In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the details of the Level 4 gymnastics skills, breaking down each requirement for a clear understanding. Whether you’re a budding gymnast aiming to progress through the levels, a parent seeking insight into what your young athlete is learning, or a passionate enthusiast of the sport, we hope this guide will be a useful resource.
Let’s take a closer look at the requirements for level 4 gymnastics.
Table of Contents
- Level 4 Overview
- Level 4 Floor Routine
- Level 4 Beam Routine
- Level 4 Bar Routine
- Level 4 Vault Requirement
Level 4 Overview
Level 4 is the entry-level for girls wishing to progress through the USAG Women’s Development Program (WDP). The Development program was previously known as the Junior Olympic (JO) program. The previous levels 1 to 3 are not required to be competed so this level is a milestone for many young gymnasts.
Gymnasts must be at least 7 years old to attend a level 4 meet and have met the mobility and skill requirements set out by USAG. These requirements will normally be evaluated by coaches during in-club testing. Some clubs do attend sanctioned level 3 meets in order to meet these requirements but as mentioned level 3 is not mandatory for girls to compete at.
To attend a level 4 meet gymnasts will compete on all four events; Floor, Beam, Uneven Bars and Vault. Level 4 is a compulsory level meaning that all gymnasts perform the same routines. The judges will therefore be evaluating the execution of the same skills by all gymnasts and there is no opportunity to include more difficult skills to boost their scores.
In order to move up to level 5 girls will need to score a minimum of 34AA. AA stands for All Around and refers to the total score of all four events.
To put level 4 in context it’s worth checking out the requirements of the previous levels if you are not already familiar with them:
Level 4 Floor Routine
The level 4 floor routine is choreographed using the following skills:
- Back Walkover
- Front handspring step-out into Cartwheel into Back extension roll
- Straight jump with 180 degrees turn
- Split Leap with 120 degrees leg separation
- Straddle jump with 120 degrees split
- Round off two back handsprings
The skills are linked using set poses, turns and choreographed dance elements which should flow and be in time with the rhythm of the music. In order to score highly gymnasts will need to focus on:
- Executing the skills with correct body shaping and technique.
- Performing flexibility skills with the correct lines and posture
- Performing the whole routine with artistry and in time with the music
To impress the judges at compulsory levels it is about performing the routine dynamically and with style. The judges will see the same routine repeated throughout the day and it’s important to stand out from the crowd with a memorable performance otherwise the deductions will build up.
Level 4 Floor Music
The floor music at level 4 is the same for all gymnasts. It can be found on the USAG YouTube channel with both the whole version and smaller sections.
Level 4 Beam Routine
The level 4 Beam Routine must be performed with the following skills:
- Front Support Mount
- Stretch jump into Split jump with 120 degrees leg separation
- Horizontal Scale
- Straight leap 120 degrees leg separation
- Cartwheel dismount to a side handstand with ¼ turn
These major skills are linked by additional choreographed elements such as turns and poses which must be performed with style and elegance.
Many gymnasts will need to focus on their cartwheel at level 4 as it requires technique to be excellent or falls will happen! Often less confident gymnasts struggle to get their hips right over their heads in the cartwheel and it ends off the center line. To build confidence I recommend spending as much time as possible on a low-floor beam like the ones in this guide.
Level 4 Bar Routine
The bar routine at level 4 looks like this:
- Straddle or pike glide kip
- Cast to horizontal
- Back Hip Circle underswing
- Squat onto low bar, jump to high bar
- Long hang Kip
- Back Hip Circle
- Tap swing with 180 degrees turn dismount
The level 4 bar routine is moderately difficult with some key skills that are essential to get right if a gymnast is serious about progressing further through the levels.
Although not super, it’s fairly easy to spot the gymnasts who have already developed a good level of strength and conditioning by this stage. For example, a hollow dish shape is essential for the tap swings and it’s not the sort of shape that can be faked! The Kip and Back Hip Circle are two other skills that will highlight poor form really easily if the strength work is lacking.
Level 4 Vault Requirement
At level 4 the vault requirement is:
- Front Handspring
Now we have reached level 4 we see the first major milestone in gymnastics vaults – the Handspring. At level 4 we have moved past flat backs and other progressions and girls must perform the full vault onto feet.
Mastering the Handspring with great technique and awareness is vital as it leads to a whole family of more advanced Handspring vaults which include twisting and somersault additions eventually.
Focus on creating lots of power from the board and hitting the handstand phase with a completely extended and tight body shape.
How do you move from level 4 to 5 in gymnastics?
To move from level 4 to level 5 gymnasts must achieve a score of 34 in the All Around competition. All Around consists of scores from all four events; Floor, Beam, Bars and Vault. This score must be achieved at a USAG-sanctioned event.
Can you skip level 4 gymnastics?
No, all gymnasts must compete at level 4. The only level that can potentially be skipped is level 6.
How many levels does gymnastics go up to?
The Women’s Development Program (formerly JO) goes up to level 10. In addition, there is the Xcel Program which sits alongside the WDP and has its own separate division system.
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