If you’re looking to take your gymnastics skills to the next level, learning how to do a cartwheel on a beam can be a great challenge. But don’t worry, with the right technique and practice, you can master this move. In this article, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to do a cartwheel on a beam, as well as tips and FAQs to help you along the way.
Table of Contents
- Step-by-Step Guide
- Cartwheel on a Line
- Cartwheel on a Floor Beam
- Cartwheel on a High Beam
- What Level is Cartwheel on the Beam?
- Equipment Used
Before attempting a cartwheel on a full-size balance beam, gymnasts will be taught how to cartwheel on a straight line on the floor so they can focus on technique and alignment without the fear of falling from a height.
Once this has been mastered, the same techniques and tips will be used on a floor beam which is usually only a couple of inches from the floor and eventually with mats and a spotter it will be attempted on a full-size balance beam.
Cartwheel on a Line
This will help you get comfortable with the movement and balance required.
- Start by standing sideways to the beam, lifting your dominant leg towards hip height, and pointing your toes.
- Take a long step into the lunge position, with a slight turn of the hip outwards.
- Place your first hand on the beam, followed by your second hand one at a time, not at the same time. (if you have stepped forwards with your left leg then your left hand will place first or vice versa).
- During the cartwheel, keep your arms tight by your ears.
- Swing your back leg over your head, followed by your second leg trying to hit a star shape in the handstand phase.
- During the handstand stage, look under your arm to land your foot on the beam.
- The more vertical you are (open hips and shoulders), the easier it is to align and land the cartwheel on the beam.
- Land the first foot then guide the second foot down in line. You can either land in star shape or with a quarter turn in (towards round off)
- Keep your head aligned to maintain a straight body line into and out of the cartwheel.
- If you fall forward, learn to twist out of the handstand to avoid landing on the beam. One option is to twist into a roundoff.
Cartwheel on a Floor Beam
Once you’ve mastered the cartwheel on a line, you can move on to practicing on a floor beam. To do a cartwheel on a balance beam, follow the same steps as a cartwheel on a floor beam or line, but with more attention to your balance and precision. Make sure to keep your eyes on the beam and focus on keeping your movements controlled and fluid.
Cartwheel on a High Beam
To do a cartwheel on a high beam, follow the same steps as a cartwheel on a floor beam, but with extra care for your balance and confidence. It’s important to start on a low beam and gradually work your way up to a higher one. Make sure to practice regularly and use appropriate safety mats and spotters.
- Start by practicing on a low beam and gradually work your way up to a higher one.
- For easier straddle kick into the cartwheel, reach out farther and turn the second hand in, so the fingers point towards the end of the beam.
- Keep your arms and legs straight throughout the cartwheel.
- To avoid difficulty landing on the beam, avoid piking during the cartwheel.
- The wider your straddle, the easier it is to turn over the cartwheel.
- Focus on maintaining your balance by keeping your eyes on the beam.
- Practice regularly to improve your technique and build your confidence.
What Level is Cartwheel on the Beam?
Cartwheels on the beam are typically taught at a beginner level in gymnastics. Complete beginners would need time to master a cartwheel on the floor and develop confidence on the beam which can take a while.
However, the difficulty level can increase depending on the height of the beam and the specific variation of the cartwheel being performed.
Gymnasts in levels 2 and 3 of the USAG system would typically be learning their cartwheel on the beam at practice.
At level 4 the cartwheel on the beam is compulsory.
To perform a cartwheel on a balance beam at home, I recommend using the following equipment:
Z Athletic Roll Up Beam
The Roll Up beam is ideal as a line on the floor. Young gymnasts can work on their alignment and get used to the narrow 4-inch width of the full-size balance beam. The advantage of the roll-up balance beam is that it’s only 2 inches from the floor and rolls up into a really small space when you’re finished with it.
Tumbl Trak Laser Beam
Taking the cartwheel up to the next level is important. Although the Laser beam is about the same height as the roll-up beam it actually feels more like a real full-size balance beam.
The colored lines will aid the gymnast to spot their cartwheel and being made by Tumbl Trak you are assured of a well-made product with excellent customer service should you ever need it. The Lite version is 8 feet in length or if you have the space at home, go for the Pro version which is 16 feet in length and the same length as a full-size balance beam found in professional gymnastic facilities.
FB Sport Adjustable Beam
The FB Sport Adjustable beam raises to approximately half the height of a full-size beam and is half the length as well. But crucially it’s the same 4-inch width and has the same feel due to its suede cover.
If you purchase an adjustable beam like this be sure to buy a mat to go underneath or as a landing mat from one of my top picks.
Q: Do I need to have experience in gymnastics to do a cartwheel on beam?
A: It is recommended that you have some prior experience in gymnastics or have practiced cartwheels on the floor before attempting to do them on a beam.
Q: How to Do a Chest Cartwheel on Beam?
A: A chest cartwheel on a beam is similar to a regular cartwheel, but instead of placing your hands on the beam, you place your chest.
Q: What are some common mistakes to avoid when doing a cartwheel on beam?
A: Some common mistakes to avoid when doing a cartwheel on beam include: not keeping your body tight and straight, not swinging your legs over the beam high enough, and not landing with both feet on the beam.
Q: Is it safe to do a cartwheel on beam?
A: Like any gymnastics skill, there is always a risk of injury when doing a cartwheel on beam. It is important to practice proper technique and to have a spotter or coach present when attempting this skill.