziest of thrill seeker, Men’s Artistic Gymnastics has something to keep every lad challenged.
The floor measures 12 metres by 12 metres, with an additional safety border of 1 metre. Male gymnasts perform a routine that is at least 50 seconds long (the maximum duration is 1’10min). The floor exercise should include movements that demonstrate strength, flexibility and balance. Each routine should combine moves such as somersaults, twists and leaps. The whole floor area should be used and the routine should show a personal touch of expression and execution.
The pommel horse is 1.05 metres from the top of the mat (1.15 metres from the floor). It is 1.6 metres long and the pommels are between 40-45 centimetres apart. A typical pommel horse exercise involves both single leg and double leg work. Single leg skills are generally found in the form of scissors. Double leg work however, is the main staple of this event. The gymnast swings both legs in a circular motion 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 or by straddling their legs. Routines end when the gymnast performs a dismount, either by swinging his body over the horse, or landing after a handstand.
Rings are performed in men’s artistic gymnastics and require extreme upper body strength. The rings are 2.6 metres from the top of the mat (2.8 metres from the floor). Gymnasts typically wear ring grips whilst performing. The cables are not taut and the gymnast must control the movement of the rings while performing the routine. An exercise on rings must contain a mixture of swing, strength and hold elements. An acrobatic dismount is a requirement, with points deducted for steps or falls on landing.
The vault is a “table” which is padded and slightly springy, and is set at 1.35 metres high (the height is lower for non-elite gymnasts). Gymnasts have an approach run up of 25 metres. The vaulting table is placed length-ways for both men and women. Gymnasts usually only perform one vault, and the judges award a value according to its difficulty. For a high score, gymnasts should show clean and powerful movements combining height, length, rotations and of course, a controlled landing.
The p- bars are set slightly wider than shoulder width apart. They are usually 1.80 metres above the top of the mat (2 metres from the floor). The gymnast must perform a series of swings, strength or hold skills, releases and a dismount that requires great strength and coordination. For high scores, the gymnast should travel along both bars, and perform skills above and below them. For the most part, the exercise should be swinging and show excellent body positions.
The high bar is 2.6 metres above the ground (2.8 metres from the floor). The bar itself is made of steel and is 2.4cm thick. Gymnasts must perform continuous swinging movements such as a range of giants (revolutions around the bar) that go backwards and forwards, release and catch skills, twists and changes of direction. Top level gymnasts perform spectacular dismounts with great height and complexity.
Men’s Elite Gymnastics
Entry to our Men’s Elite programme is by invitation only. Please contact us for more information.
Please contact us for details of our next trials.
Please refer to our club calendar for details of forthcoming competitions.
Please refer to our results page for details.