How to do a Gymnastic Cartwheel

Gymnastic Cartwheel

In this lesson you will learn how to do a gymnastic cartwheel. The cartwheel is one of the first skills you will learn in artistic gymnastics. The only thing you should practice before the cartwheel is the handstand. Once you know how to do a proper cartwheel, you can start working on your round-off => Technically very similar and is used to create momentum for tumbling sequences (back handsprings and flips). Find more gymnastics skills at artistic gymnastics main.


  • Stand upright with your legs closed, extend your arms over-head and push your finger tips up as high as you can, so that the distance between the floor and your hands is as much as possible. Look straight forward and keep your abdominals tight.
  • Lift your left leg without moving any other body part and keep all limbs fully extended. This is a static cartwheel = without running or walking steps. If you wanna practice the gymnastic cartwheel with a runup, run a few steps, hop from the right foot and lift your arms at the same time. Then land on the right foot and keep going like shown here.
  • Make a wide step with the left leg and reach forward with your arms. Keep your abdominals tight and your arms aligned with your trunk. Make sure all limbs remain fully extended.
  • Plant your left hand about 1 body + arm length from where you started and keep your elbows straight. Plant your hand 90° to the cartwheel direction. Start raising your legs and keep your knees fully extended. Spread your legs as far as you can and keep your abdominals tight.
  • Then plant your right hand parallel to your left hand. Distance between hands: ~1,5 shoulder widths. Again, keep your abdominals tight an all limbs fully extended. Don't hollow or relax your your back. Keep your hips as far as possible from the floor (push them up). This makes it easier to execute a straight & controlled gymnastic cartwheel.
  • Put your right foot back down and keep your arms and your trunk in line.
  • Then put your left foot down about 1 meter behind the right foot. Keep your trunk and your arms in a straight line with the left leg. After the left foot is planted on the floor, pull the right foot back, so that your legs are closed again. Keep your knees and your arms fully extended as you put your feet back down. Now you stand just like at the beginning, but the other way around. Let your finger tips point up as high as possible.


  • The gymnastic cartwheel is very wide, while the wushu cartwheel has to be really short and fast.
  • Draw a line on the floor and plant your hands and feet exactly on this line. The distance from where you start, to the spot where you plant your first hand should be about 1 body+arm length.
  • Learn how to do the gymnastic cartwheel before you try the round-off.
  • Your cartwheel should be straight and stiff. Don't relax your knees or your back.
  • You should be able to do the cartwheel in a very narrow corridor without letting your legs hit the walls.
  • Keep your arms and your legs fully extended.
  • You can also land the cartwheel with spread legs (straddle stance) and the arms spread horizontally to the sides. Stance: 90° to cartwheel direction - check for related gymnastics instructions below.