9 Basic Gymnastics Skills You Should Master

There are certain skills in gymnastics that are building blocks for many other skills. Looking to perform these basics perfectly will make it easier to progress and improve your gymnastics!

You might also be interested in 10 Exercises You can do at Home to Improve your Gymnastics Skills.

Want a free checklist of these skills to track your progress? Click Here to Download

Here are 9 basic gymnastics skills you should master:

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1. Handstand:

The handstand is arguably the single most important skill and position in the sport of gymnastics. It’s the building block for essential skills on each of the four events. Being able to do a perfect handstand is one skill you should learn to master. The handstand is used in most tumbling skills- walkovers and handsprings. The handstand is important on bars-cast to handstands and giants are in the handstand position. Handsprings on vault pass through the handstand position. One of the keys to nailing the back extension roll in the level 6 floor routine is to hit a perfect handstand in the middle of the roll. You can practice handstands at home by doing spider man against the wall. Spiderman against the wall (see a picture explanation at this link) is one of my favorite exercises for improving your gymnastics skills at home.Spider-man against the wall is basically a handstand against the wall, but it’s a way to practice handstands with correct form. To do spider-man against the wall, stand with your back against a wall in your house. Put your hands on the floor in front of you, and one at a time put your feet on the wall. Walk your hands closer to the wall as you walk your feet up the wall, until your stomach is touching the wall and you are in a handstand position. The tops of your feet should be flat against the wall, with your pointed toes touching the wall (your toenails will be against the wall). Keep your head neutral but look at your hands with your eyes. Hold this for as long as you can before coming down. While you are in the handstand concentrate on tightening up all your muscles and think about pulling your feet up to the ceiling. This is a great way to practice good form because the wall forces your body to be absolutely straight. Learn more about how to do a handstand.

2. Cast:

Casting is the most basic bar element and learning how to cast well early on will help you learn so many other skills. Body position in the cast is a hollow body shape.  The hollow body shape is similar to the shape you have in a perfect handstand other than your back is slightly rounded with your stomach pulled towards your spine. You will eventually be casting to handstand so the higher you can cast with a nice tight body position the better. You want your legs to be together and straight, your stomach pulled in, your back rounded and your eyes looking at the bar. Learn how to do a cast handstand.

3. Splits:

Mastering your side and middle splits will help you execute other skills that use that same shape well. And your splits are easy to practice at home. The split “shape” is everywhere in gymnastics—split leaps, jumps, switch leaps, in the middle of backwalkovers, etc. The better you can do your splits on the ground, the better you will be able to do them in the middle of a skill. You should be able to do a split on your left leg, your right leg and a middle split with your legs straight and all the way to the ground. If you’re having trouble getting your splits all the way to the floor, learn some tips for increasing your flexibility.

4. Handspring on Vault:

The handspring on vault is the basic skill that all upper level vaults are based off of. It will be hard to succeed at Yurchenkos or twisting vaults if you haven’t figured out the mechanics of the handspring vault. To do a great handspring on vault you need to run fast, jump hard “punch” off the spring board, to fly through the air and hit a perfect handstand on top of the vault table, block using your shoulders off the top of the vault and land on your feet. The first basic gymnastics skill is in play here also–the handstand.

5. Back Handspring:

A back handspring is an important gymnastics skill to master because it is the basic skill used in back tumbling on floor and beam. It will be hard for you to connect upper level skills (like layouts, full-twists, back tucks and double backs) to a Round-off Back handspring if you can’t do a proper back handspring. The roundoff and the back handspring are both crucial for providing power to whatever comes after it. For more help with a back handspring head over here to How to Do a Back Handspring: The Steps to Learning and Mastering One.

6. Round-off:

A roundoff is just as important as a backhandspring to master for tumbling on floor. The roundoff gives power just like the backhandspring does to the tumbling pass. Learn how to do a perfect, powerful roundoff.

7. Turn on 1 Foot:

The turn on 1 foot is a skill that doesn’t go away. It is required in every floor and beam routine gymnastics levels 4-10. So you might as well master this basic gymnastics skill right away.

8. Split Leap:

The split leap is another skill that is required in every floor and beam routine levels 4-10. To have a perfect split leap you want to be able to do your perfect split position in the air as high as you can off the ground. You want your split to be even also–both legs should be the same distance from the ground.

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9. Tap Swing on Bars

Tap swings on bars, along with casts, are a building block of bar routines in all gymnastics levels. A tap swing is a swing on bars, but at the back of the swing you should “regrip”. This means you should come off the bar briefly and re grab. At the back of the bar your body should be in a hollow position, underneath the bar you should move to a slight arch position as you “tap” your feet higher in the front of the bar. This just means that your feet will come forwards to create a slight hollow in your body again.

Good Luck mastering these 9 basic gymnastics skills!

Do you have home gymnastics equipment ? If so, here are gymnastics exercises you can do using your home beam, mat or bars.

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31 comments… add one
  • Naeem July 20, 2014, 2:29 am


  • Naeem July 20, 2014, 2:31 am


  • Charlotte Lillian August 23, 2014, 5:19 am

    Wow, these are basic moves? They look intermediate and advanced to me and I’m a gymnastics coach!

    • Margaret November 23, 2014, 8:13 am

      That just means that those skills are the skills from which other skills are built off of so maybe a better word would be important

    • Lori February 22, 2017, 3:39 pm

      Ja i also thought these moves did not look easy at all

      • Savannah October 8, 2017, 2:04 pm

        Most of these skills are basic skills for team gymnasts.

  • Fabio October 16, 2014, 10:17 am

    Very useful and good basic exercises of the video. (y) (y)

    The trick to making a perfect vertical (as pictured) trained and have strong shoulders to bear the weight and impose its own weight on the wrists and hands like so many, to be a perfect balance between the shoulders and legs. (y) (y)

    I’m a gymnast; having learned envi makeup, not even hard labor, and I can stay there as I want. My gym buddies are wondering how I can do to make this “magic”, I explained him, but they did not succeed. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Margaret November 23, 2014, 8:14 am

    That just means that those skills are the skills from which other skills are built off of so maybe a better word would be important

  • Alayna December 4, 2014, 11:04 am

    These look hard but I can do my best and keep trying : D

    • Savannah October 8, 2017, 2:05 pm

      Just keep trying and don’t give up! Good luck!

  • winglm February 19, 2015, 9:08 am

    Your picture of Gabby Douglas is not a cast, it’s the completion of a Pak salto.

  • Silvia January 3, 2017, 9:35 am


  • Rita law January 6, 2017, 12:55 pm

    I hav been tryin to do a center split but it hurts wen i try

    • Savannah October 8, 2017, 2:08 pm

      The reason why it hurts is because you need to to stretch it more. Do your center splits every morning and before you go to bed, soon they won’t hurt as bad anymore because you will be stretching out your muscles. Never push down too far, as this can pull a muscle. Hope this helps! Good luck!

  • Avery February 4, 2017, 11:02 am

    Can y’all send me a gym video

  • Teiana February 16, 2017, 3:13 pm

    Nice gymnastics skills

  • Hunter April 29, 2017, 11:30 pm

    Those are easy I lured that on the first day

  • Testo Reload May 5, 2017, 1:26 pm

    Hey, you used to write excellent, but the last few posts have been kinda boring…
    I miss your super writings. Past few posts are just a bit out of track!
    come on!

  • me June 23, 2017, 6:43 am

    Can you get an online coach?!!? 😀
    i really want to do gymnastics, i live in auckland new zealand if anyone knows of and good, but reasonably priced gymnastics class thingy..PLEASE TELL ME!!!!!!!!!!!! :):):):)

  • Hector Huyo June 27, 2017, 11:17 am

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  • Mel November 14, 2017, 8:45 am

    I can’t do a split anymore, can someone help me? I could do a ”perfect” split and an oversplit. A few days ago I also wanted to do the splits, but my hamstring hurted so much. It doesn’t get better, it just hurts, i can’t do any leg stretches, bc of this pain. Can someone please tell me what to do? I would be very glad. (I am from Austria, sorry for bad english)

  • Mel November 14, 2017, 8:45 am

    I can’t do a split anymore, can someone help me? I could do a ”perfect” split and an oversplit. A few days ago I also wanted to do the splits, but my hamstring hurted so much. It doesn’t get better, it just hurts, i can’t do any leg stretches, bc of this pain. Can someone please tell me what to do? I would be very glad. (I am from Austria, sorry for bad english)

  • Jessika Kropf November 15, 2017, 8:53 pm

    I love gymnastics!!!!But i forgot how to do oversplits.I watch anna mcnulty i watch sofie dossi i watch bratayley all of them work but i just can’t do it.(btw i live in oklahoma city ok)

  • Lacey December 2, 2017, 7:44 pm

    I almost have a back handspring and front handspring vault

  • eleanor February 17, 2018, 11:32 pm

    i only see 8 moves on this page?

  • Sky April 21, 2018, 5:55 pm

    I’m a kind of new gymnast (I began a club in January, but have been self teaching for 3 yrs) I nearly have them all already, I can do a handstand, just cant hold it properly, I have an amazing round-off, I can turn on one foot and that’s all. However, I’m super close to the splits (I used to be able to go all the way down until I didn’t warm up causing an injury, I’m close to the handspring on vault I just cant do it yet though. I have never done casting or tap swing on the bars in my club sooo yeah, and I’m too afraid to do back handspring. I also cant do a very good split leap. I think that most of them are pretty basic especially if I can already do them


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