Practicing Gymnastic Skills at Home

Gymnastics is a very demanding sport. The grace and fluidity in motion of gymnasts at the

Olympic Games is a result of years of practice and dedication. Usually, gymnastic training starts

at a tender age. If your child shows an interest in becoming a gymnast or is already beginning a

journey into the sport, it is ideal that you provide your child with extra opportunities to practice

their gymnastic skills at home. This way, your child can develop the self-confidence needed to

learn the necessary skills. Here are a few ways on how to do gymnastics at home without

equipment.

Ensure a Safe Environment

The foundation of a good gymnast is mastery of the basic moves characterized by a lot tumbling

and turning from the floor and through the air. To minimize injuries and encourage your child

to gain self-confidence in executing the moves, make sure that the practice area is wide enough

to allow for comfortable movement.

You can prepare a practice area indoors or out in your garden. Clear out any harmful objects

that might get in the way and cushion the floor with a 4-5 panel gymnastics mat. A good

alternative to use are rubber play tiles that can also cover the designated practice area. Having

a clutter-free wall within the practice area is ideal when practicing cartwheels and headstands

since this ensures that nothing will be accidentally knocked down during practice.

Warm Up and Stretch

Cat StretchingMake your child wear proper training clothes like a leotard or exercise apparel that fit just right:

it must be neither too loose nor too form-fitting so that they do not get in the way of the

desired range of motion. Before you let your child practice, watch gymnastics tutorials

together to refresh your child’s recollection of the proper moves. This way, you can be aware of

how to spot and help your child through the moves. Let your beginner gymnast go through the

proper warm up and stretching routines taught at the gym to prepare their body and minimize

injuries.

Basic Gymnastic Moves to Master

Some of the foundation moves that all gymnasts should master are the forward roll, the

backward roll, the bridge, and the cartwheel. Listed below are simplified step-by- step

gymnastics tutorials for beginners on these basic moves.

The Forward Roll

Let your child do some proper warm up and stretching exercises before doing the forward roll.

Face the mat with feet firmly on the floor hips-distance- width apart. Then, let your child bend

over from the hips to place palms flat on the floor, shoulder-width distance with fingers spread

out. Tuck the chin in to look at the belly button. Then slowly bend elbows, tuck, and move the

shoulders closer towards the mat. Push legs over and across to land on feet and push up to

stand. Pull arms up to a V-formation.

If your child looks a little bit scared to roll over, help your child gain confidence by rolling

backwards, forwards, and side to side like a ball. You can also build your child’s confidence to

do the move by creating a wedge of cushions where they can do the forward roll from.

The Backward Roll

Reversing motions of the forward roll, the backward roll starts off with your beginner gymnast

facing backwards to the mat. From standing, make your child reach and stretch out both arms

up and tall. Then move towards a sitting position until the bottom touches the mat.

With a rounded spine and knees tucked in, start to lean the body back. Continue the motion of

rolling back by pushing both legs off the floor and over. Elbows bend simultaneously with hands

positioned just under the shoulders for the palms to touch the floor. Ride through the

momentum of the movement to kneel and stand.

When rolling, be aware that your child should keep knees close to chest to keep a tight ball

formation. Watch your child push off and stand with arms up in a v-formation to finish the roll.

The Bridge

To do the bridge, lie flat on your back. Let your child position their arms close to their ears with

palms flat and pointing towards the feet. Then move the feet close to the hips. Push the body

up.

Straighten the legs and arms to arch in one fluid motion. Adjust and keep legs close together

with arms shoulder width apart. Head looks at the opposite direction but is kept in between

the arms. Push down slowly to release the position.

When in the bridge position, make sure that your child is looking back out and not towards the

chest or stomach to make sure the head is in the proper position. Never encourage practicing

the bridge on a mattress because it does not give the right support.

The Cartwheel

When doing the cartwheel, encourage your child to do the proper warm up and stretching

exercises first. Some of the preparatory exercises are planks, donkey-kicks with leg scissors in

the air, see-saws from lunge positions, lunges, splits, and wrist stretches.

It is best to practice with a 4-5 cushion gymnastics mat. The sections can guide your beginner

gymnast on where to land their arms and feet. Imitating a wheel, the “spokes” that turn in

sequence are: leg – arm – arm – leg. To start the cartwheel, begin in a lunge position with the

strong foot forward. Then tilt forward and land with the same side palm on the floor followed

quickly by the other palm. Kick over with the back foot quickly followed by the opposite foot.

Finish off standing with arms stretched high in a v-position.

Spot that your child’s palms on the floor do not face outward. Practicing against a wall helps to

make sure the body is straight.

Journey through Gymnastics with Your Child Together

Although gymnastics as a sport is very rigid, all the required movements and skills can be

mastered with the proper guidance and practice. It is highly recommended that you enroll your

child in a gymnastics class before you let your child practice at home.

If you decide to let your child do gymnastics at home, watch tutorials videos online and explore

various gymnastics websites that are easily accessible. However, spotting and mentoring from a

professionally certified coach giving on-site tutorial gymnastics guarantees that your child

learns the proper form and builds the appropriate levels of strength and agility necessary to

succeed in the sport.