How to do an Aerial Cartwheel

how to do an aerial cartwheel

An easy way to describe an aerial cartwheel would be a cartwheel with no hands. However, when you go to learn how to do an aerial cartwheel, you quickly realize that doing an aerial cartwheel is much different than doing a cartwheel. The first reason is that an aerial cartwheel gets it’s power from the gymnast’s legs, whereas, the cartwheel uses the gymnast’s arm muscles. So in order to learn how to do an aerial cartwheel, the gymnast has to strengthen and use different muscles.

Another reason why an aerial cartwheel is much different than a regular cartwheel is that it is much more difficult to learn. While the aerial cartwheel is no longer in a compulsory floor routine, it can be used to fulfill the Level 6 Floor requirement of a salto or aerial element. Many gymnasts also use it in their routines at more advanced levels.

I’m going to give you exercises to strengthen the muscles you need to do an aerial cartwheel, along with some drills and tools to help you learn the skill.

If you have learned how to do an aerial cartwheel, you can download The Aerial Cartwheel Club certificate.Click Here to Download

Muscles you need for an Aerial Cartwheelmuscles-you-need-for-an-aerial-cartwheel

Legs: You need strong leg muscles to do an aerial cartwheel, because your legs are what give your body lift and momentum in order to stay in the air.

Core: You also need strong core muscles to perform an aerial cartwheel, because you have to be squeezing your core to keep your body tight while you are in the air.

Exercises You Can Do at Home

hip lift

Hip Lift: Hip lifts strengthen your glutes which you need to push off the ground for your aerial. To do them lay on your back with your knees bent, your arms at your side and your feet on the ground. Lift your hips toward the ceiling, hold for a second and then lower your hips back to the floor to finish the repetition. Make sure you are keeping your back flat and squeezing your butt.

kettlebell deadlift

Kettlebell Deadlift: Kettlebell deadlifts help to strengthen your legs. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Place a kettlebell between your legs, in line with your ankles. With a straight back, looking in front of you, bend from the hips, and reach down to pick up the kettlebell in between your legs. Your shins should be vertical and your lower back should be flat. Then pushing through your legs, return to a standing position.

squats

Squats: Squats are great exercises to help you strengthen the leg muscles you need for an aerial cartwheel. Stand with your feet hip to shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing forwards. Keeping your back straight and your core squeezed, lower yourself with your weight on your heels. It can be easier with your arms extended out straight in front of you parallel to the ground. The goal will be for your thighs to become perpendicular to your calves, but only go as far as you can while controlling the movement. With the weight of your body in your heels, push against the floor and raise yourself back to a standing position in order to complete the repetition.lunges

Lunges: Lunges are a great exercise to do to learn an aerial cartwheel, because it mimics the beginning motion of an aerial. To do a lunge, stand with your legs together and your hands on your hips (or if you are using weights with your arms beside you). Your back should be straight and you should be looking in front of you. Step one foot forward and bend both legs until your back leg is almost touching the floor and your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Make sure your front knee is above your ankle, and that your back knee doesn’t touch the floor. Stand up and repeat with the other leg.

planks

Planks: Planks are a great exercise to strengthen your core muscles. You can do a plank exercise from either your wrists or your elbows. When you are in the plank position you want to be squeezing your legs, butt and core. Your shoulders should be over your elbows, and your body should be in a straight line from your head to your feet.  As you are squeezing all your muscles and maintaining a straight-body positions, make sure to breathe!

 

Aerial Cartwheel Exercises You Can Do at Home


Needle Kicks: To do a needle kick exercise as a drill for the aerial entry, start from a mountain climber position. This is with one knee on the ground and your other leg in front of you at a 90-degree angle. Then you want to stand up by pushing on your front leg (keeping your other leg behind you), and after you have stood up quickly do a needle kick. This is to practice the motion going in to your aerial. You can see this drill in the video above.

Cartwheel Close: You can practice doing cartwheel close’s at home, using the lunge motion in the beginning of the cartwheel that you will need to do an aerial. Do a fast cartwheel and land one foot swiftly after the other, pulling the second foot in to the first one.

Cartwheel Close with Sliders: You can do the drill shown in the video above at home also, a cartwheel close with sliders. The goal of this drill is to get the sliders to slide back away from your feet. You want to be lunging and moving your feet so fast that the sliders go flying.



Aerial Cartwheel Drills You Should Be Able to do at the Gym

Aerial off a Panel Mat: At the gym you should be able to do an aerial off a raised surface before you learn to do one on the floor. This can be off a panel mat, or into the pit on a mat.

Tools for Learning an Aerial Cartwheel

tools-for-learning-an-aerial-cartwheel

SlidersSliders are a great tool to help you learn an aerial cartwheel. You want to be able to do a cartwheel close drill and have the sliders go flying.

Panel MatA panel mat is useful for several different aerial cartwheel drills.

So, if you want to learn how to do an aerial cartwheel, the first step is to strengthen your legs and core muscles. The next step is to practice the needle kicks drill, cartwheel close and cartwheel close with sliders. After you have mastered those drills, try aerials off a raised surface. Once you can do an aerial successfully off a raised surface, you should be able to take your new skill to the floor. I hope the video and exercises are helpful to you, and help you learn how to do an aerial cartwheel!

 

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13 comments… add one
  • Haley Hartline November 17, 2016, 8:17 am

    I have done an aerial before by my self a few days ago. But now I’m having trouble getting enough height. What do I do?

    Reply
    • makayla December 16, 2016, 9:57 pm

      A high hurdle right before gives you all your height and momentum for an Ariel.

      Reply
  • gymnastics December 3, 2016, 11:15 am

    I so wish I was good at gymnastics! I can’t seem to get a lot of moves! But I was wondering how do I know if I am a level 1 or 2? (I am a self – taught gymnast.)

    Reply
    • Grace December 5, 2016, 1:12 pm

      If you are willing to join a gymnastics class, I suggest you do so, if you are wanting to learn new skills. If you don’t want to join a class, use you tube gymnastics tutorials. They will teach you what you need to know.

      Reply
  • brianna January 6, 2017, 11:54 pm

    how do u do it i thought you were going tell us how to do it

    Reply
    • Annie January 26, 2017, 7:44 pm

      The picture at the top shows you how to do it. Simply lunge forward, push off of your leg, hold yourself with your core in the air, and cartwheel onto the other leg.

      Reply
      • Rachel February 17, 2017, 2:02 pm

        Basically it’s a cartwheel without your hands, practice with one handsp and then do one hand late, and then you got an ariel!

        Reply
  • Billie gott March 20, 2017, 3:04 pm

    I am so close to my aerial but my hands go down right when i go up into it.. what can I do to stop that

    Reply
  • Alyssa March 24, 2017, 11:46 pm

    I’m a level 2 gymnast, so what I did to get my aerial without my hands is do and round-off, off of a slightly higher area, such as sidewalk to street (I suggest not doing this because it is dangerous), and keep doing that until your are ready for step 2. Step 2: After you have mastered your round-off, off of a higher area, try hurdling off of the higher area and keep your hands away from the ground for 1 second, then 2 seconds, then 3, then 4, then5, etc. Until you get it. Step 3: Try the same thing same-leveled ground, and you will get it.
    Ps, Don’t be scared to hurt yourself, try it on a bouncy area such as trampoline, then on ground it your that uncomfortable.

    Reply
  • icecreamlovershayla21 March 29, 2017, 7:03 pm

    when i keep on trying to do an ariel my hands keep on going down on the ground how do prevent that from happening??? HELP!!!

    Reply
  • Hannah H-E August 15, 2017, 5:26 am

    I am having extreme trouble getting my ariel, does anyone know how I could get enough momentum and height into my Ariel. I am trying to learn one by doing fast cartwheels.. good idea?

    Reply
  • Madison August 23, 2017, 2:30 pm

    To get your aerial, pretend that the floor is lava. You can’t touch the floor or you’ll get burned. Your feet, however, have special shoes that can keep you from getting burned. Your hands don’t have anything special on them, so if you touch your hands to the floor, then you’ll get burned. I know this seems crazy, but I told this to my teammate when she was trying aerials off a panel mat. She hadn’t made it yet, but after I told her this, she made it! Try this strategy, it really works! I didn’t get my aerial from this strategy, I got my aerial by just not putting my hands on the ground. Do try this though! Good luck with your aerial!

    Reply
  • Alayah September 9, 2017, 6:29 pm

    what is the highest limit to do a aerial?

    Reply

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