Level one gymnastics requirements include gymnastics skills that are usually taught as part of a recreational gymnastics program. Level One Gymnastics is not compulsory and some gyms choose to skip level one and begin the junior Olympic program from compulsory level 4.
We personally like to start with these gymnastics level 1 requirements so that our gymnasts quickly get the chance to compete and experience a gymnastics meet near the beginning of their gymnastics life. We feel this can help keep children motivated and avoid so many drop outs from kids who don’t feel that sense of having achieved something in gymnastics.
Having fun and allowing young children to express themselves and find enjoyment in the sport is much more important than winning trophies at this stage. Whether these level one gymnastics requirements are met as part of the junior Olympic program or not does’t really matter. Different gyms take many different routes to build up their gymnasts recreational gymnastics skills and as long as the skills are taught correctly with good form there isn’t a correct approach.
Any links in this article will take you to our level guides or to our gymnastics skills pages where you can learn about the different gymnastics skills.
Level 1 gymnastics skills list
Here is a list of all the skills you’ll learn while working your way through USAG level 1. Click on any highlighted skills to learn more about that skill and see some drills and tips that will help you master it.
- Stretch jump onto mat
- Back hip circle.
- Underswing or solo circle dismount.
- 3/4 handstand
- Forward roll.
- Backward roll.
- Split jump with 30 degree leg separation.
- Stretch jump.
- Jump to front support mount.
- Arabesque to 30 degrees.
- Cartwheel to 3/4 handstand dismount.
Gymnastics Level 1 Vault requirements
Level 1 gymnastics Vault – Skill 1 – Stretch Jump onto the mat – kick into handstand & fall to flat back
The Ideal run up for the level 1 stretch jump onto a mat is between 7 and 9 steps. Keep your abdominal muscles contracted tightly to maintain perfect posture. Landing should be in demi-plié – keep your arms raised and legs extended straight. If you don’t jump high enough or maintain a stretched body position during the jump you could get a big deduction of 0.50.
Gymnastics Level 1 Uneven Bars Requirements
Level 1 bar skill 1 – Pullover
Don’t throw your head back, Look at your feet for guidance and to maintain the correct position. Keep your arms bent until you are above the bar. Level 1 requires that you lift both legs simultaneously and don’t rest your chin on the bar before lifting your legs. Failure to comply with either of these requirements at level 1 will result in a deduction of 0.30 points each.
Bar skill 2 – Cast
Keep your body straight & core tight – squeeze your legs and stomach in as you lift your hips back and off the bar. At level 1 you must align your body correctly or risk losing 0.30 points.
Bar skill 2 – Back Hip Circle
Make sure you have a good cast off before attempting the back hip circle. Swing your legs up making an L shape as you move your feet as high up as possible. Cast and then follow through and you should feel like you are pulling back at the top after you have rotated around the bar. Keep your body position straight and hollow and make sure your upper thigh and hip stay in contact with the bar at all times or you risk deduction of 0.20 points for each.
Bar skill 3 – Under swing or solo circle dismount
Keep your core tense and arms strong and tight – You should feel like you are pushing the bar towards the ground. Hold your thighs on the bar, if they drop away you won’t be able to complete the under-swing. Your hips cannot touch the bar during this level 1 dismount. A straight & Hollow position must be held throughout the dismount. Failure to do either of these results in a deduction of 0.20 points
Gymnastics Level 1 Floor Requirements
Level 1 floor requirements include some skills that everybody will have heard of. The cartwheel, Handstand, Forwards and backward rolls.
Gymnastics Level 1 floor skill 1 – Cartwheel
Practising the hand stand with each leg can help you to decide which is your strongest leg. Use your strongest leg to lead you into the first position of the cartwheel – the lunge. Lower your hands towards the ground and your weaker back leg should follow it up while keeping a straight line through your body. The biggest deduction with a level 1 cartwheel is 0.30 for failure to pass through a vertical position
Floor skill 2 – 3/4 handstand
When doing the level 1 3/4 handstand don’t put all your weight and pressure on the palm of your hand. Apply the pressure closer to your fingers where your knuckles are. Push out with the shoulders and keep the arms straight. Your body has to stay firm and rigid so you can hold the level 1 3/4 handstand position with good form and for longer. Practice the downwards dog so you can feel what it is like to be in a position similar to the handstand.
From a lunge position push from your back leg and move your hands towards the floor. You then have to kick up your leg that is on the ground. Separate your fingers by spreading them out and gripping onto the ground.
Floor skill 3 – Forward Roll
Start this move with your body in a squat position with the palms of your hands under your knees. Pull your bottom up and at the same time put the back of your head downwards to the ground very quickly and lift your feet over your head. Keep your toes pointed and knees together. Maintain the tuck position throughout or lose 0.20. Don’t push off the floor with your hands to arrive in a tuck stand or receive a 0.30 deduction.
Floor skill 4 – Backward Roll
Make sure to tuck your chin and keep your back rounded. Lift your legs up and over while feeling your hands push into the ground. Hands must be placed on the floor during the starting squat position or lose 0.30 deduction. Make sure you hold the tuck position when your bottom is touching the floor or lose 0.20.
Floor skill 5 – Split Jump with 30 degree leg separation
Jump upwards not outwards. Keep your hips and shoulders straight & facing forwards so you don’t turn sideways. Failure to land with your feet closed, Failure to land on both feet simultaneously or failure to hold a relevé stand for the required 1 second all result in a deduction of 0.10 points.
Gymnastics Level 1 Beam Requirements
Gymnastics beam level 1 Skill 1 – Lever
Stand tall and make a large step forward. Don’t arch your back. You must hold the lever more than 1 second.
Beam skill 2 – Stretch Jump
A level 1 stretch jump is from the board onto a mat. Make sure you get enough height on the jump because you can be penalised if you don’t land on both feet simultaneously or receive a 0.10 deduction.
Beam skill 3 – Jump to front support mount
Make sure you extend your body. Your legs and arms must be straight throughout.
Beam skill 4 – Arabesque to 30 degrees
Hold a nice triangular position. Once your leg leaves the ground your leg should be perfectly straight and toe pointed.
Beam skill 5 – Cartwheel to 3/4 handstand dismount
Practice the cartwheel on the floor either using a gymnastics beam mat or straight line. Be sure to grip around the beam with your hands.
Congratulations on completing all the gymnastics level 1 requirements. You can now move onto level 2.
What is the age of a level 1 gymnast
The minimum age for a level 1 gymnast is 4 years old. In my experience level 1 gymnasts are usually between 5 and 6 years old. A lot of gymnasts skip levels 1 to 3 because they aren’t compulsory but when gymnasts do decide to do level 1 they are usually still very young and learning the basics of gymnastics in a recreational gymnastics class.
Final thoughts about gymnastics level 1
You can trust our level 1 gymnastics skills list because we have used the most up to date copy of the USA Gym Junior Olympic Compulsory Programme Book to check that the information we provide about the required skills at this level are correct. We consulted experienced and accredited gymnastics coaches, read articles about the Junior Olympic Program and found inspiration reading about gymnast Cristal Isa.