The Upcoming 2013 Gymnastics Rule Changes: What You Need to Know

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2013 gymnastics changesThere are a ton of changes coming up in 2013 for the sport of gymnastics: rule changes, routine changes, level changes. The changes have now all been completely released. You can find more official information here on the USA Gymnastics Website.

The Compulsory Routines are Changing

When:  June 10th 2013

The new compulsory routines will be in effect from the fall of 2013 through 2021. There is new music to go along with the new routines.  The elements in the routines are changing also, although the elements are similar to the previous routines. Judges and coaches will learn them over the summer. The first two opportunities to learn the new routines were at the USA Gymnastics National Compulsory Workshops.  For those interested (industry professionals) they will be held:

  • May 31st-June 2nd in Orlando, FL
  • June 7-9th in Reno, NV

After these two national workshops, the new routines are being disseminated on a regional and state level.

The first meets using the new routines and rules are usually in September, but can be as early as August.

Update 6/11:

The routines have been released and here are the new level requirements/the elements that make up the new compulsory routines:

The Gymnastics Levels are Changing

When: August 1st, 2013

The current gymnastics levels are changing. There will still be 10 gymnastics levels.  Previously there were 6 compulsory levels and 4 optional levels, now there will be 5 compulsory levels and 5 optional levels (head over here for an explanation of the difference between Compulsory and Optional levels). Essentially levels 1 and 2 were condensed and an extra “entry” optional level was added.

Here is a basic chart of the new gymnastics level structure:

Current (and soon to be Old) Gymnastics Level New Gymnastics Level
Levels 1 & 2 (Compulsory) Level 1 (Compulsory)
Level 3 (Compulsory) Level 2 (Compulsory)
Level 4 (Compulsory) Level 3 (Compulsory)
Level 5 (Compulsory) Level 4 (Compulsory)
Level 6 (Compulsory) Level 5 (Compulsory)
NO COMPARABLE OLD LEVEL. Level 6 (Optional) NEW “Beginner Optional”
Level 7 (Optional) Level 7 (Optional)
Level 8 (Optional) Level 8 (Optional)
Level 9  (Optional) Level 9 (Optional)
Level 10 (Optional) Level 10 (Optional)


The Optional Level Requirements are Changing

When: August 1st, 2013

The new optional level requirements (here is an example of the old level 7 requirements) will be in effect starting in August of 2013. The official rule book (the JO Code of Points) for the new optional gymnastics levels 6-10 has been released.

Update 6/11:

Here are the new optional level requirements:

The Xcel Program, called the Prep Optional Program in some states, is becoming a national program in 2013. So where before the regions, and in some cases states, had come up with their own rules, now there will be a national set. The national rules have not been published yet.

As more information is released, I will keep you updated!


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21 comments… add one
  • Raquel Anthony July 25, 2013, 2:00 pm

    Was wondering if you could help me telling me where can I find a video of the new routines for USA Level 2.

    Thank you!

    • gymnasticshq July 27, 2013, 11:17 am

      Hi RA,

      You can buy the official DVD here–, it’s called the “Women’s JO Compulsory DVD” or you can look around on youtube for someone that has posted the new routines. But if you do find them on youtube you won’t know for sure they are accurate. Hope this helps.


  • Barbara July 26, 2013, 11:51 pm

    My daughter is the new level 8 this competition season and has a back handspring step out back tuck. Is this series allowed to be competed for her level?

    • gymnasticshq July 27, 2013, 11:05 am

      Hi Barbara,
      I’m assuming you are talking about Beam? This series would not be allowed because a back tuck is a “C” on beam and only “C” valued dance elements are allowed to be competed on beam.

    • gymnasticshq August 7, 2013, 12:06 pm

      Actually Barbara, let me correct my previous response. There is now a “restricted element” clause in the rules. Level 8 gymnasts are allowed 1 restricted element per routine so the back tuck could be her 1 restricted element. So, she could in fact compete this series. Sorry for the mis-answer before!

      • Barb August 7, 2013, 2:13 pm

        Okay, I follow you. Thank you so much for your help!

  • Payton July 27, 2013, 3:45 pm

    Hi! My daughter is going to move up (she was a 5 (now a four)) could she just go from 4 to 6 since all that is different between 5 and 6 is the routine? Thanks!

  • Sam August 1, 2013, 5:45 pm

    umm what are the skills for each level? im not sure what level im on everyone keeps telling me different things

  • Debbie August 8, 2013, 6:46 pm

    Can level 7 do yurchenkos or are they limited to front handsprings again?

    • gymnasticshq August 8, 2013, 6:54 pm

      Hi Debbie,
      Level 7s are limited to front handsprings and front handspring entry twisting vaults- like 1/2 on 1/1 off. At level 8 you can start doing round-off entry vaults.

  • Marcy Price September 13, 2013, 10:56 pm

    Is it possible to compete levels 4, 5, & 6 in one season / year?

  • Laura September 26, 2013, 7:52 pm

    Hi, my daughter is working to compete at level 8 this season. Can you tell me what tumbling passes are necessary in the floor routine? Is a one-and-a-half twist necessary or just a full? I’m also curious about forward tumbling. Any help would be appreciated!

    • gymnasticshq September 28, 2013, 10:27 am

      Hi Laura,
      In her floor routine she will need 1 tumbling pass with 2 saltos and 3 different saltos within the exercise. She also needs 4 different B value elements (which can be dance or acro, ideally a combination of both).

      A 1 and a ½ twist is a “D” and “D” elements are not allowed to be performed at level 8. A full is a “C” and would count as her one allowable “C” acro element.

      So, to answer your question a 1 and a ½ twist is not necessary, and not allowed. In terms of forward tumbling, a front pike is a “B” element, so that could be one of her saltos and one of her “B”s. Otherwise, she could do a front tuck, which is an “A’’, but would count as one of her saltos. She could choose to do a front tuck round-off backhandspring back tuck, or some similar tumbling pass to fulfill the tumbling pass with 2 saltos special requirement. And then if she did a round-off backhandspring full as her other tumbling pass she would fulfill both special requirements.

      I hope this is clear and helps. Absolutely let me know if you have any questions. I know it can be confusing.

  • Toufue January 24, 2014, 6:21 am


    my daughter is currently level3 competition and she’ll be 9 this year. but i was wondering , is she on the right track or should she be going to a more advanced gym to learn more. ive seen videos of young girls at the same age and some are really, really advanced or stronger. any input would be greatly appreciated.

    • gymnasticshq January 28, 2014, 5:03 pm


      Are there some girls at your daughters gym that are like the girls you see in videos, that are more advanced and stronger ? Or are most of the girls at your gym on your daughters level ? I would say if your gym does have girls that are more advanced, then maybe you could ask them what your daughter needs to do to get into that program. And if not, I would think it wouldn’t hurt to look at other gyms that maybe do have more advanced programs. I hope this helps, and let me know if you need more information.

      • toufue February 13, 2014, 1:53 pm

        okay. thanks. yeah the most advanced gymnast they have right now is the new level 6. its a pretty new gym,but they’ve done pretty well so far. Im just not sure they are pushing her harder to work harder to advance.

        i was really thinking about just moving to iowa and going to mr.chows gym. Would that be too much?

  • Elizabeth January 31, 2014, 8:18 am

    What are the rules for skipping levels? Can a gymnast compete a whole season as a 4 and then do one meet as a five and skip 6 and move on to 7?

    • gymnasticshq February 1, 2014, 12:49 pm

      Hi Elizabeth,
      You can’t skip levels after level 4 (You can skip levels 1-3). She would have to do one meet at level 6 in order to qualify out of it, in order to compete level 7.

      • Elizabeth February 4, 2014, 1:01 pm

        That’s what I thought and remember and I searched high and low for answers. I did find on usag’s website of rules and regulations that you can level out of 5 and skip 6 but no other levels. Basically what it said was the prerequisites for level seven are a level out score if 31 on level 5 or 6. I mentioned it to a friend and she said that it’s just for this year with the new changes but won’t be the case the following competitive years…. Didn’t see anything indicating that. Our gym just had 8 girls compete last fall as 4’s and they just did a meet as 5 and leveled out and they are skipping 6 and starting to train 7 for next spring.

        • gymnasticshq February 4, 2014, 1:31 pm

          Yes, things are different this year because of the new level structure. For more information on what levels you can compete in this particular year, here is the pdf from the USA Gymnastics website. The information you are looking for is on the last page.

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