Apparatus gymnastics

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Apparatus gymnastics or apparatus gymnastics is an individual sport with the aim of performing certain exercises on gymnastics equipment according to given criteria of technique and posture in different combinations. Competitive apparatus and floor gymnastics is also known as artistic gymnastics and is an Olympic sport . All-around forms of apparatus gymnastics include the discipline of floor.

Gymnast on the balance beam


Turner at the vaulting table

Gymnastics is originally derived from the word " tournament ", which was the expression for sporting controversy as early as the Middle Ages.

  • Gymnastics means: versatile movement in the sense of a variety of physical exercises. It includes a variety of forms of movement and play, as well as gymnastics and sometimes also dance . Gymnastics and recreational sports are often equated . For the German Gymnastics Federation, gymnastics is an umbrella term for the sports and exercise activities it represents.
  • Apparatus gymnastics is the standardized movement of gymnastics equipment, for the execution of which there are technical and evaluation criteria. The apparatus gymnastics as a sport is characterized by the use of large equipment: stretching , bars , pommel horse , rings gymnastics , bottom , uneven bars , balance beam and the jump devices ( Bock , box , horse , vault ). A distinction is made between the broad athletic oriented Gymnastics, in which the competition plays only a minor role or no, and the performance-sports-oriented Gymnastics, which, until recently, the German Gymnastics Federation as gymnastics ( English has been called "artistic gymnastics").

Structural systematics

Gymnast on the bar

For scientific systematic reasons the exercises of the apparatus gymnastics were arranged on the basis of their essential characteristics and summarized in classes (groups) under structural aspects. This systematization is also the scientific basis of the terminology. The kinetic relationship between the exercises grouped in the structural groups has consequences for their teaching style. The exercises can be divided into three types from the perspective of the relationship between the effects of internal and external forces:

  • Swing exercises
  • Static exercises
  • Exercises with relatively slow displacement of the body (lifting and lowering)

Relationships and mutual transitions exist between the types of gymnastics mentioned.

Swing exercises

  • Upward, downward and downward movements
  • Tilting movements
  • Rim movements
  • Stem movements
  • Rolling movements
  • Rollover movements
  • Leg swing movements
  • Jumping movements

Static Exercises (Hold)

Gymnast on the rings
  • support
  • Slopes
  • Booths
  • Seats
  • Lounger

Exercises with slow displacement of the body (lifting / lowering)

  • Lifting / lowering
    • without turning the body
    • with backward rotation of the body
    • with forward rotation of the body
    • with sideways rotation of the body

The relationships between the structural groups of the swing exercises

Order relationships

Most of the exercises in apparatus gymnastics are performed with a swing, whereby the techniques (gymnastic exercises) often result from the coupling of features from different structural groups. The rules for the formation of the exercise names (terminology) are also derived from this.

The figure illustrates the relationships between the structural groups of the swing exercises (according to Rieling, Leirich & R. Heß).

Gymnastics in Germany

Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778–1852) is considered to be the creator of the early gymnastics movement in Prussia and its source of ideas, which later earned him the reputation of the “gymnastics father”. The first public gymnasium in Berlin's Hasenheide (1811) was his work. He wanted to train the male German youth as guerrillas in the fight against Napoleon . His efforts to develop gymnastics were also aimed at realizing his upbringing and educational intentions: "The art of gymnastics should restore the lost uniformity of human education ...". The ideas of German gymnastics demonstrated by Jahn and his pre-gymnasts on the gymnastics field in the Hasenheide are still in use in gymnastics today, as are many names in Jahn's gymnastics language. In the following years many gymnastics clubs and finally the German Gymnastics Federation were founded. After a hundred years, apparatus gymnastics developed from gymnastics as a world sport.

On the history of apparatus gymnastics

The German Gymnastics Association (DT) used athletics, swimming, rowing, fighting games and apparatus gymnastics in its clubs. Apparatus gymnastics was only a partial discipline. For top performance in this special discipline, however, you often had to train and neglect the athletic exercises included in the twelve fight . As records became more and more a question of the reputation of the individual associations, the DT could no longer assume an outsider role. Nevertheless, she initially persistently refused to comply with the demands for pure apparatus gymnastics competitions. Folk gymnastics should be given priority.

From 1920, pure apparatus gymnastics competitions were introduced for the first time while maintaining the mixed twelve-way competition. The leadership of the DT fought on after 1920 against pure apparatus gymnastics and tried to devalue it, but these events took a stormy upturn. Initially, these competitions were limited to comparing cities, the most famous being the three-city gymnastics Berlin-Hamburg-Leipzig . This competition was launched in 1920. The best gymnasts in those cities faced each other twice a year, at Easter and on the Day of Repentance, in one of the three cities. There were also other well-known city gymnastics, such as Düsseldorf-Cologne-Essen or Leipzig-Dresden-Chemnitz. There were also competitions in individual countries and districts of the DT, such as between the Rhineland and Westphalia.

The rapid upswing of pure apparatus gymnastics forced the DT to include these competitions in the program of their gymnastics festivals. At the German Gymnastics Festival in Munich in 1923 and in Cologne in 1928, apparatus gymnastics was held on an equal footing with twelve and heptathlon. In addition, German championships in apparatus gymnastics were held for the first time. Gymnastics had entered a new phase in its development.

Apparatus gymnastics is now the basic sport of many clubs in the German Gymnastics Federation (DTB) (see also: Gymnastics ).

In competitive and high-performance sport, there are team competitions, individual all- round competitions and competitions on every single device. At the Olympic Games and the World and European Championships , titles and medals are awarded in a total of 14 disciplines.

Gymnast on the pommel horse

Until the 1970s, apparatus gymnastics was mainly characterized by statics and strength holding parts and historical exercises, today it is a very dynamic sport with many acrobatic elements, turns, somersaults and jumps.

Forms of competition

The competition program in the DTB ranges from the compulsory exercises in popular sport (P levels) to the modified free program in performance classes (LK) 1 to 4 to the free program according to the international provisions of the Code of Points (CoP).


At German and regional association championships, in the federal and regional league ( German gymnastics league ), as well as in some of the highest leagues of the regional associations, free-style exercises are performed according to the new Code de Pointage (CdP) , which has been in effect since 2017 . These exercises are freely compiled by the gymnasts according to the requirements of the CdP. The final value of the exercise is made up of D and E grades (formerly A and B grades), with the D grade assessing the difficulty of the exercise and the E grade the execution. In addition, there is the Modified Freestyle (KM) as the successor to the B-level system that was abolished at the end of 2006. From January 1st, 2008 this is divided into four levels of difficulty from I to IV and differs mainly from the CdP in that, depending on the level of difficulty, fewer elements, easier exercises and so-called national elements (NE) that are not included in the CdP are performed allowed to. In the easiest level KM IV, even fewer element groups have to be fulfilled. These forms of exercise are used, among others, at the Germany Cup and the senior championships. The KM II is mainly exercised in the leagues of the regional gymnastics associations (regional league, association league, upper league). KM I was abolished several years ago. With the changes to the tenders in the DTB 2015, the requirements of the KM were also changed in part. The levels of difficulty are now called performance classes (LK) and go with shifted numbering (LK1 replaces KM II) from LK1 to LK4.


Since January 1, 2015, with a view to the International German Gymnastics Festival 2017, the compulsory exercises in the DTB , the so-called P exercises, have been revised with the publication of the exercise books for female and male gymnastics in 2015. In the compulsory exercises, the gymnast must show a predetermined sequence of elements. The new P exercises replace the previous exercises in tender a (popular sport) and b (competitive youngsters) and go from the easiest level (P1) to the most difficult (P9) with the exception of the rings and pommel horse . There is now no longer any subdivision for mass sport and for young people who are competitive sports. There are now alternative jumps on the jump.

In the P exercises, the initial value is made up of an E and D grade. The starting value is always 10 points (execution) plus the level of difficulty (P7: starting value 17 = 10 + 7). The gymnasts are free to choose their music on the floor, but suit the exercise. The P exercises are performed at gymnastics festivals in election competitions. The competition announcement depends on the age group. This is intended to ensure that the youngsters achieve defined and age-appropriate performance targets.

Gymnast on parallel bars

In the male competition area , the following six devices are common (in Olympic order):

whereby in the popular sports area on the Gau level often only a four-way fight (floor, jump, parallel bars, horizontal bar or 4 out of 6) is performed.

In the competition area , women, the following four devices are common (in Olympic order):

The following devices are also used in the youth and senior sector:

  • Mini trampoline
  • mushroom
  • Swing rings
  • Bank
Price table in the device heptathlon

The device heptathlon has existed at least since the 1930s, as a challenge award for gymnasts in Apolda in Thuringia shows.


In the field of competitive youngsters in women and men, there are various test forms that check the current level of performance and should also be a performance target at the same time. So there are AK (age group) - compulsory and freestyle requirements, technical and athletic standards and other z. Sometimes device-specific requirements or the management test. The AK exercises are also carried out as a competition. B. at the German Youth Championships.

With these tenders, a lot has moved in recent years in order not to lose touch with the world's best. Since 2014 there has been a bar concept and the complex sideways balance beam to catch up with other nations.

Gymnastics in Switzerland

Gymnastics in Switzerland also has a military history. In Switzerland a distinction is made between artistic gymnastics (competitive sport) and apparatus gymnastics (popular sport). Artistic gymnastics is the Olympic sport; the compulsory and freestyle competition exercises are performed on the above equipment. In apparatus gymnastics, on the other hand, the floor, swing rings , mini trampoline , parallel bars and horizontal bar are exercised. The floor of the gymnastics is (unlike the floor exercises in gymnastics) of an approximately 2.5 m wide and 17 m long ground track. There is also, analogous to artistic gymnastics, a difference between equipment exercised by women and by men. The men exercise on all five of the above-mentioned machines, the women on the following four machines: horizontal bar, swing rings, floor and jump (mini trampoline). The degrees of difficulty of the gymnastics elements in apparatus gymnastics are lower than in artistic gymnastics, but just as great value is placed on execution and correct posture. Unlike in artistic gymnastics, there is no A-value in apparatus gymnastics, but the deductions are deducted directly from the initial score of 10.00. The degree of difficulty is therefore not decisive for the final grade. However, there are minimum requirements for each category that must be met.

There is also club gymnastics or section gymnastics in Switzerland. Here you can do an exercise combined with music in a group. The program composition ( choreography ), the synchronicity and the individual execution are evaluated. In principle, all devices are permitted, but horizontal bar and horse pommel demonstrations are very rare. Much more popular are device combinations in which, for example, the floor and mini trampoline can be combined.

The Swiss Gymnastics Association (STV), to which both artistic and apparatus gymnastics, as well as rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline gymnastics, mass sports-oriented athletics and youth gymnastics belong, is the largest sports association in Switzerland.


Although Pierre de Coubertin rejected gymnastics as martial, the organizers of the 1st Olympic Games in Athens in 1896 included it in the program, where it has been since then. Internationally, the Gymnastics is just like today General Gymnastics , Trampoline Gymnastics , Rhythmic Gymnastics , Sports Aerobics and Acrobatic Gymnastics by the International Federation de Gymnastique (FIG, International Gymnastics Federation) and the European Union of Gymnastics represented (LEL, European Gymnastics Union).

World and European championships

Successful gymnast


  • K. Arnold, J. Leirich: apparatus gymnastics - terminology. Lochner-Verlag, 2005, ISBN 3-928026-24-0 .
  • Katrin Barth, Swantje Scharenberg : I'm learning gymnastics. Meyer & Meyer Verlag, 2008, ISBN 978-3-89899-307-4 .
  • K. Barth, S. Scharenberg: I train apparatus gymnastics. Meyer & Meyer Verlag, 2008, ISBN 978-3-89899-344-9 .
  • Hans-Joachim Bartmuß : What are Jahn's lasting historical merits? Jahn Library under the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Society and Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Museum
  • Flavio Bessi among others: Materials for trainer training in apparatus gymnastics. 1st edition. Volume 2, self-published, Freiburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-00-027921-8 .
  • Flavio Bessi: Materials for trainer training in apparatus gymnastics - first license level. 3rd, change Edition. Self-published, Freiburg, ISBN 978-3-00-027421-3 .
  • Ilona E. Gerling: Basic book apparatus gymnastics. Meyer & Meyer Sport, 2002.
  • R. Härtig, G. Buchmann: Apparatus gymnastics training method. Meyer & Meyer Sport, 2003.
  • K. Knirsch: apparatus gymnastics with girls and women. Not specified by the publisher, 2005.
  • K. Knirsch: Fundamentum of apparatus gymnastics. Knirsch, Kirchentellinsfurt 1991.
  • S. Lange & K. Bischoff: Double lesson in gymnastics. 2nd, revised edition. Hofmann, Schorndorf 2009, ISBN 978-3-7780-0532-3 .
  • J. Leirich, G. Bernstein, I. Gwizdek: Gymnastics on devices. (= Practical ideas. Volume 29). Hofmann-Verlag, 2007, ISBN 978-3-7780-0291-9 .
  • Wolfgang Pahncke : Apparatus gymnastics then and now. Sportverlag, Berlin 1983.
  • K. Schlegel: Diagnostics of relevant performance requirements in apparatus gymnastics. Publishing house Dr. Kovac, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-8300-3718-7 .
  • H. Timmermann: Apparatus gymnastics - technology and methodology. Limpert-Verlag, 2001.

Individual evidence

  1. According to Duden-online, apparatus gymnastics is the more common, apparatus gymnastics the technical term.
  2. ^ Arnd Krüger : Sport and Politics. From gymnastics father Jahn to state amateur. Torch bearer, Hanover 1975, ISBN 3-7716-2087-2 .
  3. Wolfgang Pahncke : Apparatus gymnastics then and now. Sportverlag, Berlin 1983, p. 84.
  4. apparatus gymnastics. Retrieved July 9, 2020 .
  5. TK female gymnastics: Exercise book female gymnastics 2015 . Ed .: Deutscher Turner-Bund e. V.
  6. TK apparatus gymnastics male: Exercise book apparatus gymnastics male 2015 . Ed .: Deutscher Turner-Bund e. V.
  7. Downloads Programs Young Men. TK apparatus gymnastics male. In: Deutscher Turner-Bund, accessed October 7, 2016 .
  8. Downloads young women. TK apparatus gymnastics female u. a. In: Deutscher Turner-Bund e. V., accessed on October 7, 2016 .
  9. Ursula Koch, Tatjana Bachmayer, Petra Nissinen: Concept balance beam 2014. (PDF; 2.7 MB) In: Deutscher Turner-Bund e. V., accessed on October 7, 2016 .
  10. ^ Arturo Hotz : Every apprentice is a military man. In: General Swiss military magazine. Volume 144, Issue 10, 1978, pp. 533-534.
  11. ^ Arnd Krüger : Neo-Olympism between nationalism and internationalism. In: Horst Ueberhorst (Ed.): History of physical exercises. Volume 3/1, Bartels & Wernitz, Berlin 1980, pp. 522-568.

Web links

Wiktionary: Gymnastics apparatus  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Gymnastics  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files