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Gymnastics Resources for Parents & Gymnasts

Gymnastics Terms

Common words you'll hear in the gym


When you pick up your child from the gym, you will here a lot of new terms from the coach or your child.  A lot of parents are confused with this terminology.  Here is a reference list so you can better understand the conversation!

The gymnast’s hips are pushed forward and the chest is open.
The gymnast lies on the floor on her back, her hands push off the floor next to her ears and her feet are next to her rear.  She pushes her hips upward, pushing with both arms and legs, to lift her head and body off the floor.  Ideally a bridge should have straight legs and shoulders pushed out over the hands.
The gymnast lies on her back and kicks her feet up to the ceiling as if trying to kick a hole in the roof while balancing on her shoulders.  Her body should be in a straight line from shoulders to toes, hands on the floor for balance.
The gymnast is upside down, balancing on her hands.  A good handstand is stretched tall, belly hollow, focus on hands.
The gymnast’s hips are turned under, legs are tight chest rounded inward.  
The gymnast is in a straight line, arms by the ears. A layout can be either hollow or arched.
The gymnast steps 1 foot forward, bending that knee slightly while the other remains straight.  Her arms should be by her ears so the line from the rear foot to the hands is straight.
Open & Closed Hips
Open hips are in a straight position, almost arching.  Closed hips are piked.
Open & Closed Shoulders
Open shoulders are when the gymnast’s arms are straight up over her ears, creating a straight line.  Closed shoulders are when the gymnast’s arms are low in front of her face or body.
The gymnast is bent at the hips.
Split, Front & Straddle
In a front split, the gymnast has 1 leg in front & the other in back. Her hips are kept as square as possible.  In a straddle split, legs are out to the side.  There should be a straight line from 1 foot to the other, traveling through her hips.

In a straddle a gymnast's legs are separated with neither leg being forward or backward of the other.

The gymnast’s knees are bent up toward the chest, feet pointing down.