Gymnastics - The Vault

The Gymnastic Vault

The vault is an artistic gymnastics discipline performed by men and women. The illustration above shows how the vaulting table, the springboard and the mats should be set up. Find more gymnastics and vaulting instructions at gymnastics main.


  • In a vaulting event, a gymnasts sprints down 25 meters, jumps from a springboard onto the vault (also called table or tongue) and pushes him/her-self off from his/her hands. The first half of the vault is shorter than the second half and can be straight (like a handspring), twisted (cartwheel) or backwards (back handspring onto the vault after a round-off to the springboard).
  • The faster you run, the higher you can jump. A small shoulder movement helps you catapult yourself even higher over the table.
  • On the other side of the vault, the gymnast performs multiple flips with multiple rotations etc.
  • The landing is supposed to be on both legs at the same time and if you have to make an extra step to balance out the landing, points are deducted.


  • The vault is one of the most dangerous disciplines of gymnastics. Please only practice this apparatus with supervision of a professional gymnastics coach.
    • In 1998 Sang Lan, a 17 year old world class gymnast from China was paralyzed after attempting a practice vault. (Goodwill Games 1998)
  • If one springboard is not enough, put two springboards over each other or jump from a trampoline.
  • Make sure you have enough landing mats and foam pieces to protect the landing area.
  • The gymnastic handstand should be part of your warm up for the vault.