A beam routine lasts between 70 and 90 seconds and covers the entire length of the apparatus, incorporating dance movements, flips, leaps, balances and turns. There is a .10 point deduction for exceeding the time limit. Falls cost .50. Gymnasts have 30 seconds to remount the apparatus after a fall. Otherwise, the exercise is terminated.
The overall execution should give the impression that the gymnast is performing on the floor, not on a four-inch wide strip. Watch for variations in rhythm and a smooth, artistic blend of gymnastics and acrobatic elements.
Although many beam routines feature spectacular dismounts, these don't count more than the other factors that judges consider: elegance, flexibility, rhythm, tempo, balance, confidence and self-control.
The balance beam is made of foam-padded aluminum covered with vinyl. It is five meters (16 feet, five inches) long, 10 centimeters (four inches) wide and 120 centimeters (three feet, 11 inches) off the ground
A beam exercise must contain:
One acrobatic series of two or more flight elements
One gymnastic series of two or more elements
One mixed series (gymnastic/acrobatic) of two or more elements
One movement close to the beam (the torso must touch the beam)
One gymnastic turn of at least 360 degrees on one leg
One leap, jump or hop with large amplitude