TeamGym - British Gymnastics


Acrobatic Gymnastics – a balancing act
Practised by both men and women, Acrobatic Gymnastics is amongst the oldest known sports practiced by the ancient Egyptians. The name comes from the Greek word ‘acrobateo’, meaning to rise or go forth.

Acrobatic Gymnastics is a modern and artistic discipline, which requires an extraordinary amount of courage and trust amongst gymnasts. Within the UK, Acrobatic Gymnastics also encompasses the category of tumbling.

Acrobatic routines are choreographed to music and presented on a 12 X 12 metre sprung floor surface, Acrobatic Gymnastics is full of expression and provides gymnasts with a stage on which to shine.

Tumbling is characterised by the complex, swift and rhythmical succession of acrobatic bounding from hands to feet, feet to hands or even feet directly back onto feet. A tumbling pass may be over in a matter of seconds and is performed on a tumbling track that is 25 meters in length.

In official competitions, Acrobatic Gymnastics offers five different possibilities of partnerships:

  • Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Pairs
  • Women’s Group (3 gymnasts)
  • Men’s Groups (4 gymnasts)

These partnerships are constructed in accordance with the gymnasts’ physical and psychological qualities: the Top needs to be aerial, of small body feature, highly flexible and nimble, while the Bases need to be strong, of larger body frame, steady and powerful. A mixed pair must always combine a male Base with a female Top.

Gymnasts work in harmony and trust, each responsible for their partner or partners. It is a true and testing examination of human relationships. Routines impose on gymnasts a need for strength, agility, flexibility, balance and acrobatic skills. The results are spectacular, intricate balances performed on partners, exciting multiple somersaults and twisting somersaults with partners being pitched and caught.

The routines presented in competitions are up to 2 minutes and 30 seconds in length and must include a number of required collective (partnership) and individual elements of three different types: static (balance), dynamic, and combined.

While the static routine must present balanced pyramidal constructions held for 3 seconds and other elements of strength, flexibility and agility, the dynamic routine should show flight elements such as throws, pitches and catches as well as dynamic tumbling elements.

The combined routine presents elements from both the dynamic and the static routines.

In tumbling a gymnast performs a tumbling pass which sees the gymnast gain speed and power by running along a track and performing a series of somersaults and twists. World-class tumblers perform no less than two double somersaults in one run, the best of them three, with twisting elements in addition.

A typical tumbling competition will include the gymnast completing three tumbling passes. The first is called a Straight Pass (composed of somersaults), the second is called the Twisting Pass (twists) with the third and Final Pass (composed of both somersaults and twists.

Great Britain is one of the most respected nations of the world in Acrobatic Gymnastics and has achieved success at World and European level with medals in all categories.

Acrobatic Gymnastics is the perfect team sport for those wishing to express themselves in movement. Join a gymnastics club today.