There are lots of different events in gymnastics and each one belongs to a particular discipline. Lots of people wonder which gymnastics event is the easiest, but this is a difficult question to answer as different people are suited to different events because of their individual strengths and weaknesses.
However, in this article, I look in-depth at each gymnastics event and analyze the key things that a gymnast needs to be successful in each one in an honest attempt to decide which one is the easiest.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- The easiest artistic gymnastics events
- Competition scoring
- Event ranking
- Is male or female gymnastics harder?
- Alternative gymnastics disciplines
- Final Thoughts
The easiest artistic gymnastics events
Each discipline can be made up of multiple events. For example, Women’s Artistic has four events (floor, vault, uneven bars and beam) however Mens Artistic has six (floor, vault, high bar, pommel horse, rings and parallel bars).
Some gymnasts are considered all-around and will compete in all of the events whereas others will specialize in just one or two. As gymnasts get older, they are more likely to specialize in order to prolong their career and reduce the extremely long training hours needed to be an all-around gymnast.
In my opinion, vault gymnastics is probably the easiest artistic event.
This is because it is the quickest – a vault takes less than 10 seconds from start to finish. It doesn’t require as much upper body strength as other events like bars or rings and it doesn’t have multiple hard impacts like a floor routine would require.
Some of the oldest gymnasts to keep competing at the highest level have been vault specialists. The oldest vault gymnasts in recent times are:
- Ri Se-Gwang (32 years old) North Korea
- Marian Dragulescu (36 years old) Romania
- Oksana Chusovitina (42 years old) Germany / Uzbekistan
Of course, not every gymnast excels at the gymnastics vault, and they would most likely disagree with me!
At competitions gymnasts earn their score in two ways. The first is through the difficulty score – the harder the skill they perform, the higher the value. The second is through execution. This is usually out of ten and gymnasts lose points for errors that they make.
Vault scores can have a higher average compared to other events because judges are only marking a small number of things such as take off and landing. Wheras in a floor routine or bar routine there will be eight or more skills that can each lose marks. Because of this you could argue that vault is easier to get a consistently high score on.
This table breaks down each discipline into its individual events and I have ranked the physical characteristics needed to excel at each one. WAG is the abbreviation for Womens Artistic Gymnastics, MAG is for Mens.
|Vault||WAG / MAG||3||2||4||5||3||1||0||18|
This table highlights that Vault relies on speed and power but not much else in terms of physical attributes. Other events require high levels of all-round physical attributes.
Is male or female gymnastics harder?
Most people would agree that in artistic gymnastics, male gymnastics is harder because there are six events as opposed to the four in women artistic. By the time gymnasts have reached the senior age groups, men will usually be performing skills with higher difficulties than women.
For example on floor, the triple tuck has been competed by male gymnasts, but never females.
On Vault men regularly perform double somersaults but these are rarely performed by women on vault.
However, the floor routines performed by women have music and dance which the men don’t so you could argue that these are harder to perfect. The balance beam is another very hard apparatus only competed by women and the flexibility and balance needed would be near impossible for the taller, bulkier male gymnasts.
Alternative gymnastics disciplines
Most gymnastics fans are familiar with Artistic gymnastics events, but there are actually 11 gymnastics disciplines in total – more about them in this article.
Many people consider Artistic events the hardest because of the long training hours needed to master all of the apparatus. Events on other disciplines can be considered easier because they focus on one event and gymnasts can reach the top level of that discipline without the high workload of Artistic.
What are the easiest gymnastics disciplines?
Which disciplines can be mastered more easily? Just bear in mind that even the ‘easier’ disciplines require high levels of physical conditioning and mental strength. This often leads to gymnasts retiring early – more on that in this article here.
Double Mini Trampoline
Gymnasts run onto the DMT perform one somersault that land on the top of the trampoline then jump immediately into another somersault which lands on the mat. Double Mini Trampoline doesn’t require huge amounts of upper body strength or flexibility but it does create some huge (and dangerous) somersaults.
Aerobic gymnastics is often overlooked because it is so different from the other disciplines however it is one of the eight recognised FIG disciplines and has competitions all the way up to world championships.
It involves high intensity movements and flexibility to music but doesn’t involve flips or other harder gymnastics skills.
Acro combines dance and lower level tumbling with balances in both groups and pairs.
Although the tumbling skills are not that hard, the balances do require precision and are spectacular to watch. Acrobatic gymnastics doesn’t demand the 30 – 40 hours of training per week that Artistic does so could be considered easier.
Vault gymnastics in my opinion is the easiest of the artistic events to excel in but this does depend on the individual gymnast and their physical attributes. Artistic is always considered the hardest of all the gymnastics disciplines because of the wide range of skills needed and high training hours needed.
If you are wondering if gymnastics is harder than football, definitely check out my article here which answers that very question!