Cartwheel Progressions & Drills
Tower of Blocks
Cartwheel over a pile of blocks to reinforce the idea of kicking legs over.
Cartwheel between 2 towers of blocks-making the towers high each time.
Lay out colored poly dots or stars and match left foot to the same color and right foot to the same color in the beginning and ending lunges.
Lay a panel mat unfolded on the ground. Lunge with feet on different panels. Each hand lands on a different panel and each foot in the ending lunge lands on different panels. A full cartwheel will take 6 panels unless starting off the panel.
Teeter Totter Effect
Have the gymnast start in an arabesque instead of a lunge to help reinforce the idea of their leg moving as their body levers.
Have the gymnast start in a lung but with their back foot on a block.
Practice levers on both legs to mimic the motion leading into and out of a cartwheel.
Lay a folded panel mat on the floor and have gymnast lunge towards the long edge. Cartwheel over the mat by placing hands on the panel. This forces the gymnast to push through their lunge.
When using a cartwheel mat always spot the gymnast on the backside to ensure they are kicking away from you and you can have full control of their hips and legs.
Wedge Wall Single
Put a wedge up on its side and do a cartwheel with belly facing the wall. Move closer each time until cartwheel if vertical.
Wedge Wall Double
Put 2 wedges up on their sides and do a cartwheel between the two mats. Move the wedges closer each time until cartwheel if vertical.
When arms are up tell the gymnast to 'smell their armpit' for arm and head placement.
Pretend it is a waterside down your arms, back, and legs. You want a smooth water slide and not a bumpy one.
In order to perfect a cartwheel with lots of momentum, do a cartwheel down a wedge to replicate that momentum without using a lot of space. In order to teach a cartwheel with power,have the gymnast do a cartwheel up the wedge.
To teach proper hip alignment and landing the lunge when finishing the cartwheel, have the student do a handstand against a wall (with belly facing the wall) and do a step out. Another variation is to do a side handstand against the wall and work on perfecting the step out against the wall.
Making A Rainbow
When teaching younger gymnasts the concept of a cartwheel, describe it as jumping and making a rainbow with their feet. Have them put their hands down on a folded panel and jump over or do grasshoppers (place hands on a low beam while standing next to the beam and jump over to land on other side with hands still on the beam.