We are reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Leap into the high-flying universe of gymnastics!

From aerials to the iron cross, master the 30 must-know terms that’ll have you flipping like a pro.

Are you ready to vault into the action and speak the language of leaps and bounds?

Let’s stick the landing together and start tumbling through the terms!

Must-Know Gymnastics Terms, Phrases and Slang:

  1. Aerial
  2. Balance beam
  3. Bars
  4. Cartwheel
  5. Dismount
  6. Floor exercise
  7. Gymnast
  8. Handstand
  9. Iron cross
  10. Mount
  11. Pommel horse
  12. Routine
  13. Scoring
  14. Stick
  15. Tumbling
  16. Vault
  17. Yurchenko
  18. All-around
  19. Back handspring
  20. Chalk
  21. Flip
  22. Pike
  23. Rings
  24. Salto
  25. Split
  26. Straddle
  27. Twisting
  28. Uneven bars
  29. Whip back
  30. Full-in

#1 Aerial

An aerial is a no-handed cartwheel where a gymnast rotates their body 360 degrees sideways through the air. It’s a highly valued skill on the floor and balance beam, showcasing advanced tumbling ability and body control.

#2 Balance Beam

The balance beam is a narrow, elevated apparatus on which female gymnasts perform a routine requiring great balance and precision. Routines on the beam combine jumps, acrobatics, and dance elements, challenging even the most skilled gymnasts.

#3 Bars

In gymnastics, “bars” refers to two types of apparatus: the parallel bars for men and the uneven bars for women. Routines on the bars involve swinging, flight elements, and handstands, demonstrating exceptional strength and coordination.

#4 Cartwheel

A cartwheel is a basic gymnastics move involving a sideways rotation with legs and arms extended, resembling the spokes of a wheel. It’s a fundamental skill that builds up to more complex tumbling and is performed on the floor.

#5 Dismount

A dismount is the final part of an apparatus routine where the gymnast exits, often involving a complex twist or flip. A clean dismount is critical for a high score, as it’s the last impression left on the judges.

#6 Floor Exercise

The floor exercise is an artistic gymnastics event in which gymnasts perform a choreographed routine to music on a 12×12 meter square mat. The routine includes a combination of acrobatic skills, tumbling passes, dance elements, and jumps, demonstrating strength, flexibility, and balance.

#7 Gymnast

A gymnast is an athlete who performs in the sport of gymnastics, which includes disciplines like artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline, and acrobatic gymnastics. Gymnasts train to develop physical strength, agility, coordination, balance, and grace.

#8 Handstand

A handstand is a fundamental gymnastic skill where the gymnast balances upside down on their hands, with the body straight and legs extended upwards. Handstands are foundational and are used in many gymnastic routines across various apparatuses.

#9 Iron Cross

An impressive strength move on the rings where a gymnast holds their body horizontal to the ground with arms extended straight out to the sides. It requires immense arm and core strength and is often a crowd-pleaser.

#10 Mount

The move a gymnast performs to get onto an apparatus such as the balance beam, uneven bars, or pommel horse. Mounts can be simple, like a step up, or complex involving flips and twists to impress judges from the start.

#11 Pommel Horse

A gymnastic apparatus featuring a flat, padded, rectangular body with two handles (pommels) on top. Gymnasts perform continuous circular and swinging motions, requiring balance and strength, particularly in the upper body and core.

#12 Routine

A pre-choreographed sequence of gymnastics elements performed on various apparatuses or the floor, showcasing a gymnast’s strength, flexibility, balance, and artistry. It’s judged for technical precision and overall presentation quality.

#13 Scoring

The system used by judges to evaluate a gymnast’s performance, which includes the difficulty of executed elements and execution quality. Scores are crucial for determining winners in competitions and can be affected by deductions for errors.

#14 Stick

A term used when a gymnast lands without any visible movement of the feet, showing perfect control. Sticking a landing can be a decisive moment in a routine, often leading to higher scores.

#15 Tumbling

Tumbling refers to a series of acrobatic maneuvers performed in sequence, which can include flips, rolls, jumps, and somersaults. In gymnastics, tumbling is a key component of the floor exercise but is also practiced on its own as a sport (power tumbling).

#16 Vault

The vault is an artistic gymnastics event where gymnasts sprint down a runway (about 25 meters), jump onto a springboard, and propel themselves off a vaulting table to perform aerial twists and flips before landing. The event requires speed, timing, and explosive power.

#17 Yurchenko

A vaulting maneuver named after Soviet gymnast Natalia Yurchenko, involving a round-off onto the springboard, a back handspring onto the vault, followed by a variety of possible flips or twists off the vault.

#18 All-around

This term refers to a gymnast competing in all apparatus events in a single competition – including floor exercise, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, and horizontal bar for men, or vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise for women.

#19 Back Handspring

A fundamental gymnastics skill where a gymnast flips backward onto their hands and then pushes off to land back on their feet. It’s a building block for more complex tumbling sequences.

#20 Chalk

A substance composed mainly of magnesium carbonate that gymnasts apply to their hands and feet to absorb moisture, reduce friction, and prevent slipping on apparatuses like bars and rings.

#21 Flip

A generic term for any acrobatic skill in gymnastics where the body rotates around the horizontal axis, commonly seen in floor exercises and on various apparatuses.

#22 Pike

A position where the gymnast bends at the waist with legs straight, toes pointed, and hands reaching towards the feet. It can be executed both on the ground and in the air during various skills.

#23 Rings

Rings are one of the men’s artistic gymnastics apparatuses consisting of two rings suspended from a cable and attached to a metal frame. Gymnasts perform a series of swings, strength holds, and aerial maneuvers that require exceptional upper body strength and precise control.

#24 Salto

A salto is an aerial rotation or flip executed by a gymnast, where the body turns end over end in the air. It’s a fundamental skill that can be performed on various apparatuses or the floor.

#25 Split

The split is a flexibility move where a gymnast extends their legs in opposite directions, either sideways or front to back, forming a straight line. Achieving a 180-degree angle is often a sign of optimal flexibility.

#26 Straddle

In a straddle, the gymnast spreads their legs wide apart to the sides, either while holding onto an apparatus, such as the uneven bars, or during a jump on the floor. It demonstrates flexibility and control.

#27 Twisting

Twisting refers to the action of rotating the body along the longitudinal axis while in mid-air, often adding difficulty to flips or vaults. The number of twists performed can increase the move’s complexity.

#28 Uneven Bars

The uneven bars are an artistic gymnastics apparatus consisting of two horizontal bars set at different heights. Gymnasts perform a routine that includes swings, transitions, and releases between the bars.

#29 Whip Back

A whip back is a no-handed back handspring where the gymnast swings their legs over their body in a fluid, whip-like motion. It’s often used to gain momentum for following tumbling passes.

#30 Full-in

A full-in is a complex tumbling skill typically performed during floor routines or on the vault. It consists of a double back somersault with a full twist incorporated into the first somersault. This move is advanced and requires high levels of skill to execute safely and effectively.



What are some Gymnastics terms for beginners?

“Aerial,” “Balance beam,” and “Cartwheel” are some Gymnastics terms beginners should start with. These terms are the building blocks for basic skills and apparatus familiarization.

What are some funny Gymnastics terms?

“Yurchenko,” “Pike,” and “Whip back” are some funny Gymnastics terms that might sound peculiar to those outside the sport, evoking a sense of whimsy and curiosity about their meanings.

What is a famous Gymnastics phrase?

“Stick the landing,” is a famous Gymnastics phrase that emphasizes the importance of landing without movement, signifying precision and a successful completion of a gymnastic element.

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments