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Difference Between Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics

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The main difference between artistic and rhythmic gymnastics is that boys can participate in artistic gymnastics competitions while rhythmic gymnastics competitions are only open to women.

Watching gymnasts compete is a breathtaking and exciting experience. The world waits with bated breath for the Olympics to roll around every four years to see the graceful and fluid feats of gymnasts supporting and balancing their bodies. 

Artistic and rhythmic gymnastics are two independent sub-disciplines within the sport of gymnastics, although only a small percentage of the population is aware of this fact. Even fewer people are aware of the distinctions that exist between these two forms of gymnastics.

What is Artistic Gymnastics?

artistic gymnastic scaled e1658653239205
European Championships of Artistic Gymnastics in Glasgow

Most of us like seeing our favorite gymnasts perform on uneven bars, parallel bars, vault, floor exercises, balancing beam, and so on, making this kind of gymnastics the most well-known type of sport. 

If you want to be considered an artistic gymnast, you need to have the ability to execute every piece of equipment that is used in this particular style of gymnastics. Because a gymnast must leap and tumble in the air and do somersaults, flexibility and strength are two of the most crucial conditions for participating in artistic gymnastic activities. 

Even highly skilled gymnasts can make it appear more like a dance performance; artistic gymnastics is more closely related to acrobatics.

What is Rhythmic Gymnastics?

rythmic gymnastic
Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics

Rhythmic gymnastics is a kind of gymnastics in which the exercises are done in time to music and use a wide variety of dynamic props. Some examples of these props are hoops, ribbons, balls, clubs, and so on. 

Exercises that demand flexibility, balance, and poise are performed by gymnasts, in addition to the acrobatic skills required for participating in any type of gymnastics. Rhythmic gymnastics are done on a floor, and gymnasts are not required to receive assistance from vaults, beams, or rings at any point throughout their performances.

Differences between Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics


The sport of artistic gymnastics is divided into separate events for boys and girls, with each category having its unique set of events. 

  • The girls compete in four different events: the balancing beam, the uneven bars, the vault, and the floor event, which is performed while music is playing. 
  • The boys compete in six different events, which include the high bar, vault, and floor routines much as the girls do, but without any music during the floor routine. They also compete in the pommel horse, rings, and parallel bars.

Rhythmic gymnastics are performed on a floor, and in most places, this sub-division of gymnastics is reserved exclusively for female gymnasts. However, a few nations are beginning to welcome male gymnasts into this particular sports discipline. The many competitions that take place here include the clubs, ribbon, ball, hoop, rope, and freehand, and they are all performed to some kind of music playing at all times. Because this style of gymnastics places emphasis on dancing and flexibility, tumbling moves other than cartwheels, rolls, walkovers, and similar maneuvers are not permitted.

On the other hand, artistic gymnastics calls for the gymnast to tumble as part of the floor routine. Even though there are still certain dance movements that are necessary as well, the remaining steps of the routine can be made up entirely of tumbling techniques as long as these dancing moves are included in the routine at some point.


When you compare the events of these two distinct types of gymnastics, you'll notice another difference: the props used for each event are different.  In artistic gymnastics, everything that is utilised, including the balance beam, bars, and anything else, are all stationary things that do not move. This includes the balancing beam itself. In contrast, every single one of the apparatuses that are used in rhythmic gymnastics must be able to be grasped in some way and controlled in some fashion.


Rhythmic gymnastics is distinguished from artistic gymnastics by the presence of individual and group competition formats, while artistic gymnastics solely utilises the individual format. Additionally, artistic gymnastics is distinguished from rhythmic gymnastics because competitors do not employ accessories but apparatus, while in rhythmic gymnastics, accessories are an essential part of the sport.


The competition tapestry varies in size according to the kind of gymnastics being performed; for example, in artistic gymnastics, it is 12 by 12, whereas, in rhythmic gymnastics, it is 13 by 13.


In rhythmic gymnastics, the difficulty, the aesthetic component, and the performance are all scored, while in artistic gymnastics, only the difficulty and the performance are scored. Rhythmic gymnastics is distinguished from artistic gymnastics by its three-part scoring system.

Comparison Chart: Artistic Vs Rhythmic Gymnastics

FactorsArtistic GymnasticsRhythmic Gymnastics
DivisionBoys and girlsSolely for girls
EventsDistinct eventsOn a floor

Similarities Between Artistic & Rhythmic Gymnastics

Both of these forms of gymnastics have been recognised at the international level as legitimate sports. Both are events that are performed at the Olympic level and are overseen by the FIG, which is the International Gymnastics Federation. These two types of athletic competition use a grading or leveling system that ranges from one to ten, with one being the simplest form and ten being the most challenging.


How Many Different Kinds Of Gymnastics Competitions Are There?

In artistic gymnastics, 14 different events can be competed in. In addition to the team competitions for men and women, there is also an individual all-around competition for each gender. This competition counts the gymnast's points from the apparatus they participate in. In addition, medals are given out for each of the six events in the men's apparatus competition and the four events in the women's apparatus competition.


If you have a lot of strength and power, you should consider participating in artistic gymnastics. This kind of gymnastics requires a lot of physical strength since it incorporates tough tumbling passes and propulsion on the vault.

Rhythmic gymnastics is a good option for you to consider if you have greater flexibility, elegance, and creative potential than other forms of gymnastics. If you are a male gymnast and are thinking about making this your career, you should concentrate most of your efforts on the artistic discipline since the technical aspect of the sport is not yet recognised by the Olympics.

Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
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