Guide to Competitive Rhythmic Gymnastics


Competitive gymnastics is separated into three categories:

  1. Women’s artistic gymnastics;
  2. Men’s artistic gymnastics; and
  3. Women’s rhythmic gymnastics.

The events are featured at many competitive events including the Summer Olympic Games, Olympic qualifiers, the US Gymnastics Championships, and also the Gymnastics World Championships.

Although artistic gymnastics tend to be far more commonly known to the general public, rhythmic gymnastics has been part of women’s international competition since 1962.

rhythmic gymnastics

What is Rhythmic Gymnastics?

Rhythmic gymnastics is an event in international women’s gymnastics that includes strength, energy, intense flexibility, agility, dexterity, and stamina. The correlation between movement and gymnastic music is important.

Gymnastics Apparatus

Women’s rhythmic gymnastics will take place in a floor area measuring 13 metres x 13 meters. Its particular components are rope, hoop, ball, clubs, and ribbon routines. Rhythmic gymnastics includes particular person skills with a group event. It also consists of gymnastics apparatus that are special to rhythmic gymnastics; these apparatuses are not found in artistic gymnastics, and they require special physical skills and accurate adjustments between each event.

The History and Origins of Rhythmic Gymnastics

Rhythmic gymnastics obtained recognition as an international sport in 1962. The governing body of international gymnastics competition, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), organised the very first World Championships for rhythmic gymnastics in 1963. The event was placed in Budapest and featured 28 athletes from 10 European nations. A decade later, the United States Gymnastics Federation now recognised as USA Gymnastics joined the scene, sending its very first team delegation to the 1973 Rhythmic World Championships. In 1984, the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles included rhythmic individual all-around competition to its slate of sports. At the 1996 Games in Atlanta, the rhythmic group event was included as a medal sport-a status that it enjoys to this day.

Five Events and Apparatuses Used in Rhythmic Gymnastics

Women’s rhythmic gymnastics is separated into routines involving rope, hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon. These events take their names from their particular apparatus. As such, the needed equipment is as follows:


The apparatus is made of hemp or synthetic materials, knotted at each end is proportional to the gymnast’s body. Competitors are evaluated on swings, circles, rotations, wraps, unwraps, figure-eight-type circling movements, throws, and catches of the rope. They should also leap and jump through wide open and folded rope.


Constructed of wood or plastic, the hoop should have an interior diameter of 80-90 cm. Judges take a look at competitors on spins, tosses, catches, rolls, swings, passes through and over the hoop, plus shifts of the hoop on the floor, around the hand, and on the body itself.


A 400 gram, 18-20 cm rubber ball is applied in this event. Gymnasts perform manoeuvres which include circles, throws and catches, waves, and basic movement with the ball balanced on the hand.


Clubs weigh 150 grams each and are 40-50 cm extended. Judges search for mills, throws, catches, swings, circles, and rhythmical tapping.


Ribbon routines include continuous motion of a six meter ribbon attached to a 50-60 cm stick. Ribbon maneuvers consist of circles, throws and catches, snakes, spirals, swings, and figure-eight.

What Is Group Rhythmic Gymnastics?

Rhythmic gymnastics can easily involve both individual competition and group competition. In the group event, five gymnasts contain a team. Judges praise teams that show mastery of body and apparatus skills as a cohesive unit. Points are given for synchronised, harmonious motion as well as significant and small exchanges of equipment. The more interaction among the gymnasts, the greater the score may be.

Due to the inherently rhythmic and rhythmic gymnastics musical nature of group competition, winning teams usually show the synchronicity of a band, where each member anticipates the activities of others and reacts to them in a fluid, symbiotic manner.

rhythmic gymnastics

How to Score Rhythmic Gymnastics

In international rhythmic gymnastics competition, gymnasts are evaluated by the Code of Points, a rule book issued by the FIG that outlines the point values of numerous skills in international competition.

Final Score

A gymnast’s final score is determined from a start value, where the gymnast starts with the highest achievable score and then has points subtracted for factors that may have been missing in their routine. A specialised committee of judges determines these deductions.

Difficulty Score (D) and the Execution Score (E)

In the past, FIG’s ratings used to have a maximum value of 10 – you have most likely heard the expression “a perfect 10.” But in 2006, FIG modified its system to incorporate the difficulty of skills and routines into its ratings. These days, the entire score for a gymnast’s routine is basically the sum of two scores: the Difficulty Score (D) and the Execution Score (E).

What Are the Unique Requirements for Rhythmic Gymnastics?

Each rhythmic gymnastics routine should contain events that are rated as being sufficiently hard by the FIG. Apparatus adjustment is a key element in getting a top score, with points subtracted for technical faults. In the hoop, ball, and ribbon rhythmic events, one of these difficulties should be executed with the nondominant hand.


Rhythmic gymnastics choreography should cover the entire floor. The choreography should feature a well-balanced choice of the groups of elements. This consists of jumps, leaps, pivots, balances, and overall flexibility movements. Body movement must be fluid and musical, even showing elements of ballet.

Panels of Judges

Each routine is obtained by two panels of judges. The very first panel judges the composition of the routine, where the overall array of rhythmic gymnastics events is scrutinised. The second panel evaluates the performance of these events.


Each individual physical exercise operates on a base score 9.60 points. Outstanding performances may get bonus points, which differ between Junior Olympic and standard Olympic gymnastics circuits. In the senior circuit, bonuses may reach 0.40 points, while in the junior circuit; bonuses may reach up to 0.20 points. Appropriately, senior competitors can easily max out at 10.00 points while juniors can max out at 9.80 points. Group exercises have got a base score of 19.20. Including potential bonus points, the highest score for group exercise is 20.00.

Rhythmic Gymnastics Classes

Rhythmic gymnastics is a gorgeous blend of dance, acrobatics and use of apparatus. Rhythmic gymnastics Class concentrates on building strength, flexibility, grace, and hand-eye coordination. Class normally starts with a warm-up and back and leg flexibility exercises. Acrobatics are taught as well as understanding how to use the ball, rope, hoop, ribbon.

Gymnastics classes are challenging yet truly amazing sport that promotes child to the next level and is a fantastic compliment to dance.


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