About Acrobatic Gymnastics
Acrobatic gymnastics is a spectacular sport – a cross between traditional competitive gymnastics and the type of acrobatics you might see in a circus. The five disciplines are mixed pairs, women’s pairs, men’s pairs, women’s trios, and men’s fours.
It’s thrilling to watch, and while international-level acrobatic gymnasts perform some of the most complex skills you could imagine, beginner and developing gymnasts also get a great deal from the sport too, learning valuable motor skills and how to work together in groups.
Two routines – balance and dynamic – are performed to music on a 12x12m sprung floor, and elements are linked by choreography, tumbling, and gymnastic elements. Acrobatic gymnasts at the highest level are also given the chance to perform a combined routine – a mixture of balance and dynamic elements.
In Great Britain, competitive gymnasts usually compete following the rules of either the:
The balance exercise is all about control. Competitors perform static holds, which could be anything from the top standing on the base’s shoulders, to a one-handed handstand on the base’s arm. These types of moves require strength and control and form the foundation of all other acrobatic gymnastics skills.
Learning to balance at Honiton Gymnastics Club
Beginners at Honiton Gymnastics Club begin by discovering how to control their own bodies. They learn fundamental gymnastics skills before moving on to working with partners. Balance moves start off simple, as gymnasts gain trust in each other, then gradually move on to harder and more exciting skills as they become more competent. More time is spent learning the principles of balance when gymnasts are new to the sport.
Balancing on ‘blocks’
‘Tops’ learn the majority of their handstand moves either on blocks (see below) or on the floor, before transferring the skills onto their bases.
There are five different categories of acrobatic gymnastics, and these involve both men and women.
Mixed pairs is the showcase event of acrobatic gymnastics. Imagine Dancing On Ice – but without the ice – and a lot more excitement!
Men’s pairs choose from the same list of elements as mixed and women’s pairs, but they tend to choose less that require extreme flexibility. Also, more balance elements are performed on the base’s head, and the choreography of the routine often has a different feel.
Three partners means a wider variety of different balance moves. And with two partners throwing in the dynamic exercise, the top often gets more height to perform more complex somersaulting moves.
Men’s four can be the most spectacular event with four men forming a pyramid on top of each other. It’s also the only event where an acrobat has ever performed a quadruple (four) back somersaults.