Each level in girls gymnastics includes a set of skills and requirements that gymnasts must master before advancing to the next level. Levels 1 to 4 are preparatory levels that focus on building flexibility, strength and skill, while level 5 is considered a competitive level in which gymnasts compete using compulsory routines.Vault, floor, uneven bars and balance beam each have a set of skills for level 5 gymnasts.
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The level 5 vault requirement is a front handspring over the vault. The gymnast runs to the springboard, jumps on it with both feet and performs a front handspring over the vault with hands landing on the apparatus to initiate the handspring. The feet should land together on the other side of the vault to complete the skill. In competitions, each gymnast has the option of performing two vaults, with the best score of the two vaults counting. If the gymnast does not touch the vault table or springboard, three running approaches are allowed per vault.
The level 5 compulsory floor routine includes a variety of skills and requirements in eight-count choreography. Floor gymnastics skills include a straddle jump with a minimum of 120 degree separation, a dive forward roll, a two-foot landing front handspring, a straight leg leap with a minimum of 120 degree separation, a forward split, a straight-arm backward roll to handstand, a hitchkick, a back walkover and a running roundoff followed by two back handsprings. Other dance skills in the routine include several 180-degree turns, bounces, curtsy and some floor work.
Uneven Bar Skills
Girls gymnasts use a set of uneven bars for the bar routine. They use a springboard to mount the bars, and their coach removes the springboard as soon as the gymnast mounts the apparatus. The level 5 uneven bar mount requirements include a straddle or pike glide kip. The gymnast jumps from both feet, lifting her hips backward and upward to grab the bar and swing the body forward with legs piked or straddled. The level 5 bar routine also includes a front hip circle, cast, squat or pike-on to the low bar, jump to long hang kip on high bar, back hip circle, underswing to first counterswing, and second counterswing with a 180-degree turn dismount.
Balance Beam Skills
Regulation-size balance beams used for competitive gymnasts stand about 4 feet tall. Level 5 beam routines require gymnasts to travel the length of the beam, which is about 16.5 feet long. The level 5 balance beam routine is compulsory and includes a leg swing mount with a 180-degree turn. The rest of the routine is made up of a series of turns, poses, jumps, a straight leg leap, a handstand, a cartwheel, a 45-degree arabesque and a cartwheel to side handstand 90-degree turn dismount. The gymnast must execute these moves while balancing on a 4-inch wide surface.