How to do a Cartwheel without Hands - Wushu

Wushu Cartwheel without Hands

In this lesson you will learn how to do a cartwheel without hands in wushu. The cartwheel whithout hands, also known as cartwheel roll, aerial cartwheel or in Chinese "Ce Kong Fan" is a cartwheel where you don't put your hands on the floor. Wushu cartwheels without hands are usually done from the left leg. The animation above, shows how the cartwheel without hands is done in wushu. Find more wushu jumps at wushu main and gymnastics skills at gymnastics main.


  • Run forward a few steps and hop from the right leg. As you hop forward, make a big step with the left leg and pull the toes of your left foot up. You are going to jump from the left leg. Swing your arms forward from behind the back. Look forward, not down. Keep your upper body pretty tight.
  • After this hop, land on the right leg first. The left leg is still in the air. -> Ankle flexed. Distance between feet: 1 to 1,5 meters (not too close)
    There are different ways how you can swing your arms. Just make sure your hands are in front of your body when you jump off. Lean forward (not down) and extend your arms in front of your body. Then push the ball of your left foot down towards the floor. (This is a little like a plyometric exercise) At first the ankle is flexed and it looks like the heel is going to touch the floor first. But then you extend the foot and drive the ball of the foot into the floor. Jump from the ball of the foot and try not to bend your knee too much. Kick up the right leg as soon as the left leg carries enough weight. The earlier your kick and the further you spread your legs, the less height you will need for this wushu jump. Don't jump from both legs at the same time. A little exercise: Run towards a reuther-springboard, and plant one leg in front of the springboard and the other one on the springboard. BTW, don't forget to keep your abs tight. The biggest mistakes you could make:
    • a) Sitting back and bending the knees too much. You should lean forward and when your left foot leaves the floor, your hip should be in front of the left foot.
    • b) Bending/twisting to the right. Yes, you will turn 180 degrees. But there is no need to initiate a twist. Just open your arms sideways, or better, warm up with a couple of left-handed cartwheels.
  • Jump off dynamically. Don't break the run-up. Don't sit back or down. Open your arms sideways and move your hands a little towards your legs. Keep your knees and your elbows as straight as possible. Advice: Exhale as you jump off. For some people it's easier to lift the elbows and keep the arms close to the head. That's ok at the beginning, but it looks better if you extend arms and legs.
  • Land on the right leg - On the ball of the foot. When you land, try look back to where you came from. Don't turn more than 90 degrees to the left. At the beginning I recommend you jump from a wooden gymnastics springboard onto mats or from a bump into a sand pit. The right leg remains aligned with your upper body until both legs are back on the floor.
  • Dampen the landing with the balls of your feet and the knees and extend your arms sideways. At the beginning, try to stop like shown here. Later you can keep moving or turn quickly. Don't turn to the left too early. Landing with the feet in running direction is healthier for the ankles. Landing sideways or over-twisted can be bad for the knees and the ankles.


  • Try to keep your knee and our elbows straight.
  • In wushu, you can flex your ankles when you are in the air. In gymnastics you should fully extend your ankles.
  • If you are a beginner, jump from a reuther-springboard or a bump into a sand pit. For wushu jumps, sand is better than mats.
  • Lean forward as you jump off. If you sit back and bend your knees too much, you cartwheel without hands will turn into a butterfly kick.
  • Learn the butterfly kick and the flying wushu frontkick before you try the cartwheel without hands. Once you can do all the other basic wushu jumps and the butterfly twist, you can try the cartwheel without hands twist.
  • If you find it difficult to land with your feet pointing back to where you came from, practice left-handed cartwheels and plant the left hand as late as possible. (jump from the left leg - plant your left hand - land on the right leg) This helps straightening slanted cartwheels without hands.
  • Improve your vertical leap with plyometric exercises.
  • In capoeira you practice there are left and right cartwheels. In wushu you should only learn how to do the cartwheel without hands from the left leg and in gymnastics it doesn't matter from which leg you jump.