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Gymnastics Artistic Rules and Equipment


There are both individual and team competitions in artistic gymnastics.


Men compete on six apparatus – floor, vault, horizontal bar, rings, pommel horse, parallel bars, whereas women compete on four – floor, vault, uneven bars, balance beam.


There is an all-rounder final at the end of competition for the top performers.


Each routine lasts between 10 and 90 seconds.



There are two judging panels, one who assesses difficulty and execution and the other assesses form and technical execution.


Each competitor starts with 10 points and marks are deducted for errors.


Scores are between 0 and 10 and are determined by whether the required moves were performed, the level of difficulty for each move and how well the competitor performed compared to the expected performance level.


Pommel horse

A leather bound rectangular bar 1.6m long and 1.15m high and has two handles (pommels) on the surface.



This event takes place on a sprung floor that is 12m in both length and width. Routines last between 50 and 90 seconds.

Horizontal Bar

The horizontal bar is a male only event and takes place on a bar made of polished steel. The bar is 2.5m long and is 2.5m above the floor. Although the routine takes place on the bar, the dismount is also of importance.


Parallel Bars

The parallel bars are positioned 1.95m above the floor, are 3.5m long and are between 42 and 52cm apart in distance.


The routine on this apparatus takes place 5.75m above the floor with the rings 50cm apart. The rings require incredible strength to perform the gravity defying manoeuvres, which is why this event is a male only event.


Uneven Bars

Made of wood, the bars are 2.40m long and are positioned at different heights, 2.45m and 1.65m, hence the name uneven.



Since 2001, a slightly inclined vaulting table has replaced the vaulting horse. It is placed on a special metal base 1.25m high for women, and 1.35m high for men. Gymnasts are given 25 metres for their approaches.

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