A front tuck is (probably) the first front salto you learn as a gymnast. Aside from that, a front tuck is in the level 5 routine. So, it’s an important gymnastics skill to learn and master. As you advance in gymnastics, you will probably want to do tumbling passes that start with a front tuck step-out.
I’ve outlined what muscles you need for a front tuck and some exercises you can do, along with some drills for the front tuck.
To do a front tuck, you will want to punch the ground with the balls of your feet, while you are throwing your arms up in the air. Then as you are flipping, you will want to pull your legs into a tuck. For the landing, you will want to open your body up, and bend your knees in order to absorb the landing.
Never attempt a front tuck, or the drills below, without being in a gym under the supervision of a gymnastics coach.
Have you already mastered a front tuck? If so, download The Front Tuck Club certificate.
Muscles You Need for a Front Tuck
Legs: You need strong leg muscles to punch the floor and give yourself power to flip in the air.
Core: You also need strong core stomach muscles to pull your legs fast into a tuck, and to control the landing.
Exercises You Can Do for a Front Tuck
Squats: Squats will help to strengthen muscles you need in your legs when you punch the floor for a front tuck. To do a squat, stand with your feet hip to shoulder-width apart. You can either do squats with your feet pointing out (with them slightly at a diagonal angle) or your feet pointing forwards. The squats will work different muscles depending on which way your feet are pointing. 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 also help to strengthen the muscles in your legs you need to punch the floor for your front tuck. 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.
Hip Lifts: Hip lifts help to strengthen your glutes, which will help you punch the ground harder. To do a hip lift, lie 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.
Planks: You need strong core stomach muscles to do a front tuck. Planks are a great exercise for strengthening your core. 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 position, make sure to breathe!
Front Tuck Drills for At Home
Punching Drills with Medicine Ball: The video above has a few great punching drills that you can do at the gym or at home. These drills will help you practice the punch that you need to do your front tuck.
Front Tuck Drills You Can Do at the Gym
All of these drills should be done with coach supervision, when they think you are ready for the progression.
Jump Roll over Mat: To learn the motion of getting your knees over your head fast, you can do this drill. You want to do this over a trapezoid mat, or a block that is a couple feet high. You will jump, and forward roll on top of the mat, trying to get your body over your head fast.
Front Tuck on Trampoline: The first place you should learn a front tuck is on the trampoline. You can first learn one by jumping on the end of the tumble track and flipping onto a big resi mat. Once you have learned that, practice front tucks on a trampoline.
Front Tucks in a row on Tumble Track: Once you have learned how to do a bounce front tuck on the trampoline, try to do front tucks in a row on the tumble track like in the video above.
Punch Front into Foam Pit: Another drill for learning a front tuck is to do a punch front into a foam pit.
Punch Front onto 8 Inch Mat: After you can do front tucks into a foam pit well, you can move onto the floor, and with a coach spotting, you do punch front tuck onto an 8 inch mat.
Tools for Learning a Front Tuck
Medicine Ball: You can use a medicine ball to do punching drills like in the video above. Being able to punch hard is key to learning how to do a front tuck.
Trapezoid: A trapezoid can be used to do the jump, roll over mat drill.
Light Weights: Light weights are helpful for when you are adding resistance during your lunges and squats.
8 Inch Mat: An 8 inch mat is great to use for landing when you first start to do your front tucks on the floor.
If you work hard to strengthen your legs so that you can punch the floor with power, and you practice all the drills above, you should be on your way to learning how to do a front tuck. Next, you can work on connecting your front handspring to your front tuck!