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Mastering the Basics: Essential Gymnastics Moves for Beginners

Posted on - 11th December 2023

If you’re thinking about starting gymnastics or have just started out, it can be an exhilarating new profession or hobby for all ages. If you have watched professional gymnasts perform on the television, online or in-person before, you may have thought to yourself, ‘they make it look so easy’. However, those gymnasts have strict training programs and practise their routines so much, they can do it with their eyes closed (not literally!). Before you can ace those amazing and complex moves, you need to master the basics first to build a strong foundation. Let’s discuss the essential gymnastics moves for beginners. 


Before you attempt any gymnastics moves, it’s crucial that you start with a warm-up to prepare your body for the dynamic moves which is what gymnastics is all about. Begin with some light cardio such as jogging, skipping, knee lifts and leg swings to increase the blood flow. Follow with stretches of the quads, hamstrings, calves and torso, as well as the wrists and ankles to loosen the muscles and joints. Warming-up sessions can also prevent injuries, increase flexibility and enhance performance.

1) Forward Roll

The forward roll is one of the easiest gymnastics moves to perform. It introduces beginners to the concept of rolling and weight distribution. To perform a forward roll, start in a standing position with your feet together. Tuck your chin down and lean forward, placing your hands on the ground in front of you. Roll forward, allowing your body to follow the motion and finish in standing position, once again. Once you feel comfortable with doing one, you can move on to doing multiple forward rolls. Mastering the forward roll lays the foundation for more advanced tumbling moves.

2) Bridge

The bridge is another simple move which focuses on flexibility and builds strength in the back and shoulder areas. To perform a bridge, lie on your back with knees bent, feet hip-width apart and hands by your shoulders. Press your palms and feet into the ground, engage your abs and glutes, then lift your hips in the air. You can rest the crown of your head on the ground for support. Keep your arms straight and your head neutral, forming a bridge-like shape with your body. Hold for 5 to 15 seconds and slowly lower yourself to the ground. Once you become comfortable with this move, you can build flexibility by moving your head off the ground and walking your hands closer to your feet to form a deeper bridge. 

3) Cartwheel

Another essential gymnastics move is the classic cartwheel. This move will come into play when performing more complex tumbling moves such as the round-off and aerial. To do a basic cartwheel, begin in a lunge position with your two arms straight above your head. Put your dominant leg in front and bend it slightly and keep your back leg straight. Place your hands on the ground and kick your back leg over your body, followed by your dominant leg. Bend your knees if you wish. Your back leg will meet the ground first and you should land in a lunge position, once again, but facing the opposite direction of where you began. As you improve your cartwheel, try to keep your legs straight. Once you have mastered the basic cartwheel, you can move on to different variations.

4) Handstand

The handstand can be a challenging move - but it’s not impossible. Building a strong handstand position requires a lot of practice and proper form. Some people can achieve a handstand with little practice, whereas it can take longer for others, depending on their skillset. Instead of attempting a full handstand and taking the risk of injuring yourself, it’s better to take it slow and build up your strength and balance. 

Start by facing against a wall for support, about an arm’s length away. Place the crown of your head on the ground (use a yoga mat for padding) and position your hands out in front of you, shoulder-width apart with palms pressed into the ground. Next, slowly walk your legs up the wall until you make a right angle with your body with your knees slightly bent. Lift one leg away from the wall and straighten it. Switch between legs and then move on to extending both legs. If you feel unstable, resting your toes against the wall and gently kick off. It is also very important to practise falling out of a handstand safely by bending your knees and turning your fall into a cartwheel.

Beginner Gymnastics Leotards From Olympique

Remember, mastering basic gymnastics takes time and patience. Every professional gymnast started out with learning the basics. If you are unsure about a gymnastics move, please speak with your instructor or coach. Make sure to celebrate the small achievements and you will be well on your way to becoming an experienced and confident gymnast. 

To help with your progression and confidence, you will need to dress the part! The stylish range of gymnastic leotards from Olympique are specially designed for girls and ladies of all ages and levels. We design our leotards to be a close fit yet stretchable to guarantee you total freedom of movement while you ace those cartwheels and handstands. We can bring the fit and glamour while you bring the attitude and talent! Shop our latest collection of training, long sleeved and sleeveless leotards, as well as our gym shorts and special offers on our website today.