Men’s Gymnastics – An Underrated Sport


Ben Robinson, Reporter

Modern men’s gymnastics has been around for over 100 years, beginning in Germany in the 1800s. Men actually competed in gymnastics in the Olympics before women did, with men first competing in 1896, and women in 1928. While I personally don’t do regular artistic gymnastics, it is quite underrated and unpopular for how amazing and fun it is to watch. It doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it deserves and continues to wane in viewership.

There are six different events that are competed in; floor routines, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars, and horizontal bar. All of which, in my opinion, are quite fun to watch and pretty fun to mess around on if you have some experience.

One specifically overlooked aspect is that gymnastics as a whole and especially pommel horse, rings, and parallel bars, requires incredible physical strength. If you see almost any professional gymnast… they’re going to be unbelievably toned and have immense strength and agility. The amount of strength and power it takes to do the moves that look so simple is crazy.

Gymnasts also have to have the remarkable mental strength to break through mental blocks and perform to their fullest even under great pressure. Many professional gymnasts struggle with their mental health because of the great stress they put themselves under (physically and mentally), which in my opinion makes what they’re doing even more impressive.

To explain the different events and what they’re about; for floor routines, using an entire 40×40 foot floor, you compete mostly tumbling passes that have many different types of flips with twists and double rotations. The routine shouldn’t last more than 70 seconds in time.

Pommel horse is considered one of the most difficult of the events. Even to begin it takes a great amount of practice to achieve even the most simple skills. Pommel horse routines are made up of continuous circular movements, unless swinging into a handstand or swinging legs in scissor motions. Your hands are the only part of the body that should touch the pommel horse and the routines should flow in a controlled and steady rhythm.

Still rings require immense strength and control of the rings. Rings routines consist of swinging into handstands and static holds. Gymnasts try to keep the rings as still as possible without shaking while holding strength holds. It also requires a dismount, which can be double or even triple flip with many twists.

Vault is quick, explosive, and very impressive. With perfectly stuck landings and flipping by jumping hard on a springboard, then pushing off a vault table. It requires extreme focus and mental preparation to determine whether or not the skill will be landed. Speed, power, and air awareness or spatial awareness are especially important for high-level vaulting.

Parallel Bars contain swings from supports and hangs. Most also compete for flips by letting go of the bars and then catching them again. This event requires a great amount of timing, balance, and hand-eye coordination. It needs to be fairly fluent and smooth to get a good score when competing. Dismounts are also very impressive, with some being double flips.

Horizontal or High Bar is the most popular event that most people think of when thinking about men’s gymnastics. High bar routines consist of swings, releases and catches, and impressive dismounts. There is a very small margin of error when releasing and catching the bar because the bar is approximately one inch in diameter. You are also around twelve to fifteen feet in the air, when above the bar.

In all, men’s gymnastics is very entertaining and fun to watch. In my opinion, it needs to be more popular. – S