A "Grip" On Gymnastics!



Do you ever wonder how gymnasts do amazing tricks? Well, first they have to start with the basics. This story will help you understand the four events in women’s gymnastics, and some skills that are competed on each event.


Vault is the first event that gymnasts compete. Vault is also known as vault horse, or vault table. The two main vaults are a front handspring and a Yurchenko (yer-chank-o). A front handspring is competed by levels 4-7. A Yurchenko is competed by levels 8, 9, and sometimes 10. Gymnasts go for the highest score on all four events. On vault you have to have lots of energy, a fast run, and quick skills. Gymnasts are usually tired by the end of vault. At a competition a gymnast competes two vaults in a row, because vaults are shorter. That’s different than every other event.


Bars is the second event that gymnasts compete. This is usually one of the audience’s favorite! There is a low bar and a high bar. A bar is a long narrow piece of wood that gymnasts do flips and tricks on. Gymnasts use grips to help them grip the bar better, in other words hold onto the bar better. To help them they spray water on their grip, and then they put chalk on top of the water so it looks like there is no water on the grip. The bottom part of the grip velcros or buckles (depending on the kind of grip they have) around their wrist. The top part of the grip has two finger holes that your middle and ring finger go into. Then there is a long part that covers up most of you hand and that is what helps you hold onto the bar. Gymnasts wear wristbands under the grip so it doesn’t hurt their hands. The first main skill on bars is a kip. A kip is how levels four through the highest level get up onto the low bar and high bar. The next skill on bars is a giant. A giant is competed by levels seven through the highest level.


Beam is the third event I will be teaching you about. A lot of gymnasts think that beam is the hardest event of all four of them. Beam takes a lot of courage because it is four inches wide and four feet off the ground. The two main skills you have in a beam routine are a connection and an extra skill. A connection would be something like a back walkover to a back handspring, or a back handspring to a back handspring. An extra skill would be something like a front walkover.


Floor is last, but not least. In floor you have a floor routine. Usually floor routines are a minute and thirty seconds. In your floor routine there are two main parts, which are tumbling and dance. For your tumbling pass, you usually have a front and a back tumbling pass. A front pass could be something like a front handspring into a front tuck, pike, or layout. A back tumbling pass could be something like a round-off back handspring layout, or it could be a twisting pass. The dance part of the routine would be in the middle of a routine when the gymnast is not doing a tumbling pass. Dance could be anything as easy as striking a pose, or tilting your head back while circling your arms. Dance is the part of a routine that you can relax and catch your breath.


A leotard is worn by gymnasts, and it is a tight body suit. It helps not to distract a gymnast when thy are fliping. Even though gymnastics is a very hard sport, and you have to have the courage to do it. While gymnastics is nerve-wracking, exciting, and time consuming, it is definitely a sport to consider trying!



Front handspring- A gymnast runs then on a springboard bounces standing up then she puts her hands on the vault and then she pops off her hands and lands on her feet.

Yurchenko- A gymnast runs and put their hands on a mat in front of the springboard, the she puts her feet on the springboard (like a round-off). The she does a back handspring up to the vault table and does a flip off.


Kip- A kip is where a gymnast jumps to the bar and puts her shins up to the bar, (so she is upside down), and the she pulls herself up so she is in a front support.

Giant- A gymnast is in a handstand on top of the bar, and she holds on to the bar and she stays in a handstand around the whole bar.


Connection- A connection is two connected skills put together, like a back walkover to a back handspring.

Extra skill- A skill that is not your main skill, but you have it in your routine, like a front walkover.


Back handspring- A gymnast starts standing up and she jumps to her hands and flips herself over to her feet.

Back walkover- A gymnast starts with one foot in front of the other and bends backward so her legs are split in the air, and she stands up.

Front walkover- the opposite of a back walkover, so she is going forward.