List of Gymnastics Skills
Gymnastics requires its participants to possess an incredible amount of strength, flexibility, and balance to be successful. Gymnasts compete in events such as the floor, the balance beam, and the vault, all of which require a variety of skills to perform the necessary maneuvers. Here's a list of the basic skills that are needed to compete in gymnastics.
Skills for Beginners
These skills provide the foundation for gymnasts to move on to more advanced techniques and maneuvers. If you're new to gymnastics, make sure to master these skills before exploring the rest of the sport.
The handstand is one of the most important skills in all of gymnastics. The handstand is an essential skill for gymnasts to master because it is the key building block for other skills. Handstands are used in most tumbling skills and are important when performing moves on the bars. To perform a handstand, a gymnast would start with a tall stance with one foot in front of the other. They would then reach for the ground and extend their legs into the air with their feet pulled close together while their body is vertical and upside down.
The forward roll is another basic skill that all gymnasts should have. To perform a forward roll, one would start in the standing position with their arms pointing upward. The gymnast would then reach for the floor, tuck their chin, roll on the floor, and return to a standing position.
This is the opposite of a forward roll. To perform a backward roll, gymnasts squat on their heels, sit on the floor, roll backward, then push off the ground and elevate themselves into a standing position.
This maneuver requires the gymnast to split their legs either sideways or front-to-back so that their whole lower body is in contact with the ground. Splits are commonly used in gymnastics as part of a series of maneuvers. For instance, split leaps, jumps, and switch leaps all require that the gymnast know how to perform a split. Mastering the split as a single move helps gymnasts perform other skills that require the same movement.
Casting is one of the most basic bar elements and requires the gymnast to place their body on the bar in a semi-plank position with their back slightly rounded and their stomach pulled in. When performing a cast, gymnasts must make sure that their legs are straight and together and that their eyes are looking at the bar. Learning how to properly cast allows gymnasts to perform other maneuvers well.
Tap Swing on Bars
The tap swing is a swing on uneven bars in which the gymnast briefly lets go of and re-grips the bars. This skill is a building block for gymnastics bar routines.
Turns on One Foot
This skill is used in nearly every element of gymnastics. The ability to turn on one foot is essential for gymnasts to be able to pull off successful floor and beam routines. On its own, this skill may not seem very impressive. But when used in combination with other maneuvers, it is absolutely essential.
The cartwheel is another foundational skill that provides the basis for gymnasts to be able to perform more advanced techniques. This move is essentially a sideways rotation of the body in which the gymnast starts in a standing position and moves sideways with their hands on the floor and their legs in a split position. The cartwheel is completed when the gymnast has finished the rotation and returned to a standing position.
Skills for Competitions
This is when a gymnast performs a cartwheel in midair and avoids touching their hands to the ground in the process. The aerial cartwheel is also known as the side aerial or simply the aerial.
This skill is similar to the cartwheel, but involves a half rotation and a brief pause in the handstand position before returning to the original standing position. The roundoff is one of the most important skills a gymnast can learn.
This is a key move that involves a backward flip into a handstand position followed by a forward flip into the original standing position.
The forward handspring is essentially the same as the back handspring. The only difference is that the gymnast gets a running start and moves forward instead of backward.
The somersault is a forward flip along the floor with knees either tucked or in pike position.
This skill is similar to a front handspring, but unlike the handspring, the walkover requires that the gymnast's legs move one after the other in a fluid motion. To perform a front walkover, a gymnast would lift their legs above their torso in a back bridge position and fully rotate their legs so that they return to their original standing position. In some ways, the front walkover is a hybrid of a cartwheel, a handstand, and a roundoff.
This is simply a reverse of the front walkover. Both the front and back walkover are commonly performed on the balance beam.
A split leap is simply a split performed while leaping forward into the air.
A salto is a move that requires complete body rotation around an imaginary axis. This is a skill commonly put on display when performing beam routines. Double saltos and triple saltos are especially difficult to pull off and can result in a higher score if done correctly.