Lingo: Cheerleading, Tumbling and Basic Gymnastics (Part 1) Tumbling Basics…

Lingo: Cheerleading, Tumbling and Basic Gymnastics (Part 1) Tumbling Basics…




When it comes to tumbling, there are many terms that are universal throughout cheer, power tumbling and gymnastics. In Part 2 of our Lesson on Lingo we will be reviewing a few of the basic terms heard throughout the tumbling communities.


  1. Bridge/ Fall to Bridge (Back-bend) – One of the most basic skills that we first learn in tumbling, gymnastics and cheer is the bridge, aka “the back-bend.” A typical bridge is performed by lying on the back, bending our knees to bring our feet up to our bottom while keeping our feet flat on the floor. We bend our arms to place our hands by our shoulders and ears with our fingers pointing towards our feet. We then push up to extend the arms and legs as straight as possible and lifting our bottom and back off of the floor. A fall to bridge is performed by standing up right with our feet slightly wider than our shoulders, and arms extended straight towards the single with our elbows straight. We then push our hips forward tucking our bottom under us and slowly reach back for the ground to end in our bridge position.
  2. HandStand – Another term that we all have heard at least once in our lives is the classic In the handstand we start in the lunge position with our arms extended, elbows straight, by our ears. We then reach for the ground keeping our arms tight by our ears, as we kick up our back foot of our lunge. As our hands touch the floor we finish pushing through our front lunge foot (good leg) and bring our feet together at the top as we stand upside down on our hands. Our feet should be tightly squeezed together and pointed as if we were standing on the very tips of our big toes. Our knees should be straight and our head in line with the body. When finished we return to our starting lunge position.
  3. Kick-over – The kick-over is performed from the bridge position. We jump off of our foot as we kick the other foot over our body in a large side split. Finishing with our arms by our ears in the lunge position.
  4. Back Walkover – The back walkover is essentially a fall to bridge and kick-over happening continuously. The main difference is in the starting position and the fall back to your hands. In the back walk-over we start with one foot and the big toe or tip of our shoe barely touching the floor bearing no weight in front of our body with our arms by our ears. As we fall back to our bridge our front foot rises so that when our hands reach the floor the front foot is all the way in the air, and we continue through pushing off our bottom foot to continue the kick over finishing in the lunge position.
  5. Cartwheel– A cartwheel starts in a lunge position with the arms extended straight up in the air by the ears. We then reach out for the ground like we are doing a handstand, as our hands reach the floor we turn our body a quarter turn as we place our first hand down. Our second arm, staying by our ear, immediately is place on the ground after with the hand making a “T” with the first hand but keeping the arms shoulder width. As we reach for the ground we kick our back leg over our head/body and push through our front leg extending it all the way. We point our toes and keep our legs straight in a wide straddle and then proceed to place the first leg that was kicked to the ground stepping the second leg back finishing in a lunge facing the opposite direction of the original starting position.
  6. Round off The round off is performed almost the same way as a cartwheel with a few minor but important details. Many times you will see a cheerleader or gymnast run and/or jump and hurdle (skip) into their lunge position and continue immediately into their round off. From the lunge position whether we run into it or start in the lunge, we approach the round off in the same fashion as the cartwheel. This time as our feet are passing over the top of our head we bring them together at the top passing through a handstand position. We then push off the ground (block) and bring our feet to the ground as we stand up (snap down) landing with our feet together with the arms extended by the ears. If we immediately bonce off of our feet proceeding the round-off it is known as a rebound, put together a round-off rebound.




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