This post has been updated to reflect the 2021-2029 compulsory routine changes.

Level 2 floor = hearing that same music over and over again. It can be monotonous and boring. But it doesn’t have to be! Level 2 floor is also a place where new competitive gymnasts can show some personality as they learn to show off their routine. The Level 2 floor routine has a lot of building blocks that will progress to more difficult skills as the gymnast moves into the higher levels. Perfecting these skills will help her to gain mastery more quickly as she moves up!

handstand on level 2 floor

Overview of Level 2 Floor

The level 2 floor routine has a combination of acro and dance skills which progress toward higher level skills. Each skill is subject to both general execution deductions and specific element deductions for that skill. At the end of the routine, the judge will assess the routine based on general categories, such as rhythm and artistry. These “general deductions” are taken based on the routine as a whole.

There have been some changes made in this cycle of compulsory routines. Here are the changes you’ll see throughout all of the floor routines:

  • No kicks into acro elements
  • No straight leg entry into acro elements
  • Two choices for acro entries: lunge entrance or mountain climber entrance
  • Two choices for acro exits: lunge exit or step-in exit to straight stand
  • If you’ve coached prior to 2021, you’ll notice that these are different from past compulsory routines, but there are more options now to allow for flexibility in coaching techniques. Win-win for everyone!

    Now, let’s take a look at more specifics.

    General Execution Deductions

    First, let’s look at general execution deductions. These deductions can be taken on any major element in the Level 2 floor routine. Here are some common deductions for this routine:

    Here is a list of general execution deductions that can be taken on a floor routine:

    • Foot form – 0.05
    • Leg separation – Up to 0.20
    • Body alignment/position/posture in major elements – Up to 0.20
    • Bent arms or legs (max deduction at 90 bend) – Up to 0.30
    • Balance errors – Up to 0.30
    • Fall (on or off the apparatus) – 0.50
    • Failure to mark the passe position in releve at turn completion – 0.05
    • Failure to contract or extend when indicated – Up to 0.10
    • Leg swing/kick not to horizontal or above when required – Up to 0.10
    • Uneven leg separation in leaps/jumps – Up to 0.20
    • Failure to perform turns in high releve – Up to 0.10
    • Failure to keep arms by ears in and out of slow acro elements – 0.05 each
    • Not finishing with the music – 0.10
    • Failure to land with feet together on 2-foot landing of jumps – Up to 0.10
    • Insufficient split – Up to 0.20
    • Stop between elements in an acro series on floor – 0.30
    • Extra kick to handstand – 0.30

    Specific Deductions for Level 2 Floor Skills

    Next, we’ll take a look at specific deductions that can occur during each skill in the Level 2 floor routine.

    Pose

    The gymnast starts with a beginning pose. This is not a major element, and there are no specific deductions associated with it. General deductions such as text errors and body posture would apply.

    Cartwheel

    The gymnast should point her foot in front to initiate the cartwheel. Remember, in the compulsories this cycle, there are no kicks into acro elements.

    There are two allowable entries to the cartwheel: a lunge entry and a mountain climber entry. The arms should cover the ears during the entry and exit of the cartwheel (0.05 each). The hands should land one at a time (0.10 deduction if the hands land at the same time).

    If the cartwheel does not pass through vertical, there is an up to 0.30 deduction, which can be applied according to how close the gymnast is to vertical. There is also an up to 0.10 deduction for poor head alignment.

    Other common errors in the cartwheel are bent legs (up to 0.30), foot form (0.05), bent arms (up to 0.30), and poor body position (piked or arched – up to 0.20).

    The cartwheel finishes in a step-in position with feet closed.

    Backward Roll to Pushup Position

    The gymnast should perform the backward roll without placing the hands on the floor prior to rolling backward (0.30 deduction). She should maintain straight arms (up to 0.30), and the hands should be placed no further than shoulder-width apart (0.10). If the fingers are interlocked, it is a 0.10 deduction. She should finish in a hollow body pushup position (0.20 for failure to show pushup position, up to 0.20 for body position errors).

    Other deductions on the backward roll are bent knees (up to 0.30), leg separation (up to 0.20), and lack of control at the finish.

    The backward roll should not achieve a handstand position. If the gymnast performs a backward roll to handstand (back extension roll), the deduction is 0.60.

    Text deductions and general deductions apply to the kneeling pose and step up to standing.

    Passe Pose, ½ Heel Snap Turn

    The free leg should remain in forward passe (toe at the knee) throughout the releve pose and 1/2 turn (0.10). The heel must lower at the end of the turn, or a 0.05 deduction can be applied. This turn should use a heel-snap technique. If any other turn technique is used, it is a 0.30 deduction.

    As always, deductions apply for posture, a bent standing leg, and foot form during the turn. Another deduction that applies to turns is an incomplete turn deduction. If the gymnast does not complete the turn to the degree it is prescribed, a deduction of up to the value of the element can be taken. This turn is worth 0.40, so a total of 0.40 is the maximum deduction for incomplete turn in this case.

    The gymnast should step into a lock stand after completion of the turn. General deductions apply. The emphasis is on posture and high releve.

    Chasse, Leap

    The chasse is a major element now, with specific deductions associated with it. The gymnast must pass through a plie position in and out of the chasse (0.05 each). General deductions apply to the chasse, and I commonly take deductions for foot form, amplitude, and posture. (Hint: if the gymnast doesn’t get far enough off the ground to point her feet, she’s getting a deduction for both foot form and amplitude!) The legs must close in the air, or it is an up to 0.10 deduction.

    If the front leg stags (bends) on the takeoff of the leap, it is an up to 0.10 deduction. There are a lot of other potential deductions on the leap, though. It seems simple, but it’s hard to perform it correctly.

    The main points of emphasis are height, or amplitude (up to 0.20) and posture (up to 0.20). If one leg is higher than the other, there is a deduction of up to 0.20 for uneven split. The split requirement in Level 2 is only 60, so I don’t usually have much to deduct for insufficient split. If the gymnast does an absolutely tiny leap, she could receive an up to 0.20 deduction here. Bent knees are another common deduction, along with foot form. Some gymnasts will bend their back leg when they land, but the leg should be straight, landing in an arabesque.

    After landing, the gymnast should step into the pose.

    Split Jump

    The split jump has all of the same deductions as the split leap, except for the stag deduction. The split requirement is also 60 on the split jump, and the up to 0.20 deduction applies if the split is below 60. The gymnast must land on both feet at the same time (0.10), and the feet must be together on landing (up to 0.10).

    Handstand

    To start, the gymnast should point the foot in front, and use one of the acceptable entry techniques (lunge or mountain climber). The legs should close at vertical in the handstand (0.10 deduction for failure to close the legs). If the gymnast does not get to vertical, she will receive a deduction of up to 0.30. The handstand should be held for 1 second (up to 0.10).

    It’s also common to see errors such as failure to keep the arms by the ears in/out of handstand (0.05 each), poor body position (up to 0.20), bent arms (up to 0.30), bent legs (up to 0.30), and poor head position (up to 0.10). The handstand should finish in either a lunge position or a step-in finish with the feet closed.

    Candlestick

    The only specific deduction for the candlestick is an up to 0.20 deduction if the gymnast does not stay in the tuck shape as the buttocks arrive on the floor. It’s allowable to place the arms either over head or at the sides during the candlestick. The gymnast should arrive in a hollow body position (up to 0.20 for poor body position).

    Bridge Kickover

    The gymnast should finish the candlestick in a pike sit position before pushing up into the bridge (text error if this position is incorrect). The feet and hands should be shoulder-width or closer during the bridge. The shoulders should be pushed over the hands (up to 0.20).

    If the gymnast needs extra kicks to complete the kickover, it is a 0.30 deduction for each extra kick. There is no split angle requirement for the kickover, so the gymnast can kick with a full split or a tiny split, and either way is acceptable. The legs and arms should be straight throughout the skill. Finally, the kickover should finish with arms by ears (0.05) as the gymnast steps down into either a lunge or a step-in finish.

    The gymnast should finish with a releve stand after landing the jump. After the releve stand, the gymnast will plie to finish with her final pose. Keep that chin up and show it off!

    General Deductions in the Level 2 Floor Routine

    During the choreography components of the Level 2 floor routine, also called non-value parts (or non-VP’s), general deductions are used. Judges make notes of small errors during the routine in each of the general categories, and determine a total deduction after looking at the routine as a whole.

    General deductions on floor consist of the following:

    • Text errors – up to 0.30
      In the compulsory handbook, this is described as “incorrect position of head, arms, legs, or feet”.
    • Artistry – up to 0.30
      This deduction is broken down into two parts: up to 0.15 for quality of the gymnast’s movement to reflect the choreography, and up to 0.15 for quality of expression, including projection, emotion, and focus.
    • Rhythm – up to 0.20
      Rhythm deductions are taken for not performing the routine in time with the music, or performing a section with incorrect rhythm compared to what is listed in the text.. An additional 0.10 can be taken if the gymnast does not end the routine in time with the music.
    • Posture: up to 0.30
      This can be applied for any postural errors during choreography, such as ribs out, bottom out, head forward, shoulders slumped, etc.
    • Footwork – up to 0.30
      Feet should be pointed anytime they leave the ground, and the gymnast should stand and step in releve when indicated. She should also show turn-out in her foot positions.
    • High releve: up to 0.20
      Gymnast should perform steps and pivot turns in high releve throughout the routine, when indicated.

    For more information on general deductions, see General Categories for Exemplary Compulsories.

    Closing Thoughts

    To master the Level 2 floor routine, first start with clean, well-performed major elements. Next, make sure that the skills are free of specific element deductions. Finally, work on cleaning up all the little details – rhythm, artistry, text. Often, Level 2 athletes have a lot of little extra foot faults before or after their skills, which are pretty easy to clean up. You’ll have a super clean Level 2 floor routine in no time!

    References

    USA Gymnastics Compulsory Book, 2021-2029.

    Further Reading

    Compulsory Gymnastics Page

    5 Tips for a Great Level 2 Vault

    How to Perfect Your Level 2 Bar Routine

    How to Perform the Best Level 2 Beam Routine

    Preview of 2021-2029 Compulsory Skills

    General Categories for Exemplary Compulsories

    The Best Gymnastics Mats for Home

    The Best Gifts for Gymnasts (and Coaches!)