Tumbling For Cheerleaders Week 3 – The Expert Moves Get tips for more tumbling moves in the free Tumbling for Cheerleading Guide, available now! Tumbling is a form of gymnastics that requires athletes to use their bodies to flip, twist, roll and jump. Tumbling is most often used at cheerleading competitions and during gymnastics routines at the Olympics, but dancers and other stage performers also tap tumbling to give their show a “wow!’ factor. To excel in tumbling, you must be disciplined, skilled, fast and strong with maximum flexibility and stamina. This week I’ll cover three advanced tumbling moves: the front and back handspring and the aerial. These moves are extensions of beginner tumbling moves and rookie tumbling moves. You need to have those moves mastered before attempting to learn these advanced moves. Don’t expect a “shortcut’ or “quick way’ to learn any tumbling moves – they don’t exist. Attempting any tumbling move without the proper training and supervision can result in serious injury. Use mats, training equipment and spotters until you have mastered tumbling moves. Don’t forget to properly stretch and warm up! How To Do A Front Handspring The front handspring, like the back handspring, is a foundation for tumbling passes. Make sure your back is limber, before attempting this move, by practicing back bends and back walkovers. Click above to view large image There are many approaches that can be used for entry into a front handspring. As a beginner, though, you should practice this move as a power move, using a 3-step run into a hurdle as your approach. Your hurdle should be low and quick. Keep your head between your arms, and your arms straight up. As you land your hurdle, your body should be leaning forward as if you were diving into a front walkover. Make sure that you keep your shoulders and hips open. Use your forward momentum to whip your back leg up into the air. Do not twist your body, keep it straight. As you reach your hands for the ground, concentrate on reaching down, not reaching forward. As your hands reach the ground, you should be pushing off the ground with your lead leg. Push hard and whip your leg up. That momentum will help you gain momentum to carry through the entire move. Your hands should only be on the ground long enough for you to push off. If you delay pushing off the ground, you won’t be able to have enough power to complete your rotation. You’ll likely end up rolling backward as a landing. Once both legs are air born, try to put them together. Don’t worry if it takes you a little longer to get your legs together. Concentrate on your rotation before you worry about your legs. As your legs rotate over your body and you push off the ground, keep your back arched. As the power from your push off rotates you forward, you can begin rising up from your chest. Resist the urge to pull you head up. Keep you head in between your arms. You should land on the balls of your feet and bend your knees to absorb the impact. Continue pulling your body up, from the chest, until you are standing straight up with your legs together and your arms in the air. While you are learning, you might want to practice landing in a walk out position, with your leading leg landing second, in front of your other leg. As you practice pushing yourself off the ground and gain enough power and momentum, it will be easier for you to land on both legs. NEXT: Expert’s Guide To Tumbling For Cheerleading: Back Handspring Expert’s Guide To Tumbling For Cheerleading: Aerial Once you have mastered all 3 of the expert moves (and not a moment before!), you can start combining them with other moves to create tumbling passes. Here are some combinations you can try that will help you craft your technique into controlled skill. Start slow, and work on getting faster after you are comfortable with the changes and shifts in movement. Roundoff, backhandspring Roundoff, backhandspring, backhandspring Roundoff, backhandspring, cartwheel Roundoff, backhandspring, front walkover Aerial, front handspring, back handspring Make sure you wear the correct cheerleading shoes and practice wear when you are learning how to tumble. Your shoes should be flexible and supportive, and your practice wear should be tight-fitting so your body won’t get tangled in extra material. Keep practicing these moves, and I’ll see you next Friday to go over the steps for the next level of tumbling moves!