Tumbling For Cheerleaders Week 4 "“ The Pro's 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 two pro tumbling moves: the front and back tuck. These moves are extensions of the beginner, rookie and expert tumbling moves covered earlier this month. 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 Tuck
The front tuck, like the front handspring and roundoff, is a staple move for tumbling passes in cheerleading. The front tuck can be done as a single move, but is often done as part of a longer tumbling pass in cheerleading. As a beginner, and while learning this move, you should practice the move on its own with a running start. Once you can do the move alone, you can add it to a tumbling pass, such as off the rebound of a roundoff.


How to do a back front
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  • Start a front tuck with a power run, but keep your steps limited to about 3 steps. At the end of your last step, take a small but powerful hop, and swing your arms straight up over your head. Land your hop with your feet together, and bend your knees.

  • Use the momentum from your hop to leap up (not forward!), punching from the balls of your feet. A good practice is to continue to look forward or slightly toward the ceiling as you jump, to help you get the height you need to complete your rotation. Your jump can have a slight forward angle, but your body should be elongated. Keep your arms and your neck extended. You don't want to tuck your head too soon because it will stunt your rotation.

  • As you reach the peak of your jump, swing your arms down in a snap to help propel your rotation forward into the flip. This is also the step in the move that you will want to bring your head down and tuck your knees. Be sure to pull your knees to your chest "“ do not push your chest down into your knees because that will cause you to lose height. Once you are in the tucked position, hold it tight with your whole body, including your shoulders, through the rotation.

  • Hold the tuck until your back is parallel to the ground. When you reach that position, pull out of your tuck and push your legs down and under your body. It will take practice to get the timing right, but remember that if you untuck too soon, you will end up landing with too much of a backwards lean. This will cause you to fall backward.

  • As you are nearing the ground, your legs should be extended. As you land, you want to bend your knees to absorb the impact of the land. To keep yourself from falling forward or backward, land on the balls of your feet and swing your arms upward. You'll end this move in the same position that you started in.


NEXT:
Pro's Guide To Tumbling For Cheerleading: Back Tuck


Once you have mastered all of the tumbling moves covered in this series (and not a moment before!), you can start combining them with other moves to create tumbling passes and 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.

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.