How to do a Cartwheel

Are you interested in learning how to do a cartwheel?

But:

you aren’t sure where to start?

How_to_Do_a_Cartwheel

You can learn a cartwheel in one day, but you will first need to start with a baby cartwheel. And then work on perfecting it. In the cartwheel below she kicks around the side and does a baby cartwheel. Whereas, in the cartwheel above she correctly kicks vertically over her head. As you practice you will get better and better, and be able to do a correct cartwheel.

How_to_Do_a_baby Cartwheel

One of the keys to learning a perfect cartwheel is practice. I share my story of learning a perfect cartwheel in my article on the power of repetition.

A cartwheel is one of the basic skills of gymnastics, and usually the first skill a gymnast will learn.

If you’ve already learned how to do a cartwheel you can download a GymnasticsHQ Cartwheel Club Certificate Click Here to Download

Now, let’s get into it…

Note: If you aren’t sure if your gymnast should be trying a cartwheel with their right leg going first or their left, there are a couple things you can do. You can have your gymnast do a cartwheel on both sides and see which side is easier and more natural. You can also have your gymnast do a cartwheel over a mat or a block (like here below) and see which way their hands turn. If they naturally turn 90 degrees to the left, they are most likely going to be doing a left cartwheel. And if they turn 90 degrees to the right, they are most likely going to be doing a right cartwheel.




How to Do a Cartwheel Step by Step

Here are step by step instructions for learning a cartwheel.

 1. Start in a lunge.

To start your lunge, put your dominant leg in front and bend it slightly. Your back leg should be straight. Your arms should be straight above your head, near your ears.
cartwheel step one

2. Put your hands on the ground.

Put your hands on the ground with your hands turned 90 degrees.
cartwheel step two
3. Kick your feet over your head.

Kick your feet over your head one at a time. The foot that kicks first should land first.
cartwheel step three
4. Land in a lunge.
Land in a lunge facing the opposite direction you started from. Your arms should be over your head near your ears. Your front leg should be slightly bent, and your back leg should be straight.

how to do a cartwheel step 4

When you are starting out, just try to kick your feet around the side of your body. Then, as you work on improving your cartwheel, you can try to kick your feet more over your head.

(A sidenote: Thank you to my beautiful former level 9 gymnast sister for letting me take these pictures of her. She is wearing this Gym Rat flowy racerback tank. )

While you can learn a cartwheel without the help of tools, it can be easier to learn one with help. Especially for young gymnasts.

cartwheel learning tools

Tools for Learning a Cartwheel

The Original Block: Cartwheel over the Cartwheel Block

My favorite way to teach a cartwheel, is to teach it over an object. And this cartwheel block is perfect for learning this way. It’s much easier to kick your feet around or over your head in this method, with your hands being raised a little bit off the ground.

To do a cartwheel over the block:

  1. Start in a lunge
  2. Turn your hands 90 degrees to either the right or left (depending on your gymnast’s dominant side)
  3. And kick your feet over the block to land on the other side.

You can also help determine which side, right or left, will be your gymnast’s dominant side when they are tumbling with this tool. If your gymnast automatically turns her hands 90 degrees to the left, she should probably do a left cartwheel with her left foot in front in her lunge. If she automatically turns her hands 90 degrees to the right, she will probably be doing a right cartwheel.

Tumbl Trak Cartwheel Beam Mat: Cartwheel on the Cartwheel Mat

Learning a cartwheel with a cartwheel mat is a great method for preschool children. The foot-prints and hand-prints make it easy for preschool age children to figure out where their hands should go. You can also use the back of this mat to practice doing a cartwheel in a straight line.

Nastia Liukin Pink Foam Balance Beam: Cartwheel on a Foam Training Beam

Once your gymnast has learned a cartwheel, it’s time to make it perfect! One of the ways to make sure your gymnast is doing a straight cartwheel is by doing it on a beam. This foam balance beam is slightly raised, but not enough that your gymnast will hurt herself if she doesn’t land directly on it.

Sticky Beam Strip: Cartwheel on a Line on the Floor:

A sticky beam strip is a great way to help your gymnast practice on a line, when you don’t want to put chalk or tape on the floors in your house. You can put this strip down, use it to practice, and take it right back up.  By practicing your cartwheel on a line, you will make sure you are going right over your head.

I hope this helps you master your cartwheel!

Once you have mastered your cartwheel, check out 9 other basic gymnastics skills you should master.




 

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10 comments… add one
  • Precious June 17, 2017, 10:05 pm

    Reply
  • Precious June 17, 2017, 10:12 pm

    Thanks

    Reply
  • Mary Harris June 20, 2017, 2:01 pm

    I didn’t do it perfect

    Reply
  • Alexandra June 22, 2017, 3:53 pm

    I sprained my arm doing that and probably pulled a muscle

    Reply
    • Kate July 6, 2017, 12:15 am

      Hey

      Reply
    • Kate July 6, 2017, 12:16 am

      Hey how are you

      Reply
    • Akon July 12, 2017, 10:42 pm

      When you do any type of gymnastic move, you must stretch your muscles. That’s probably where you went wrong.

      Reply
  • me June 23, 2017, 6:39 am

    when I do a cartwheel, I’m sure my legs aren’t quite straight up and down, I’m sure that I’m wonky while doing it, how do I go ‘straight up and down?? Please!! :):)

    Reply
  • Rim June 24, 2017, 12:03 pm

    Insta d of landing in a lunge I always land like a rou d off

    Reply
  • Horsey133 July 22, 2017, 6:45 am

    My legs are bent when i do it how do i get them straight . Other than that its great!

    Reply

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