The Top 10 Rules Of Gymnastics

gymnastics rules and regulations

What are the most important rules of gymnastics?

  1. Have Fun
  2. Understand the Scoring Rules
  3. Wear the Appropriate Attire
  4. Spotting Rules
  5. Respect Your Teammates and Opponents
  6. No Jewelry
  7. Be Confident
  8. Avoid Deductions
  9. Stay in Bounds on the Floor
  10.  Respect the Judges

1. Have Fun!

gymnastics have fun

Gymnastics is an enjoyable sport that also has a uniquely strong physical component. There are going to be times where you are struggling with a trick, or you might be scared to try something new. Whenever you are frustrated, it is important to remember why you are at the gym in the first place. Having fun will lead you to be more confident, which will lead you to perform better.

Especially in events such as a rhythmic floor routine, the judges love to see that you are having a good time and that you are passionate about the sport. Having a positive mindset will only benefit you, while having a bad attitude in the gym will do nothing but negatively affect your performance.

2. Understand the Scoring Rules

gymnastics scoring

For scoring, a judges panel is often the main source of scoring in gymnastics competitions. There are often two judges who measure the degree of difficulty, while six more evaluate the performance and the execution. This is all depending on the level of the competition, as there will be more judges for a higher level event and fewer judges for a low level event. Judges evaluate routines on a ten-point scale.

All gymnasts aim to reach that perfect ten, but that is very difficult and happens extremely rarely in both amateur and professional gymnastics. Fractions of a point are deducted for errors such as falling. 

3. Wear the Appropriate Attire

gymnastics leotard

A lot of gyms will not allow you to participate in gymnastics if you do not wear the appropriate attire. Attire is not only a requirement to meet the standards of a gym or competition, but it is also required for safety. Loose clothing and gymnastics are a match that do not go well together, as baggy clothes can get in your way and lead you to injure yourself.

Girls are required to wear either a leotard or biketard. Shorts may be worn during warmups in some leagues, but only a leotard can be worn during a competition. For boys attire: t-shirts that are tucked into a pair of pants or shorts that are not baggy will do the trick. There are no shoes allowed on the gym floor. Bare feet or beam shoes are recommended to avoid injuries or damaging the gymnastics floor.

4. Spotting Rules

Gymnastics Spotting

When you are training, a spotter is not only permitted, but it is encouraged. A coach plays the role of the spotter to ensure that the gymnast is performing new tricks safely. Having a spotter will also make a gymnast feel more comfortable if he or she is learning a new trick, which will allow him or her to perform the trick better.

During competition however, the spotting rules are a bit more strict. Spotters are typically allowed to stand near the rings, bar, or mat but they can only intervene to prevent injuries. If a spotter intervenes for other reasons, a fraction of a point could be deducted depending on the competition level. Sometimes, a spotter may help a gymnast into his or starting position for events like the rings or the balance beam.

5. Respect Your Teammates and Opponents

gymnastics respect your opponents

Oftentimes, gymnastics is an individual event, meaning it is you against everyone else. Everyone there is going to want to win, but you have to be supportive of the other people you are going against. You obviously want to perform better than your opponents, but that does not mean when someone has a good routine, you can’t say “good job”. If you are beaten by someone, acknowledge them for their great performance, and focus on yourself and work on how you can do better in the next competition. The performance of your opponents is out of your control, so the main thing you want to do is make sure that you are prepared for every competition to perform to the best of your ability.

6. No Jewelry

Gymnastics No Jewelry

Whether it is practice or it is a competition, be sure to leave your jewelry at home. This is a very big safety precaution as it can get in the way of you performing your tricks. When you are doing a flip with a twist, you are not going to want a necklace getting in your way. It can hit your eye, break, or get caught on something. Even if it is a piece of attire that is very sentimental to you, it is best to take it off and put it in your bag before you start practice. You can also give it to your coach and make sure that he or she does not let anything bad happen to it, or you can just leave it at home. No matter how much you like the piece of jewelry, it is not worth hurting yourself or having it negatively affect your performance. In competitions such as the Olympics and NCAA, gymnasts are only permitted to have one stud earring in each ear; no other jewelry is allowed.

7. Be Confident

gymnastics be confident

Gymnastics is a sport where a lot of tricky and dangerous maneuvers are performed. As you progress and increase your degree of difficulty for tricks, it is going to get a bit frightening to try new things. It is important to keep a positive mindset, and understand that your coach would not have you try this trick if he or she did not think you are ready.

It is extremely normal to have butterflies when trying new tricks, but if your coach properly takes you through all of the necessary precautions, there should be no reason that you are not confident in your performance. Injuries are part of gymnastics, but if you perform in fear, they will become even more likely. Confidence is key in performing at a high level in gymnastics.

Not only is confidence important in learning new tricks, but also when you compete. Confidence is key if you want to perform your routine to the best of your ability. It will translate directly to your performance, and the judges will certainly take notice.

8. Avoid Deductions

Gymnastics Avoid Deductions

When performing gymnastics maneuvers, there are certain things that judges want to see and not see. Obviously, they do not want to see you fall to the ground, as that will lead to a very low score. There are also a number of things you do not want to do when you are executing tricks. Some examples worth points deduction include the following:

  • Taking steps after landing dismount
  • Swinging arms after landing dismount
  • Bent arms or legs
  • Incomplete splits
  • Loss of balance

These deductions are often just small fractions of points that are going to be taken off your score, but they are still something that you want to try and avoid. 

9. Stay in Bounds When on the Floor

Gymnastics Stay in Bounds

The floor is a major routine in gymnastics. Both men and women compete in this event. The floor is a big spring board that allows gymnasts to get lots of air when they perform tricks. The floor has an area of 40 square feet with an out of bounds line all around it. 

It is important that when performing in a floor routine, you stay within the lines. If a gymnast touches any part of his or her body outside of the prescribed area, then there will be a .1 deduction for each time. If the gymnast also falls when stepping out of bounds, that will be a .5 point deduction. If you are performing a routine and you touch the line, but you do not step over the line, you are not out of bounds.

10. Respect the Judges

Gymnastics Judges

The last thing you want to do in a competition is complain about a low score. Sometimes, you are going to have a routine that you felt was great and, for whatever reason, the judges might not agree. It’s going to be very frustrating when you feel like you did a great job and don’t get rewarded for it. You are allowed to be upset, but do not draw attention to yourself complaining about the score, and definitely do not go up to the judges table to confront them. It is okay to respectfully go up to them after the competition and ask what you did wrong. They will appreciate that you calmly went up to them to ask how you can improve.

Overall it is important to not get mad at the judges, because in most cases, you will watch the video afterward and notice that the judges actually got the score right.


What are the basic rules of gymnastics?

The basic rules of gymnastics revolve around how to score points. Points can be gained by a combination of executing a sound routine and attempting difficult maneuvers. One group of judges, usually two judges total, judges the difficulty of the routine. The other group of judges measures the execution of the routine. These two scores combine for the gymnast’s total score for the routine.

What are the safety rules of gymnastics?

The main safety rule of gymnastics is to wear proper attire during competition. Male and female athletes should wear a tight-fitting leotard for maximum flexibility, keep their hair tied up to keep their vision clear, and avoid any kind of jewelry or other accessories that could cause cuts and bruises upon accidental impact.