Do a Round Off in Gymnastics

The round off is a common skill in gymnastics for most tumbling passes. It can help if you’ve already learned How to Do a Cartwheel or how to Do a Handstand. The whole move only takes a few seconds, and prepares you for more advanced sequences that you can learn by taking gymnastics lessons.

Steps

Going into the Round Off

  1. Find your dominant side. You’ll step off from, and land on your dominant leg. It’s helpful to know which side of your body is your dominant side. Generally, it’s the hand you write with or kick a soccer ball with.
    • This is the side you’ll want to use when you step off for your round off.
  2. Practice the quarter-turn action. The quarter-turn action is the beginning step of a round off before your last foot even leaves the floor. It helps to make sure you have the hip movement and hand placement right before moving into the rest of the round off.
    • Your hands will form a diamond shape in the space between your forefingers and thumbs. This is for stability and safety.[1][2] It’s a good idea to practice hand placement before tackling the whole move.
    • Since your hips will be rotating, it's a good idea to practice the rotation motion.
    • To practice the quarter-turn:
      • Face forward with your legs together, arms by your sides.
      • Bend your dominant leg and lean forward with your weight on that leg.
      • Reach your other leg behind you. Your torso should be parallel to the ground.
      • Reach your arms out straight above your head.
      • Place your dominant hand down onto the ground and rotate your hips, lifting the opposite leg high into the air.[3]
  3. Get a running start. With your dominant leg, start running into your round off. The momentum of starting with speed helps to get your legs into the air easier.
    • Just before you start the round off, make sure you have a hurdle run. That means you’ll make a short skip with both legs bent before leaping into the round off.[1]
    • Keep your head tucked in, rather than up or out. This avoids an unnecessary arch in your back.

Doing the Round Off

  1. Step into the round off. After you’ve taken a step with your dominant leg (the skip from your running start), put your arms straight up in the air and step down onto the ground with that dominant foot.[4]
    • Keep your leg bent while you step down.
    • As you’re stepping down with your dominant leg, the other leg should be coming up behind you.
    • Your hands should be out in front of you, palms open, waiting to catch your controlled fall.
  2. Control your form. For this part of the move, it’s important to keep your form controlled so you don’t injure yourself or wobble. This will speed up your learning and reduce practice time.
    • Rotate your hips about 90 degrees.
    • Make sure your back is straight as you step into the round off.
    • Keep your eyes forward and down.
    • As you reach your hands out in front of you, mold them into the T position so they’re ready for landing.
    • Think quickly, you only have a few seconds to complete the entire move.
  3. Bring your legs up. As your body rolls forward, bring your back leg up over your head while reaching your non-dominant hand closer to the ground. Lift the dominant leg that’s touching the ground, straightening it.
    • This all happens in one swift motion.
    • Aim your non-dominant hand to land right next to your dominant hand. You want your forefingers and thumbs to be touching.
    • As you bring your back leg up, keep your leg straight and strong.
  4. Place your hands on the ground. Set your non-dominant hand down on the ground next to your dominant hand, with the diamond shape between them.
    • Make sure your back and hips are straight, feet pointed.

Landing the Round Off

  1. Pull your legs together. Now that both hands are on the floor supporting your weight, pull your legs together so that they’re touching.
    • Pull your legs together just before they’re vertical in the air.[4]
    • Keep your legs high in the air as you pull them together. Don’t lower or tuck them just yet.[1]
  2. Rotate your hips. With your legs pulled together in the air, rotate your hips about 90 degrees. As you do this, your hands will start to come up off the ground. Your feet begin to make their way toward the ground behind you.
    • You’re positioning yourself to land with both feet on the ground.
    • Stop rotating when your body is aligned and you’re facing the direction you started from.
    • You’re doing this as you’re in the air landing, so make your rotation as smooth as possible.
  3. Land on your feet. Push off with your hands, curving your back a little bit. Land on the ground with both feet at the same time. Bring your arms up over your head, next to your ears.[1]
    • Push through your shoulders, not your elbows.
    • When you land, bend your knees a little bit to absorb some of the shock of the landing.[1]

Video

Tips

  • Don't bend your elbows.
  • You should feel like you are punching the ground when your hands hit the ground. Use all the power you have.
  • Practice!
  • It’s easier if you get a running start (versus doing it from a standing position).[4]
  • Always use a trained spotter until you’re comfortable doing it on your own.
  • Flexibility training should be done for range-of-movement. Warm up and cool down stretches will keep the body limber.[5]

Warnings

  • Make sure you bend your knees to take the impact of the landing.
  • Hard surfaces increases the risk of injury. Always perform on a soft surface if you are just starting out.
  • Injury can happen. Make sure you have a first aid kit or trained professional nearby.

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Sources and Citations