Men’s gymnastics has been called by many a “sissy sport” that is full of men who have no grasp about how to act manly, or even how to perform like a true athlete. However, overall men’s gymnastics is treated quite roughly with most events involving great amounts of strength, coordination, and endurance in order to actually be considered a real gymnast.
The various aspects of gymnastics has always required great amounts of strength as well as athletic ability, however men’s gymnastics tends to take the typical requirements up a few notches by expecting bigger, better and longer routines from men than what is expected from women. Men’s gymnastics involves six different events that are used to help showcase the ability and talents of each gymnast. While many men train in all events equally, some gymnasts choose to train in one area more exclusively.
The first event for men is the floor exercise. The basis of the element is the same as for women, using a 12m square floor series of tumbles, woven together with handstands, acrobatic, rhythm and various other components are strung together. The typical time for a floor exercise is approximately 60 seconds; however, some can last as long as 70 seconds. Some contrasts to women’s events include there is no music during the routine, and also gymnasts are required to touch each corner of the floor a minimum of once.
The pommel horse is the next event that men partake in. This is an event that requires intense amount of upper body as well as arm strength as the gymnast is only allowed to touch the horse with their arms, while keeping the rest of their body in a continuously, fluid movement. It is vital to have a highly developed sense of balance, huge amounts of upper body strength and train extensively in body control in order to be successful on the pommel horse. This is a highly advanced event that young gymnasts are typically not allowed to partake in.
Still rings is an event that many people think of when they are envisioning gymnastics for men. Using two rings that are suspended from a bar that hang 5.75 meters from the floor, the gymnast is required to stay in the air, not touch the floor and perform a routine that emphasizes body control, strength and flexibility. In addition to the movements of the gymnast, they must also maintain complete control over the rings so that there is no movement other than the gymnast themselves. Gymnasts are required to perform at least one static strength move during the routine, however many choose to include more.
Men share the vault element with women as well, which required them to sprint quickly down a 25-meter runway and bounce off of a springboard while propelling themselves over the hurdle. Gymnasts are required to produce a successful dismount in which there is no falling or shifting of the weight.
Parallel Bars is another event in which men train and compete. Using bars that are approximately 1.75 meters off the ground and set a bit wider than shoulder width the gymnast performs a series of balances, swings, and various other acrobatic movements while ensuring they do not fall to the ground.
The final event for men to participate in is the high bar. This uses a bar that is only 2.4cm wide and rises an impressive 2.5 meters off the ground. Gymnasts are required to perform various aspects together such as twists, directional changes, flips, and even giants to produce a routine that is visually as well as athletically impressive. Most men wear leather grips while performing on the high bar to reduce the risk of injury to the hands.