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What is difference between

Rhythmic Gymnastics (RG) and

Women’s Artistic Gymnastics (WAG)?

We are often asked what is the difference between Rhythmic gymnastics and Women’s artistic gymnastics, what is rhythmic gymnastics, what is artistic gymnastics. The paragraphs below are our attempt to distinguish them in very general terms. If you are a specialist, we hope you won’t judge us too harsh.


Rhythmic gymnastics uses dynamic apparatus i.e. which can be thrown or rotated and includes: rope, ball, hoop and ribbon. Women’s artistic gymnastics apparatus uses static apparatus which gymnasts use as base or support for their routines or combinations and includes floor, beam, bars and vault.

Tumbling or Acrobatics

Women’s artistic gymnastics has extremely complex tumbling or acrobatics. Rhythmic gymnastics acrobatic elements are more basic but are usually combined with throws and other difficulty elements.

Music, choreography and routines

Music is used for all rhythmic gymnastics routines, but artistic gymnastics uses music only for floor routines. All rhythmic gymnastics routines require to be choreographed. In artistic gymnastics only floor and beam are choreographed. Combinations are made or designed for bars and vault.


Rhythmic gymnastics requires more presentation and dance movements than women’s artistic gymnastics. Presentation is an important issue in both gymnastics, in both gymnastics poor presentation can be a cause of score deductions. However, only in rhythmic gymnastics artistic value is judged separately. At the same time, it is important to mention that drama is not permitted to be used in both gymnastics which makes an important difference between sport and art.


Rhythmic gymnastics has wider variety of dance elements including jumps, leaps, different turns and pirouettes than artistic gymnastics.

Strength, Flexibility and Co-ordination

In comparison to rhythmic gymnastics, artistic gymnastics requires a lot of arms, body legs strength and associated coordination for performing difficult tumbling/acrobatic elements. Rhythmic gymnastics generally requires less arm and body strength but greater level of flexibility. Rhythmic gymnasts are athletes with the highest stretching and flexibility characteristics. Both sports require high level of co-ordination but this co-ordination is specific to each sport.

Spatial awareness

SSpatial awareness is really important in both sports. In artistic gymnastics it takes a lot of skill to land on feet after hard tumbling element. In rhythmic gymnastics, gymnasts have to catch apparatus such as ball after complex combination of elements often without looking at it.

Gymnasts’ age and life in Sport

Artistic gymnasts and Rhythmic gymnasts usually start when they are 5 years old or older. Rhythmic gymnasts usually have longer career in sport and they reach top of their carrier later than artistic gymnasts, but it usually takes longer to prepare a rhythmic gymnast than an artistic gymnast.

Involvement in rhythmic gymnastics or women’s artistic gymnastics provides girls with healthy lifestyle, fitness, develops good posture, allows children to express themselves to music and dance.

As a rhythmic gymnastics club we love our sport and believe rhythmic gymnastics is the best sport for girls. Unlike any other sport, it encourages feminine body shape and excellent posture for life, and at the same time makes gymnasts fit, strong and healthy. If you are interested in commencement of rhythmic Gymnastics at Glen Iris Gymnastics please click here to contact Tatiana Loukianenko, Glen Iris Gymnastics Managing Director.

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