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FIG Apparatus - Explained and Top Tips !

What does FIG mean?

FIG is the International Federation of Gymnastics, this is the World Governing Body for all gymnastic sports.

The FIG have specific standards which apparatus must meet, before they approve and issue a certificate.

These certificates are valid for 2 years, so it is imperative you check the certificate is in date. 

In Britain, currently 2022-23, FIG approved apparatus is only required at British Championships / Level 5. Other competitions demand the apparatus meets the norms.  - EG the specified length/size, however the FIG approved certificate is not required. 


If in doubt check with your coach which apparatus you need. 


Ropes generally come in one size.


To measure to the correct length, open out the rope, stand your gymnast in the centre of the rope, and pull rope up to armpits.


The Rope should be knotted (tightly), and then cut to length (to armpits). 

To seal the cut ends, and burnt to seal it. This will stop the rope from fraying or unravelling.

For FIG Gymnasts the length of the rope is optional. The FIG recommend bright colours.

To measure your gymnast correctly for a hoop, measure the standing height of gymnast from floor to hip bone. This is the correct diameter for your gymnast to buy. 

Hoops are generally taped to add grip and longevity to the hoop. 

Gymnasts tape the hoop with hoop tape.

For FIG gymnasts the requirements are as follows:

Weight: 300g minimum

Diameter: 800-900mm Senior Gymnasts

                 700-900mm Junior Gymnasts


Balls come in a variety of sizes.

Young gymnasts should use a children's sized Ball, approximately 150mm in diameter.

Once gymnasts compete they use a Senior size Ball, 180-200mm diameter.

For FIG gymnasts the ball must weight 400g minimum, diameter 180-200mm.

Clubs should be measured by resting by the thumb joint up the arm, generally they should come approximately to the elbow joint. 


When younger gymnasts use clubs they can use children's sizes, which are also lighter for use with young wrist joints. 

Clubs can be rubber or plastic, preferably with the ability to join or link. Clubs can also be taped or decorated.

For FIG gymnasts the requirements are as follows:

Weight: 150g minimum

Diameter: 400-500mm Senior & Junior Gymnasts


Ribbons come in 3 sizes, 4m, 5m and 6m lengths.

Beginner gymnasts and those under 12 years old, use 4m length. With a children's stick. These sticks are shorter in length and proportional to the ribbon. 

Over 12's use a longer stick with the correct length ribbon.

For FIG gymnasts the Ribbon must follow these requirements:

Weight: 35g min. Senior Gymnasts, 30g min, Junior Gymnasts

Length: 6m Senior Gymnasts, 5m Junior Gymnasts

Width: 40-60mm


Length : 500-600mm

10mm at the thickest part (including grip) which can be  maximum length of 100mm up the stick. 


Cord, nylon thread or similar in moveable ring.

Length: 70mm Maximum.

Toe Shoes are essential for Rhythmic Gymnasts. They give the correct amount of grip to the carpet, whilst the gymnast is moving fast whilst at the same time enough 'slip' to be able to perform amazing pirouettes. 

Toe shoes come in a variety of different styles, colours and fabrics. Gymnasts chose to wear the ones that fit their feet and enhance their toe point to the maximum. Gymnasts usually wear toe shoes that match their skin tone.

To ensure you have the correct fit, but toe shoes according to the description and general shoe size. When standing as shown in the image, Toe Shoes should not gap at the back or sides. Elastics can be worn as shown in the image, or both around the heal. 

Look out for hard wearing toe shoes, as well as sofer 'mould' competition shoes to allow you to train and compete at your best.

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