The cartwheel is the most commonly requested trick when people find out your kid is in gymnastics (says experience). Luckily, it’s a skill your little one can practice at home and safely show off! Below are some great descriptions on how to do a cartwheel step by step to help your gymnast master the coveted trick! But, before you start sharing these cartwheel ideas with your kiddo, read the ever-so-important disclaimers!

Disclaimer #1: make sure practicing is YOUR CHILD’S choice. Using gymnastics at home as a chore or assignment, is a quick way to ruin the sport for your child.

Disclaimer #2: most skills are not appropriate to practice at home, please don’t take the liberty of applying the “practice @ home” idea to other tricks. I will provide ideas for safe skills only.

Disclaimer #3: make sure your child is practicing in an open area, and on a soft surface.

| how to do a cartwheel step by step |

How to do a cartwheel step by step | First Steps of Learning a Cartwheel | Gym Gab
Step 1:
Choose an object such as a mat {purchase here} or couch cushion.
Step 2: Stand on one side of the object.
Step 3: Place hands on the object (sideways -perpendicular to hips).
Step 4: Hop feet over to the other side.

(Notice which direction your child naturally places their hands – if they point their fingers to the right, they are most likely a right-footed cartwheeler. If they usually point their fingers to the left, they are probably a left-footed cartwheeler.)

How to do a cartwheel step by step | Tricks to Learning a Cartwheel | Gym Gab
Step 1: Place a sticker or stamp on your child’s preferred starting leg (see above).
Step 2: Place the sticker foot in front.
Step 3: Reach hands in the sideways position (explained above) and kick feet over.
Step 4: Finish with the sticker foot behind! Gymnast should look for their feet as they land to see if the sticker “disappeared” (starting foot should land behind).

How to do a cartwheel step by step | Perfecting the Cartwheel | Gym Gab
Step 1: Place a masking tape line on your carpet or use a Cartwheel Mat {purchase here } or Floor Beam {Folding Floor BeamNastia Foam Beam}.
Step 2: Stand on the line (Sticker foot in front).
Step 3: One at a time, reach hands onto the line.
Step 4: Land with both feet on the line (one at a time with sticker foot in back).

Is your child ready for the next step? Purchase great low beams here. I don’t recommend anything higher for the  home.

Photos | Chelsey Searle Photography


If your daughter is involved in the competitive world of gymnastics, you may be lost in the whirlwind of new routines and new levels for this upcoming season. Just when you thought you had it all figured out, USA Gymnastics (USAG) changes it up on you!

Skill and Routine Changes

Skill and routine changes will mostly effect compulsory gymnasts (compulsory gymnasts compete routines that are choreographed by USA Gymnastics  and are identical to all other gymnasts in the United States, competing the same level). The good news? You get to hear new music and watch new poses this year (sigh of relief).

Level changes

USAG combined the skill sets of Level 1 & 2 and added Level 6 to the optional competition format this year. (Optional gymnasts have individually choreographed routines with similar skill sets as the gymnasts they are competing against).

Same Skills, New Names

Because USAG added a new level to optional competition and combined the skill sets of Levels 1 & 2, compulsory levels now have new names!

USAG 2013 Compulsory Levels | Gym Gab Blog

Still confused? Here is an example: The old level 4 skills are now classified as Level 3. A level 3 will compete a round-off back handspring on floor (like the old level fours use to). A new level 3 will also compete a front hip circle on bars (like the old level fours did). Starting to make a little sense?

My first piece of advice, learn to appreciate the compulsory choreography. Second, trust your coaches – they’ll put your kid in the right level with the appropriate skills. Lastly, repeat after me, “The number that correlates with my daughter’s level is of no importance!”

To help with the transition to the 2013 – 2021 rules and routines, check out these great articles provided by USAG.

What’s all the chatter about?

It’s not all about the numbers



Gymnastics Apparel | Ivivva Athletica | Gym Gab BlogIf you haven’t heard of ivivva athletica, today’s fashion post may be pivotal for your child’s wardrobe! I was first introduced to this brand in 2011. One of my gymnasts would show up to early morning workout (6:45 am) in cute hoodies and outerwear that I coveted for my own apparel. Once the gym hit a comfortable temperature (above 60 degrees) Mya would shed a layer to reveal bright colored leggings and tanks. I started tag checking everything she wore. All the pieces sported the same unique ivivva logo. I wasn’t surprised to learn that ivivva was the youth brand for lululemon. Thank goodness the amazing women’s athletic line (known for it’s exceptional fit, function and fashion) hasn’t overlooked the younger generation of active females! Keep reading to learn how ivviva caters specifically to gymnasts.

Gymnastics Apparel | Ivivva Athletica | Gym Gab Blog

Ivivva’s rhythmic shorts (seen above in grey) are made out of their special foam-resistent luxtreme fabric. That means no more fuzzies when getting out of the pit! It also means 4-way stretch that wicks away moisture. All items boast flat seams that prevent irritation, making it easier for girls to tumble their hearts out in comfort. Most hoodies and jackets include back-up hair elastics built into the zippers – convienient! The best part? Ivivva would love inspiration from your gymnast! Help their designer by sharing your daughter’s needs and desires for her workout wear here.

Photos | Chelsey Searle Photography


Behind the Posts | Gym Gab
Who’s Behind the Posts

My name is Makenna. I’m a former gymnast, but more relevant now, I’m a gymnastics coach, wife of a gymnastics coach, and mother of a gymnast.  I’ve worked at competitive gyms and recreational gyms. I’ve coached babies in parent-tot classes, teens in optional levels, and everything in between. Currently, I have several athletes on the TOPS National Team. Between my husband and I, we have over 20 years of gymnastics coaching experience from preschool gymnastics through high-level competitive and collegiate teams. I understand the sweat, sacrifices, and passion it requires to achieve excellence. I also know it’s not the number of hours one practices, or the skill level one achieves, but rather, a genuine love for the sport, that truly makes one a gymnast!

Through all of my experiences, I’ve met hundreds of inspiring individuals. Gym Gab, is the collaboration of talents, creativity, and ideas of the family and friends whom I have enlisted to share in this dream. I hope to introduce you to the amazing contributors along the way.

Why the Blog

Over the past decade-plus of coaching, my husband and I have had many gymnastics-related conversations with parents. After repeating topics with new generations of parents (oh so many times!), I decided it was time to take our experiences, knowledge and opinions and turn them into a fun distributable format. As a gymnastics parent, you have limited options when seeking insight into the gym world. Unfortunately, most of your information comes from the parent sitting next to you in the viewing area. I’d like to remedy this!

What Gym Gab has to Offer

The sport of gymnastics has something to offer everyone. Similary, Gym Gab has something to offer every parent, whether your child be a beginner or trains 30 hours a week. Through gymnastics-related information, fashion trends, spotlights, skill explanations, parent tips, product reviews, give-aways, do-it yourself projects, rules and procedures, motivational tools, and more, Gym Gab shares insight to assist in your ever-so-important role; a gym parent!