Floor Exercise: Understanding the Gymnastic Event

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The Floor Exercise, or “Floor”, is one of the 4 Olympic gymnastics events–along with Vault, Bars and Beam. Floor floor exercise gymnasticsroutines are a mix of tumbling passes and dance elements. Floor requires both strength and power to perform great tumbling skills, but also grace and flexibility to perform beautiful dance moves.

The Apparatus

The floor area is a square measuring 39 feet by 39 feet.  The diagonals are about 55 feet long. Most floors these days are spring floors. The spring softens the impact of landings, so it’s better for gymnasts’ joints, and helps gymnasts gain height while tumbling.

Routine Composition

Gymnastics floor routines are composed of acro and dance elements. Depending on the gymnastics level, depends on the specific requirements but most gymnastics floor routines are composed of the following:

Tumbling Passes– A tumbling pass is the connection of 2 or more acro elements. Most of the time tumbling passes are done along the floor diagonals. An example of a tumbling pass would be a round-offback handspring-back tuck. Some levels require both forward and backward tumbling skills.

Jump or Leap Series– A jump or leap series is the connection of multiple jumps or leaps. An example of a jump series would be straight jump-tuck jump. An example of a leap series would be split leap-switch leap. Gymnasts also can combine leaps and jumps. An example of a series with both a leap and a jump would be a switch leap-straddle jump.

Turn– Most floor routines require a turn on one foot.

You can check out a floor skills list here.

What Makes a Good Floor Routine?

A good floor routine should have a balance between strong tumbling passes and dance elements. The tumbling passes should be done with good form and the saltos should have height. The dance elements should  be dynamic and the jumps should have height. The routine should be artistic and enjoyable to watch. Gymnasts should take advantage of the entire floor space.

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3 comments… add one
  • Caryl Anne April 28, 2014, 4:25 pm

    Great post! I agree 100% that the proper flooring should be in place to provide you with safety and comfort. Also, they can help lower your risk to injury, protect the foundation of your business, and ensure oneself that you are getting the most out of your workout. Thanks for sharing!

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  • Rachel Lannister June 22, 2017, 4:08 pm

    I’ve always enjoyed watching gymnastics and wanted to learn more about the sport. You wrote that floor routines almost always include leaps, jumps and handsprings. With how much force this could put on your joints, you would want to have good flooring to help protect the gymnasts. Thanks for the informative read.


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