Women’s Gymnastics Events: Uneven Bars

The sport of Women’s Gymnastics is comprised of four competitive events: Vault, Bars, Beam, and Floor.

The event that requires the most upper body strength is the Uneven Bars. A typical bar routine must be constantly moving with excellent precision.

A typical set of uneven bars consists of two bars; a high bar (7-9 feet above the ground) and a low bar (4-6 feet above the ground). Each bar is about and inch and a half thick, circular in shape, and made of fiberglass with wood coating. They are also covered in chalk to help a gymnast’s grip on the bars. The bars are connected by a steel frame and can be adjusted to have 4-6 feet between the low bar and high bar. To change the bar’s distance, you would use sliders. These sliders are measured by numbers along the frame. “Fig (or F)” is known as the middle distance between the two bars. Numbers below four are used to move the bar set closer together than Fig. Numbers greater than five are used to have a larger distance between bars. “All the way out” or the farthest distance between the two bars is at seven. Once the desired setting is in place, cables are used to tighten the bars and hold them in place.

A compulsory bar routine is comprised of all the same elements. Gymnasts in levels 2-6 all perform the same elements in their bar routine and are given deductions based on if a skill was done incorrectly. Also, in any level of gymnastics, if a gymnast stops the flow of their bar routine they automatically get a .3 deduction for every stop. If a gymnast falls off the bar at anytime they are given a .5 deduction for each fall.

An optional (levels 7-10) or collegiate level bar routine is comprised of individualized elements that best suit each gymnast’s personal strengths. Depending on the gymnast’s level, a bar routine must have numerous bar changes (transitions from low bar to high bar or vise versa), casts to handstand position on low and high bar, release moves, pirouettes (changes of hand placement on bar), and an overall fluid routine. Optional and collegiate bar routines start out at a 10.0 and are deducted points for errors made during the routine. Higher level gymnasts are also able to attain bonus points. An Olympic level bar routine is done with similar elements but the scoring is slightly different, in which gymnast’s routine gets scored for difficulty and execution.