Gymnastics Glossary

By NU Athletic Communications

Aerial - a stunt in which the gymnast turns completely over in the air without touching the apparatus with his or her hands.Amplitude

Amplitude - the height, or degree of execution of a movement. In general, the higher the salto or the more breathtaking the movement, the better the amplitude and the score.

Apparatus - one of the various pieces of equipment used in gymnastics competitions.

Arch Position

Arch Position - the body is curved backwards.

Back-in, Full-out - a double salto with a full twist (the complete twist performed during the second salto).

Compulsories - predesigned routines which contain specific movements required of all gymnasts.

Composition - the structure of a gymnastics routine. Each individual movement or skill is a building block; how they are arranged into an exercise is called the composition of the routine.

Dismount - to leave an apparatus at the end of a routine; usually done with a difficult twist or salto.

Double Back - a backward double flipping salto. Can be used in the tuck, pike or layout positions.

Double-Double - a double back salto with two twists. It is most commonly performed with one twist in each flip (full-in, full-out) but can also be done with both twists in the first flip (double full-in) or both in the last flip (double full-out).

Double Full or Double Twist - a backward salto with two twists.

Execution - the performance of a routine. Form, style and the technique used to complete the skills constitute the level of execution of an exercise. Bent knees, poor toe point and an arched or loosely-held body position are all examples of poor execution.

Flic-Flac - also known as a flip-flop or back handspring. Take off one or two feet, jump backward onto hands and land on feet. This element is used in a majority of tumbling passes on the floor exercise. It is also used a great deal on the balance beam.

Full-in, Back-out - a double salto with a full twist (the complete twist performed during the first salto).


Giant -a swing in which the body is fully extended and moving through a 360 degree rotation around the bar. Two common giants include the backward giant, the most common swing, where the gymnast holds the bar with the hands facing forward and travels face-first around the bar, and the forward or front giant, where the gymnast swings around the bar back-first with the hands facing upward.

Half-in, Half-out - a double salto with a half twist on the first salto and a half twist on the second salto.

Handspring - springing off the hands by putting the weight on the arms and using a strong push from the shoulders; can be done either forward or backward; usually a linking movement.

Hop - the gymnast takes off from one foot and lands on the same foot.

Jump - the gymnast takes off from two feet.

Kip - movement from a position below the equipment to a position above.

Layout Position - straight or slightly arched body position, may be seen during a movement or a still position.

Leap - the gymnast takes off from one foot and lands on the other foot.

Optionals - personally-designed routines which show the gymnast to the best advantage.

Pike Position - body bent forward more than 90 degrees at the hips while the legs are kept straight.

Pirouettes - changing direction by twisting in the handstand position.

Punch Front - a front salto with a takeoff from two feet. Can be done in a tuck, pike, or layout position. Usually done out of other tumbling elements for bonus on floor. Release

Release - leaving the bar to perform a move before regrasping it. 

Routine - a combination of stunts displaying a full range of skills on one apparatus.

Rudi - forward salto with one-and-a-half twists.

Salto - flip or somersault, with the feet coming up over the head and the body rotating around the axis of the waist.

Straddle Jump

Straddle Jump - jump with legs straight out to the side.

Tsukahara - the gymnast jumps off the springboard and then does a half twist before pushing off the horse backwards.

Tuck - a position in which the knees and hips are bent and drawn into the chest; the body is folded at the waist.

Twist - not to be confused with a salto, a twist occurs when the gymnast rotates around the body's longitudinal axis, defined by the spine.

Virtuosity - the artistry, or the degree of rhythm and harmony, displayed while a movement is executed. In general, the more flowing and seamless a series of skills appears to be, the greater the virtuosity and the higher the score.

Yurchenko Vault

Yurchenko Vault - Round-off entry onto the board, a back handspring onto the horse and one of the following off the horse: layout, full twist, one-and-a-half twist or double twist.


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