Rules for Gymnastics Floor Work

portrait of young gymnasts competing in the stadium

Both men’s and women’s gymnastics include floor exercise events. There are some key differences, however. For example, women’s floor routines are done to music, while men’s routines are done without music. But in general, the rules for gymnastics floor work are similar. A woman’s floor exercise routine may not exceed 90 seconds, while a man’s routine must be between 60 and 70 seconds.

The Basics

A woman’s floor exercise routine may not exceed 90 seconds. The absence of music or the use of music with spoken or sung words will cost a gymnast a 1-point deduction. A gymnast who steps outside the boundary line of the floor exercise area with one hand or foot will lose 0.1 point. Stepping outside the line with two hands or feet or landing with both feet on the line means a 0.3-point deduction. A gymnast who lands completely outside the lines with both feet will cost 0.5 point. A floor routine must contain the following components: a dance passage with at least two different leaps or hops; one acrobatic line with two different saltos, which are flips or rolls; a forward, sideways or backward salto; a salto with a double somersault and a salto with a 360-degree twist; and a dismount.

Other Point Deductions

Gymnastics rules are very specific about floor work elements that must be done a certain way, otherwise points or a percentage of a point must be deducted. Since a perfect score is 10 and not generally achieved by any but the most spectacular of floor artists, there's a lot of room for a gymnast to achieve or lose points. For example, when a gymnast does a leap and goes into a split, if her legs are not parallel to the ground, 0.1 point must be deducted.

Balance Requirements

Gymnasts who lose their balance upon landing during floor work can lose up to 0.3 point, depending on the extent of the misstep. A slight step or hop upon landing will cost a gymnast 0.1 point, while a large step or hop, or touching the floor with one or two hands will mean a 0.3-point deduction. Needing one or two hands for support on the floor will cost the gymnast 0.5 point.

Rules of the Floor

The floor exercise area is a square with 12 meter sides, and major competitions must provide a springboard surface. Two judges are assigned to watch the boundary lines, while three or more judges are used to score the gymnasts on their routines. And in men’s events, a male gymnast must use all four corners of the square.