Women only compete in Rhythmic Gymnastics, although in Japan and some other countries, men also practice the sport.
All routines are performed to music, of one or more instruments. Vocals without lyrics are allowed as music accompaniment. Inappropriate noises - engine noises, police sirens, the sound of the breaking of objects etc. are not allowed. The penalty for music not conforming to regulations is 0.50pts.
The time limit for individual exercises is 1.15’ to 1.30’, while for the Group exercises it is 2.15’ to 2.30’. The penalty for each additional or missing second is 0.05points.
The floor area is a carpeted surface measuring 13 x 13 meters, surrounded by a one-meter wide security border. Any crossing of the boundaries of the floor area by one or two feet or by any part of the body, or apparatus is penalized by 0.20 pts. No penalty will be applied if the apparatus, or any part of the gymnast’s body passes the boundary of the floor area without touching the ground.
During the exercise, the apparatus must be in constant motion: movements with great variety of shape, amplitude, direction, plane and speed should be performed.
The apparatus must be handled with as much variety as possible. It may not be used as a decoration; the relationship between gymnast and apparatus must be constant.
Composing a routine is based on including in it some specific fundamental groups of body movements and also technical groups in apparatus usage. Nevertheless, each exercise includes far more variety than briefly mentioned below.
The rope is made of hemp or other synthetic material. Its length is proportional to the gymnast’s height. Rope is considered to be a very dynamic apparatus requiring good jumping abilities and explosiveness.
The fundamental groups of body movement for rope are: jumps/leaps, skips and hops. The technical groups for rope are jumps and skips passing into the rop, rotations, throws and catches and small tosses. Handling the apparatus includes swings, circles, figure eights and “sails”.
Rope is a very dynamic apparatus requiring agility, jumping ability and coordination. The rope’s shape throughout the routine should remain well designed, without any curves.
The hoop may be made of plastic or wood. Its interior diameter is from 80 to 90 cm; its minimum weight is 300 grams. The hoop must be rigid enough to retain its shape.
The fundamental groups of body movement for hoop are jumps/leaps, pivots, balance and flexibility. The technical groups for hoop are the rolls over the body or on the floor, rotations around the hand or other parts of the body, throws and catches and passing over or through the hoop. Handling the apparatus includes swings, circles and figure eights.
Hoop is the apparatus offering the greatest variety of movements and technical skills. It must be used on all levels and planes. Any vibration of the hoop in the air is penalized.
It’s made of rubber or a synthetic material. It is 18-20 cm in diameter and weights 400g.
The fundamental groups of body movement for ball are the Flexibility elements. The technical groups for ball include throws and catches, bouncing and rolling over the body or on the floor. Handling includes “thrusts”, swings, circles, figure eight or “flip overs”.
Ball is by tradition an elegant and “lyrical” rather than a dynamic apparatus. The ball should rest in the gymnast’s hand and not against the wrist, all the time during performance; no grip is allowed, the movement should be flowing and sensuous.
They are 40-50cm long and weight 150gr each and should be made of wood or synthetic material.
The fundamental groups of body movement for clubs are the Balance elements. The technical groups for clubs include mills, small circles, throws and catches and tapping. Handling includes “thrusts”, figure eights and asymmetric movements.
Clubs are a great “hand – game”! Their handling requires rhythmic work, psychomotor coordination and clockwork precision. Clubs are especially popular with ambidextrous gymnasts.
At World Championships it was first introduced in Cuba 1971. The ribbon, made of satin (or a similar material without starch) is at least 6m long and 4-6cm wide. The stick is of 1 cm diameter and a length from 50 to 60 cm. It is usually made of wood, bamboo, plastic or fibreglass. Its maximum weight is 35 grams.
The fundamental groups of body movement for ribbon are the Pivots. The technical groups for ribbon are the “snakes”, spirals, throws and catches, small tosses. Handling includes “thrusts”, swings, circles and figure eights.
The movements with the ribbon should be large and free flowing. Any knots in the ribbon are penalized. Its function is to create clearly outlined designs in space. Working with the ribbon requires strength of the shoulder and arm muscles.