Rhythmic vs Artistic Gymnastics: What’s the Difference

Have you ever seen a gymnastics competition and wondered what the difference is between rhythmic and artistic gymnastics? Both disciplines involve athletes performing stunts on various pieces of equipment, but there are some key differences. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the two types of gymnastics, namely artistic vs rhythmic gymnastics, and highlight the main differences between them. Let’s compare them!

Rhythmic gymnastics


Rhythmic gymnastics is a relatively new sport, having originated in the late 19th century. It gained popularity in the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s and has been an Olympic sport since 1984. Today, rhythmic gymnastics is enjoyed by athletes of all ages around the world. It is a popular spectator sport, especially at the Olympic Games.

If you want to learn more information about rhythmic gymnastics in United States- you can find it here.

What is rhythmic gymnastics

Women’s rhythmic gymnastics is a sport that combines aspects of ballet, acrobatics, and artistic expression. It is often described as “the art of movement” or “the ballet of Gymnastics”. It’s is both an individual and group sport. Individuals compete in national championships as well as international competitions such as the Olympic Games. Teams typically consist of 5 gymnasts who perform together in groups of 2-5.

The sport requires a great deal of athleticism, flexibility, and coordination. Gymnasts must be able to execute complicated maneuvers accompanied by music while maintaining control and dancing with gymnastics apparatus. 

Rhythmic gymnastics apparatus

The object of the sport is to use one or more gymnastics apparatus used to perform the routine – hoops, balls, ribbons, ropes, or clubs – while completing various required elements such as leaps, turns, and balances. 

  • The routines are set to music and performed on a floor measuring 13 x 13 meters.
  • The ball is a round object that is usually made of synthetic material. It has a diameter of 18-20 cm and weighs 400-450 grams. The ball is used to perform various tricks and movements, such as spins, throws, and catches. 
  • The hoop is a circular object that is usually made of plastic. It has a diameter of 80-90 cm and weighs 300 grams. The hoop is used to perform various tricks and movements, such as spins, throws, and catches. 
  • The clubs are two cylindrical objects that are usually made of plastic. They have a length of 44-46 cm and weigh 150 grams. The clubs are used to perform various tricks and movements, such as spins, throws, and catches. 
  • The ribbon is a long strip of cloth that is usually made of satin or silk. It has a length of 4-6 meters and a width of 4-6 cm. The ribbon is used to perform various tricks and movements, such as spins, throws, and catches.

Artistic gymnastics


Olympic artistic gymnastics first became popular in the late 19th century, when it was introduced as a way to keep young women fit and healthy. Women began competing in gymnastics at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Since then, the sport has become increasingly popular and competitive. It is now one of the most watched events at the Olympic Games.

What is artistic gymnastics

Women artistic gymnastics is a sport in which women compete on various apparatuses, including the balance beam, floor exercise, and uneven bars. Gymnasts must perform a wide variety of skills, including tumbling, jumps, saltos, vaulting, and swinging, in order to score points. The sport requires strength, flexibility, coordination, and grace.

Women’s artistic gymnastics is a thrilling and exciting sport to watch. It requires immense skill and athleticism, and always leaves audiences on the edge of their seats. Some of the most famous gymnasts in history include Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, and Simone Biles. These athletes have inspired millions of people around the world with their amazing skills and dedication to the sport.

There are team and individual competitions, as well as for men and women. Let’s learn more about the apparatuses.

Artistic gymnastics apparatus

There are six artistic gymnastics apparatuses used in men’s competitions: floor, pommel horse, rings, horizontal bars, parallel bars, and vault. Women compete on floor, vault, uneven bars, and balance beam. 

  • The floor exercise is performed on a padded mat and consists of acrobatic and tumbling elements. 
  • The pommel horse is a leather-covered apparatus that resembles a horse without stirrups. It is used by male gymnasts only. 
  • The rings are two circular pieces of equipment suspended from a metal frame. They are used by male gymnasts only. 
  • The vault is an apparatus that female gymnasts use to launch themselves into the air and perform various acrobatic maneuvers. 
  • The uneven bars consist of two unequal pieces of equipment, which are set at different heights. Gymnasts must be able to swing from one bar to the other, as well as perform various stunts and tricks. 
  • The horizontal bar is a single piece of equipment that is set at a certain height. Gymnasts must be able to swing from one end of the bar to the other, as well as perform various stunts and tricks. 
  • The balance beam is a narrow piece of equipment that is set at a certain height off the ground. Gymnasts must be able to walk or perform various stunts and tricks on the beam without falling off. 
  • The parallel bars are two pieces of equipment that are set at the same height. Gymnasts must be able to swing from one bar to the other, as well as perform various stunts and tricks.

What’s The Difference Between Rhythmic and Artistic Gymnastics

Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport that combines elements of ballet, acrobatics, and gymnastics. It is often performed to music and involves the use of ribbons, hoops, balls, ropes, and other apparatus.

Artistic gymnastics is a sport that combines strength, flexibility, and power. Athletes perform flips, twists, and other acrobatic maneuvers on various apparatus, such as the balance beam and bars. Gymnasts must have excellent coordination and control to execute these complicated maneuvers.

While both sports require athletes to be strong, flexible, and coordinated, rhythmic gymnastics places a greater emphasis on gracefulness and artistry, while artistic gymnastics emphasizes power and athleticism. Artistic gymnastics is definitely more dangerous, as you’re performing extremely difficult skills on hard surfaces or high up in the air.


The biggest distinction is that rhythmic gymnasts use apparatus such as balls, ribbons, hoops, and clubs to create their routines, while artistic gymnasts perform on a bare stage with only gravity to assist them. 

Aside from that, rhythmic gymnasts typically have more dance experience and are often more coordinated than their artistic counterparts. But in the end, it all comes down to personal preference – some people prefer the gracefulness of rhythmic gymnastics while others appreciate the daring tricks of artistic gymnastics.

About the author


Trevor 'TrevStone' Uren founded Pro Sports Extra in 2011 at the age of 13. He's hosted a podcast since 14 years old and continues to grow each month! He's currently 24 years old and has interviewed hundreds of professional athletes, business owners, and others who are shining online! Uren has built Pro Sports Extra to over 5M monthly visitors.