Gymnastics is a dynamic sport that requires strength, flexibility, power, and speed. Anyone who decides to become a gymnast must be prepared to dedicate hours of training in order to become skilled at this demanding sport. A typical gymnastics competition includes gymnastic equipment that each gymnast must master in order to score well at each meet. For example, all female gymnasts are required to showcase their skills on gymnastics equipment that includes the balance beam, uneven bars, and vault. Each apparatus has its own challenges in order to perform successfully.
The balance beam is a piece of gymnastic equipment that is one of the most nerve-wracking events to perform and watch. It is a long wooden beam on which the gymnast must run, jump, tumble, flip, and pose. Performing on the beam requires the ability to balance and maintain control while moving on a narrow piece of wood that is a mere four (10.16 cm.) inches wide.
The uneven bars is a piece of gymnastics equipment made of metal or steel. The female gymnast must use the bar to perform flips, handstands, swings, and other acrobatic movements. Throughout the routine, she must alternate between the upper and lower bars of this particular gymnastics equipment.
The vault is an apparatus used by both male and female gymnasts. The gymnast runs toward a springboard that launches the gymnast into the movement. The gymnast's hands touch the vault and he or she performs a complicated series of twists and turns over the vault.
Male gymnasts use gymnastics equipment in addition to the vault. The rings is an apparatus that only men use because of the upper body strength required to use this particular apparatus. Men are required to execute handstands and static holds while holding the rings.
Men also perform on the parallel bars. The bars are usually made of plastic, wood, or composite material. The gymnast must perform swings, handstands, and static holds on the parallel bars. The high bar, built of metal or steel, is another piece of gymnastics equipment where male gymnasts execute a variety of acrobatic movements including giant swings, aerial release moves, and flips.
Both male and female gymnasts perform floor routines on the spring floor. The spring floor is comprised of springs, rubber foam, and wood in order to form a soft surface for gymnasts to tumble across. This helps the gymnast to land safely and increases the height of tumbling passes. During this exercise, females always perform to music, while males perform without the aid of any musical accompaniment.