How to Perform a Cartwheel

A basic move in gymnastics, a cartwheel is a great way to limber up, and in addition to increasing upper body strength, it leads to the performance of more complicated and advanced moves. It starts with you standing firmly on your feet, with your hands raised above your head, after which you flip over using your upper body strength, perform a temporary handstand, and then land gracefully again on both feet, maintaining momentum all the while.

Things Required:

– A flat, open, uncluttered space
– Masking tape


  • 1

    To begin, make sure you will be performing the cartwheel in a wide open place, with a soft, uncluttered surface. This could be a grassy lawn, a wide open space on the beach, or a gymnastics mat – make sure there is no furniture around, or any rocks, or sharp objects on the floor with which you might hurt yourself. Since the cartwheel needs to be performed in a straight line, you can also tape a straight line on the floor using masking tape, to serve as a guideline.

  • 2

    Begin by performing a couple of warm-up exercises – get your wrists, and upper body in shape for the coming exercise. You will need to develop a fair amount of flexibility, and make sure you get your body into the zone, as many inexperienced people tend to end up feeling too dizzy to end a cartwheel properly, on their feet.

  • 3

    Once you have warmed up, you are ready to begin. Assume the correct starting stance by raising your arms straight into the air, with the palms facing forward, and both your feet planted on the straight line, around hip’s width apart. Then, decide whether you will be doing the cartwheel towards the right or left – this decision should be based on whichever side you are more comfortable with, and will depend on whether you are right or left handed.

  • 4

    Now, point your front foot in the direction in which you will be performing the cartwheel, preparing to lunge. In order to attain better balance and momentum, you will need to point the other foot slightly outward. Then focus your eye on the area where you hope to land your hand on the line, so you do not become disoriented. Remember the order of the cartwheel will be foot-foot, hand-hand, foot-foot.

  • 5

    Start the cartwheel with a powerful kick from the foot pointing outward – bring down the hand that is directly above the forward pointing foot, while concurrently lifting the leg you had pointed outward. Then, bring the other hand down, all the while lifting both legs into the air, until you are standing on both your hands, with your legs forming a V in the air. You should keep your back straight during this step, as a wrong angle may lead to lower back spasms.

  • 6

    Do not stop or lose momentum at any point.  In the same fluid motion, lift up the hand you started with and bring your dominant leg down on the other side, then follow this up by bringing the non-dominant leg down. Finally, lift the second hand off the ground as you straighten up on the other side, in the same position you began in.

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