The aim of this research was double: the first was to demonstrate how prolonged activity over the years could develop the motor skills of each participant; the second aim was to provide the evidences between two similar sports such as rhythmic and artistic gymnastics.
In Cooper test, coxo-femoral mobility, and scapulo-humeral mobility, it is possible to observe how hours of training per week are closely related to the results obtained in the motor tests. Those results highlight the purpose of our study and demonstrate that training improves motor abilities. Good motor skills are considered important for children’s physical, social, and psychological development and may even be the foundation for an active lifestyle, since several studies have shown a positive association between good motor skills and higher levels of physical activity . Consequently, there is evidence of many health benefits to be gained from an improvement in motor skills .
A significant gap is present between the PG and the competitive athletes (RG and AG) for the average values of BMI and all field-based motor tests. Probably, the RG lowest values of BMI are responsible for obtained results; however, this needs to be confirmed in other analysis. Differences are present also for RG and AG because of the intrinsic difference of sport-specific stimulus and relative adaptations. RG athletes seem to be better than AG athletes in lower limb mobility tasks such as coxo-femural mobility and sit and reach test, while AG athletes are better than RG athletes in endurance, strength and power task, balance, and upper limb mobility. Only the speed seems to be very similar with only 0.05 s of difference in favour of the RG athletes.
These differences strictly depend on the physical adaptation of the athletes to the sport-specific training load. In fact, the artistic gymnastics aim is to develop exercises on the ground for competition lasting 1′30″ with diagonals made of continuous technical elements, which require aerobic resistance. In the rhythmic group, instead, the competition exercises are less dynamic, with considerable changes of rhythm . The balance performance, as well as the endurance, is better in AG athletes because of the similarity of the Flamingo test with sport-specific movements of artistic gymnastics. In fact, during the training on the beam, the AG athletes perform jumps and evolution on a surface 10 cm wide, unlike the RG athletes, who work on the entire surface of the ground . Moreover, the training of AG athletes provides a higher stimulus on strength and power with respect to the RG athletes training. In artistic gymnastics, there are various evolutions in flight and in a single jump with different rotations on the different body axes ; this can explain the higher performance in standstill long jump for the AG with respect to the RG. Sport-specific adaptations are present also for the RG. In fact, this group showed better values for lower limb and trunk mobility. This kind of training is fundamental in rhythmic gymnastics because it allows reaching high degrees of articular excursion, which is used to perform positions of fluency and fundamental elements in the composition of the competition exercises.
The data fundamentally depend on the type of training: in fact, the RG works more on joint mobility and muscle lengthening while the AG works on strength and power to perform specific technical gestures in difficult balance conditions. This is in line with results of Vicente-Rodriguez et al.  that found recreational artistic gymnastic participation is associated with delayed pubertal development, enhanced physical fitness, muscle mass, and bone density in prepubertal girls, eliciting a higher osteogenic stimulus than rhythmic gymnastics. The deterioration of growth potential in female artistic gymnastic is also observed in Georgopoulos et al. . According to these results, the training of artistic gymnastics should be based on exercises of both strength and endurance organized gradually by intensity, speed of execution, and number of repetitions and series, which affect the muscular districts in a balanced manner, left and right part, and upper and lower part of the body. Instead, the training of rhythmic gymnastics should be based on stretching and mobility according to the technical elements of the competition exercises, in order to achieve the best specific strength. One of the principal limitations of this study is the difference in terms of months of training expertise between the PG, RG, and AG groups. Although this value is not related to any performance in motor test, according to the multivariate regression, it should be better to compare in future studies some PG with the same time of training experience with respect to the competitive groups.
Finally, the data of this study confirm the previous literature on the centrality to train in a specific way in order to achieve a good physical condition; furthermore, it is clear the difference between the performances among the motor tests of the PG with respect to the two competitive groups RG and AG. The significant relationship between the amounts of hours of weekly training and the performance of some motor tests is a strong index of the necessity to improve physical training in order to achieve better physical results. In conclusion, we estimated the difference between the results achieved by the athletes of AG and RG highlighting strength, endurance, and balance more in the AG, and the articular mobility more in the RG.