Gymnastic Moves for Beginners

Newcomers often are introduced to gymnastics by learning tumbling moves on the floor. This teaches them "air awareness, to know where their body is, what it is doing at all times," says Jami Sharp, competitive program director for Black Diamond Gymnastics and Sports Center in South Jordan Utah, in her iSport instructional video.

Forward Roll

The starting body position is upright, hands reaching toward the ceiling. Gymnasts reach for the floor, tuck their chin, roll on the floor and come back up to a standing position. The key, Sharp says, is "looking at your belly button as you roll, having the upper back touch and not the head, and as you stand, reaching forward in a tuck position to finish."

Cartwheel

This move starts in a tall stance, one foot in front of the other. Gymnasts reach down with their hands, side by side and in line with their front leg. They kick their back foot over their head, then kick their front foot. They land in the lunge position, with the leg opposite of the one they started with in front. Their knee is bent, slightly behind the toes, and their base leg is straight. Their chin is up, their ribs are in.

Backward Roll

This move starts with a tall stance. Gymnasts then squat down on their heels, sit on the mat, roll backward, push off the ground and elevate into a standing position.

Handstand

This move starts with a tall stance, one foot in front. Gymnasts reach for the ground, extending their legs to the air with their feet "kissing" when the body is vertical and upside down. Then they come down into the standing position.

Bridge

The bridge starting position is on the back, hands next to the head with fingertips pointing toward the toes. Gymnasts bend their legs and place their feet on the floor and push with their arms and legs. They get their the arms straight and their head off the ground.

Back Bend/Back Bend Kick Over

The starting position is standing with arms straight up by the head. Gymnasts look at their hands and bend backward in a "U" shape until their hands touch the ground. Once this is mastered, they can kick their legs over their head and land on their on their feet in the lunge position.

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