View Full Version : Cartwheels?

Brandon Oto
08-26-2007, 06:51 AM
Change of pace... any of you gymnastics folks out there?


Made my first attempts at a cartwheel today. I'm getting over, but as you can see, I'm landing low, with my knees bent. Not sure how to remedy; it seems like I need to keep my torso more upright and over the top, and my legs straighter, but I don't know how to do that while still getting all the way over. Any tips?

Joe Cavazos
08-26-2007, 10:34 AM
You're getting scared at the top and bailing out of the cartwheel. Focus on keeping your legs straight as soon as they leave the ground. This will make it easier to keep your weight on-line and stick it like a champ.

Also, remember: like a bicycle, the faster you go, the easier it is to stay balanced on that line.

Hope this helps!

Blair Robert Lowe
08-26-2007, 01:14 PM
Have you checked out Roger Harrell's videos on cartwheel progressions?

American gymnast has a nice video tutorial as well...

work/family safe

but you have to create a login. As well, they are teaching the front to back cartwheel which I do not teach to beginning cartwheels. Sideways is the bread and butter of cartwheels.

1. You are trying to create momentum in your cartwheel, as most do, by swinging your arms.

- a cartwheel passes through a handstand, therefore the hands must be shoulder width apart with the " active " shoulder engaged. Push your shoulders towards your ears upwards if you have the flexibility.

- just like a handstand, eyes focus on the hands though you want to keep that shoulder angle open as much as you can. Cover your ears with your biceps. Sticking your head out excessively can arch your cartwheel ( as well as closing your shoulder angle ).

2. In your cartwheel, you should reach to the ground with your hands by your ears, BUT, you should be trying to kick the first leg in unison with the reach. Think of it like a teeter-totter. If one part goes down, the other part has to go up. You're not really doing this as you're kicking weakly in the legs ( besides kicking with bent legs which is inefficient and may create drag )

3. So, as the hands go down, the first leg goes up and over. The next leg is trying to play catch up, BUT don't try to let them come together. If they do you are in a handstand which effectively stops your momentum and you land on your side.

4. The first hand goes down as the first leg is kicking into the air. The second hand hits support as the first leg should be past vertical in a sideways straddle (split ). The first leg continues swinging/kicking till the foot hits the ground past the hand contact. The second leg kicks/swings further out than the first leg.

- I try to tell my students to land in a sumo squat when they are not kicking out far enough. Simply telling them an " X " shape is too close. They realize they need to land with wide legs straddled.

- the second leg is almost stepping out farther than the first. Don't let them close together or the landing will be weird and unstable ( though their our progressions to round off that want this )

5. Push off those hands through the shoulders to cause the chest to rise up away from the ground. Don't stay on those hands as the legs have kicked through or you will topple.

__________________________________________________ _______________

To sum up again what you are not doing:

- you are swinging your arms not your legs

- hand placement is a lil bit wide but not bad

- you are not swinging your legs over the other side. they basically stop mid air all bent like

Go watch some capoeira cartwheels to get the idea of kicking someone with a cartwheel. It's a verbal cue I have used with some boys. Not really sure it works, but if you watch a capoeira cartwheel you might see it.

Good luck, Brandon

Brandon Oto
08-26-2007, 01:57 PM
Blair, the main feeling I have in the air -- and this is probably why I'm flopping down with bent legs -- is that I don't have the speed to get all the way around to my feet with straight legs and torso (so I pull my legs in to land lower, rather than flop). Sounds like you're saying that launching with my legs and generating speed in the air with them would solve this?

Blair Robert Lowe
08-26-2007, 04:19 PM
Bingo, Brandon.

The legs swing the body through the cartwheel using the teeter totter effect.

It's not that the arms don't do anything either, both are movers of the lever effect.

Right now, you're moving the arms but letting the legs do their own thing - which is why they slowly sort of flop over.

In the cartwheel, the arms are reaching creating horizontal momentum while the legs are turning the body over.

Ever watch a wagon wheel. Now imagine your arms and legs are the spokes. I read a story on a cartwheel as this was how it was given it's name.

Brandon Oto
08-26-2007, 04:21 PM
Thanks Blair, will try.

George Mounce
08-26-2007, 05:06 PM
Brandon, that video is so Zen. Make similar ones as you improve, you have an artistic side.

Brandon Oto
08-26-2007, 05:17 PM
That's actually the Earth Mother holding the camera.

George Mounce
08-26-2007, 05:35 PM
Neither knows the other is holding or beholding.:)

Ben Moskowitz
09-03-2007, 11:11 AM
I agree on the artistic touch.

I was checking out the rest of the website and just thought that it's cool that 1) you fence and 2) you have so many "pet projects." It's also cool that you keep track of all of this online.

With my untrained eye, the handstand and L-sit form looks badass. Muscle-ups, nice. Parkour, cool. I am not a rower, but I listened to the CF Live Archives, and I think on the 500m row you start out with not enough forward lean in the catch, and too much layback at the end of the pull. I think it should be like ~30 degrees each way. Otherwise, pretty good.

Fight the good fight!

Brandon Oto
09-03-2007, 11:42 AM
Thanks Ben :D I've been getting more and more into film/pics (using my phone, which I always have with me anyway) for developing form in anything technical. I've found it really helpful. I've also started logging absolutely everything so I figured I'd throw it all online somewhere...

Current actual projects include: tinkering with IF, working on my swimming, trying to build to Pose running, handstand (gotta get it freestanding), cartwheel, my shoulder roll, and other gymnastic stuff, Parkour, and teasing down my row times. Oh, and getting injury-free...

Arden Cogar Jr.
09-06-2007, 07:34 AM
Okay, and I don't mean to pirate this thread at all, but I've got a cute story.

I'm not a little guy. I'm 260+ at 5'11". I've been asked the following several hundred times, "Are you really a lawyer???? And not a bouncer????"

In any event, I was at a very long mediation in one of my bigger cases. It was the second full day and it was well after 11:00 p.m. Myself and a group of at least a dozen other defense lawyers had been at this office (in a huge catered conference room) since 8:00 am that morning and for 12 hours the previous day. The host decided to provide us with some alcohol to add some levity to the rather mundane LONNNNGGG day.

As time passed, everyone loosened up and we started talking about things we did with our kids. I somehow got to talking about doing gymnastics and tumbling with my young daughters. I made a comment that I couldn't get my daughter to do her roundoffs and cartwheel's properly. From out of nowhere, one of the lawyers made a comment to the effect of "I'd like to see YOU do a cartwheel or a roundoff."

Having already consumed way more than I should have, and given that I do this type of stuff regurlarly, I replied with "make it interesting and I'll do it." That was the lawyer, the long day, and the alcohol taking over. :shrug:

After a pot of nearly $50 was gathered from all saying I couldn't do it, I undid my tie, took off my loafers and had the center of the room clearned. I then proceeded to do a cartwheel into a roundoff. :D

I used the fundage to take my wife and kids to dinner the following night. :)

To sound all Napoleon Dynamite, "you gotta have skills." Sometimes, tumbling skills come in handy. But it normally involves showmanship and alcohol.

All the best,

Brandon Oto
09-06-2007, 09:00 AM
I'll be honest, Arden, I'D like to see you do a cartwheel in your business suit :D

Arden Cogar Jr.
09-06-2007, 12:05 PM
I'll be honest, Arden, I'D like to see you do a cartwheel in your business suit :D

Alcohol is a prerequisite.

I may be a red neck and totally have the "watch this" mentality, but as we red neck's age, some semblence of reason does evolve. Some. Not a lot. But Some. :rolleyes:

All the best,

Gant Grimes
09-06-2007, 02:20 PM
Sorry for the hijack, but just seeing Arden's name on the cartwheel thread made me laugh.

Arden, I actually sit on the other side of the table from you; I wish to hell there more lumberjack defense lawyers out there. I'm also happy to see that in true mediation fashion you let the pot grow before doing the cartwheel.

I was out of town for depositions once and a couple lawyers from each side ended up in the crappy hotel gym. Three of them opted for the elliptical machines. I chose Helen. As I lay in a heap on the floor, one of the defense attorneys asked why I did that to myself. I said "because that's how I am, and that's how you can expect me to work this case." Settlement talks improved after that (probably unrelated, but still).

Brandon, the video link isn't working.

Brandon Oto
09-06-2007, 03:32 PM
Sorry Gant, I consolidated all of these little vids into one folder. http://degreesofclarity.com/misc/crossfit/firstcartwheels82607.mov now.

Tried some more with more leg/hip drive, btw, and was able to get my leg down straight on the landing. But my hands had barely left the ground, so it was like an upside down flexibility trick :shrug: Need to get my torso to follow, not just whip the legs around. Probably help to push off the hands. Still working.

Blair Robert Lowe
09-06-2007, 11:13 PM
Yep push off the hands. Work handstand shrugs. Fast if possible

There is another exercise called handstand pop or block but I don't have anyone work these until there handstand is solid with an open shoulder angle. An aggressive shrug to push through the shoulders off the ground, be it cartwheel, round off, or any kind of handspring.

Brandon Oto
09-07-2007, 04:04 AM
I was wondering about that. Where does the push against the ground come from? As it is, I'm just locked there to hold my weight; do I need to bend and straighten my elbows? Does it come from the shoulders?

Blair Robert Lowe
09-07-2007, 10:31 AM
From the shoulder girdle.

However, typically the harder the surface, the more the joints will bend ( absorb ) and push when tumbling. Not really an issue with cartwheels though.

You almost want your body to be tight enough, that it rebounds off the surface. This means actively pushing that shoulder into your ear.

Ryan Blair
11-01-2007, 05:28 AM
You are doing a sideways playground style cartwheel. If you want to do a more gymnastics style you need to do a few things.
1.Starting position should be in a lunge(back leg straight), feet, hips and shoulders square to the direction you are traveling - like you are about to kick into a hand stand. Hands should also look like you are about to do a handstand, arms straight shoulder in ear.
2.You are turning you body in the wrong direction at the end. You should come up facing where you just started, like you are doing a half turn.
Hand placement is crucial.
To acheive the half turn the first hand you put down(looks like the left) 45 degrees (it should go down straight in front of the front foot) so that your middle figer is point to the left of the starting position. Your right hand should turn in the same direction as if it were following the left but it turns further so that the middle finger points back to where you just started from.
By turning your hands you turn your shoulders and your body through the air.
3. From the lunge you are basically going to kick your straight back leg as hard as you can - like you are trying to throw it straight over your head. This is what creates the momentum necesary to travel through the movement. You also want to push through your front foot and reach out a bit as if you were diving into a pool.
Your hands should also line up with each other. Put some athletic tape or make a line, you should be able to start and finish on the line.
4. You should quickly push off of one hand then the other, then one foot should land then the next. Not both at the same time like a round off.

A cartwheel is the building block of a roundoff, hand turn and kick are crucial.

Hope this helps.

Ryan Blair
11-01-2007, 10:21 AM
This is great! Watch hand turn.


Blair Robert Lowe
11-01-2007, 01:23 PM
I like your post Ryan, but I consider the side cartwheel the bread and butter of back tumbling. This is the basic as far as I'm concerned. From 4yo to 50yo, that's the first one they learn.

Doing a front to back can hide defiencies in fear, flexibility, and angles. I see a lot of adults and gymnasts that find the side cartwheel far more fearful than the front to back. It has a tendency to go more over the top as well. Also weird things start to happen like one foot crossing the plane of the other foot. That really annoys me.

A cartwheel on beam will typically have the second hand placed on the same line or beam. However for a round off, at times the far hand will reach over. In this case, the right hand will be placed over left of the lead left hand. Then again, there are about half a dozen different theories on proper round off hand placement. That's gymnastics for ya. A bunch of different ways to do the same thing often enough.

Strange thing in that KIPS production quicktime video is in the front to back CW, the model places the left hand with fingers pointing forward instead of to the side. I think I'm going to try this out just for kicks. Also the shoulder and hand angles are wide.

Ryan Blair
11-01-2007, 01:38 PM
Thanks Blair,
You had some very good insight as well. I would agree the side is a bit easier to learn first, but I think that the front to back is more directly tied to the round off.

The animation is great but I would teach the first hand to turn as well.

I also agree with what you said about hand placement and crossover. I teach the cart wheel on a straight line, but like you said for a round off you need to turn a little harder.

Leonid Soubbotine
11-01-2007, 02:11 PM
Check out gymnastics section of FlashMavi.com (safe) - really good website with tons of information including animation and videos.

Blair Robert Lowe
11-01-2007, 10:31 PM
Funny thing is people who are taught the front to back first or only are freaked out about the side. Going from the side to the front is relatively an easier transition.

Yep front to back comes to play more with more round-off, just like cartwheel step in ( taking steps backward ). Fingers forward doesn't feel much different except the hand orientation. I wouldn't teach it for beam, but it might work alright for round off. However, I was doing them on concrete so I'd have to play with it and ask some others for feedback.

I think side is easier, however I believe it's more difficult go over the top at true vertical than front to back. There is something about going completely sideways like side flip that is different than front to back.