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How to Do a Cartwheel

How to Do a Cartwheel

When watching someone perform a cartwheel, it can often look quite easy, carefree, and cool. But as we all know, looks can be deceiving. Learning how to nail a cartwheel can be a great exercise to teach kids who want to explore the sport of gymnastics. For some kids, cartwheels can be easy to master, for others, cartwheels require a bit more practice. If your child wants to learn how to cartwheel or really nail their cartwheel form, read on! 


Cartwheels is an acrobatic movement where the body moves in a sideways rotational movement along a straight line. The cartwheel is named so because when the movement is performed, the arms and legs move like the spokes of a turning cart wheel.

How to do a cartwheel


  1. Start in a lunge position with your dominant leg slightly bent in front, and your back leg straight. Raise both arms straight above your head and tight to your ears with your torso facing the same direction as your dominant foot.

  2. Lean forward shifting your weight onto your front leg and lifting your back leg up to be parallel with the ground. Your arms should remain tight to your ears.

  3. Continue leaning forward until hands reach the ground. Your hands should be positioned shoulder-width apart at a 90* angle to each other. A great tool to ensure your hands are in the right position for a cartwheel or handstand is our HART Cartwheel/Handstand Trainer. The HART Cartwheel/Handstand Trainer has printed hand placements on both sides to help coach young gymnasts the correct technique for a range of handstand, cartwheel and tumbling skills.

  4. Kick your back leg up and over your body, followed by your front leg in a split position. Make sure your legs are kicking straight up to the ceiling, not out to the side.

  5. Land the cartwheel with your back (less dominant) leg first, squaring the hips and body as you land. Continue to bring your other leg over to run parallel to the ground while leaning forward with your arms still tight to your ears.

  6. Land in a lunge position facing the opposite direction you started from. Your less dominant leg will now be slightly bent in front and your dominant leg will be straight behind. Keep your arms remaining straight above your head.

You have learned how to perform a proper cartwheel, but you’re still trying to get the form right. Here is a modified version of the cartwheel to help kids develop their strength and work their way up to perform a proper cartwheel.

Cartwheel step by step


  1.  Start in a squat position with your bum resting on your heels, feet together and hands facing forward in front of you.

  2. Turing your hands 90 degrees from the way you are facing, place both hands on the ground. Keep your arms as straight as possible

  3.  Keep your hands on the ground and jump your bum in the air, kicking your feet to your bum. Pretend you are jumping over a beam, and place your feet back down on the other side, facing the opposite direction to where you started

  4. Progress the bunny hop cartwheel from jumping both feet together by starting in a lunge position instead of a squat and gradually kick the legs individually instead of together.

  5. Hint: If you have a beam or similar, you can put your hands on this and perform the same drill as above! This is a great way to help build your arm strength and practice getting your hips higher off the ground!


  • Hand positioning is key to landing a perfect cartwheel. 

  • Hand and Feet Markers can also be used to help with positioning.

  • Practice shoulder and core strength exercises so that you can stretch out your legs when rotating through your cartwheel.