How To Create Your Own Gymnastics Routine

If you have always wanted to create your own gymnastics routine, but feel overwhelmed by the idea, don’t worry. This article will walk you through the steps in creating your perfect routine.

Many gymnasts work with their coach or a choreographer to plan their routine. In fact, a large portion of gymnasts may not have any hand in creating their routine. But if you are a gymnast who wants to help create the show piece that best highlights your skills, you CAN do it! Whether you are a novice gymnast or have dedicate years of training to the sport, you will follow the same simple steps to build your routine.

To create your own gymnastics routine, you will first choose your music and familiarize yourself with it, then take time to brainstorm dance moves, outline your strengths and weaknesses as a gymnast, and finally piece the routine together. This process works and is how the professionals choreographs their routines. It is a basic and loose process that leaves plenty of room for personalization.

If you are reading this article, the odds are that you have watched a gymnastics routine. Maybe you have been to a gymnastics competition, or even competed before. In the beginning stages of your training as a gymnast, it is likely that your coach will create your routine for you and teach it to you.

But, assuming you have been at your training for a while, you are probably feeling a bit more comfortable with the idea of choreography and want to know where to start. You can use the skills you have developed and learned over time, coupled with the simple steps in this article to create a show-stopping routine. You CAN create your own gymnastics routine, and this article will help you do it.

How Competitive Gymnastics Works

Maybe this routine will be part of your first competition or perhaps you have been competing for years. Either way, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the standards on which you will be judged. USA Gymnastics delineates Levels 1-10, before a gymnast enters an Elite program in which the gymnast is considered “pro”.

Each level has specific requirements for routines in floor, bar, vault, and beam. In Levels 1-3, gymnasts are learning the basics standards and skills they need to build upon in higher levels. These levels are considered recreational by most gyms. These are not competitive levels and there are no concrete requirements here before moving on to Level 4.

Levels 4 and 5 are compulsory levels. That means that gymnasts must compete with a set routine, meeting certain standards before moving on to Level 6. Alternatively, gymnasts have the option of choosing the Xcel Program, which allows the gymnast to compete in divisions, rather than levels.

The Xcel program is an option for the compulsory levels in the Junior Olympics training programs, and allows for entry into Level 6 after completing the Xcel program’s Diamond Division requirements.

Level 6 is the first level that is considered an “optional level.” This means that each gymnast has a unique routine. Each routine must meet certain requirements for judging, showing specific skills and performance quality. This level can also be skipped with high enough scores in Level 5.

Level 7 is a mix of compulsory and optional. The requirements of this level are more specific about the skills performed. Levels 8-10 are optional levels, in which each gymnast can design their own routine to showcase the skills required to earn a great score for the judges.

After mastering the skills in Level 10, gymnasts have the option to try out for the Elite program, in which a gymnast is eligible to compete in professional events, such as the Olympic Trials.

Get Familiar With Your Level Requirements

Before you do another thing in planning your routine, thoroughly review the competition requirements for your Level which I will go over below. If you don’t meet the requirements, even the most charismatic and compelling performance will be all for nothing. Read up on the specifics, both for your Level and event. Write them down or print them out to use later.


Okay, you have your competition requirements in hand. The next step is to choose your music. Overwhelmingly, most coaches and choreographers advise that a gymnast’s first step in creating their routine is to pick a song. But not just any song will do; you should choose a song that you love.

It should be a song that ignites you and inspires you to move. Look for songs in genres that carry a fun and upbeat rhythm, like hip-hop, pop, or Latin music. The most important thing about this song is that it needs to make you want to move.

Once you have chosen your song, listen to it. A lot. To plan a routine set to a song, you need to know the song inside and out. Listen to it in the shower, while you cook your breakfast, or on your commute to work or school. Allow yourself to daydream your routine. Let yourself be inspired by the music, while paying attention to things like changes in tempo, transitions, and the parts of the song that build in intensity.

Know Your Skills

You are inspired, hyped up even, by this song you love. You know it backwards and forwards and have spent some time thinking about how to move to it. Now it’s time to be practical and take stock of your gymnastic skills.

Get out your pen and paper and start writing down strengths and weaknesses. This routine is a showcase of your best stuff – the moves you perform the best – so think of those and be honest with yourself. Spend some time thinking about your gymnastics skills.

If you have video recordings of yourself, use them! Write down the tumbling passes that you have rocked in past routines and the tumbling passes you may be working on. Of course, you want to make sure that you are proficient in each of the required skills for your competition level.

Then, get abstract. What is it about yourself that you want to highlight? Are you spunky, super flexible, great at leaps, an extra bouncy tumbler? You will want your routine to highlight those qualities!

Likewise, write down the areas that you wish to downplay. If you struggle with a certain area, continue to work on it. However, you may want to leave it out of your routine this time around. There’s always next time.

Revisit the Music

Now that you have outlined your skills, it’s time to return to the music. Which parts of the song make you really want to dance? Make sure you are dancing during those measures and use those areas of the song to build excitement.

But don’t JUST dance. Research dance moves that are in line with the genre of the song. If you chose a hip-hop song, incorporate some hip-hop moves in your dance combinations. If possible, add in some popular dance moves that the audience is likely to recognize. This will help build excitement as your perform your routine.

Take some time to map out where your would like to add in tumbling passes and turns. Use the music as your guide to figure out where these flow easily into your routine.

Map Out Your Routine

Now that you know where in the song you’d like to dance, and where in the song you will show off what an amazing gymnast you are. Start writing down your choreography.

Remember to start your routine with a bold introduction. A charismatic dance sequence that flows into a stellar tumbling pass is a surefire way to light up you audience and show them that you mean business.

Follow the music and use the natural slowing and quickening of tempo throughout the song to guide where you place your tumbling passes. In a way, the audience should be able to feel in the music where your tumbling passes will occur.

Use your dance moves to transition smoothly between tumbling passes. Pay attention to the moves that come at the end of the dance sequences, and make sure they help you flow fluidly into your tumbling passes.

Don’t try too much to emulate your favorite gymnasts. You may love and admire Simone Biles, but you are your own person and bring different strengths and personality to your sport. Be yourself and allow your personality to shine through every step of your routine, from your music choice to the final combinations.

Practice and Revise

This may go without saying, but once you have your routine, you have to practice it! Get familiar it, memorize it. But don’t be afraid to revise it. In fact, you should welcome the idea of revision – you want this routine to be flawless after all, so go over it again and again in your head.

In your work planning your choreography, you may have chosen dance moves or stacked combinations together that feel uncomfortable once you start to practice them. Don’t be afraid to modify your routine. You are the one who needs to feel comfortable performing it.

Practice again and again until the choreography feels natural and comes to you without thought. Watch yourself in the mirror to notice any areas of your routine that need extra attention. Or, if that doesn’t quite work, you can have a family member or friend video tape you doing your routine so that you can play it back. Have a coach or teammate watch you practice and then listen to their feedback.

Perfect Your Routine

For each event, there are different things to keep in mind when fine tuning your performance. Have someone take a video of your performance (maybe even several videos so that you can see patterns). As you watch the video, take notes of your performance.

Walk through your routine slowly with a partner so that they can help you align your poses perfectly. This is helpful for little details like hand and foot placements. Watch for body position and fluidity throughout each sequence too.

For example, within a Vault performance you want to take note that your body position in perfect in Pre-Flight, Support, and Post Flight phases. In your Bar, Beam, and Floor routines, you will want to note your body position in each other skills performed. This step also applies to your dance sequencing. Make sure each move is executed with control, precision, and, of course, plenty of personality.

Analyze your tumbling. If there is an issue with the power, height, or distance in your tumbling, the problem may be in your body’s strength. As such, the answer will be to hit the gym and work on your conditioning.

Pay attention to where you might have lost balance in your routine. There may be very small moments in your routine where your body loses balance. This will be apparent to the judges. Be sure to work on it now.

For jumps and leaps, make sure your legs hit the right angles mid-air and ensure that your transitions between skills are fluid and connected. Watch for breaks in character, you want to positive, smiling countenance throughout the performance. Finally, make sure that you are on the beat, and that your performance and the music perfectly compliment each other.

A few other ideas for perfecting your routine are: trying to teach your routine to someone else, wearing arm or leg weights during your routine to help you gain awareness of your body, performing for a small group of people while have them stationed around the room so that each vantage point will offer a unique perspective on your performance.

If You Are Still Overwhelmed Then Get Help

Your routine is important to you. You want to do your best. If you go through all of these steps and still feel overwhelmed by creating your gymnastics routine, or if you are just struggling to find your flow, a great coach can make all the difference.

A private coach who can work with you one-on-one will up your game. You can ask around your gym or search online to find a local coach to work with. Also, if dancing is your strong point then you should know that dance studios can also help you choreograph gymnastics routines as well.

Remember, at the end of the day, this is your routine. Don’t take your intuition for granted. You know what is comfortable to you, and what you need to work on. Be true to yourself, work hard, and follow these steps, and you are guaranteed to have a killer gymnastics routine.

Requirements Skills for Each Level of Gymnastics

Since you cannot do your own routine until you reach level 6 of gymnastics or higher, then these are the levels that you will need to know the requirements for when you are making your routines. The vault requirements are always very simple since the vault is basically one skill, but you should still know which vault you can do in each level.

In addition to specifically listed skills like these, each level also has the requirements of a specific number of level A, B, or C skills. However, this is often at least mostly met by simply doing the specific skills that you are required to do.

Level 6

This is the first of the optional levels and the only level of gymnastics that you can skip. While you might really like the idea of skipping this level, level 6 is a great place for you to start practicing making your own gymnastics routines.


You can do one of the following 3 vaults:

  • front handspring
  • 1/4-1/2 twist on (Tsuk entry), land on mat stack
  • Round-off entry (Yurhenko) onto table, land on mat stack


  • cast to minimum of 45° above horizontal
  • 1 bar change
  • one 360° circling element that is one of the following: underswing, clear hip circle, stalder circle or hecht
  • min “A” dismount


  • either a non-flight acro series, or one acro flight element
  • 1 leap or jump requiring 180° split
  • 360° turn on one foot
  • min of “A” dismount


  • 1 Acro Series with at least 3 elements, 2 must have flight
  • 1 Salto or Aerial acro element
  • Dance passage with minimum of 2 different leaps, jumps, hops — 1 must be a 180° split
  • 360 degree turn on one foot

Level 7

If you skipped level 6 then this is the very first level for you when it comes to making your own routine. Since level 7 is much more competitive than level 6 is and therefore it is that much more important to get your routine just right, then you may want your coach to help you for the first time making your routine.


  • You can do one of the following vaults:
  • front handspring
  • 1/4-1/2 twist on (Tsuk entry), land on mat stack
  • Round-off entry (Yurhenko) onto table, land on mat stack


  • 1 cast to handstand
  • 2 360 degree clear circling skills — they can be the same or different (an example of this would be a clear hip or a giant)
  • one of the clear circling skills must be a “B” valued skill
  • one must be a clear hip circle, an underswing, a stalder circle or a hecht
  • salto dismount, minimum “A” value


  • an acro series with a minimum of two skills (ex. backwalkover, back handspring)
  • one acro flight skill (this can be included in the series, so it could be the back handspring in the previous example)
  • one leap/jump requiring 180° split
  • 360 degree turn on one foot
  • aerial or salto dismount that is at least an “A” valued skill


  • one acro series ( 3 or more flight skills) which includes a back layout (back salto stretched to two feet — this basically means a back flip in the straight position); this could be roundoff back-handspring back-layout*
  • a front acro series with at least 2 skills (one skill must be a salto or an aerial) — this could be front handspring–front tuck*
  • dance passage with minimum of two different skills, one a leap with 180 degree split
  • 360 degree turn on one foot

Level 8 

By level 8 you should know pretty well how to make your own routines, especially if your coach has been making your routines up until now and you have been helping. If you have not already done so, then this is a great level to start making your own routines.


  • You can do one of the following vaults:
  • front handspring
  • 1/4-1/2 twist on (Tsuk entry), land on mat stack
  • Round-off entry (Yurhenko) onto table, land on mat stack


  • Minimum of 1 Bar Change
  • 1 Skill (minimum of “B”) with flight (the mount is ok) or turn (cannot be the mount or dismount)
  • 1 Skill (minimum of “B”) which is from one of the following groups of elements:  underswings, clear hip circles, stalder circles, circle swings or hechts
  • A Salto dismount which is a minimum of “A” value


  • Level 8 gymnasts must have the following in their beam routine:
  • Minimum of 1/1 (360 degree) turn on one foot
  • Acro series with 2 skills, one must have flight (Both of the skills must start and finish on the beam)
  • One jump/leap that reaches a 180 degree angle split (can be included in dance series)
  • Aerial or Salto Dismount (minimum of “A” value)


  • One Acro Series with 2 saltos or 2 directly connected saltos (the saltos can be the same or different)- An example would be front tuck- roundoff– back handspring– back tuck
  • Three different saltos (can be isolated or in a series)
  • A dance passage with a minimum of two different leaps, jumps or hops, one of which is a leap with a 180 degree cross or side split — they can be directly or indirectly connected
  • The last isolated salto or last salto connection must have at least an “A” valued salto element (A front or back tuck is an “A” valued salto)

Level 9

By know you should have had at least some practice at making your own routine, but you should now be working on perfecting your own process of how you do this so that you can make a new routine faster and without having to redesign certain areas as frequently as you likely had to do at first.


  • A vault from the Level 9 Vault Chart


  • Minimum of 2 Bar Changes
  • One flight skill that is a minimum of “B” value (can’t be dismount)- an example would be a straddle back
  • A second different flight skill that is a minimum of “C” value (can’t be dismount) or one skill with a longitudinal-axis turn of 180° or more with minimum of “B” value (can’t be the mount or dismount) — an example would be a giant circle backward to a 180° turn in handstand
  • A minimum of “B” valued salto dismount — an example would be a flyway with 360° twist


  • One Acro Series with a minimum of 2 flight elements (excludes the mount and dismount) — an example would be back handspring, back layout step out
  • One leap or jump with an 180° split
  • Minimum of 360° turn on one foot
  • Aerial or Salto dismount, skill must be a minimum of “B” value — an example would be a front layout dismount
  • Dance series with 2 skills — can include mount, leaps, jumps, hops, turns


  • One acro series with 2 saltos or 2 directly-connected saltos (can be the same or different) — an example would be front tuck- roundoff– back handspring – back layout
  • Three different saltos within the floor routine
  • Dance passage with a minimum of 2 different leaps, jumps or hops, one of which is a leap with a 180° split
  • The last salto in the routine must be at least a “B” valued salto — an example would be the last salto being a back layout full.
  • 360° “B” valued turn on one foot

Level 10

This is the highest level of gymnastics apart from being Elite, and therefore is your last chance to really work on learning how to make your own routine.


A vault from the Level 10 Vault Chart


  • One flight skill that is a minimum of “C” value (excluding the dismount)
  • A second different flight skill that is a mimimum of “B” value (excluding the dismount)
  • One skill with a longitudinal-axis turn that is a minimum of “C” value (excluding the mount and dismount)
  • A minimum of “C” valued salto dismount


  • One Acro Series with a minimum of 2 flight skills, either one skill must be a minimum of “C” or the series can be an “A” non-flight acro skill directly connected to an “E” flight skill  (excludes the mount and dismount)
  • One leap or jump with an 180° split
  • Minimum of 360° turn on one foot
  • Aerial or Salto dismount, skill must either be a minimum of “C” value, or a “B” dismount that is directly connected to an acro series that includes a “C” skill or connected to a “C” valued acro or dance element


  • One acro series with 2 saltos or 2 directly-connected saltos (can be the same or different)
  • Three different saltos within the floor routine
  • Dance passage with a minimum of 2 different leaps, jumps or hops, including 180° split leap
  • The last salto in the routine must be at least a “C” valued salto
  • 360° “B” valued turn on one foot

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