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WAG to MAG Transition Tips

Welcome WAG gymnasts who want to start training/competing MAG! The intent of this document is to ease your learning process as much as we can, from both a skill development and rules perspective. If you have any questions or suggested additions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at

Helpful links

  • FIG Code of Points – The list of skills and rules we use as the basis for all our rules. Exceptions and additions are listed in our NAIGC materials, but the bulk of our skills/rules come from here. 
  • NAIGC MAG Quick Guide – The easiest place to check a rule or NAIGC skill. We’ve tried to condense the basic aspects of our rules here, as well as a list of all the NAIGC additional allowed skills. 
  • NAIGC Code of Points – Illustrations of all the additional NAIGC allowable skills. Clicking any box will also bring you to a video of the skill.
  • Beginner Routines – We’ve got three increasingly difficult beginner routines on each event that have attempted to optimize score and minimize deductions

Things that you might think are true but aren’t any more

  • You can’t straddle on a cast handstand (you’ll get a deduction for non-standard leg position, 0.1-0.3). 
  • On everything but floor and vault, you will get deducted for any change in direction of swing without a skill. In Developmental, you can do one or two changes in a row without deduction, but the third or more changes in a row will be deducted each time. Examples:
    • Kip cast handstand to back giants: -0.3 (you need to pirouette or go into front giants to avoid deduction)
    • Rings cast, back swing, dismount: -0.3 (you need to do dislocate immediate dismount, or bail from handstand or shoulder stand)
  • Any foot movements after landing a skill on floor will be deducted, you can’t do a controlled lunge without getting 0.1-0.3 in deduction. 
  • You cannot repeat a skill for credit on any event. 

Specific skills that might be easier to pick up as a WAG gymnast and miscellaneous tips

  • FX
    • All your tumbling from WAG can come right over to MAG!
      • You won’t get credit for the second time you do any skill, so watch out for your two salto passes
    • No credit for any leaps/jumps/turns
    • Scale! If you can do a 180 degree scale without holding your leg with your hand you’ll get a B!
    • Back layout is a B instead of an A!
    • Dismounts must be a forward or backward acrobatic skill landing with both feet together.
    • No Shushanovas directly from rebound.
  • PH
    • All the scissors are easier to learn than circles
    • Start with our beginner routines
  • SR
    • Figure out the easiest way for you to get above the rings from the following (everyone is different!): muscle up, kip, front uprise, back uprise
  • VT
    • Most of the same vaults are still allowed (no feet on the vault, no front handspring onto the board vaults), just some values are different
    • Only one vault attempt in competition
  • PB
    • Kip, they’re easier on the end of the bars
    • You can lower the bars as low as you’d like
    • Cast is scary at first but is safe and technique rather than strength based
    • Front uprise is much easier as a mount and is the easiest way to get the upper arm element group.
    • Peach basket to long hang is another technique focused skill.
  • HB
    • Lots of UB skills carry over, back and front giants should be easier and less scary (no low bar, and smaller diameter bar means it’s easier to grip and having your thumbs wrapped)
    • You must use high bar grips if you are going to do giants, otherwise you are at risk of getting grip lock (your grip gets stuck in place while your body keeps moving…)
    • The Higgins is a much easier and less scary way to get from back giants to front giants (vs. a blind change)

Rules explanation given previous knowledge of WAG rules

Whereas WAG is generally based directly on USAG JO rules and not on FIG rules, MAG is more directly based on the FIG rules (even the JO equivalent levels are still based on the core FIG rules with modifications). This means you don’t need to pay to get the base rules! At a basic level, the rules are the same: there’s a list of acceptable skills that have difficulty values (A/B/C/etc), and you put together a routine made up of these skills that follows a list of routine construction requirements as best you can. These construction requirements are relatively simple compared to most of the WAG levels, and the easiest way to check them is the Quick Guide. The main list of skills (aka the Code of Points) is here, and there are additionally a set of extra skills allowed within the NAIGC detailed in our NAIGC Code of Points (each skill is clickable to watch a video of someone doing the skill).

MAG doesn’t have requirements the same way as WAG does, with a couple small exceptions at the higher levels. As long as you meet the minimum number of skills for a level, your execution score starts at 10.0. You can then add to your start value (difficulty score) by choosing skills from different element groups. Each event has 3 element groups and a dismount group, each adding 0.5 to your difficult score (max 3 groups for developmental). Unlike WAG, the code is clearly divided into these element groups, so it is easy to go to a group in the code and find skills. You also don’t need to choose skills of a certain value, even an A skill gets you element group credit (except for dismounts in the higher levels, where it will get you 0.3 instead of 0.5). On most events, you can have a routine with all A value skills and meet all the element groups.

The other way to add to your difficulty score is through the value of your skills. Every A element adds 0.1, B elements add 0.2, etc. Oftentimes, you will score much higher if you choose to perform lower level elements because you are likely to get more deductions on a higher level skill but it only adds 0.1 to your score to upgrade an A to B.

MAG deductions are much harsher than WAG. There is a 1.0 deduction for a fall, and larger steps could be up to 0.5 off. But, unlike WAG, the deductions are mostly for form and body position, and not subjective things like amplitude and rhythm. In MAG, good form is often more important than proper technique or even high difficulty.