Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics Competition the Essential Differences

If you are anything like me you probably only watch gymnastics at events like the Olympics or the Commonwealth games. This is mainly because this tends to be the only time it gets any sort of coverage on terrestrial TV. So if you are like me that while you probably realise that there are a number of differences between men’s and women’s gymnastics competitions you are not really sure what they are. So for the purposes of this article, we thought we would have a look at some of the essential differences in the types of equipment they use and the routines they undertake.

What are The Main Differences

The main difference is in the number of events that make up the overall competition and the apparatus on which they perform their routines. Female gymnasts compete on four different pieces of equipment vault, uneven bars, balance beam and the floor, whereas the men compete on six which are floor, pommel horse for gymnastics, rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar. This gives viewers who may not be overly familiar with the nuances of gymnastics the impression that they could actually be watching completely different sports.

Which Pieces of Apparatus Feature in Both Men’s and Women’s Competition

So, as you may have gleaned from the paragraph above, the vault and the floor are the pieces of apparatus that feature in both the men’s and women’s competitions. However, while the apparatus may be the same, the routines they perform are definitely not.

The Floor

Take the floor for example the female gymnasts perform their routines to music whereas the men do not. Another main difference is that the women’s routine tends to be much more artistic and contains dance moves all of which are a requirement when it comes to scoring. As we alluded to above the women’s routine will be performed to music which contributes to the artistic part of the routine.

On the other hand, in the men’s floor competition more emphasis is placed on displaying strength and as such the routine will contain a high percentage of tumbling moves. There is no music on the men’s floor which will invariably be a more high-energy performance.

The Vault

The vaulting table used in male and female competition is exactly the same, however, the men will generally have it at a higher height than their female counterparts. While the basic vaults performed are usually the same, the ones carried out by the male gymnasts will usually have a greater degree of difficulty. Originally gymnasts competed on a vaulting horse with the men vaulting over it lengthwise and the women over the centre of it. The reason for the change which came about in the early 2000s was to reduce the possibility of serious injury. This is because it is felt that there is less chance of a gymnast missing the table when performing a vault.

The Different Pieces of Apparatus

When it comes to the different pieces of apparatus the differences speak for themselves with many of the men’s routines requiring higher levels of strength, while the focus in the women’s events tends to be more on grace, balance and artistic content when it comes to scoring the gymnast.

While this article may not make you a gymnastics expert overnight, hopefully, the information contained in it will at least give you a greater understanding of the sport, and make watching gymnastics a more enjoyable experience.