JO Level 10 Bars – Routine Construction

JO Level 10 Bars - High Bar Release Move

My daughter is currently hovering between level 9 and 10 so maybe that is why I have been thinking a lot about these levels.  Don’t worry, I will move on to other topics, but for now let’s take a look at Level 10 bars routines to compare and contrast against Level 9 Bar Routines, which we discussed last week.

You will see a large variety of skills and difficulty in Level 10.  Level 10, for all but elite gymnasts, is the end of the road.  Once you reach this level you stay here until you go to college or retire.  So, you will see first year level 10s with simple routines and less than 10.0 start values all the way up to gymnasts ready to head off to college on scholarship with routines ready to hit the NCAA scene, clean, flawless and full of difficulty.

As I mentioned in the article on Level 9 Bars Routine Construction bars at this level is very difficult and many gymnasts struggle.  Bars is different from the other events and requires different strengths and talents than the other events.

Difficulty Requirements and Restrictions

Unlike in level 9 where you are only allowed to perform one restricted D skill per routine, there are no difficulty restrictions in Level 10.  Gymnasts are allowed and encouraged to compete the a maximum level of difficulty they are capable of and will even receive bonus tenths for more difficult skills.

Level 10 bars routines must contain 3A’s, 3B’s, & 2C’s

Higher level skills can replace lower level skills so if 1D 3Cs and 2B skills are performed, one of the C skills can count as one of the required B skills.

Routine Special Requirements

Level 10 Bars Routines that meet the basic special requirements start from a 9.5.  In order to start from a 10.0 the gymnast must complete .5 in bonus, coming from either connections or difficulty.

The Special Requirements for Level 10 Bars are…

  1. One flight element of C or greater difficulty
  2. A Second flight element of B or greater difficulty
  3. An element with long axis turn of a minimum of C difficulty
  4. A Salto or Hecht dismount of C difficulty or greater

Flight Elements

Level 10 bars routines require 2 flight elements, one must be of C difficulty or higher and one of B difficulty or higher.

Transitions from low bar to high bar or high bar to low bar will fill this requirement.  This would include skills such as straddle back, overshoot, pak salto, toe shoot to high bar, schaposch, maloney and variations of those skills.  For a full understanding of bar to bar flight transitions see my article on Uneven Bar Transitions.

High bar releases will also fulfill this requirement.  This would include skills such as jaegers, tkatchevs, geingers etc.  I explore these moves in depth in my article on High Bar Release Moves.  Feel free to check it out for all the details.

Two of these types of skills are required.  You will often see a combination of a bail/overshoot or Pak Salto and a toe shoot and/or a high bar release move.

Long Axis Turning Skill – C or higher

This is an easy accomplishment with a simple pirouette, but in level 10 bars you will usually see more than one change in direction so will see multiple moves like this.  Turning can be done with several techniques.  There is the pirouette, the blind change, healy and higgins roll.

The difference between these is the hand positions and where the turn takes place.

A pirouette takes place in handstand on top of the bar. The gymnast releases one hand and reverses the grip on that hand then turns, releasing the other hand and placing it back on the bar on the other side.  The following video shows a nice pirouette at a speed that is easier to see than most.

The blind change turn happens on the way up from the previous skill, which is either a giant or circling skill such as stalder, clear hip or toe on.  The gymnast releases one hand and turns outward around the other arm then places the free hand back on the bar either in reverse grip as to continue into a front giant or in front  grip then changing the grip of the stationary hand back to front grip.

The blind change half is often used to change from front to reverse grip when doing back and front giants.  The gymnast can also turn her hands back to front grip using the move to reverse directions.

A blind full continues the turn on top of the bar completing a full turn.

In a Higgins roll, the turn happens on the way down.  The gymnast twists away from the bar in handstand moving the far hand to the other side as she goes down.  It is often used to transition from front grip to eagle grip.


One armed turns such as the Ono, Healy and Ling.  The gymnast looks as if they are spinning around on one arm starting and ending in a variety of grips.  These would be unusual to see in JO level 10 bars but are quite common at the Elite level.

Salto of Hecht Dismount – C or Greater

In level 10 bars the double back tuck, double back layout and full twisting double back are probably the most common dismounts, but you will also see some toe front dismounts as well.

Connection Value and Difficulty Bonus

Level 10 routines that meet all the difficulty and special requirements start from a 9.5 start value.

Bonus for level 10 is composed of two parts, connection and difficulty.  A gymnast can only earn a maximum of .4 bonus for each category of bonus so all routines must contain at least one skill or D or more difficulty and at least one connection bonus combination of skills to get a full 10.0 start value.

Connection Bonus

Direct Connection of two elements including mounts (C difficulty or higher), connections within the routine and dismounts can all be used for connection bonus.

C+C both with flight or long axis turn – .1

Two different close circling elements from group 3, 6, or 7 of C or higher value (clear hip to handstand, toe on to handstand, etc.) – .1

C+D/D+C  – in this case the C element does not require flight or long axis turn.  So you could connect a clear hip to a pak salto for bonus, But that same clear hip connected to a bail/overshoot that doesn’t land in handstand would not receive bonus.

D+D or more difficulty – .2

Three or more connected elements

When three elements are connected the second element can be used twice for connection bonus but on gets difficulty value one time.

For example – clear hip to giant blind full to double back dismount (C+D+C) – .1 + .1 – .2 total connection bonus

Difficulty Bonus

A gymnast will receive .1 bonus for each D level skill and .2 bonus for each E or higher level skill performed in a routine.

Difficulty bonus only applies to level 10.  D skill performed at Level 9 are not eligible for difficulty bonus.

Example Routines

Let’s take a look at a few examples.  I tried to find routines that represented a variety of difficulty and skill choice while being well executed to represent a good example.

Kate Green – Level 10 Bars – 9.275

This routine, is a good example of a 9.9 routine without a high bar release move with great execution that can still score well.  At another meet (video was not as good an angle) she scored a 9.4 with this routine and placed 1st.

Kip Cast Handstand –  A + B
Toe On Toe Off – C
Toe Shoot – C
Kip Cast Handstand –  A + B
Giant Blind Change – C
Bail/Overshoot – Handstand to Handstand – D

C+D – .1 CV + .1 Diff

Kip squat on jump to high bar – A
Kip Cast Handstand – A+B
Blind Full – D
Double Back Dismount – C

D+C – .1 CV + .1 Diff

4As + 3Bs + 4Cs + 2Ds – This meets minimum difficulty requirements

.4 Connection Bonus – This routine starts from a 9.9

It is possible that this routine starting from a 9.9 may receive some compositional deductions as she progresses into post season competitions as the judges tend to only take the up to level deductions later in the season.  She does have two D skills even with just a 9.9 start value so it is possible they wouldn’t take that deduction as well.  Ahh, the subjectivity of the sport!

Special requirements are met

  • Bail/Overshoot is a D flight element (C or greater flight element)
  • Toe Shoot is a C flight element (B or greater flight element)
  • Blind half and Blind Full (Element with long axis rotation – C or greater difficulty)
  • Double Back Dismount (Salto Dismount C or greater difficulty)


Victoria Salem – Level 10 Bars – 9.6

I chose this routine because it is just so interesting and unique.  Fun to break it down!

Absolutely everything that can be connected is connected.  The bonus in this routine is through the roof.  And note, no high bar release skill.  Wow! Unfortunately you can only count .5 of the bonus.

Victoria start from between the bars facing the low bar.

Kip cast handstand – AB
Toe on toe off half – C
Front Stalder in L grip with half turn – D

C+D  – .1 + .1 D difficulty bonus – .2

Toe on to off – C

D+C – .1 (can not take difficulty bonus again for D skill)

Toe circle release to high bar (Maloney) – D

C+D – .1 + .1 D difficulty bonus – .2

Stalder – C

D+C – .1

Pak Salto – D

C+D – .1 +  .1 D difficulty bonus – .2

Clear Hip – C

D+C – .1

Stalder half – C
Toe circle jump to high bar – A
Kip cast handstand – AB
Giant Giant – BB
Full Twisting Double Back – E

E difficulty bonus – .2

If I added this up correctly that is a 1.1 in bonus.  Holy Cow! – Needless to say – 10.0 start value

3As + 4Bs + 5Cs + 3D + 1E – Enough said…


Taylor Russon – Level 10 Bars – 9.625

Taylor starts between the bars, which I always find interesting.  This is a fairly standard level 10 bars routine with great execution.

Kip Cast Handstand – AB
Giant blind half – C
front giant straddle jaeger – D

C+D – .1 CV + .1 difficulty

Kip cast handstand – AB
Bail/overshoot handstand to handstand – D

D – .1 difficulty

Toe circle jump to high bar – A
Kip cast handstand – AB
Giant Full turn – D
Doubleback dismount – C

D+C – .1CV + .1 difficulty

4As + 3Bs + 2Cs + 3Ds – This meets minimum difficulty requirements

.5 Connection Bonus – This routine starts from a 10.0

Special requirements are met

  • Bail/Overshoot is a D flight element (C or greater flight element)
  • Jaeger is a D flight element (B or greater flight element)
  • Blind half and Blind Full (Element with long axis rotation – C or greater difficulty)
  • Double Back Dismount (Salto Dismount C or greater difficulty)



photo credit: Courtney Cochefski [Bars] 4/12/12 via photopin (license)

Related Post

Be Part of the Conversation