Glossary

Arch – This is a body position in which the hips are pushed forward & the back muscles are contracted.  An arch can be executed in an upright, inverted, or prone position & in almost any gymnastics skill.

Closed – This refers to the angles that any body part can create in gymnastics.  A closed angle is whenever a joint is bent, such as in a tuck, when the knees and hips are bent.  Those would both be closed angles.

Coupé – This is a dance term that is often used in gymnastics.  In a coupé, the gymnast stands on 1 foot while the other points &the toe lightly touches the inside ankle of the balancing leg.

Hollow – This is a body position that is the opposite of an arch.  In this position, the belly & chest are hollowed out, or pulled in & the hips are pulled forward.  The back of the gymnast’s waist appears rounded when done correctly.

Neutral – This refers to head position.  The head is neither down nor up, one side, nor the other.  Rather, the head is in that in-between stage of appearing to look straight ahead.

Open - This refers to the angles that any body part can create in gymnastics.  In contrast to a closed angle, an open body angle is any straight line that a joint creates during a skill.  An open angle is ideal for many gymnastics skills such as handstands, layouts, or tap swings.

Pike – This is a body position in which the hips are bent so the legs are in front of the gymnast.  A pike can be of varying degrees and can be executed in many gymnastics skills.

Relevé – This is a dance term that is often used in gymnastics.  In a relevé, the gymnast is standing on toes and has straight legs.

Set – the gymnast reaches up to where s/he wants to initiate his/her flip in the air.  If the set is not high enough, the flip will be quite low.  The set needs to be at the appropriate angle, as well.  For example, the set for a back layout is slightly back from a back tuck, yet the desired height is still the same.

               Spot – This term has 2 definitions:

1)  A coach’s assistance in a gymnast’s attempt to execute a gymnastics skill.  Spotting can range from form spotting, which is manipulating the gymnast’s body into a proper position to better execute a skill, to safety spotting, which is catching the gymnast in midair to prevent injury.

2)  The gymnast searches for a point on the opposite wall or floor before initiating a turn or rotation, then, while coming out of that rotation, searches for that spot again to help orient himself/herself in the air.

Straddle – This is a body position in which the gymnast’s legs are spread apart & straight.  In a straddle sit or jump, there is also a pike at the hips.  This position can be achieved throughout many skills.

Tuck – This is a body position in which the gymnast’s knees & hips are bent so that the knees are pulled in close to the chest.  This position can be achieved in many skills.