Differences Between Gymnastics and Tumbling

Gymnastics and tumbling are popular activities, especially for young kids to get involved with. Parents enroll their children in gymnastics and tumbling classes early on. In fact, most successful gymnasts begin their training at a very young age-sometimes even as young as two or three years old.

There's a difference between gymnastics and tumbling, buy it's a line that is sometimes blurred. Before you sign your child up for gymnastics or tumbling, here's what you need to know to differentiate between the two.

You're probably aware of gymnastics; an event in the Olympics, gymnastics includes acrobatics on the gymnastics mat, beams, rings and bars. Tumbling is a discipline of gymnastics, a subdivision which is separate from gymnastics when it comes time for competition. While gymnastics involves a series of moves accompanied by music, tumbling involves floor movements only. However, tumbling moves are incorporated into gymnastics, such as the back-handspring. Tumbling is also a part of other sports such as cheerleading and diving.

Tumbling takes place on a track. Tumblers perform two to three passes of consecutive movements. Basic tumbling movements include flips, handsprings, cartwheels, roundoffs and Pikes, among others.

Like gymnastics, tumbling is overseen by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique. Unlike gymnastics, tumbling is not a regular part of the Olympics, though there have been tumbling demonstrations at two recent Olympics; 1996 and 2000. Tumbling is a part of the World Games.

There is another category of tumbling known as Power Tumbling. This is a combination of standard tumbling movements and trampolining (a sport which involves athletes performing acrobatics on a trampoline). Power tumbling also takes place on a track which is springy. Competitors concentrate on flips and twists as they make two to three passes on the track. It is also regulated by the Fédération Interationale de Gymnastique.

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