A cartwheel is a fundamental tumbling skill and is even one of the basic movements in gymnastics. It is known as cartwheel because while practicing it, the arms and legs resemble the spokes of a wagon wheel turning. It is fun to do and makes you feel free and excited. Imagine how you would feel when you see the world turn around! A cartwheel can be done by anybody, irrespective of his/her age. Cartwheels strengthen the upper body and legs and even prove to be helpful in learning later tricks of the sport, such as round-offs, walkovers, handsprings and more. If you want to know how to do/perform a cartwheel, also known as the first gymnastic move, read the tips given below.
Doing A Cartwheel
- For practicing a cartwheel, choose an area that is large enough to move. It's best to perform it on a softer surface, such as a mat or a well-padded carpet. A tumbling mat, however, is the best option.
- The first thing that you should do is to take a deep breath. For the uninitiated, doing cartwheel can be fearsome. Therefore, take a deep breath and relax, before you begin with the initial steps.
- When doing a cartwheel, make sure that you have the upper body strength to go over.
- Extend your arms straight above your head. Without bending them, keep the palm of your hands turned in, towards your head, against your ears.
- Now, point one foot in the direction of your flight, while the other foot slightly outward, for better balance.
- Focusing your sight on the ground, look down at where you are going to place your hands.
- Leap with the same hand as your pointed foot. For instance, if you have pointed your left foot, use your left hand, until it touches the floor. This will be followed by your other hand.
- While the first hand goes down, the opposite foot comes up. Keep both hands in the same line from where your feet started, such that your hands point perpendicular to that line.
- Thrust your body powerfully, so that your legs come off the ground. This way, your body weight will come on both of your arms, like a handstand.
- Keep your back straight and your legs straight in the air and out in a straddle/split position.
- Now, push yourself on the ground, landing on your opposite foot. This should be in the direction you came from, front leg slightly bent
- Once your feet are back on the ground, straighten out.
- While doing the cartwheel, you need to take care that your body has to travel in a straight line. You can even draw a straight line on the ground using a piece of chalk. Make it a point to follow the line you have created. Ensure that you end with one of your feet on each side of the center line.
- You have to completely extend you arms and legs, when your body is in air. For making further improvement, you can make a videotape of your cartwheel sessions. Check them out later, and make the required amends the next time.