The basic types of gymnastics are men's and women's artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline, acrobatic gymnastics, tumbling and group gymnastics, known in the United States as TeamGym. Artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline are the best known because they are Olympic sports. All types of gymnastics require strength, flexibility, balance, agility, control and gracefulness.

Artistic gymnastics is probably the sport most people think of when they hear the word "gymnastics" because of its prominence at the Summer Olympics. Men's artistic gymnastics is divided into six events: the high bar, the parallel bars, the pommel horse, the vault and the floor exercises. Women's artistic gymnastics consists of the balance beam, the uneven bars, the vault and the floor exercises.

Rhythmic gymnastics was added to the Summer Olympics in 1984 and is performed by women. Rhythmic gymnastics events add elements of dance and manipulation of a ball, clubs, a hoop, ribbons or a rope to the movements.

Trampoline was added to the Summer Olympics gymnastics competition in 2000. It involves flips and twists performed while jumping on a trampoline, with 10 required moves at the Olympics.

Acrobatic gymnastics is a team sport that combines gymnastics moves with aerobics and dance. Rather than using equipment, the teammates throw and manipulate one another as part of their gymnastics routines. Group gymnastics is similar to acrobatic gymnastics, but also includes vaulting and mini-trampoline work.

Tumbling, sometimes called power tumbling, moves artistic gymnastics moves on to a mat that is almost as bouncy as a trampoline. Power tumblers perform runs of several flips and twists in competition.