Many components work together to make a gymnastic composition successful. An element is the shortest gymnastic exercise that is complete ((Jastrjembskaia, Titov 1999 pg 4). Each element consists of different movements of some of the various body parts (movements may be with or without apparatus). A movement is change in the orientation or position of the whole body or one of its parts. In a competition, judges judge each element according to some characteristics. These characteristics include originality, degree of difficulty, virtuosity of performance and mastery
Each element technique has its own basis which includes the movements of the exercise and which distinguish an element from other elements (Jastrjembskaia, Titov 1999 pg 4). The basis of an element technique develops from independent preparatory, main and finishing phases. In the preparatory phase, all the body movements of the technique are involved in preparing a way for the main phase. For instance, a gymnast needs a preparatory phase to attain good speed or rotary motion to throw an apparatus. The main phase of the element includes all the movements performed according to the objective of the element (Jastrjembskaia, Titov 1999 pg 6). For instance if a gymnast is about to perform jump or leap the main objective is the gymnast's flight. If a gymnast is about to throw an apparatus then the main objective is the apparatus's flight. In finishing phase, a gymnast completes the objective he started in the main phase. The gymnast also changes his direction or speed of motion in this phase. For instance, in order to land from a leap, a gymnast in finishing phase stops his momentum and speed that he needed to make the leap.
Spondylolisthesis among Gymnasts
Young female gymnasts engaged in training and practice all year round place excessive demand on their back all year round. In a study, on one hundred female gymnasts, incidence of pars intercularis defect was four times higher than the incidence of 2.3% reported in general female Caucasian population (Jackson, Wiltse and Cirincione, 1976, pg 68). In another study young female Caucasian volunteers participated that represented their different teams in gymnastic competition from national to international levels (Jackson, Wiltse and Cirincione, 1976, pg 68). In the study, a questionnaire answered by each girl listed her height, weight, hours of practice per week and years in competition. In this study, eleven of one hundred females evaluated had bilateral L5 intercularis defects (Jackson, Wiltse and Cirincione, 1976, pg 68) Six of these had first-degree spondylolisthesis of L5 on S1. Eighty-nine had no pars intercularis defect. Of these eighty-nine girls, nineteen had an episode of back pain signinificant enough to interfere with their training. In the group of girls with spondylolisthesis, six of the eleven had prior back pain (Jackson, Wiltse and Cirincione, 1976, pg 68) . The girls with pars defects described their pain as dull aching and cramping. It was persistent and usually not related to specific injury but was aggravated markedly by activities like hyperextension (Jackson, Wilt