6 Gymnastics Moves For Beginners

When it comes to gymnastics, there are many skill levels. With newer students, it is beneficial to start at the basics and work your way up. So, what are the basics? Here are six moves we think can create a foundation for your gymnastics students and provide the knowledge needed to learn advanced moves.

1. Forward Roll

A forward roll is one of the most basic gymnastics moves. It is not only a building block for other moves but often what a gymnast will fall back on if they make a mistake and need to dismount safely.

The starting body position for a forward roll is upright, with feet together and hands reaching forward. Tuck your chin and as you roll, focus on having your shoulders make contact with the floor, not the head. The key to this move is looking at your belly button as you roll and staying tucked until your feet make contact with the floor after the roll. 

forward roll

2. Cartwheel

A cartwheel is often a young gymnast’s introduction to more difficult moves. It is one that has levels. Start with a baby cartwheel and work on repetition until you can do a full cartwheel. 

To start, stand up straight with your hands above your head in the air. Place one foot in front of the other, almost in a half-lunge position. Lean forward and place your hands on the ground turned 90 degrees. Then, kick your feet over your head one at a time. When landing, land in the same position that you started in with one foot slightly in front of the other and your arms in the air. 


3. Backward Roll

A backward roll is one of the best ways to get gymnasts comfortable with the backward movement and not being able to see the floor behind them. It is the base for more advanced skills like back walk-overs, back handsprings, and back tucks variations.

To start, stand with your feet close together and come into a crouched position with your knees tucked. Place your hands on your shoulders, palms facing up, and begin to roll your spine backward into a curved position. Roll until your upper back and hands make contact with the mat. Press your hands into the mat, tuck your chin into your chest, and bring your feet, then your hips, overhead. As your feet come into contact with the mat again, pull yourself back into the tuck position you began in and finish the move in a standing position. 

Start of a backwards roll
Back roll

Image credit: Dynamix Gymnastics

4. Handstand

For some, handstands might seem scary. That’s why this is another gymnastics move that has levels. Many gymnasts start by leaning on a vertical surface, usually walls, to get comfortable with the upside-down position. 

Starting with a wall, sit on the floor facing away from the wall and place your hands on the ground in front of you. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart with your fingers spread evenly. Put your feet on the base of the wall behind you and slowly start walking them up the wall. Once you get to where you can make a 90-degree angle with your body you can start to practice lifting one leg off the wall at a time to mimic a handstand position. 

When you’re comfortable lifting one leg at a time into the handstand position, work towards extending both legs straight into the air. Stay close to the wall so you can put your feet back if you feel unstable. Another option is to dismount in a cartwheel-like motion. The more comfortable you get, the more mobile your handstand is. Before you know it, you will be able to do a handstand anytime, anywhere!


5. Bridge Pose

A bridge, also sometimes called a back bend, is one of the more advanced beginner moves and is fundamental to some more advanced moves. To start, lay on your back and place your hands next to your ears, palms down on the mat. Both your elbows and knees should be bent and pointed toward the ceiling. Start to lift your hips up and push down on the mat with your hands and feet. Your body should form a c shape. Slowly work towards straight arms and straight legs.

back bend

6. Back Bend/Back Bend Kick Over

Once you have perfected a bridge pose, you are ready to try a back bend and a back bend kick over. The difference between the two is that a back bend starts from a standing position. When starting out, ask your friend or coach to be your spotter. They can help you lower into a back bend.

Start out in a standing position with your spotter’s hands on your lower back and stomach. Bring your hands above your head and begin bending backward, slowly lowering your hands to the ground behind you. When done correctly, you will be in the bridge position when both your feet and hands touch the ground. 

By |September 13th, 2022|Teaching|30 Comments

About the Author:

After studying graphic design at the University of Georgia, Jill held several positions in media and marketing including Art Director, Editor and Marketing Director. As a student of dance, she has spent plenty of time in children’s activity centers and puts that experience to work for her in the work she does with Jackrabbit. In addition to her interest in dance, Jill also enjoys sports, gourmet cooking, entertaining, singing and spoiling her five grandchildren.


  1. Mikayla August 27, 2020 at 11:30 PM - Reply

    Thanls for the super easy gymnastics flips. 😜

  2. adrik October 31, 2020 at 9:19 AM - Reply

    thank you

  3. Bristol November 18, 2020 at 4:43 PM - Reply

    Thank you

  4. Hailee Richard November 24, 2020 at 11:48 PM - Reply

    thanks for the easy skills !!😋

  5. Joan December 5, 2020 at 9:36 AM - Reply

    Thank you so much. It would be a big help to me most especially I am a beginner. You guys make it more manageable for me, especially with my Online class along the way😇😇

  6. angelinaa flores December 7, 2020 at 3:17 PM - Reply

    thank you so much

  7. samaria December 11, 2020 at 8:38 PM - Reply

    i love gymastics

  8. krystal December 23, 2020 at 11:49 AM - Reply

    this helped alot

  9. Jiana January 8, 2021 at 9:04 PM - Reply

    Thank you for the skills my daughter has already learned how to do a front walkover now

    • mm
      Molly Stroud January 11, 2021 at 11:47 AM - Reply

      So happy to hear that, Jiana 🙂

  10. zoe January 12, 2021 at 3:00 AM - Reply

    thank you i love gym

    • mm
      Molly Stroud January 12, 2021 at 8:28 AM - Reply

      Awesome! I hope you keep learning and loving gymnastics!

  11. Ava Corey January 27, 2021 at 5:31 PM - Reply

    this was very helpful!! i am teaching my neighbor basic skills.

  12. kate February 12, 2021 at 2:37 PM - Reply

    thank you so much

  13. Alice May 21, 2021 at 5:23 PM - Reply

    I masterd all but one and its super hard its the backbend i have tried and tried i just can’t do it

  14. Hira July 31, 2021 at 6:02 AM - Reply

    Plz tell me simple turn skills

  15. Malee August 10, 2021 at 10:33 PM - Reply


  16. Anonymous November 25, 2021 at 2:32 AM - Reply

    Can you add pictures so I know how to do them correctly?

  17. Grace December 3, 2021 at 7:06 PM - Reply

    Thank you I love it!

  18. Kapycatco December 16, 2021 at 1:48 PM - Reply

    i can’t do the cartwheel only

  19. Breno Andrade April 6, 2022 at 7:13 PM - Reply

    hi!! thanks for this, it help me for my homework… I from brasil in here they moviments are not famous 😁

  20. Zoe April 17, 2022 at 11:04 AM - Reply

    Thanks it helped me so much

    • Haley Woods April 18, 2022 at 9:28 AM - Reply

      We’re so glad this article helped you!

  21. Betfair Sportsbook May 2, 2022 at 12:35 AM - Reply

    Very well written article! Can’t wait to read more of your amazing work.

  22. Lilliana Horseman October 3, 2022 at 4:30 PM - Reply

    You suck. This stuff is too easy!! NEXT!!!!!

  23. Evie March 19, 2023 at 12:18 PM - Reply

    Thank you so much.These really simple skills really helped and am now doing back flips!!

  24. Isaac Wood April 11, 2023 at 9:31 PM - Reply

    It is really necessary to be able to practice the standard exercises the backrooms

  25. taylordle May 29, 2023 at 7:29 AM - Reply

    super easy gymnastics flips taylordle

  26. taylordle June 29, 2023 at 8:11 AM - Reply

    I from brasil in here they moviments are not famous

  27. Natasha October 28, 2023 at 9:51 AM - Reply

    I tried to do a handstand but I can’t do it without the help from the wall
    So what do you suggest me to do?

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