From Fitness to Competitive Sport
Aerobic has not only been a great form of physical training for the general public since the end of the 1980’s, but also a top-level competitive sport.
Aerobic Gymnastics presents dynamic moves, strength, flexibility, co-ordination and musicality in a routine, lasting up to 1 minute 50 seconds (1’30’’ for all categories from 2013).
The different categories are: Individuals Men, Individuals Women’s, Mixed Pairs, Trios and Groups (of 6 gymnasts). The routine is performed on a 7 x 7 m area (floor – for individuals), 10 x 10 m for the Mixed Pairs, the Trios and the Groups. In 2011, the FIG decided to include Aerobic Dance and Aerobic Step in the World Championships programme, since Sofia in 2012.
Aerobic Gymnastics is the ability to perform continuous complex and high intensity movement patterns to music, which originate from traditional aerobic exercises: the routine must demonstrate continuous movement, flexibility, strength and the utilisation of the seven Aerobic basic steps, with perfectly executed all the movements including the difficulty elements.
The winning routine must show clean and balanced movements with perfect technique. The routine must include at least one element from the 4 element groups which present dynamic strength, static strength, jumps / leaps and flexibility / balance and may include a maximum of 10 elements (Individual) or 12 elements (MP, TR & GR) in total.
The competitor must also demonstrate combinations of aerobic movement patterns with arms and feet, including the seven basic aerobic steps: March, Jog, Skip, Knee Lift, Kick, Jack and Lunge.
The word aerobic literally means « with oxygen » or « in presence of oxygen ». Aerobic exercise is a form of exercise that utilizes oxygen to produce energy, which must last for more than 20 minutes if the participant is to achieve Target Heart Rate. This trains cardiovascular system (heart, lungs).
As the heart muscle becomes stronger and more efficient, a larger amount of blood can be pumped with each stroke. Fewer strokes are then required to rapidly transport oxygen to all parts of the body. An aerobically fit individual can work longer, more vigorously and achieve quicker recovery at the end of an aerobic session.
The International Gymnastic Federation (FIG) - the only recognised international body for Aerobic Gymnastics by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Sportaccord and the International World Games Association (IWGA) - included and developed this sports discipline in its General Gymnastics activities since the latter half of the 1980’s.
Universality of the discipline
In 1994, the FIG Congress decided to organize World Championships and began to structure Aerobic Gymnastics in a similar way to its other competitive sports disciplines to be one day an Olympic discipline.
The first Official World Championships were held 1995 in Paris (34 participating federations).
In 1997, the IWGA (International World Games Association) included Aerobic Gymnastics in the programme of the 5th World Games in Lahti, Finland. In 2011, the discipline is part of the Universiades programme in Shenzhen (CHN). In 2013, the discipline will be part of the Gymnasiades programme in Brasilia (BRA) with the Age Group 2.
It is difficult to determine the number of people practising Aerobic Gymnastics the world over, but in Brazil alone, half a million people participates. 74 nations of the 129 member federations of the FIG have affiliated Aerobic Gymnastics to their overall programme.
The seven basic aerobic steps