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Fans Guide To Pommel Horse

If you have not already read Fans Guide to the Code of Points - please do so as it will make this all much clearer.



Pommel Horse is widely known as the most difficult event in Mens Gymnastics. It requires tremendous strength, flexibility, endurance, and most of all - practice. Pommel Horse requires more repetition than any other event to achieve perfection.


The 5 Element Groups that must be completed are:


  1. Single leg swings/scissors (generally when the gymnast is in the middle of the horse and swings back and forth in a pendulum motion with his legs spread widely)
  2. Circles and flairs with and/or without spindles and handstands
  3. Side and cross support travels (Generally filled by a gymnast crossing the length of the horse in one continuous motion)
  4. Kehrswings, wendeswings, flops and combined elements (those are some confusing words. This requirement is most often fulfilled by athletes swinging around on 1 pommel - keep an eye out.)
  5. A dismount



Common Deductions:

  • Not enough leg separation and whole body amplitude on scissor elements
  • "Skewing" the body angle when travelling across the horse (when travelling the length of the horse, the gymnasts should continue facing the direction of travel...deviation = deduction)



Here is a sample routine from 2007 World Pommel Horse Champion Xiao Qin (as perfect as it gets)




Notable Skills on PH performed under the 2004-2008 Code of Points:

  • Wu. This is a traveling skill that has the value of and E, or .5 is added to the A-panel score for performing this skill. It is a travel that can be started with a swing where you face forward down the horse or have your back facing the rest of the horse, often called front loops or back loops. Then as the athlete travels they will do 270 degrees worth of turning to end in the opposite loop they began the skill in. This was performed by Xiao Qin as his fourth skill.
  • Flair Full Spindle. This is a D value skill and was also performed by Xiao Qin at the latter end of his routine. He faced sideways on the horse and swung with his leg in a straddle. He then turned 360 degrees while swinging over on of the pommels.
  • E Flop. This is when an athlete swings on one pommel and does essentially four circles on one pommel. Generally, two are similar to loops and the other two involve doing a half turn while swinging on the one pommel. Together, they combine to one skill with the value of E. Qin performed a flop as his third skill, but as opposed to doing the half turning elements, he did what is called a russian and turned on one pommel without letting his hands go behind his back. This is a similar turn to what you see in the Wu, but it was done on a single pommel.




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