Rhythmic gymnastics apparatuses and rules

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Image credit: Yenny/SportSG

Rhythmic gymnastics combines ballet, dance and acrobatics with expressive movement and the manipulation of apparatuses such as the ball, clubs, hoop, ribbon and rope.

This sport is ideal for developing flexibility, strength, as well as body coordination. It stems from various dance styles and exercise regimes that share the common idea of expressive movement as a tool for exercise.

Individual programme 

During the individual programme, an athlete will manipulate only one of these five apparatuses at a time - rope, hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon. One apparatus is rotated out of contention every two years, with the gymnast required to compete on the remaining four events.

Group programme 

The group programme consists of five gymnasts competing in two different routines. In one routine, all of the athletes use the same apparatus. In the second routine, the gymnasts use two different pieces of equipment.

Music and Choreography 

All routines must be performed with music, with only short pauses of music allowed. The choreography must centre around a theme that is developed from beginning to end using a variety of body movements and the handling of apparatuses.


● Rope 

The rope is made out of hemp or synthetic material, and the length of the rope depends on how tall the gymnast using it is. Gymnasts swing the rope, throw and catch the rope, make figure-eight-type circling movements, and more. They also leap and jump through the rope while they are holding it with both hands.

● Hoop 

Made of wood or plastic, the hoop is 0.7 to 0.8 metres in diameter. Gymnasts execute moves with the hoop such as tossing and catching it.

● Ball 

The ball is made with rubber or a synthetic material, and is roughly around 0.2metres in diameter. Gymnasts perform throws, as well as tricks such as bouncing and rolling the ball.

● Clubs 

Resembling bowling pins, the clubs are of equal length, typically about 0.4 to 0.5metres long. They are made from wood or a synthetic material. Gymnasts use the clubs to do tricks like circles -in which the clubs swing parallel to each other, mills - the clubs swing opposite each other, as well as throws and catches.

● Ribbon 

The ribbon is a single strip usually made of satin, attached to a stick made of wood or synthetic material. Gymnasts create all sorts of patterns with the ribbon, including spirals, circles and snakes. The gymnast must keep the ribbon in motion throughout the entire routine.


Leaps and jumps

● All leaps and jumps must be of a good height, have a clear shape and good amplitude.

● All leaps with the back arched must have the head in contact with the leg.


● All balances must be performed on the toes or the knee. These must be held clearly and have a good, fixed shape.


● All pivot combinations must be performed entirely on the toes without heel support.

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