How to do a Cartwheel: A 5-Step Guide
A cartwheel is one of the beginning skills in gymnastics that will eventually lead to more difficult skills, such as a round-off or aerial. A cartwheel essentially consists of beginning in a lunge position, placing one hand on the ground and then the other, and kicking one foot overhead and then the other, before landing back in a lunge. Here we will walk you through the different body positions that occur throughout a cartwheel.
Step 1 to Learning a Cartwheel
The first step to learning a cartwheel is the lunge position. Gymnasts should begin and end their cartwheels in a lunge. A lunge is a standing position, where one foot is in front of you with the knee slightly bent, while the other foot is directly aligned with your hip, and that knee is locked. Both arms should be raised overhead with locked elbows. Keep your arms as close to your ears as possible and your shoulders, hips and back foot aligned.
Step 2 to Learning a Cartwheel
Before you can successfully complete a cartwheel, you must already know how to do a handstand. The motions of a cartwheel build upon those of a handstand. Just as you place your hands on the floor and kick your feet up overhead to do a handstand, you will do the same for a cartwheel. The only differences come with timing, and a slight turn of the shoulders and hips.
Once you are in your lunge position, you with then place your first hand on the floor while simultaneously lifting your back leg. Your front leg will straighten as this motion occurs. Your first hand should be on the same side as your front leg, whether it be left or right. While you are placing your hand on the floor, turn your shoulders and hips to face outward, rather than forward.
Step 3 to Learning a Cartwheel
Next, place your second hand on the floor in front of your first hand, while kicking your second leg into the air. At this point, your entire body should be facing outward, with your shoulders and hips aligned. Your fingers on both hands should be facing the opposite direction that you are looking, and your head should be in between your arms. Both legs and both arms should be completely straight and toes pointed!
Step 4 to Learning a Cartwheel
When coming down from a cartwheel, the downside mimics the upside. Just as you placed one hand on the floor first and lifted one leg first, that hand will lift first and the corresponding foot will touch back to the floor first. Try to make sure that your toes on your first foot are facing the hand that remains on the floor, as you will be turning your body to face the direction that you just came from once you finish.
The second hand will follow along with the first, lifting from the floor. Both arms should raise and stretch upward as you return to your lunge position. Similarly, your second foot will follow the first, touching back to the ground with your toes facing the same direction as the first foot.
Step 5 to Learning a Cartwheel
As you practice, your technique and body positions will improve. Throughout your cartwheel, your arms and legs should remain straight, with pointed toes and a tight tummy. Keeping your shoulders and hips aligned will make the motions much easier. Your head should stay in between your arms, and your arms should always be touching or close to your ears. Practice your cartwheels on both your left and right leg to develop coordination.
This is a simple 5-step guide to learning your cartwheel. For more detailed training and hands-on spotting, sign your preschooler up for BEEBUS Fitness & More classes!