Common Balance Beam Skills

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Gymnasts perform routines on a four-inch wide solid beam in the balancing beam component of women’s artistic gymnastics. They must perform with the same grace and precision as if they were on the dance floor.

On the balancing beam, many of the same manoeuvres that are employed on the floor are also used. On the balance beam, some moves are highlighted in particular:

  • Walkovers on the front and back
  • Handsprings in the front and rear
  • Leaps in half

Saltos are motions that require the entire body to rotate around an imaginary axis. Especially amazing beam saltos include aerial walkovers and aerial cartwheels. A double salto and triple salto are very difficult to complete, but if done correctly, can result in a higher score.

Vaulting Techniques in Gymnastics

The vault contains fewer gymnastics manoeuvres than the floor and the beam. Nonetheless, in the discipline of women’s artistic gymnastics, the vault remains a crucial component in determining a gymnast’s overall score. Here are some important vault manoeuvres:

A vault handspring features a forward flip, similar to the front handspring on the floor and beam. A vault handspring entails a running leap, a vault flip into handstand position, and a push-off to finish the flip and land on your feet. One-and-a-half twists are common in handsprings.

Yurchenko: This move combines a roundoff onto a springboard, a back handspring from the springboard onto the vault, and a backflip off the vault onto the floor, and is named after the gymnast Natalia Yurchenko. Two or more twists are common in yurchenkos. Find out more about the Yurchenko here.
Amanar: This is a Yurchenko-style manoeuvre. Amanars begin with a roundoff into the springboard, a back handspring onto the vaulting platform, and two-and-a-half twists into a layout back salto off the table and into a landing. An Amanar is sometimes referred to as a Shewfelt in men’s gymnastics. (Notable gymnasts with the last names Amanar and Shewfelt are both noted for completing this technique.)
Tsukahara: This technique combines a half turn onto the vault with a backflip and is named after the gymnast Mitsuo Tsukahara. This technique is also known as a moon somersault or moon salto informally. Twists are common in Tsukaharas.


This manoeuvre is frequently known to as the “vault of death” after the gymnast Yelena Produnova. A front handspring onto the vaulting horse is followed by two tucked front somersaults off of it.
Oksana Chusovitina has two vaulting moves named after her, both of which are based on the Tsukahara. The first starts with a forward handspring onto the table, then a piked salto forward with full twist off. A handspring forward onto the table and a straight salto forward with one-and-a-half twists off make up the second Chusovitina (also known as a Rudi, after another gymnast).