Steps in Ribbon Exercise in Gymnastics


Ribbon routines are perhaps the most beautiful event in rhythmic gymnastics. To perform this exercise, a gymnast must have a tremendous amount of flexibility, strength, balance, coordination and artistry. According to USA Gymnastics, the steps in ribbon exercises consist of throws and catches as well as spiral, snake, swing, circle and figure-eight formations with the ribbon in the air.

Throws And Catches

  • One of the most spectacular steps in a rhythmic gymnastics ribbon routine is the the throw and catch. In throws and catches, a gymnast must throw the ribbon up high in the air and then catch it again. The ribbon can't hit the ground. Sometimes, she will perform forward rolls, turns, back or front walkovers and impressive leaps while the ribbon floats beautifully in the air. As she lands her skill or leap, she also catches the ribbon with one hand.


  • Spirals are another step central to a ribbon exercise. The gymnast moves her arm so that the ribbon takes the shape of a spiral, forming concentric circles in the air. Her arm should be straight, but her elbows shouldn't be locked, and the ribbon shouldn't touch the floor at any time. Like a throw and catch, a spiral can be done during a turn, leap or back or front walkover. The gymnast can also complete a spiral while on a flexibility pose, such as a scorpion. To perform a scorpion, she will stand on one leg, arch her back and bring the other leg up behind her so that the tips of her toes touch her head.


  • Ribbon routines must include snake formations. To complete a snake, the gymnast will move her arm so that the ribbon takes the shape of a squiggle -- or a snake -- in the air. Her grasping arm should be extended, not locked, to prevent injuries, and the ribbon should not hit the floor. As always, a skilled gymnast is allowed to make her snakes while on a flexibility pose, during a leap or other gymnastics skill like a turn or walkover.


  • Ribbon routines must include circles. To complete this step, a gymnast will swing her arm in a full circle perpendicular to the floor. While she does so, she should hold the ribbon, which will naturally create a round, circular formation in the air. Her arm should be extended but not locked. As always, the ribbon shouldn't touch the ground at any point in time. Circles can also be performed in the middle of leaps, turns, flexibility poses, rolls and walkovers.


  • The ribbon should also form swings in the air. Swings are always U-shaped. The gymnast must make sure that her grasping arm is extended throughout the swing but never locked, and the ribbon can't touch the ground. The gymnast can do her swings while she performs a roll, walkover, leap, turn or flexibility pose.


  • Finally, the last step a ribbon routine must include is a figure-eight. The gymnast must move her arm in a figure eight in the air so that the ribbon follows suit. Her arm should be extended but not locked. The ribbon can't touch the ground. The gymnast can complete this motion while performing a roll, walkover, turn, leap or flexibility pose.

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