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A Gym Nerd’s Guide to NCAA Bars

When Mackenzie Caquatto performed that bar routine in 2013, people flipped out.

“Like, how can she score a perfect 10 without a same-bar release? That’s not a real bar routine!”

I’ll admit that I was one of those people, but if I set aside my personal preference for a second, it’s true; Caquatto the Elder performed a real bar routine that met all the college requirements. You see, in NCAA, gymnasts don’t need to do a same-bar release like a Jaeger or a Tkatchev or a Gienger. They simply need two “flight elements.”

“But what the #$%^ is a “flight element” if it isn’t a same-bar release?”

Let’s take a look at what the #$%^ a flight element is, as well as the other requirements for college uneven bar routines…

A Gym Nerd's Guide to NCAA Bars - An Infographic

To recap: Did Caquatto the Elder’s bar routine fulfill all the requirements?

Let’s look at the special requirements:

✓ Two bar changes (Pak, Maloney, Shootover, Toe-Shoot)

✓ Two flight elements (Maloney, Shootover, Toe-shoot)

✓ Longitudinal turn, excluding the dismount (Shootover)

✓ Minimum of a C dismount

And now for the “competitive level” requirements:

✓ D + D release combination (Maloney + Shootover to handstand)

✓ D release (Maloney, Shootover)

✓ D dismount (Full-in – E dismount)

So, brava, Caquatto the Elder! You found a way to score a 10 on one of the shortest bar routines ever!

What’s a “Cal Hop”?

If you’re an elite gym nerd, you have no clue what the Fuchs we’re talking about. ‘Cause no one does a “Cal Hop” in elite gymnastics. No one. In college gymnastics, however, it’s an easy way to receive credit for a “flight” element. Basically, you hop your hands from regular grip to reverse grip like this:

FYI: It’s a C in college gymnastics.

What’s wrong with the following statement?

“Ugh, if you’re going to do a giant full into a double tuck, you better upgrade to a double pike.”

Simply put: You’re thinking like an elite gymnastics fan.

In the FIG Code of Points, a double tuck is a B, and a double pike is a C. So, according to elite standards, a double pike would be an upgrade from a double tuck.

However, college gymnastics uses the Junior Olympic Code of Points, and in that code, both a double tuck and a double pike are C elements. So, doing a double pike (a la Danusia Francis) is not an upgrade. It’s just different.

Speaking of which… Why do we see so many “giant full to double tuck” combinations?

If 2014 will be your first NCAA season, prepare yourself. You are going to see a metric buttload of “giant full to double tuck” combinations ’cause quite frankly, it’s one of the easiest ways to fulfill the dismount requirements.

  • In order to meet the special requirements, gymnasts have to do a C dismount, and a double tuck is a C dismount.
  • In order for a routine to be “up to competitive level,” the C dismount needs to be performed with connection bonus. A giant full (D) connected to a double tuck (C) receives 0.1 in bonus.

So, voilà, all the dismount requirements are fulfilled!


And voilà, now you know a thing or two about NCAA bars. In case you missed it, we also wrote a Gym Nerd’s Guide for NCAA Floor and a Gym Nerd’s Guide for NCAA Beam.

Leave a comment below if you have any questions!


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Michael D
Michael D
10 years ago

Does anyone else find it bizarre that a Cal hop counts as a flight element, but a hop-full does not? Is there reasoning behind this? And would something like Anna Li’s “hop” 1 1/2 count as a flight element?

Renee Fuchs
Renee Fuchs
8 years ago

So, I am just now reading this and apparently my last name (Fuchs) is now a stand in for the Eff bomb? Not mad, just a bit confused, though it does explain why so many people have mispronounced my last name.

7 years ago

Hi! I love this guide. Question – does E+D get a connection bonus? The code doesn\’t really specify. I\’m thinking in particular about Ruby Harrold\’s Van Leeuwen to Zuchold connection. Thanks!

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