Gymnastics Levels

Here is an overview of the different women’s gymnastics levels in the USA Gymnastics Program. The main gymnastics levels, or program, is the Junior Olympic (abbreviated JO)  Program levels. There is another program run by USA gymnastics, the Xcel Program, with its own set of levels. These are two separate programs with two sets of levels. If you complete all JO levels, you move on to the Elite program. The Elite level is basically gymnastics’ version of going pro.

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Gymnastics Levels 1-3:

USA Gymnastics states that they created levels 1-3 to prepare gymnasts for competition. Most gymnasts don’t compete gymnastics levels 1-3, but there are routines that you could compete at this level. Many clubs have gymnasts in recreational classes while they learn these skills. Level 3 is not a required competitive level so there are no score requirements to move to level 4.

Gymnastics Level 4:

Level 4 is the first required competitive level.  So, to advance to level 5 from level 4 the gymnast must meet minimum standards and earn a minimum “mobility score”.  Level 4 is a compulsory level. This means that to compete this level, the gymnast must learn a specific routine for each event. At level 4 meets a gymnast is judged based on how well she does the skill, in addition to how well she performs the routine exactly how it is supposed to be done.  Learn more about the Level 4 Gymnastics Requirements.

Gymnastics Level 5:

Level 5 is also a compulsory level. Some gymnastics clubs choose not to stress compulsory gymnastics, and in general don’t compete in compulsory meets. Instead some clubs might choose to compete using the Xcel program. These are optional rules that can be used while the gymnast is learning levels 4-6 skills. However, before gymnasts compete in level 6, they must compete in at least one meet to pass levels 5 and 6. Learn more about the Level 5 Gymnastics Requirements

Xcel Program

The Xcel Program is a new national program this year (some states have been using it for several years, but it has just become nationally run with national rules) that runs alongside the JO (Junior Olympic) gymnastics program.  It is a separate, alternate program. You don’t need to score out of any of the JO levels in order to compete in the Xcel program, and it cannot be used to skip any of the JO program levels. The Xcel program is optional in nature (head over here to learn the difference between compulsory and optional). So, some gyms are choosing to compete and train the Xcel program instead of the compulsory levels. Then they have the gymnasts mobilize out of the compulsory levels before competing in the JO Level 6 entry Optional level.  (To mobilize means to compete the level at a meet with the only intent of getting a passing score to move to the next level. While gyms can choose to not actively train the JO Compulsory levels, gymnasts still need to earn a passing score before moving to the next level.) The Xcel Program is composed of divisions instead of levels.  The Xcel program also has scores that the gymnasts need to earn before being able to advance, but in addition JO scores can be used for entry into an Xcel program division. For the 2013-2014 season, gymnasts that have competed in the Xcel program previously may enter at any division that is appropriate for their skill level.

Xcel Program Divisions:

Bronze: The minimum age requirement for the Bronze division is 5 years old. (This means the gymnast must be 5 before she competes in her first meet.) The Bronze division is similar in skill requirements to the JO Program’s levels 1-2. Here is more information on the bronze routine requirements.

Silver: The minimum age requirement for the Silver division is 6 years old. (This means the gymnast must be 6 before she competes in her first meet.) The silver division is similar in skill requirements to the JO Program’s level 3. Here is more information on the silver routine requirements.

Gold: The minimum age requirement for the G0ld division is 7 years old. (This means the gymnast must be 6 before she competes in her first meet.) The silver division is similar in skill requirements to the JO Program’s level 4. The gymnast must score a 31 AA in Gold before advancing to the Platinum level or an 8.0 on an individual event to move forward as an Individual Event Specialist (IES). Here is more information on the gold routine requirements.

Platinum: The minimum age requirement for the Platinum division is 8 years old. (This means the gymnast must be 6 before she competes in her first meet.) The platinum division is similar in skill requirements to the JO program’s level 4-5.The gymnast must score a 31 AA in Platinum before advancing to the Diamond level or an 8.0 on an individual event to move forward as an Individual Event Specialist (IES). Here is more information on the platinum routine requirements.

Diamond: The minimum age requirement for the Diamond division is 9 years old. (This means the gymnast must be 6 before she competes in her first meet.) The diamond division is similar in skill requirements to the JO program’s levels 5-6.

 

Gymnastics Level 6:

Level 6 is the entry level for optional competition. Optional levels are levels where each gymnast has a different routine, so they aren’t judged on the specifics of the routine. They are instead judged based on the skills they perform and the overall level and performance of the routine. Optional levels have routine requirements for each event, so when the coach or choreographer is choreographing the routine, they will need to include these requirements or the gymnast will earn deductions.The emphasis in level 6 is on execution of basic optional skills. See the Level 6 Gymnastics Requirements.

Gymnastics Level 7:

Level 7 is a mix of both compulsory and optional.  In Level 7, it is a mix of compulsory and optional because the requirements are more specific but each gymnast still has a unique routine. The requirements are more specific in that for example,  instead of on floor saying that one of the tumbling passes needs a salto element, in level 7 the rules state that the gymnast must perform a back layout in one of her passes. Here are the Level 7 Gymnastics Requirements.

Gymnastics Levels 8-10:

Gymnastics levels 8-10 are optional levels. Each gymnast has a unique routine on each event, and she chooses which skills to use to fulfill the requirements. Level 10 is the last level in the JO program. Once a gymnast can perform all the skills required at level 10 she may choose to try out for the Elite program. The Elite program is similar to going “Pro” in other sports, because once in this program a gymnast can compete in Olympic Trials or other professional events. I hope the gymnastics levels make more sense now! Click here to subscribe to my mailing list for the gymnastics resources I use constantly and other gymnastics information delivered to your inbox :)

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