Here is a glossary of gymnastics terms in alphabetical order:
10.0 System – The previous scoring system where gymnasts aimed for a perfect score of 10.0 before the change to the open-ended system.
Acrobatic Gymnastics – Acrobatic gymnastics is a discipline where partnerships and groups perform acrobatic skills and lifts in choreographed routines.
Aerial – An acrobatic move in which a gymnast executes a cartwheel without placing the hands on the floor. The Aerial Cartwheel is common in floor routines and on the balance beam.
All-Around Finals – The finals session at big competitions where individual gymnasts compete all four/six events for the All-Around title.
Air Track / Air Mat – An inflatable mat used as a training aid for tumbling skills.
Ankle/Knee Wraps – Bandages used to stabilize joints and prevent injuries during hard landings.
Arabian – A skill in which a gymnast performs a round-off before a front somersault.
Artistry – The Choreography, expressiveness, interpretation of music and stage presence during routines.
Back Handspring – A tumbling skill where the gymnast jumps backward through the handstand shape before snapping their feet down.
Back Tuck – A backward somersault performed in a tucked position in the air.
Back Walkover – A skill in which the gymnast places their hands on the floor, kicks one leg up and back over their body in an arched position and lands upright.
Balk – When a gymnast starts their routine but stops or misses the skill, through fear.
Ball – A rubber ball apparatus thrown, bounced and balanced on the body by rhythmic gymnasts.
Ball Difficulty – Skills like throws, rolls, figures, bounces and catches performed with the ball apparatus.
Bar Routine – A sequence of skills performed on the uneven or high bars during a competition. Women use uneven bars, male gymnasts use the high bar.
Beam Routine – A sequence of skills performed on the balance beam during a competition.
Bent Arms/Legs – Execution errors like bent knees, arms or elbows that incur small deductions from judges.
Biketard – A one-piece garment worn by young gymnasts instead of a leotard. A biketard combines the leotard tank and shorts.
Block – A wedge-shaped foam apparatus used during tumbling and vaulting to elevate the gymnast performing the skill.
Body Position – Proper form during a skill with legs straight and together, head neutral, chest lifted, toes pointed. Judges assess and deduct for body position faults.
Bunheads – A slang term for rhythmic gymnasts who wear sparkly leotards and perform with apparatus.
Cartwheel – A sideways rotating skill where the gymnast supports themselves with their arms while rotating sideways with straight legs.
Cast Handstand – A skill on uneven bars where the gymnast performs a long swing before releasing the low bar to perform a handstand on the high bar.
Chalk – The white magnesium carbonate powder is applied to the hands and feet by gymnasts before routines to remove moisture and increase grip.
Clubs – A pair of wooden batons twirled and handled by rhythmic gymnasts during their routines.
Code of Points – The FIG rules that determine the value of skills and execution deductions for international gymnastics competitions.
Competiton Leo – A team leotard worn to represent country or team during major championships.
Compulsory Routines – Pre-determined routines performed at lower levels with specific skills required.
Connection Value – The bonus added to the start score when skills are performed without hops or breaks between elements.
Connections – When skills are performed immediately together without pauses, steps or hops in between. Higher scores are awarded for connections.
Crash Mat – Thick padding placed at the end of the apparatus to cushion the landing on dismounts.
Dance Elements – The choreography, leaps, turns, poses and expressive arm movements performed during floor exercise routines.
Development Program – Lower competitive levels that introduce routines and develop skills before advancing to elite gymnastics.
Difficulty – In gymnastics routines, the difficulty score evaluates the intricacy of individual skills in a routine.
Dismount – The final skill in an uneven bars, high bars, parallel bars, rings or balance beam routine, usually an impressive acrobatic element.
Double Back – A somersault with two full rotations.
Double Mini – A lower, shorter trampoline that gymnasts perform two skills on – one mount skill and one dismount skill. Also know as the DMT.
Elite – The highest level of competitive gymnastics in the US program, divided into junior and senior elite levels.
Event Finals – Held after team and AA finals, where the top gymnasts on each event compete for gold, silver and bronze on that apparatus.
Execution – How well skills are performed. Judges deduct for errors like bent arms/legs, balance checks, lack of height, poor rhythm, incomplete twists, etc.
Extra Swing – An additional forward or backward swing on the uneven bars that exceeds the allowed number.
Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) – The international governing body for gymnastics that sets the Code of Points rules.
Floor Exercise – An event performed on a 12×12 meter spring floor where gymnasts tumble and dance to music for up to 90 seconds.
Front Handspring – A Front Handspring is a Tumbling skill where the gymnast approaches feet-first and performs a forward flip to land on their feet. A Handspring can also e performed over the Vault.
Front Tuck – A frontward somersault performed in a tucked position in the air.
Giant – A long, continuous circle completed on the horizontal bar or uneven bars above the height of the shoulders.
GK Elite – An American leotard company that outfits many NCAA gymnastics teams.
Grips – Leather wrist supports worn by gymnasts on the uneven bars and rings events to aid gripping.
Grips Bag – A bag or pouch to store grips and prevent rips and chalk dust on other items.
Group Routine – Performed by teams of 5 rhythmic gymnasts who pass, exchange, and manipulate 5 apparatuses between them.
Hair Ties – Ribbons, scrunchies, etc used to tie back long hair so it stays up and out of the face.
Hall of Fame – Located at the National Gymnastics Training Center, it honors previous World and Olympic gymnastics champions.
High Bar – A single horizontal bar, performed on by male gymnasts.
Hoop – A circular plastic apparatus manipulated around the body in rhythmic gymnastics routines.
Horse Vault – The Horse Vault is the old style vault used before the introduction of the table vault in the late 1990s.
Inquiry Review – Using video review, the judges can upgrade scores if an athlete’s federation issues a formal inquiry after the competition.
Invalid Vault – Touching the vault table with only one hand.
Kip – An energetic movement where a gymnast swings backward to generate momentum to lift their hips above the bar into an inverted “candlestick” position.
Landing – The conclusion of a skill where the feet contact the floor. Judges evaluate proper mechanics and control on landing.
Leap – A jump from one foot to the other, with the legs split apart, such as a split or straddle leap. Common on balance beam and floor exercise.
Leg-up Drill – An uneven bar training drill where one leg leads the motion to generate swing.
Leotard – The standard gymnastics competition garment for men and women, a sleeveless unitard.
Line Violation – Crossing outside the border line on floor exercise merits a deduction.
Longs – Full-length leg coverings worn during training for warmth and protection.
Low Bar – The lower of the two uneven bars.
Mount – The opening skill of a balance beam or uneven bars routine, used to get on to the apparatus.
National Champions – The All-Around winners at the US National Championships held each year in August.
National Team – Elite gymnasts who represent the USA at international competitions like Worlds and Olympics.
Olympic Champions – The All-Around gold medalists from the Olympic Games held every four years.
Out of Bounds – Stepping outside the floor exercise mat earns a deduction.
Pike – A body position where the legs are straight and together and the body is bent in half at the hips. Common position for somersaults.
Pirouette – A full rotation turn on one leg, performed on beam and floor exercise.
Pommel Horse – A men’s apparatus with two pommels or handles affixed over a leather-covered foam body, which gymnasts perform swirling circles and flairs on.
Ribbon – A long satin ribbon attached to a stick that rhythmic gymnasts create swirling patterns with.
Rope – A long rope alternately twisted, coiled and rolled out by rhythmic gymnasts during their routines.
Routine Construction – The composition of skills, order of elements, transitions and artistry of a floor or beam routine.
Routine Elements – Required movements and difficulties like body difficulties, dance steps, apparatus elements and combinations.
Salto – Another name for a somersault performed in a tucked, piked or stretched position.
Scrunchie – A fabric-covered elastic hair tie used to create a bun.
Singlet – The sleeveless leotard worn by male gymnasts during training and competition.
Spotting – A safety technique where coaches assist gymnasts during the learning of new skills to prevent falls and injuries.
Stick – When a gymnast lands a dismount without moving their feet at all to hold the landing position.
Still Rings – A men’s apparatus made of two rings suspended by straps, on which strength and hold skills are performed.
Sting Mat – A thick mat placed under gymnastics apparatus to cushion falls and dismounts during training.
Strength Move – Skills that demonstrate muscular strength like planches, levers, and holds. A key component of men’s gymnastics routines.
Synchro – Synchronized trampoline, where two gymnasts perform the identical routine side by side.
Tariff Sheet – A list of skills and their difficulty values in trampoline used to calculate routine scores.
Team Finals – At major meets, the finals session where countries compete three gymnasts on each event to win the team title.
Tick-Tock – A common uneven bar skill where the gymnast performs a back hip circle (“tick”) directly connected to a front hip circle (“tock”).
Time Limit – The maximum amount of time for a floor or beam routine. Going over earns a deduction.
Time of Flight – How long a trampolinist remains in the air from takeoff to landing during each skill in their passes. Judges look for maximum time of flight.
Toe-on, Toe-off – The foot position during an uneven bars circle element where the toes start on the bar then lift off.
TOPs – Talent Opportunity Program state and national camps that help identify promising young gymnasts.
Tumbling – Acrobatic forward and backward flipping and twisting skills performed on floor exercise.
Tumbling Pass – A continuous run of 8 skills performed along the tumbling track apparatus. Multiple passes make up a tumbling routine. Tumbling is not an Olympic discipline.
Twist – Rotating about the body’s vertical axis during saltos and aerial skills. Skills are named for the number of twists completed.
Two-Per-Country Rule – The limit of two gymnasts per country in apparatus finals, even if they finish top 3 or 8 qualifiers.
Uneven Bars – The women’s apparatus consisting of a high bar and low bar set at different heights where gymnasts perform swinging skills and releases.
Unitard – A one-piece garment worn by gymnasts. The unitard is an alternative to the leotard and combines the shorts and leotard tank.
Vault – An event where gymnasts sprint down a runway towards a vault table and perform an aerial skill off of it onto a landing mat.
Vault Table – The springboard apparatus gymnasts hurdle onto that propels them into the air for vaults.
Wolf Turn – A spin performed on one leg with the other leg held in a high back attitude, named for its creator György Berty. Common on beam and floor.
World Champions – All-Around winners at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships held annually (except for Olympic years).
Yurchenko – A round-off entry vault named for Soviet gymnast Natalia Yurchenko; the most common vault performed today.