What Is a No Handed Cartwheel Called? Discover the Name

Cartwheels are a staple in the world of gymnastics and acrobatics, showcasing the grace, flexibility, and strength of those who possess the skill to perform them. However, what happens when one takes the traditional cartwheel and adds a daring twist by eliminating the use of their hands? In such a jaw-dropping display of athleticism, a cartwheel without hands is appropriately known as an aerial. This breathtaking maneuver, also commonly referred to as an aerial cartwheel, side aerial, or no-handed cartwheel, requires immense control, body awareness, and precise technique. It’s a feat that leaves spectators mesmerized, as the individual effortlessly propels themselves through the air with seemingly gravity-defying prowess. So, if you're wondering what to call this extraordinary display of poise and strength, the answer is clear – it's called an aerial cartwheel, the fearless embodiment of defying gravity with grace.

What Is a One-Handed Cartwheel Called in Gymnastics?

A one-handed cartwheel in gymnastics is commonly known as an aerial. This advanced maneuver is a progression from the basic cartwheel and requires a higher level of skill, strength, and control. While the cartwheel involves using both hands to support the body during the rotation, the aerial is performed with only one hand touching the ground.

When performing an aerial, the gymnast launches themselves into the air and executes a side rotation using their arms and legs. The non-dominant hand is usually the one that remains off the ground while the dominant hand offers the necessary support. The movement demands exceptional balance, body alignment, and precise timing to maintain control throughout the entire rotation.

Arials are commonly seen in both artistic and rhythmic gymnastics, as well as in other disciplines such as acrobatics and freerunning. They showcase the gymnasts agility, flexibility, and spatial awareness. It’s essential to note that mastering the cartwheel is a prerequisite before attempting to learn and execute an aerial due to the increased difficulty and complexity of the one-handed technique.

Aerials require significant practice, strength, and technique development to be performed safely and effectively. Gymnasts must diligently work on honing their upper body strength, core stability, and wrist flexibility to execute this dynamic skill with control and precision. Coaches and spotters are often involved in the learning process, providing guidance and support as the gymnast progresses towards achieving the full execution of an aerial.

How to Incorporate Aerials Into a Gymnastics Routine or Performance

  • Choose the type of aerial you want to incorporate into your routine, such as an aerial cartwheel, aerial walkover, or aerial silks.
  • Warm up your body with stretches and exercises that target the muscles used in aerial movements.
  • Practice basic skills and techniques to build strength and control, such as handstands, splits, and backbends.
  • Gradually progress to more advanced drills, such as practicing aerials on a padded surface or with the assistance of a spotter.
  • Focus on proper technique, including maintaining a tight core, pointed toes, and a strong landing position.
  • Integrate the aerial into your routine by choreographing transitions and linking it with other gymnastic elements.
  • Rehearse your routine multiple times to ensure smooth transitions and consistency in executing the aerial.
  • Perform the routine with confidence and energy, incorporating your own personal style and flair.
  • Seek feedback from coaches or experienced gymnasts to further improve your aerial routine.
  • Continue to practice and refine your aerial skills to add more complexity and difficulty to your routine over time.

Aerial cartwheels, also known as side flips or side somersaults, are impressive acrobatic moves that can be executed in various athletic activities. From performance dance to gymnastics and even capoeira, this maneuver showcases the performer’s agility and control. Unlike regular cartwheels, aerial cartwheels are performed without the use of hands, adding an extra element of difficulty and style. Whether executed while running or from a stationary position, these no-hands cartwheels are a stunning display of athleticism.

What Do You Call a Flip With No Hands?

A flip without the use of hands is known by several names in different athletic disciplines. In gymnastics, it’s commonly referred to as an aerial cartwheel or no-hands cartwheel. This move is characterized by the performers arms and legs moving in a manner that resembles the turning spokes of a wheel. It can be executed while running or from a stationary position, and requires a combination of strength, balance, and precise timing.

Aerial cartwheels aren’t limited to gymnastics, as they’re also seen in other athletic activities such as performance dance, Indian dance forms, cheerleading, and capoeira. In capoeira, a Brazilian martial art, aerial cartwheels are often performed as part of acrobatic displays during the roda, a circle where capoeira players engage in improvised movements and martial arts techniques.

The execution of an aerial cartwheel involves a series of coordinated movements. The front leg lunges forward while the back leg propels backward, creating the necessary momentum for the maneuver. The performer relies on their core strength and body control to maintain balance throughout the flip. Timing is crucial, as a well-timed push-off and controlled landing are essential for a successful aerial cartwheel.

Aside from the term aerial cartwheel, this move is also known by other names such as side flip, side somersault, air cartwheel, or simply aerials. These different names reflect the variety of disciplines in which this maneuver is performed and highlight it’s versatility across the world of athletics. Whether it’s seen in a gymnastics routine or a breathtaking capoeira display, the aerial cartwheel showcases the impressive athleticism and artistry of it’s performers.

Training Drills and Exercises to Strengthen the Core and Improve the Execution of an Aerial Cartwheel

  • Plank holds
  • Reverse crunches
  • V-ups
  • Mountain climbers
  • Russian twists
  • Supermans
  • Leg raises
  • Side plank twists
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Flutter kicks
  • Scissor kicks
  • Hollow holds
  • Pilates roll-ups
  • Bridge exercises
  • Woodchoppers
  • Medicine ball twists
  • Side plank dips
  • Standing oblique crunches
  • Dead bug exercises
  • Toe touches

Source: How to do an aerial (no handed cartwheel) for beginners …

In addition, it’s important to note that flexibility isn’t the determining factor when it comes to cartwheeling. While being flexible can certainly help with executing a cartwheel, it isn’t a prerequisite. The ability to cartwheel on one side effortlessly and struggle on the other side is a common experience, but it isn’t due to a lack of flexibility. Instead, it’s a matter of training your body to move in a different direction and re-familiarizing yourself with the mechanics of the movement.

Why Can I Only Do a Cartwheel on One Side?

Many people find themselves in a peculiar position when attempting a cartwheel: they can only perform it successfully on one side. This phenomenon is quite common and can be attributed to the way our bodies adapt and learn movements. It’s completely normal to possess a dominant side when it comes to cartwheeling and struggle when it comes to executing the same movement in the opposite direction.

Cartwheeling, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t solely rely on flexibility. The main components necessary for a successful cartwheel are balance, coordination, and proper technique.

Re-teaching our bodies to perform a cartwheel in the non-dominant direction requires patience and practice. It involves breaking down the movement into fundamental components and focusing on coordination and balance. Additionally, strengthening and conditioning exercises can aid in building the necessary strength and stability to support the movement.

Ultimately, it’s essential to approach the process with a positive mindset and embrace the challenge of learning something new. Cartwheeling on both sides may take time and effort, but with dedication and practice, it’s certainly achievable. Remember that everyone has their own unique journey and progress at their own pace.

flip. While both the cartwheel and somersault are gymnastic moves that showcase agility and strength, they differ in their execution and the way the body rotates. Let’s explore these movements further and uncover their distinctions.

What’s the Difference Between a Cartwheel and Somersault?

The terms “cartwheel” and “somersault” are often used interchangeably to describe gymnastic movements that involve a rotation or flipping motion. However, there are some subtle distinctions between the two.

A somersault, also known as a front flip, is a gymnastic move where the performer rotates their body forward in a complete 360-degree flip. It involves tucking the knees towards the chest and using the momentum to propel oneself into the air, executing the rotation before landing on their feet. Somersaults are commonly seen in acrobatic performances, martial arts, and various sports activities.

On the other hand, a cartwheel, or roundoff, is a gymnastic move that involves sideways rotation and doesn’t include a full flip. In a cartwheel, the performer moves their body in a straight line while alternating hands and feet in a smooth, continuous motion. This movement is often performed with legs kept straight and parallel to the ground, creating an elegant and graceful display.

Additionally, there’s the term “back handspring” which refers to a backward flipping motion performed while leaning on the hands. This move involves a series of steps, including a large push off the ground, a backflip, and landing on the feet. It’s common in both gymnastics and cheerleading routines, adding a dynamic and impressive element to performances.

While all these movements require flexibility, coordination, and skill, they each have their unique characteristics and purposes. Whether it’s the graceful cartwheel, the energetic somersault, or the powerful back handspring, each gymnastic move contributes to the overall repertoire of tricks and skills that athletes can showcase.

Variations of the Back Handspring in Gymnastics and Cheerleading

  • Traditional back handspring
  • Round-off back handspring
  • Layout back handspring
  • Double back handspring
  • Back handspring step out
  • Arabian back handspring
  • Twisting back handspring
  • Front handspring step out to back handspring
  • Tuck back handspring
  • Pike back handspring
  • Layout step out back handspring
  • Whip back handspring
  • Front handspring step out to whip back handspring
  • Full twisting back handspring
  • Double twisting back handspring
  • Back handspring to back tuck
  • Back handspring to back layout
  • Back handspring to full twist
  • Back handspring to double twist


By seamlessly propelling their body through the air without the assistance of their hands, individuals who master this technique demonstrate their strength, flexibility, and coordination. Whether it’s in gymnastics, dance, or acrobatics, the aerial cartwheel is a breathtaking display of skill that leaves viewers in awe. So, the next time you witness someone effortlessly executing this move, you can now confidently refer to it as an aerial, appreciating the artistry and discipline behind this awe-inspiring technique.

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