The floor exercise consists of spring-enhanced floor mat, 40 feet long by 40 feet wide. Gymnasts are required to cover the entire surface of the floor, using dance and tumbling, accompanied by a piece of music of their choice.
Deductions are taken if the gymnast falls off the apparatus, fails to complete a skill adequately, breaks the continuity of the routine, or has form breaks.
Levels 5 and 6 have prescribed compulsory routines, composed of elements that must be performed in order and within specific allowed parameters. The optional-level gymnasts must compose and perform routines that are between 70 and 90 seconds long, show changes in rhythm and tempo, and meet other pre-determined requirements. The best floor routines meet the requirements, show rhythm and grace, show power and amplitude in dance and tumbling while at the same time showing control and good form. It should appear to the judges that the gymnast is enjoying the performance and showing the best of her ability.
The various floor skills, as are skills for bars and beam, are divided into five categories, A being the group of the easiest skills, to D and E which are the most difficult. Floor routines can be extremely draining on a gymnast's endurance, and also require strength for the dance and tumbling series. Some required elements are dance, turns, leaps, jumps, tumbling elements, and series linking skills from these different categories.
The gymnast must perform on the blue-colored portion of the floor exercise. If the gymnast steps out of bounds into the white strips surrounding the four sides of the floor, a deduction of 0.1 points is taken off.