Gymnastics Beam moves
Balance beam is a women's artistic gymnastics event. It's the third of four apparatus, competed after vault and uneven bars in Olympic order (vault, uneven bars, balance beam, floor). It is often simply called "beam".
The Balance Beam:
The balance beam is about 4 ft. high, 4 in. wide and 16 1/2 ft. long. It's slightly padded on top (though still feels hard to the touch), and has a slight spring to it as well.
Gymnasts sometimes use chalk to add additional traction to the beam, or to mark an important spot (i.e. where they start a dismount) on the beam.
Types of Balance Beam Skills:
There are many types of skills on balance beam, including leaps, jumps, turns, holds and acrobatic moves.
In a leap, the gymnast propels herself off of one foot, performs a split at some point in the air, and lands on one foot. The gymnast must hit a full split (180 degrees or more) to avoid deductions. More difficult leaps include ring leaps, twisting leaps (with a turn during the leap) and switch leaps, where the gymnast starts on one leg and kicks the other leg forward then back into the split position.
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Types of Competitive Gymnastics
Every gymnast must perform at least one turn - a skill in which the gymnast pirouettes on one foot at least 360 degrees around (a full turn). The more revolutions a gymnast does the more difficult it is, so double and triple turns are rated more highly than full turns. Gymnasts also can add to their difficulty score by performing turns with their free leg high in the air, or in a crouch position low to the beam.
Holds include scales and handstands. There are many fewer holds in beam routines today than in the past, simply because gymnasts don't have time to spare doing hold moves - they want to pack in as many skills as they can of high value, and these skills take up more time than others and are generally of lower value.
Acrobatic moves encompass a wide variety of skills, ranging from walkovers to handsprings and flips, performed forwards and backwards. High level gymnasts do acrobatic moves in combination, and some of the toughest combinations being done involve full-twisting back flips in the tucked or stretched position.