Monday, March 25, 2013

Skills of: Double Layouts

To see the original video, go to
So, a video came up this week of Aliya Mustafina training a double layout, and the gymternet exploded. I thought I'd take this opportunity to talk about the double layout, one of my favorite moves on floor. To keep reading, click below! (And also, can I just say that I love that she trains in red sweatpants)

So, when I first got into gymnastics, and started seriously watching routines, my favorite floor skill was the double layout (or double straight, if you watch with BBC commentary). Why? Because it was the only skill I could easily recognize. There are no other skills on floor that look even remotely like a double layout. Any twists added (ie MyKayla Skinner's double twisting double layout. Now that all the hype's died down, what's happening with that?) make the skill look completely different. Want to look like a knowledgeable gym fan around your friends? Call out a double layout (double tucks and double pikes are pretty easy to recognize too, but when they turn into arabians it gets tricky). Now that I can recognize pretty much every tumble on floor, the double layout is still my favorite, because it looks so effortless. Ironic right, considering it's one of the hardest tumbles. But something about that laid out position just makes look easy. I've never seen someone make a double layout look labored, unlike the tons of low and under-rotated double pikes out there. But let's go through the history of the double layout, and then what to look for when watching them being performed.


The first double layout is performed at the the USSR Cup for Gymnastics by Stella Zakharova from Kishinev. Apparently, she was only fourteen at the time! There is no video of this, but a web page from 2006 HERE.


Mary Lou Retton seems to have performed the first double layout captured on a video that eventually made it onto youtube. This was at the Single Elimination Championships, which I have never heard of

 Some Other Great Double Layouts


The great Anna Pavlova, in Beijing 2008

credits to live-free-laugh

You know, she's widely regarded to be one of the best performers of the double layout, but looking at this, she has pretty obvious leg  separation, and an almost Bross type of sickled feet. But what she does really well is keep the layout position in the second salto.

This is Lavinia Milosovici in 1994. She does pretty much everything right, including the lunge at the landing that I think was allowed during that code? (correct me if I'm wrong). Of course, from this angle, there could be a slight leg separation that we can't see, but regardless this is pretty darn perfect
credits to

Now let's talk about what makes a good double layout. First, from the code of points, the definition of one.


And the deductions that can be taken on floor:
directly from the 2013-2016 Code of Points
Wow, you say, that's a lot of deductions that can be taken! Actually, I was pretty shocked that these are basically all  the deductions that can be taken on FX for the moves (there are another set of deductions that can be taken for artistry and musicality). Here are the ones that apply to double layouts.

-bent knees

-leg or knee separations

-insufficient height of elements (external amplitude)

-failure to maintain stretched body posture (piking too early) in elements without LA turn

-precision (what does that even mean?)

And from later in the COP
"In double saltos (FX)
 a stretched position must be maintained in the 1st salto and
at least till inverted position in the 2nd salto"

Stretch is defined as: (all body parts in alignment)
A slight hollow in the chest or a slight arched body position is

So let's take a look at the double layout of one of my favorites, Yao Jinnan, and see what deductions we can find

credits to gifsartist
 So from this side view, we aren't really able to see any leg separations, but this is a really good angle to see how she maintains the stretch position. She pikes noticeably in in the second salto, but that's allowed. Her back is also quite arched in the first 1 1/2 saltos, but overall, a decent double layout with a lovely stuck landing. 

Now from a front view
credits to monigymnastics
  This is  the angle that I first saw her double layout in while watching the 2011 World Championships. Do you see the leg separation when she lifts off? And then in the second salto there's a definite leg separation that starts from her knees. I'd almost argue that it's a shoulder width or more leg sep. I remember it being very distinct on the NBC replay.

So, according to the Code of Points, she'd be given  

-.30 for leg separation
-.10 for piking too early

Code experts, did I get that right?

Going back to Mustafina's Double Layout, you can't really tell from the video if she has any leg separations, but she's maintaining a good stretched position throughout both saltos. Here's hoping that she puts this in her floor routine for Worlds, if not Euros


  1. Have you seen Diana Dudeva's? It was one of the earliest too, think 1983 was her first. It's probably the worst one I've ever seen because her legs form a total diamond shape. It's unfair to criticise her I think, given the floor and how early it was. But still, it looks funny..and it makes the quality of MLR's more impressive.

    My favourite double layouts are Mattie Larson's and Cristina Bontas'. I enjoy completely straight non-arched double layouts too, but they're more common off bars.

    1. Oooh Mattie Larson. Really, watching her 2010 nationals floor, it's such a shame that she never won a world title there.

  2. There have been some excellent double layouts on the floor from the past. I'd personally mention Elena Gurova in 1987, Natalia Laschenova, Cristina Bontas, Oksana Chusovitina, etc.