When you see gymnasts, cheerleaders, or kids on the playground "cartwheeling" around, it can look effortless. However, there is more to tumbling classes than cartwheels. This guide to tumbling terminology below will help explain some of tumbling's most frequently used skills. At all levels of tumbling, these skills provide the foundation for future, harder tricks.
Main Tumbling Skills:
- Handstand - Standing vertically but inverted (upside down) with hands on floor, head neutral, legs straight & together.
- Lunge - Basic starting position for many skills where the back leg is straight behind hips resting on the floor, and the front leg is in front of the hips with the knee bent nearly 90º.
- Cartwheel - CW - A skill that turns 90º from a lunge to a lunge, touching 6 points of contact that looks similar to wagon wheel spokes.
- Round Off - RO - A skill that uses the shoulder to push off while traveling through a ½ turn. Starts in a lunge and finishes with feet together.
- Front Handspring - FHS - Springing off the hands while traveling forward through a handstand position, usually starting from a lunge position and finishing with feet together.
- Back Handspring - BHS - Springing off the hands while traveling backwards through a handstand position, usually starting and ending with feet together. More on how to teach a back handspring here.
- Back Tuck - BT - Jumping nearly vertical in the air while performing a backwards somersault in a tucked or knees to chest motion.
- Punch Front - PF - Jumping nearly vertical in the air while performing a forwards somersault in a tucked or knees to chest motion. Usually done after “punching” the floor with both legs to create lift.
- Aerial - A skill that involves head over heel rotation without the support of the hands. Usually done as a CW, RO, or Front Walkover without the support of the hands.