How to Teach Cartwheels

Four Methods:Using An ObjectUsing the Sticker TrickUsing the Straight Line TrickUsing Hula Hoops and Chalk

Maybe you’re an expert cartwheeler, able to go around and around in a big cartwheel circle. But you aren’t sure how to teach your students, your friends, or your siblings how to do a cartwheel. With the right method, you will be cartwheeling around the room with a partner in no time.

Method 1
Using An Object

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    Find an open area with high ceilings. Make sure you give the person you are teaching lots of space to jump and tumble around. Place an exercise mat or a yoga mat on the ground.[1]
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    Place a couch cushion on the mat. Try to use a wide cushion that can lay flat on the ground.
    • You can also use a gymnastic mat, which you can buy at sporting goods stores. Go for a gym mat that is long and at least 6 inches wide.
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    Have them stand on one side of the cushion. Stand or squat across from her so you can guide her through the exercise.
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    Place her hands flat on the cushion. Her hands should be sideways, perpendicular to her hips.
    • Instruct her to then place weight into her hands and bend her elbows.
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    Tell her to hop over to the other side of the cushion. Notice which direction she placed her hands as she hopped over. If she pointed her fingers to the right, she is likely a right-footed cartwheeler. If she pointed her fingers to the left, she is likely a left-footed cartwheeler.
    • This will help you to determine which foot she should lead with in her cartwheel.
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    Have her practice going over the cushion. You can move the cushion so one side is against a wall. This may make it easier for her to feel comfortable cartwheeling over the cushion if she can lean against a wall.
    • Make sure she leads with her right foot as she tries to cartwheel over the cushion.

Method 2
Using the Sticker Trick

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    Find an open area with high ceilings. Place an exercise mat or a yoga mat on the ground.[2]
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    Place a sticker or a stamp on her preferred starting leg. If she is a right-foot cartwheeler, place the sticker on her right foot. If she is a left-foot cartwheeler, place the sticker on her left foot.
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    Instruct her to place her sticker foot in front. Have her bend her legs slightly and make sure her feet are in line with each other in a lunge position.
    • Tell her to draw an imaginary line from the heel of her front foot to the big toe of her back foot.
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    Place her hands on the floor in the sideways position. Her hands should be perpendicular to her body.
    • Instruct her to put the weight into her hands, bend her elbows slightly, and kick her feet over.
    • You may have to support her by holding on to her legs as she tries to go over on her first few tries.
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    Make sure she finishes the cartwheel with her sticker foot behind her. Have her check to see if the sticker “disappeared” or landed behind her front foot.

Method 3
Using the Straight Line Trick

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    Place an exercise mat or a yoga mat down in an open space. Make sure it is long enough for the person to cartwheel across it.[3]
    • You can also use a carpeted area, as long as there are no breakable objects or obstacles around.
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    Take a two foot long piece of masking tape. Place it on the mat or carpet so it forms a straight vertical line.
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    Have her stand on one end of the line. Make sure her leading foot is in front and her other foot is in line behind her in the lunge position.
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    Instruct her to place her hands down onto the line. Her hands should be sideways, perpendicular to her body.
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    Support her as she cartwheels on the line. Make sure she is placing weight into her hands as she rotates over. The line should help her stay straight as she cartwheels.
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    Check that she lands with both feet on the line. Her leading foot should now be her back foot.

Method 4
Using Hula Hoops and Chalk

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    Find an open space with high ceilings. Place two exercise mats side by side or use a carpeted area. Take three hula hoops and place them down side by side against a wall.[4]
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    Take the chalk. In the middle hula hoop, draw two large hands. These can be rough, one large circle and three small circles. The hands will act as a marker for the person learning to cartwheel.
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    Have her stand with her lead foot outside of the first hula hoop. Her back leg should be inside the first hula hoop.
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    Instruct her to bend her legs so she is in a lunge position. She should now be in a lunge with her back foot in the first hula hoop and her front foot outside of the hula hoop, about an inch away from the second hula hoop.
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    Have her raise her arms beside her head. Tell her to look at the hands in the second hula hoop and imagine placing her hands in the drawn hands as she comes into a handstand against the wall.
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    Instruct her to place the weight into her front leg and then jump over. Her hands should be on the drawn hands in the second hula hoop. Her body should be against the wall in a handstand position.
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    Tell her to hold the handstand. Then, place your hands on her hips and help her rotate so her legs land in the third hula hoop in a lunge position. Her leading foot should now be behind her in the third hula hoop and her front leg should be just outside the third hula hoop.
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    Talk her through a cartwheel. Once she becomes comfortable going upside down and using the right hand placement, have her try a cartwheel.
    • Instruct her to get into the lunge position again, with her lead foot outside the front hula hoop and her back foot inside the hula hoop.
    • Make sure she raises her arms over her head and puts weight into her front leg.
    • Have her aim for the drawn hands in the second hula hoop as she rotates over into a cartwheel.
    • Check that she finishes the cartwheel in the lunge position, with her lead foot behind her and her arms in the air.

Things You’ll Need

Using An Object

  • Yoga mat or exercise mat
  • A cushion or a long gym mat

Using the Sticker Trick

  • Yoga mat or exercise mat
  • Stickers

Using the Straight Line Trick

  • Yoga mat or exercise mat
  • Masking tape

Using Hula Hoops and Chalk

  • Yoga mat or exercise mat
  • Three hula hoops
  • Chalk

Article Info

Categories: Gymnastics