The New USA Gymnastics Compulsories

USA Gymnastics has established a new set of Compulsory routines for the next eight years, 2005 – 2013. This is of interest to young gymnasts who are interested in competition and making their gymnastics team, parents of young gymnasts and Compulsory coaches. Let’s take a look at the new routines as compared to the old routines to get a perspective on Compulsory trends.

New Remarkably Similar to Old

The new Compulsory routines are remarkably similar in terms of major skill elements to the Compulsories routines in effect for the last eight years. Approximately 85% of the major skill elements are the same as the old Compulsory routines, when you look at all three levels.

Level 4 Easier

USAG’s entry level of formal competition, Level 4, has been watered down (e.g. no kip) to allow for even more low level participation and to help increase the number of USAG gymnast memberships and meet competitors. Another example of the routines being easier is the beam routine, which has lowered handstand requirements compared to the previous Level 4 routine.

Easier to Make the Team

Thus, it should be easier for those of you who want to be able to make your gymnastics team to master the skills needed for Level 4 competition. You will have an easier time and will be able to learn the necessary skills for Level 4 more quickly, giving you a better chance to make the team. If you want to know what to work on, check out our e-Book Secrets to Level 4 Gymnastics.

Level 5 Almost the Same. Level 6 Close to Same.

Level 5 has virtually the same skill elements as last year’s routines. Level 6 has a few new skill elements on floor (e.g. front tuck) and beam (e.g. back extension roll). Both levels have virtually the same bar routines as the previous Compulsory cycle.

New Floor and Beam Routines

All of the floor and beam routines at every level are different, even if the major elements in the routine are the same or similar. The minor elements in the routine are where the differences appear. And fortunately there is new music for all of the Compulsory floor routines. The music has different “themes” for each level. The new Compulsory music themes are:

  • Level 4 – “Salsa/Reggae,”
  • Level 5 – “Rock and Roll/Blues,”
  • Level 6 – “Spanish/Lyrical.”

Still the Handspring Vault

Vaulting is the same for all levels as last year staying with the handspring vault as the basic vault for all the Compulsory levels.

Simplified Deductions

All the Compulsory levels have simplified deductions, which will not affect training very much. It is most likely designed to make it easier to recruit and train judges for the lower Compulsory levels. There are still more than twice as many deductions as the routines are worth, so scoring during the next few years likely won’t be any different.

Expanded Participation in Compulsory Program Likely

Since the routines were not significantly changed, USA Gymnastics must have been relatively satisfied with the growth in participation in the Compulsory levels. They simplified the Level 4 routines to even further expand the number of potential competitive gymnasts. They left most of the routine’s elements similar allowing coaches and judges to be able to draw more easily on their previous experience when working with and judging the new routines.


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