Gymnastics Moves [All Essential Skills For Both Beginners and Pros]
We all are fascinated by how professional gymnasts execute all those routines during exhibition and competition events. Some of us might wonder how much a gymnast has to master before they get to perform live with an audience.
Whether you're an aspiring gymnast or not, we can't help but be curious about the gymnastics moves that they perform gracefully. This article is all about the basic and complicated gymnastic movements that you need to know whether you're a gymnast aspirant or just a supportive fan.
The 10 basic gymnastics moves for beginners
As a beginner gymnast, the newbies are required to take it slow and start with the basics. It's the key to be able to perform complicated routines in the future. Here are the 10 basic gymnastics moves that a beginner has to master:
1. Split Leap
The move is quite similar to how a gazelle or cheetah leaps with graceful flexibility. It's a combination of a full split and a leap at the same time. As a practice, the athlete can do it once, and when mastered, the split leap can be performed multiple times.
2. Tap Swing on Bars
Here athletes have to do a perfect swing on an uneven bar. The technique is done by quickly letting go and then gripping the bar back again.
It's similar to regular cartwheels are being performed. But this move is done by executing a half-rotation with a quick pause in a handstand position, then gracefully landing onto a standing position on the floor exercise mat.
4. Turn on One Foot
This move is about turning like a ballerina but less pointy. The move maximizes the use of the floor and beams of the exercise mat.
By using the strength of the core, the athlete performs this move by standing upright with hands on the floor, carrying all the weight of the body. The back and the legs must be straight with the toes pointing way up in the air. Balancing is the key to this move.
6. Forward Roll
This is the most straightforward move in gymnastics, where a forward tumble is performed. One needs to push the whole body in a rotation move rolling towards the floor.
This move involves a half plank on the bar while having the back of the body a bit curved and the abs tucked in.
The favorite of so many, even with non-gymnasts, is the splits. There are different ways to perform the splits. It can be sideways or front and back. Both the legs should be flat on the ground.
9. Handspring on Vault
It's pretty much like a handstand. However, it is executed on a vaulting horse where the athlete engages the move with a running leap.
Then, a flip follows, leading into the handstand position on top of the vault, having the hands pushed on the vault to perform a perfect flip and gracefully land on the ground. Here is an article on how to perform handspring in detail.
10. Back Handspring
The athlete starts the move by performing a backward flip to transition into a handstand position. Then, he/she quickly executes a forward flip to transition back to the standing position on the ground.
15 Professional Gymnastics Moves
It's time to level up those basic gymnastics moves into more varied and complex routines fit for an Olympian.
1. Front Walkover
One of the most graceful gymnastic moves is the front walkover. Both of the athlete's legs are moving swiftly towards each other in a very smooth motion.
2. Back Walkover
The opposite of the front walkover, the back walkover is done in a reverse way. Both legs swiftly move backward, still maintaining a smooth and graceful motion.
This move is performed with the athlete by a forward flip first from the floor. The knees are positioned inwards or known as the pike position.
4. Backward Somersault
It's the reverse move of a regular somersault. The performer has to position the knees in a pike position first, then execute a backward flip on the floor.
5. Aerial Walkover
This gymnastic move is executed first with a full revolution without touching any part of the body to the ground. Then, the gymnast executes a forward tumble to finish the move.
The most common move that even other flexible non-gymnasts know how to perform is a cartwheel. It's performed by having the body to rotate sideways, beginning from a standing position.
When rotation sideways, the two hands should touch flat to the ground supporting the legs to transition in an upward split position. Then you need to end the move with a final rotation to land back in a standing position.
7. Aerial Cartwheel
This is a more advanced cartwheel move with no hands involved. The athlete has to complete a full rotation sideways via midair with no support of any of the hands. This move takes some time to practice as it requires precision and skill.
8. Scissors Leap
It's a type of a forward leap where both legs imitate the movement of how scissors are being used. The motion has to be quick to signify the scissors-style motion. To learn this move, I would recommend you to check out this article on how to do a switch leap.
9. Straight Jump
In this move, the gymnast executes first with a perfect forward jump while keeping both legs straight during the leap on air and after landing.
10. Cross Handstand
Another variation of the handstand move is where both hands are positioned next to each other on the ground. It is more complicated than the regular handstand as it needs more balance, precision, and strength.
It's one of the mastery moves that involves precision and excellent skill. This move is executed by rotating the body around a non-existent axis. Saltos has other variants, including the double salto and triple salto. It's too difficult to perform. When an athlete does that perfectly, he/she can earn a high gymnastics score.
12. Hip Circle
One of the most common uneven bar moves, the hip circle move requires the athlete to execute a circular motion around the uneven bars having the hips next to the bars.
The gymnast can either perform a front or back hip circle depending on what's required. As the gymnast moves in circles, the hips shouldn't touch the bar.
Flyaway is another bar move is performed through a forward swing with a quick-release move from the bar that enables the athlete to transition perfectly on a backflip outside the bar. This is a typical bar move that helps gymnasts hop on from one bar to another with varied twists and flips.
It's also a type of bar move, where it is executed first with a gliding position onto a bar to bring support to the front. The legs should be positioned in a pike pose while swinging to engage the gymnast's body.
15. Front Handspring
This is a gymnastic move opposite to the back handspring. It's a type of vault handspring that performs a running leap first, then flipping perfectly into a vault handstand pose and finally pushing the body off to transition into a flip in a full landing.
5 gymnastics moves named after successful gymnasts
These athletes are the best in the world and have earned a name in the world of gymnastics. They were so successful that a move was named after them.
1. Tsukahara Move
This particular gymnastic move was named after a renowned gymnast, Mitsuo Tsukahara. The move is a combination of both a mid-turn on a vault and ending up with a backflip. This move is sometimes referred to by some athletes as a moon salto or moon somersault. The move merely highlights the perfectly executed twists throughout the whole performance.
2. Produnova Move
Named after another talented gymnast, Yelena Produnova, this move combines a front handspring transitioning to the vaulting horse and ending with two perfect front somersaults. The move is too complicated to perform that it was dubbed as the vault of death.
3. Chusovitina Move
This successful gymnast, Oksana Chusovitina, was able to bag two gymnastics moves named after her. The first one starts with a forward handspring on the table, transitions with a quick piked salto, and ends with a perfect full twist. The second move, also known as Rudi, starts with a forward handspring on the table, then transitions into a forward salto and ends it off with a quick 1 ½ twists.
4. Yurchenko Move
This move was named after Natalia Yurchenko, which is a perfect combination of springboard roundoff, then a back handspring ending with a backflip outside the vault. The double twists towards the end, which makes the move more complex.
5. Amanar Move
The last move we'll feature is named after Amanar and Shewfelt; both are equally talented gymnasts. This move is a variation as well of the Yurchenko move. This move starts with a back handspring on the vault, then performing 2 ½ precise twists ending with a back salto to transition into a landing.
It sounds like many gymnastics moves to practice, and it's not an easy career to become a gymnast. However, nothing is impossible with constant practice and dedication to become the world's best gymnast. Remember to not train on your own and seek guidance with professional trainers to begin your journey.