Generally, the categories in gymnastics are grouped into levels ranging from 1 to 10. These levels are divided into beginners, intermediate, and advanced groups.
The beginners’ stage starts from levels 1 to 3. Level 4 passes off as intermediate, and the professional/advanced stages begin from level 5 to 10.
As expected, the advanced levels of gymnastics are way more competitive than the beginner levels. But the categorization doesn’t end there!
After level 10 in gymnastics, we have the Elite level. The Elite Stage is the highest level in gymnastics, and until a gymnast masters all 10 levels, they cannot proceed to the Elite level.
Reports have it that only 2% of all gymnasts in the world can compete at the Elite level.
This article will be show you the different levels in gymnastics, and the requirements for each level.
The Different Levels In Gymnastics
The JO Program (Junior Olympic Program) is the model for the gymnastics level. There are ten levels in the JO program. When a gymnast completes all the levels with mastery of each, they can move on to the Elite program.
There’s also the Xcel program, similar to the JO program but on a smaller level. The Xcel program has 5 divisions namely; gold, silver, bronze, platinum, and diamond.
However, there’s no direct mobility from Xcel levels into the JO levels, even if a gymnast has aced the Diamond stage in the Xcel division.
This is because, level 7 of the JO program is as rigorous as the highest division in the Xcel Program.
The Junior Olympic Program ensures that gymnasts undergo a more rigorous training program compared to the Xcel Program.
Hence, the JO Program remains the model for ascertaining the levels in gymnastics.
Gymnastics Level 1
Gymnastics Level 1 opens the first 3 levels of gymnastics. USA Gymnastics created Gymnastics level 1 to prepare gymnasts for competition.
Most gymnasts don’t compete at gymnastics level 1, or even gymnastics level 3. Nevertheless, there are routine activities beginner gymnasts can compete in at this stage.
To get admittance to level 1 gymnastics, a person must complete the following routines in the set order:
- Cartwheel – three-quarter handstand – split jump, all accompanied by a front and back roll.
- Stretch jump –Jump to front support mount on beam – 30-degree arabesque – three-quarter handstand cartwheel dismount – lever – stretch jump.
- For vault, stretch jump – kick up into handstand – fall to flat back
On the bars, perform a cast – pullover – back hip circle
- For dismount, complete a Sole Circle or Underswing.
Gymnastics Level 2
USA Gymnastics has revealed that they created Gymnastics Level 2 to prepare gymnasts for competition. Several clubs keep Level 1 Gymnasts in recreational classes to touch-up their skills.
Activities at this level are designed for new gymnasts. A gymnast in the beginner levels of gymnastics is usually younger, but it’s not the norm. Also, there are routines gymnasts can compete at this level, but it’s not mandatory in most cases.
- Round-off and backward roll
1 to 5 seconds handstand.
- Split leap and split jump with legs 60 degrees apart.
- 90-degree heel snap turn – bridge back kick-over.
- Jump to front support mount on beam.
- Arabesque on beam.
- Lever and stretch jump on the beam.
- Half-pivot spin – complex dismount – cartwheel to side handstand.
- For the bar, complete a cast–back hip circle – mill circle – single-leg basket swing– pullover – leg-cut.
- For dismount, perform a squat to pike sole-circle, or an under-swing.
Gymnastics Level 3
Gymnastics Level 3 is part of the beginner level created by USAG to prepare gymnasts for more vigorous competitions.
Level 3 does not pass off as a crucial competitive stage. As a result, there are no score requisites to proceed to level 4 from level 3.
At level 3, gymnasts should have been exposed to foundational skills. Also, there are standard routines that gymnasts must become proficient in before moving on to the next level.
- Must be 6 years or older.
- Complete a handstand – bridge kick-over – handstand forward roll – 90-degree split leap – split jump
Perform a backward roll – push up – back handspring.
- For beam, 90-degree split jump, and straight jump.
- Perform a handstand – dismount with the side handstand.
- Handstand with a flat back.
- For bars, complete a forward and backward hip circle – pull over – one-leg squat through bars.
- Complete a mill circle or a single-leg basket swing and dismount with an under-swing.
Gymnastics Level 4
The first required competitive level in gymnastics is level 4. Here, gymnasts are appraised based on how well they execute skills, and how accurately they perform the routines.
A gymnast must attain the minimum standards in level 4 and earn the least mobility score to advance to level 5.
Gymnastics Level 4 is mandatory, and to compete in the level, a gymnast must master the specific routines for each function.
- For floor routine, a straddle jump with a 120-degree split – front handspring landing both feet.
- Back walkover – back extension roll – back handspring.
- 120-degree split leap and a split jump on beam.
- For dismount, cartwheel – side handstand – quarter-turn dismount.
- For vault, front handspring landing on two feet.
- On bars, complete a pike glide kip or straddle.
- Perform a long hang kip – back hip circle – squat on – cast to horizontal.
Gymnastics Level 5
Like Gymnastics Level 4, Gymnastics Level 5 is also mandatory. Not all gymnastics clubs compete in mandatory meets. Gymnastics clubs in this category compete using the Xcel program.
The Xcel program embodies optional rules that gymnasts can adopt while learning the meet skills in levels 4 to 6.
Nonetheless, gymnasts must complete a minimum of one Meet within levels 4 and 5 to proceed to level 6.
- For floor routine, complete a split leap, full turn, and a front tuck.
- 150-degree straight leg leap on beam, and a split jump.
- Back walkover – sissonne – back extension roll – back handspring and step-out.
- For dismount, complete a cartwheel – side handstand – quarter run.
- For vault, perform a front handspring.
- For the bar, complete a kip – long hand kip – long hand pullover.
- Hip to above horizontal – cast to above horizontal – back stalder circle.
- Squat on – tap swings – fly-away dismount.
Gymnastics Level 6
This level of gymnastics is a crucial benchmark that paves the way for voluntary routines.
Gymnasts are required to master all the level 6 skills with a minimum of 5A and 1B skills in their routines.
However, if a gymnast was able to score up to 32AA at level 5, they can skip level 6.
- For floor routine, complete an acro series – aerial acro – salto – dance passage with jumps, leaps, and hops.
- On the beam, complete an acro series or an acro element.
- Complete a full turn on one foot – a jump or a leap with a 180-degree split.
- Dismount with any A-level element.
- Complete one bar change – cast to at least 45 degrees above horizontal – a full circle.
Gymnastics Level 7
Gymnasts are expected to have a minimum of 5A skills and 2B skills in their routines upon reaching level 7.
- For the floor routine, a front and back acro series.
- Dance passage including two skills – 180-degree split leap – full turn on one foot.
- For beam, acro series – acro flight element.
- A-ranked aerial or salto dismount.
- For bars, cast to handstand – 2 complete circling skills including one B skill.
- A-level salto dismount.
Gymnastics Level 8
At this level, a gymnast has to deal with advanced skills, harder competitions, and difficult challenges.
- Acro series consisting of several saltos.
- A minimum of 4 A and 4 B skills.
- The dance passage consists of jumps, leaps, and different hops.
- Acro series consists of one skill and another fight skill for the beam.
- A-level salto – aerial dismount – full turn on one foot.
- One bar change – B-level swing or circle – B-level skill with a flight or turn.
- A-level, Salto dismount.
Gymnastics Level 9
Every routine in gymnastics level 9 requires a minimum of 3 A skills, 4 B skills, and 1 C skill. As a result, a gymnast needs a minimum of 34 AA skills at level 8.
Floor requirements in level 9 tally with the floor requirements in level 8, however, the last Salto and full turn on one foot must be B level.
- At least 8 years old.
- Same beam with level 8 with the addition of aerial dismount or B-level salto.
- The dance sequence consists of 2 skills.
- Select vault from vault chart.
- Two bar changes for the bar routine with B-level and C-level fight capability.
- C-value salto dismount.
Gymnastics Level 10
As expected, gymnastics level 10 is much more challenging than the other levels. This level is the highest in the JO(Junior Olympic) Program.
To compete in this stage, a gymnast should have 34 AA at stage 9. This result should include three A, three B, and 2 C skills.
- Complete same floor routine with level 9 with the addition of a C-level salto.
- Similar beam with the addition of a C-level dismount.
- Vault to be chosen from level 19 vault chart.
- Similar bars with the addition of longitudinal-axis and C-level fight skills.
Gymnastics Elite Stage
At this level, a gymnast can compete in competitions. Gymnasts in the Elite stage can represent the United States in many international competitions including the Olympics.
You can think of the Elite stage as the equivalent of going pro in any other sport. This is because, once on the Elite stage, a gymnast can compete in world-standard competitions.
This guide has shown you the different gymnastics levels and age requirements.
In gymnastics, the Junior Olympics Program is designed for those who are passionate about the sport and wish to train for advanced competitions like the Olympics.
On the other hand, the Xcel program is designed for those who love the sport but have no serious interest in being a part of advanced competitions.
Nevertheless, both the JO and the Xcel Programs allow gymnasts to explore and enjoy the sport.
What level comes after level 10 gymnastics?
The Elite program comes after level 10 gymnastics. And this is after a gymnast has mastered all 10 levels in the Junior Olympic Program.
How many level 9 gymnasts are there?
In the U.S, we have about 4,223 gymnasts in the level 9 range.
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