Gymnastics is an event that never fails to wow the crowd at the Olympics. It’s the combination of agility, balance, positioning and outrageous strength that always grabs the attention of viewers and ushers in a new generation of budding gymnasts.
But what are some of the most fundamental moves in gymnastics? Grab your air track mat, because we’re going to walk you through some of the awesome gymnastics moves for beginners!
One foot balance
Balance is one of the essential traits of a successful gymnast - without it gymnasts cannot perform most of the important moves in the event. This move should be practised on the floor before the athlete tries it on a regular balance beam or elevated practise beam.
How to: Athletes start by standing upright, before lifting one of their legs off the floor. They should then hold this position for at least five seconds. They can either bend the lifted leg or hold it straight out in front of them for increased difficulty. Their arms can be horizontal or held above their head.
The straddle sit is an important position that can be practised on a beam, floor or trampoline. What’s more, it’s also a move that will appear as a transition on bars, rings or vault, or as its own specific skill. Because of its popularity, it’s important to learn a solid straddle seat as a fundamental of gymnastics.
How to: Athletes should sit up straight on the floor with their feet out in front of them. They then place their hands on the floor to help themselves balance as they make their move. Next, athletes bring their legs apart until they have come to a comfortable stretch - their toes should be pointed and their legs flexed.
Their knees should be facing up and not rolled inward - this helps to increase flexibility. Their arms can either be extended and parallel to the legs or raised above the head and their chin should be elevated.
This is not a typical movement people perform in their daily lives, but it is important for gymnastics movements. A leg roll is performed when the athlete rolls over without seeing the mat for a portion of the roll. This skill provides important confidence for moving into a blind landing, something that is vital for moves such as the front roll.
How to: Lying on their back, the athlete points their toes and extends their arms above their head. They should then slightly lift their arms and legs over the mat before achieving a concave or hollow body shape before rolling over onto their stomach. They should then roll onto their back again. The athlete might want to lead the roll with their hips as this can help generate more momentum.
Hop to safe landing
This is important so that athletes don't injure themselves upon jumping from the beam. The trick to a safe landing is ensuring that they land with their body balanced right above their feet (and not leaning forward or back). What’s more, it means that they can learn how to properly bend their knees to absorb the impact of landing. The athlete should always start by practising on a beam that is appropriate for their height.
How to: From a raised platform, the athlete should perform this move by hopping off the platform and landing on two feet, being sure to absorb the landing’s impact with their knees. Upon completion, this sport exercise should then extend back into an upright standing position.