USA Gymnastics | Gymnastics 101

Gymnastics for All is one of the eight gymnastics sport disciplines officially recognized by The International Gymnastics Federation and gymnastics organizations worldwide. This diverse sport program, while being the largest with regards to gymnastics membership worldwide, provides opportunities and activities for all ages and levels of abilities. Gymnastics for All activities contribute to the development of general sport skills, fitness, health, important movement patterns and daily life skills.

Many clubs across the United States regularly participate in Gymnastics for All by hosting exhibitions, performing at local festivals, and end of year shows. Clubs also have the opportunity to participate in Gymnastics for All with USA Gymnastics through local, national and international events. Each year, USA Gymnastics hosts the USA Gymnastics, Gymnastics for All National Championships and GymFest. USA Gymnastics also organizes delegations to the World Gymnaestrada and World Gym For Life Challenge.

The diverse range of activities and opportunities available within Gymnastics for All, is what sets it apart from other disciplines and sports. Regardless of age the opportunity to actively participate in Gymnastics for All is available. This includes Children (5 years & under), Adults (18+ years) and Seniors (50+ years). All ability and skill levels can participate.

Gymnastics for All is a dynamic sport with new forms of movement and/or adaptations of current movement forms being seen continually across the world reflecting unique national cultures and trends.

Gymnastics for All includes three tracks

  1. non-competitive
  2. competitive and
  3. HUGS (Hope Unites Gymnastics with Special Athletes) which is a program for Special Needs children.

1) The following activity is included in non-competitive Gymnastics for All:

Group Performance
Group Performance is non-competitive and fun! It consists of groups of gymnasts performing to music. Often costumes, themes, props and apparatus are used to enhance the performance. Routines are typically three to fifteen minutes in length depending on the event where they are being performed.

All types of gymnastics can be used to create the choreography with all ages and ability levels participating. Group Performances can be seen in recitals, performances at festivals, local GymFests, the Gymnastics for All National Championships and Gymfest and at the World Gymnaestrada.

2) The following four activities are included in competitive Gymnastics for All:

  • Power TeamGym
    Power TeamGym is a competitive version of Gymnastics for All gymnastics where squads of athletes perform together in two events – Group Floor Exercise and Group Jump (tumbling, vault and mini tramp). Currently there are 10 difficulty levels.

    Squads are made up of 6-14 gymnasts and are judged as a team based on difficulty requirements and execution. Power TeamGym can be competed at local invitationals, at the Gymnastics for All National Championships and Gymfest and international invitationals.

  • Acrobatics and Tumbling
    The Acrobatics and Tumbling Development Program has four Levels, Levels 1 through 4, with competition taking place on local, regional and national levels, including the USA Gymanstics for all National Championships and Gymfest. Meets are exciting, fast-paced, and fan-friendly. Each meet is held as a contest between 2 or more teams. Levels 1 and 2 will compete in the compulsory events which include Acro, Pyramid, Toss, Tumbling and Team. Levels 3 and 4 will follow the traditional collegiate format: Compulsory, Acro, Pyramid, Toss, Tumbling, and Team Event.

    Acrobatics and Tumbling Committee Charter

  • USA Gym for Life Challenge
    Groups participate in the contest with a routine of a maximum of 5 minutes, incorporating any gymnastics element; with or without apparatus and accompanied by music. These performances are evaluated on entertainment value, overall impression, innovation, originality, variety and technique (quality & skill safety). All groups participating in the contest are awarded either a gold, silver or bronze ranking. A Best in Show is named at the USA Gymnastics GFA Championships and GymFest by a vote of the other participating groups.

3) HUGS, Hope Unites Gymnastics with Special Athletes, goal is to encompass all special needs competitive programs, which includes: Women’s Artistic, Men’s Artistic, Rhythmic, Trampoline and TeamGym.
(Note: If you would like to include a HUGS session to your event, please fax or email your sanction request form. Thank you)
GFA National Championships and GymFest
Each year, USA Gymnastics hosts the Gymnastics for All Championships and GymFest. The event typically occurs over a three-day period and includes an Opening Ceremonies, Group Performances, Power TeamGym Competition, A&T Competition and the Gym for Life Challenge. This event has been held annually since 1993 in various cities throughout the United States.

World Gymnaestrada
The World Gymnaestrada, hosted by the FIG, is the world’s largest display of gymnastics and is held every four years. There is no competition and the main focus is participation. Groups perform with ten to thousands of participants in indoor and outdoor venues. The event is filled with culture from the more than 20,000 participants from over 50 countries. The age range of the participants is 2 years old to 90. USA Gymnastics has prepared official delegations to World Gymnaestradas in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2015.

World Gym for Life Challenge
The World Gym for Life Challenge is a contest for performance groups of all ages and genders. The Challenge compliments the FIG’s World Gymnaestrada by being held every four years in between the World Gymnaestradas. The groups participate in the contest with routine of a maximum of 5 minutes, incorporating any gymnastics element; with or without apparatus and it can be accompanied by music. Group Performances are evaluated on entertainment value, overall impression, innovation, originality, variety and technique (quality & skill safety). All groups participating in the Contest are awarded either a gold, silver or bronze ranking. Groups who achieve a gold placing in the Contest participate in the Gym for Life Gala. USA Gymnastics has sent participants to both Gym For Life Challenges held to date in Austria and South Africa.

Gymnastics activities can be traced back to the earliest of times. The form of gymnastics carried out at this time is what we know today as Gymnastics for All is specifically designed to enhance participant’s health and physical fitness and/or participated in purely for enjoyment and simple relaxation. It was from these activities that the competitive forms of gymnastics developed. However, it was only in 1984, during an International Gymnastics Congress, that Gymnastics for All was officially recognized by the International Gymnastic Federation as a Sport Program, then subsequently recognized by National Gymnastics Federations across the World.

Today well over thirty million participants of all ages, abilities and cultural backgrounds are taking part in Gymnastics for All activities across the world. These figures support the fact that Gymnastics for All is the sport for all elements of gymnastics and provides something for everybody.

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