Performing the Skill
A cartwheel is most likely the most basic tumbling skill in gymnastics. If you do not know anything about tumbling, this is where you should start. Cartwheels are also very fun to do. To perform a cartwheel you want to first select your lead foot. This is usually the foot that feels comfortable to put in front of you at the start of a race. Many people have one foot that naturally feels bettering starting with; this is most likely also your stronger leg. You will quickly start to see which foot you’re most comfortable beginning with. (For many people, their lead foot is opposite their dominant hand.
Place your lead foot in front of you and raise your arms high above your head. Place your weight on your back foot and point your toes on your lead foot. Rock back on your spine; then lunge forward into your front foot. Your front leg will bend, but your body should form a straight line with your spine, body, and arms.
Keeping your body in line with your spine, move your arms toward the ground and twist your body so you are looking sideways. Your hands will strike the floor at slightly different times. The first hand you should place on the ground is the one nearest to your lead foot, or the foot that’s furthest forward.
With your hands on the floor, arms fully extended, use your lead leg to push off the ground and propel your body upward. Your legs will be spread like a V in the air, and your body needs to be perpendicular to the ground.
The conclusion of the cartwheel should be a mirror image of the start. What was once your back foot will land on the ground, and your lead foot will land . You should be looking the opposite direction you were searching when you began, and your arms should be raised in the atmosphere.
Your body should travel in a direct line. It might help to draw a line on the floor with a piece of chalk. Start with your lead foot on one side of this line along with your other foot on the other side. You should end with one foot on each side of the center line. This will help your cartwheel look more graceful and will be important in helping you do future tumbling skills.
As soon as your body is in the air, your arms and legs should be completely extended. Video tape your cartwheels so you can see where you need to improve. Maintain control of your body throughout the cartwheel. It won’t be easy to add additional tumbling skills later in the event that you end your basic tumbling skills off balance.
Performing the Skill