There are five pieces of equipment used in rhythmic gymnastics. FIG selects the apparatus used in competitions. FIG only sanctions four out of the five possible apparatuses.
An individual athlete only manipulates one apparatus at a time. Groups performing a routine together manipulate up to two apparatus during the routine. Because an athlete can exchange apparatus with a team member at any time through the routine.
The gymnast creates technical figures with one or both hands using a rope, which is taut or loose. Therefore, the relationship between the gymnast and apparatus is more explosive then in other cases. As a result, the rope often appears as a serpent-like attack. It seems like it is seizing and winding around the gymnast. Yet, suppleness and agility tinged with elegance always wins out in the end.
The hoop defines the space. The gymnast uses the hoop to the utmost by moving within the circle formed. Handling the hoop requires frequent changes of the grip and good movement coordination. So, the hoop favors rolls, passages, rotations, and walkovers.
The ball is the only apparatus where the gymnast cannot grip the apparatus. This requires a more sensuous relationship between the body and the apparatus. The ball moves in perfect harmony with the body. The result is spectacular throws. As a result, the control and precision in the catches are the dynamic elements of the ball.
The gymnast uses clubs to execute mills, rolls, twists, and throws. Therefore, exercises with the clubs need a developed sense of rhythm, psychomotor coordination, and precision. So, the clubs are particularly suited to ambidextrous gymnasts.
The ribbon is long, light, and thrown in all directions. Its function is to create designs in space. As a result, the gymnast creates figures of many different sizes. The gymnast executes these figures at varying rhythms. Because of its weight, the ribbon flies through air to make images and shapes of every kind. So, snakes, spirals, and throws are essentials of the ribbon’s flight.