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Gymnastics levels help gymnasts become aware of where they are in their training and skills, and they also help guide gymnasts along with the skills they need to learn and master next. These levels also impact the competitive events that a gymnast may be involved in, as well.

In gymnastics, there are two specific programs:

  • The Junior Olympic (JO) Developmental Program – This program is for those gymnasts who want to be competitive and plan a future career in gymnastics. Most individuals in this program want to move on to competing at higher levels, and they may want to go pro or one day compete in gymnastics at the Olympics. The gymnastics levels of the JO program have strict requirements and require gymnasts to consistently improve their skills.
  • The Xcel Program – This program is an excellent choice for gymnasts who love the sport but who don’t plan to move on to competition at higher levels. It’s a great option for those who want to learn casually without the intensity of the JO program, or for individuals who find the sport at older ages. There are competitions in the Xcel Program, but they aren’t as serious or competitive as the competitions in the JO program.

JO Gymnastics Levels

Within the JO program there are 10 different levels. Gymnasts need to meet a specific group of requirements before they’re able to advance to the next level. These requirements are based upon four main events: floor routine, uneven bars, vault, and balance beam.

JO Gymnastics Levels 1-3

These first three gymnastics levels are not as competitive, but gymnasts can start to get an idea of what competition in gymnastics is like. They’re specifically for gymnasts just getting started who are building their foundational skills and are considered the developmental levels of gymnastics. The routines in these first three levels are compulsory. That means there are some standard routines every gymnast will need to master before they move to the next level.

JO Gymnastics Level 4

This level is the first required level of the JO program for gymnasts. Since the routines at this level are also compulsory, gymnasts don’t get the chance to perform any individualized routines while they’re at this level. Each gymnast performs the same routines on each event and the focus is on the performance ability of these skills. At this level, competitive opportunities go up to the USA Gymnastics State Championships.

JO Gymnastics Level 5

Gymnasts must score a minimum of a 34 AA at a meet in Level 4 before they’re able to move on to Level 5. This level is a compulsory level as well, with specific routines that must be mastered. For example, bar routines become more complex at this level, including a kip, long hang kip, as well as a long hang pullover. Like Level 4, competitive opportunities are available up to the USA Gymnastics State Championships.

JO Gymnastics Level 6

At Level 6, gymnasts finally get the chance to do optional routines, which is a big deal for many gymnasts. Along with meeting the Level 6 skills in their routine, they also need to include five A skills along with a B skill in the routines they do. However, it’s important to note that gymnasts have the opportunity to skip Level 6 with a high score at Level 5. Competitive opportunities at Level 6 include up to State and potentially Regional Championships.

JO Gymnastics Level 7

By Level 7, gymnasts are expected to include five A skills and a minimum of two B skills in the routines they perform competitively. For example, when doing the vault, gymnasts have the opportunity to choose between a round-off entry, front handspring, or quarter to half twist Tsuko. As with Level 6, at Level 7 it’s possible to compete at State and even possibly Regional Championships.

JO Gymnastics Levels 8-10

These are the most advanced levels that come with difficult competitions and the most challenging gymnastics skills. According to USA Gymnastics, these optional levels have additional competitive opportunities that go beyond the State Championships. At Level 8 it’s generally the Regional Championships, Level 9 usually ends at the Western or Eastern Championships, and those at Level 10 can compete at the National Championship level.

Of course, for those who don’t want to compete at this level, the Xcel program is another option. It includes the following gymnastics levels:

  • Bronze – Age requirement of 5 years of age. Skills compare to JO Levels 1-2.
  • Silver – Minimum age of 6 years old. Compares to JO Level 3.
  • Gold – Must be 7 years old. Compares to JO Level 4.
  • Platinum – Must be 8 years old. Compares to JO Levels 4-5.
  • Diamond – Minimum age requirement of 9 years old. Compares to JO Levels 6-7.

Beyond the JO Level 10, gymnastics then goes to the elite level, where gymnasts can compete in pro-level competitions or train to go on to the Olympics.

Many different gymnastics levels exist, and the path you and your child choose will depend on your child’s goals for the future. Xcel is an excellent option for kids who love gymnastics, but also want time to do other sports or activities, while the JO program can allow children to work through the levels to compete at high levels. No matter what path your little gymnast chooses, both options offer an excellent way to enjoy this exciting sport.

Enroll in Competitive Gymnastics Training Madison, WI

Lake City Twisters is proud to offer competitive gymnastics training in Madison, WI. We offer two competitive programs:

Our Junior Olympic Developmental Gymnastics Program is designed for advanced gymnasts who receive high level coaching in preparation for competition. The Xcel Gymnastics training is made for gymnasts who want to experience competitive gymnastics but still want time to pursue other interests. Reach out to us today to learn more about our competitive gymnastics programs in Madison, WI.