The apparatus used in rhythmic gymnastics vary greatly from that used in other forms of gymnastic competition. Rhythmic gymnastics is usually performed by women and combines grace, coordination, agility, and artistry. During a rhythmic gymnastics competition, you will not find apparatus such as gymnastics bars, beams, or a vault; instead, the gymnasts use a small handheld apparatus when performing their routine. A rhythmic gymnast’s routine is always completed in time with rousing music that aims for the athlete, music, and apparatus to become one.
What exactly is rhythmic gymnastics apparatus?
The apparatus is handled while the individual performs complex turns, pivots, and balances that have become a trademark of the rhythmic gymnast discipline. Rhythmic gymnastics provides the opportunity for both groups and individuals to express themselves.
Well-suited to those who have a fondness for dance and movement, rhythmic gymnastics is a sport that is fast gaining popularity worldwide. So, let’s have a look at the different pieces of apparatus that are used to make rhythmic gymnastics the engaging spectacle it has become.
The rope used in rhythmic gymnastics is made of either hemp or synthetic material. The rope’s length varies depending on the size of the gymnast, and its ends have knots instead of handles.
Routines may be performed with the rope open or folded, held in one or both hands, and with or without changing hands. A rope’s relationship with a gymnast can often conjure an aggressive image, as when it grabs hold of the gymnast it wraps itself around them. However, flexibility, agility, and gracefulness that defines the routine will always outweigh these moments of “fury”.
The hoop is usually made of wood or plastic, and its inner diameter can range from 80 to 90 centimetres. The minimum weight of the hoop used in rhythmic gymnastics is 300 grams and must be rigid enough to keep its shape when being used as part of a routine.
Gymnasts must use the entire space carved out by the hoop as they pass through it or rotate it around any part of their body. It requires good coordination to change grips frequently, and the hoops are ideal for rolling and rotating on the floor or on different parts of the body.
Rubber or synthetic material makes up the ball, which has a diameter of between 18 and 20 centimetres and a minimum weight of 400 grams. The ball is the only piece of apparatus that can never be held in the hand.
Instead, gymnasts are only allowed to balance it on or roll it over the body. The result is a perfect union between the gymnast’s body and the apparatus. The spectacular throws of the ball contrast neatly with the softness and precision of the catches, which are both requisites of the routine.
The clubs can be made of wood or synthetic material, and their length ranges between 40 and 50 centimetres, with each one weighing 150 grams. Clubs offer games for the hands!
As well as complex movements of the body, gymnasts perform mills, rotations, circles, throws, and many other asymmetric moves. Club handling demands rhythmic work and accuracy, as well as coordination.
The ribbon stick is 50 to 60 centimetres in length and 1cm in diameter. It is generally made of wood, bamboo, plastic, or fibreglass. The ribbon itself is made of satin or a similar type of material that is not starched.
There is a maximum weight of 35 grams, a width between 4 and 6 centimetres, and a length of a minimum of 6 metres for the ribbon. The ribbon is a long, flexible, and light piece of apparatus that allows the gymnast to weave patterns in the space.
When the gymnast uses a ribbon its aerial movement carves images and forms. The main routine elements when using the ribbon are snakes, spirals, and throws.
So, as you can see rhythmic gymnastics offers a creative way to participate in a sport that can help promote health and fitness. Being able to show your artistic side in this way may appeal to you!