The balance beam, also known as a beam in gymnastics circles, is a female’s event. The balance beam is one of the four events that are completed in competition under the Olympic order.
Traditional competition beams are raised approximately 4 feet above the ground. They measure 4 inches wide and 16 1/2 feet from end to end. Although the beam’s top is covered in padding, it still feels very hard to the touch.
Balance beams can also be designed to provide a little spring. The balance beam is considered the most difficult of the four events. However, many gymnasts consider it to be the most difficult. A few gymnasts are skilled enough to tackle the beam with grace, beauty, and the title of “Beam Queen.”
Exact Dimensions Of Balance Beams
The gymnastics beam, also known as the balance beam, is an important component of gymnastics. It should not surprise that the dimensions of this beam are clearly outlined.
This apparatus is so crucial that women’s artistic gymnastics has a whole event called the balance beam event. This event’s abbreviation is BB, which stands for the balance beam.
FIG controls the measurements of the balance beam. It regulates the length, width, and height, as well as other details. The height of the balance beam is specified at 125 cm. This is equivalent to 4.1 feet above the ground. Although this height is not required for competitions, it is necessary during training.
The balance beam’s length is 500cm, which is approximately 16 feet. Its width is 10cm which is actually 3.9inches. Although the balance beam is often described as being 4 feet wide, it is really just a fraction of that width.
There Have Been Many Changes in the Balance Beam Over the Years
This makes the beam a long, thin board that can be raised to the correct height by a stand at each end. These dimensions are the same for all types of gymnastics, including competitions in other nations.
There are many companies that sell balance beams. Every gym has a minimum of one. Many beams are also shorter than the ground and have different surfaces to allow young gymnasts to move around on the beam.
For beginning gymnasts, these beams can be placed directly on the ground. The only difference between the beam’s length and width is the distance. Because beginner gymnasts are less likely to slip off or fall off the beam, they are much less likely to be hurt.
The original balance beam, which was originally made for gymnastics and used in tandem with other elements of the sport, was made entirely of polished wooden beams. These were then covered with a material similar to the outside of a basketball.
This surface was too slippery for gymnasts, so beams such as these were eventually banned. The balance beams are now covered in leather or suede, which gives the gymnasts more grip.
They have also made a few changes to the balance beams in recent times to make it more springy to allow for the gymnast to do jumps on it during her routine.
Another difference with the balance beams is how the gymnasts actually use it. The first event featured more dance elements, dance poses than acrobatics and tumble.
The routines were mostly danced moves and leaps, even at the elite level. There were also handstands and walkovers. A back handspring on the balance beam was one of the most difficult skills an Olympic gymnast could do, even in the 1960s.
The beam’s difficulty changed significantly only in the 1970s. This was partly due to the fact that beams were made safer by having less slippery surfaces.
Rules and Deductions For the Balance Beam
There are many requirements for the balance beam event. This largely depends on the level of gymnasts performing the routine. Each level must have a specific acrobatic skill, turn, or dance skill. Some are limited, but the one that must be done at all levels is the split jump.
Failure to include the skill she is supposed to use will result in points being removed from the gymnast’s score. Deductions can also be made for errors, such as when they fail to include a skill or wave an arm to balance, or if the angle of their split leap is not right.
Points can also be deducted for dismounts, which are part of the routine. If the gymnast takes a step or is unable to balance when landing on the beam, points will be deducted.
The gymnast may also be eligible for a deduction if they are thrown off the beam. If they’re able, they can get back on the beam to finish their routine. However, they must do it within a time limit or they will not be allowed to. The time limit is 10 seconds. It starts when she touches the ground.
As long as the beam is recognized as a mount, a gymnast can use the springboard for mounting it. Although the routines can last for up to 90 seconds technically, it is not necessary that they be longer than this.
But, going beyond that time can result in a loss of points. It is also something that gymnasts could lose points for. Therefore, it is crucial to keep the time under 90 seconds. This is why the judges and the gymnast are able to always see the scoreboard. It will display the timer so that the gymnast knows how much time she still has.
If the gymnast is not able to see the clock in time, a warning alarm will sound 10 seconds before the 90-second mark is up. Important to remember that while the gymnast doesn’t have to land within 90 seconds, she must have left the balance beam.
You can either do the routine barefoot or with gymnastic shoes. However, many gymnasts prefer to use chalk for grip. If the gymnast requires lines to guide her through her routine, she can use chalk to mark them on the beam.
A coach can assist beginner gymnasts by helping them spot difficult mounts. The coach must also remove the springboard from the beam after the mount has been completed so it doesn’t get in the way.
It is possible for coaches to spot the more difficult skills at the beginning levels. After that point, any assistance is a deducted item. However, coaches who know that their gymnasts might fall during a routine will often be near the beam to catch them so they don’t get hurt.
If the gymnast falls, this is okay. The gymnast should use as much of the beam as possible for this event.
Balance Beam Skill Types
A gymnast can compete for many skills on the beam, depending on her level of competition. These are the most popular balance beam skills:
- Handstands, scales, and holds
- Acrobatic moves
It is important to keep in mind that gymnasts will become more skilled at balance beams as they progress. This will make it harder for them to meet competition requirements and increase their difficulty rating.
You can improve your beam skills by reading our article on the best home gymnastics beams.
Balance Beam Leads
A gymnast will balance on one foot and leap off the beam in a balance beam jump. The gymnast will do a split in the air and then land on one leg. To avoid deductions, the gymnast must do a 180-degree+ leap.
A gymnast can also perform other leaps on a beam, such as twisting leaps or switch leaps. Whatever type of leap a gymnast does, she must perform it gracefully. To perform a twisting leap, a gymnast must turn while she leaps. A switch leap requires that a gymnast stand on one leg and kick forward before returning to her split position.
Balance Beam Jumps
Balance beams jumping requires gymnasts not only to be skilled but also to land on their feet. In gymnastics competitions, the most popular jumps are sheep jumps and ring jumps. To increase the difficulty rating of a gymnast’s beam, many jumps and leaps are performed in succession.
Balance Beam Turns
A gymnast must perform at least one turn during a beam competition. The type of turn that a gymnast takes will depend on her abilities. It can be simple turns or more complicated turns that require leaps and jumps.
Judges will give a gymnast a higher difficulty rating if she completes more difficult turns. You can increase your difficulty rating by including jumps that are either in crouched or high-in the air.
Handstands, Scales, and Holds
Today’s gymnasts aren’t adding holds to their balance beam routines. They want to include as much skill and knowledge as possible. Handstands, scales, and holds eat up most of the 90 second time limit and add no difficulty. Scales and handstands are still popular in lower-level competitions.
Acrobatic Beam Movements
Acrobatic moves are a common feature of gymnastics beam competitions. Handsprings and walkovers are two of the most common beam acrobatic moves. These moves are performed in sequence by the most skilled gymnasts. They can also be combined with jumps, twists, and turns to increase difficulty.
Beam Routine Requirements
A beam routine requires that a gymnast uses the beam’s entire length (16 1/2 feet). A beam routine may last for up to 90 seconds. If the routine exceeds this time limit, deductions will be made.
Any gymnast who is competing on the beam must perform skills that are worth the judges’ most points. A gymnast must be able to perform the acrobatic skills on the beam with the same grace and ease as they do on the floor.
A gymnast will mount the beam to begin the competition. To finish the dismount, she will need to get off the ground. The most important thing for a gymnast to remember when dismounting the beam is to land the landing. A gymnast must place her feet together on the balance beams before she can dismount it.
What is a regulation size balance beam?
A regulation balance beam is 16.5 feet long by 4 inches (10.2cm) wide and stands 4 feet (1.2m) above the floor. This beam size is available if you purchase beams that are this long and follow the instructions.
What is a balance beam covered with?
Beams are typically covered with leather-like material and have a width of only four inches.