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How to select rhythmic gymnastics apparatus correctly?

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

To create this post we interviews 5 experienced rhythmic gymnastics coaches and high category judges as well as former gymnasts competing at continental and worldwide championships under their countries' flags. There are Finnish and other countries champions among them and they have shared their knowledge with us.


It is very important for us to assist our customers with a choice of rhythmic gymnastics apparatus. The author of this post knows by herself that it is very challenging to choose half-shoes, apparatus, and other accessories for a small gymnast without having any experience in gymnastics :)

The task does not become easier after years as the number of apparatus and accessories is constantly growing together with a gymnast.


Getting back to the topic, we have conducted interviews with the best specialists in rhythmic gymnastics in Finland to find out how we can help our customers (as well as ourselves :)) and understand how exactly proper apparatus for rhythmic gymnastics should be chosen. It is worth mentioning that the assortment in the market is very broad and the goods are far from cheap.


Rhythmic gymnastics apparatus


We have interviewed such specialists as Marina Petrakova, a member of the Kazakhstan national team from 2006 to 2012, who was participated in rhythmic gymnastics worldwide championships three times and has been a champion of Asia three times. We also interviewed Jouki Tikkanen, who presented Finland in a worldwide championship in 2014 and has been a champion of Finland many times. There are other famous experienced coaches and high category judges among interviewees.


Marina Petrakova

Jouki Tikkanen


We have asked a bunch of questions related to each rhythmic gymnastics apparatus, collected the answers, analyzed those and now we are ready to share valuable info with you.


How to choose rhythmic gymnastics rope?

The leader of voting among specialists were Sasaki and Chacott ropes. It was mentioned that ropes are used mostly by small gymnasts competing in children's age categories. Older gymnasts mostly use ropes for warm-ups and it is not necessary to purchase expensive ropes made by Japanese manufacturers for them. Also, it is not really necessary to have FIG (Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique) approved sign at the rope.


Pastorelli rope


It is noted that only gymnasts having FIG-approved apparatus are allowed to participate in international-level competitions. How to find out if the apparatus is approved or not? There should be a sticker or laser engraving with the International Gymnastics Federation emblem on the apparatus.


FIG approved emblem


The emblem should be visible all the time during competitions and it is recommended to keep it safe from erasing or damaging. For example, it can be protected with transparent tape.


The specialists also mentioned that Italian manufacturer Pastorelli and small Russian manufacturer Jar-Ptitsa are producing quite good ropes as well.



Jar-Ptitsa and Pastorelli ropes


How to choose a rope of the correct size?


A rope is the first apparatus that a little gymnast brings with her to the training. The selection of a first rope can be challenging but our specialists' advice can help you. To measure the rope properly the gymnast has to stand on it and raise both ends till underarms. The ends of the rope should be tied in bundles and caught up. The edges should be scorched slightly not to slip.

Measuring the rope


There are two different sizes of ropes in a market, 2.5 m, and 3 m. Both should be shortened up to the appropriate length. We recommend purchasing a rope of 3 m in length as it is easier to shorten it without difficulties.


The rope should be bright-colored, gymnasts should like its color and it should suit the leotard and program of the gymnast. Ropes can be single-colored, multi-colored, they might have glitter thread or even might be decorated with rhinestones.

However, the specialists recommend selecting single-colored rope as it is softer than other ones and it is easier to tie it in a knot.

Multi-colored Sasaki and Chacott ropes


The rope should be stored in a special case to keep it clean and unentangled. Also, it is easier to find it in a backpack if it is in a case.


Pastorelli case for rope


How to choose rhythmic gymnastics hoop?

It is important to consider the size and flexibility of a hoop while choosing it. If the hoop is too hard, it might hurt while making rotations, especially around the neck.


The specialists recommend Italian manufacturers Pastorelli and Venturelli hoops. Venturelli apparatus are quite new on the market of rhythmic gymnastics goods (even though the brand is producing half-shoes for many years already) but the apparatus are used by many world-class gymnasts. For example, Averinas sisters are using Venturelli apparatus.


Dina Averina with Venturelli hoop


Also, specialists recommend Japanese hoops Sasaki and Chacott. The price category is different than Italian apparatus but the quality is absolutely on top.


To measure the hoop it should be placed next to the gymnast and its height should be 2-3 cm lower than the gymnast's belly button. Another edge should be placed on the floor.


Hoop measurement


The color of the hoop is not important as it should be taped anyways. The selection of tapes might impress. For example, Pastorelli, which is recommended by specialists, has a wide range of colors in neon, glitter, and metallic effect collections of tapes. The hoop can be taped with a few different tapes creating patterns and colorful effects.


Multi-colored hoop


Don't forget to leave the FIG-approved emblem visible!

We recommend protecting the hoop with transparent tape on top of the colored one. It will help to save colored tape and FIG emblem for longer.


Transparent tape for hoop


It is very important to keep the hoop in a special case! The hoop is traveling with the gymnast outside and can be easily damaged if it is not stored properly.


Pastorelli case for hoop


How to choose rhythmic gymnastics ball?

The most important feature of the ball is its adhesiveness. The ball should not slip from hands easily and it should also roll over the gymnast's body. The specialists recommend Sasaki and Chacott balls that have quite an adhesive surface and a large selection of colors.



The first ball of a small gymnast under 8 y.o. might be of 15 cm diameter, from 8 y.o. to 10 y.o. it is recommended to choose a 17 cm ball and after that, the gymnast can start using an 18,5 cm ball that is also suitable for adult gymnasts.

It is important to understand that the measurements are given as a guide only and should be considered individually for every gymnast. The gymnast should be able, however, to keep the ball steadily in her hands.


Sasaki ball with mat surface


The ball should be quite bright. It can either with mat surface or a glitter one. A few years ago also multi-colored balls were popular but they are constantly coming out of the trend.

Multi-colored Sasaki ball


We recommend investing in proper ball already from the very beginning of the practice. The gymnast will practice her movements properly only with the correct high-quality ball. It is also easier to sell forward high-quality apparatus, once it will be small for your gymnast.


Don't forget to treat your ball properly! It should be pumped with the correct ball pump only. It is especially important in Northern climate conditions as ball pressure changes often due to temperature changes. At the same time ball losses its form.

We recommend using professional ball pumps made especially for rhythmic gymnastics balls. Good ball pumps are presented by Sasaki and Chacott.



Sasaki and Chacott ball pumps


Also, smoother can be used to avoid damaging the ball while pumping.

Sasaki ball pump smoother


The ball must be kept in a special bag as its surface can be easily damaged and scratched. The bag also saves the ball in a way from temperature changes.


Pastorelli ball bag


How to choose rhythmic gymnastics clubs?

The specialists recommend choosing Chacott or Sasaki clubs. Sasaki produces only rubber clubs that are less injurious. Chacott clubs have only rubber heads and the handle is made of plastic that prevents them from bouncing as far as rubber clubs when falling.



It is recommended to purchase connectable clubs for a gymnast already at the beginning of practicing as many elements are made with connected clubs.

Connected clubs


The clubs are made in three different sizes. For gymnasts of 6-7 y.o. the clubs of 36 cm are suitable, from 8 y.o. to 12 y.o. 41 cm clubs are preferred, and older gymnasts might need 45 cm long clubs. As in the case with the balls, the sizes are given as guidance. The gymnast should try rotating the club to check if the size is proper. The club should not be touching her chin while rotating.


Club measurement


It is worth considering that rubber is becoming dirty easily while touching carpet or other surfaces, that's why it is not recommended to choose the clubs with light heads. In general, the selection of clubs' color depends on the gymnast's preference, leotard color, and the program.



It is advised to tape the smaller heads of clubs with plaster or special tape for clubs. This way clubs will not be slipping so much from hands during rotations.

Pastorelli clubs tape


Clubs need their own bag as other apparatus. They will stay cleaner with fewer scratches in the bag.

Pastorelli bag for clubs


How to choose rhythmic gymnastics ribbon?

The ribbon is the most beautiful and the most difficult apparatus in rhythmic gymnastics. The specialists mention that the most professional and nice-looking ribbons are made by Sasaki and Chacott.



The smallest gymnasts that just start trying the ribbon might need a 4 m long ribbon. Junior category gymnasts are using 5 m long ribbons and seniors are using 6 m long ribbons.


The specialists emphasized that multi-colored ribbons look more dramatic in motion but at the same time they mentioned that nowadays more and more single-colored ribbons are used at high-level competitions. A smaller pattern creates more effect of active movement.

Sasaki Kaleido ribbbon patterns


It is crucial to store the ribbon in a special case where it stays smooth and safe. These kinds of cases are available in Sasaki and Chacott assortments.


Sasaki and Chacott ribbon cases


How to choose rhythmic gymnastics stick?

All respondents agreed that the best rhythmic gymnastics sticks are produced by Sasaki. The sticks are ideal in flexibility and balance.


We would recommend considering single-colored sticks as glitter sticks are not so well balanced due to the additional weight of glitter. The best color for the stick is white but it is very important to have a different color of rubber handle. It can be for example black or red. It allows the gymnast to see the rubber part of the stick while catching it.


The smallest gymnast can start with 50 cm long sticks, from 8 y.o. to 12 y.o. 57 cm long sticks can be used, starting from 12 y.o. 60 cm will suit well. The sizes are only guidelines and will be individual for every gymnast.


The stick should be stored in a plastics case not to be bent or broken. Usually, the case and metallic clip are coming together with the stick. A metallic clip can be substituted with a knitted one as it is more flexible and comfortable. We recommend keeping at least one spare clip with you to change in case if it will be broken.


The rubber handle of the stick can be damaged or worn out. It can be changed then. Also, it can be changed if a color change is needed.


Pastorelli spare stick handle


What else should a rhythmic gymnast have in her bag?

We asked the specialists a few more additional questions not related straightly to apparatus but very important for gymnasts as well.


What does a gymnast need for her training apart from apparatus? As been already mentioned, cases and bags for apparatus are more than recommended. Also, half-shoes should be stored in their own bag.

Pastorelli half-shoes bag


A gymnast needs knee-protectors to decrease overloading and the risk of damage on her knees. Leg and back warmers are very much appreciated as they reduce the probability of distensions.


Tuloni knee-protectors, Sasaki back-warmer, Sasaki leg-warmers


Every gymnast will need a stretching band at some point. Pastorelli stretching band is recommended.


Pastorelli stretching band


Also, weights are needed for more efficient training. First, a pair of 250 g weights can be used, and later a pair of 500 g weights.


Pastorelli weights


We also asked what half-shoes the specialists would recommend. Two models of half-shoes were chosen almost solidly. They were Sasaki 147 and 144 (depending on leg form) and seamless half-shoes made by Spanish brand Dvillena Sensacion.



Half-socks were not that much recommended as foot sole is more overloaded than in suede half-shoes.


Half-socks


The specialists specified Sasaki gymnastics underwear as the best one due to its solidness, comfort, and reliability.