Gymnastics is a sport that combines lots of different movements that require balance, coordination, flexibility, strength, and endurance.

The sport of gymnastics developed from exercises used by the ancient Greeks to mount and dismount their horses.

Who can do gymnastics?

Children and adults of any age can practice gymnastics recreationally or competitively.

What equipment is needed for gymnastics?

Some equipment that is useful to have when teaching gymnastics includes:

  • A balance beam
  • Pommel horse
  • A trampoline
  • Cushioned mats
  • PE benches

What are some skills taught in gymnastics?

At the beginning of gymnastics lessons, children will become familiar with these gymnastic movements:

Body tension

Using muscles to hold limbs straight and create complex shapes. You can encourage children to persevere with making and holding shapes with strong body tension. Exercises that develop the core muscles will help children with this.


A challenging gymnastic move that progresses from a crab walk. You must ensure children are supported when attempting this in the first instance.

Chassis step

The gymnast moves forward or sideways onto the balls of one foot and then brings the ball of the other foot to meet it before jumping again to the first foot. This move is performed quickly and fluently.

Egg roll

Curl up like an egg with your chin tucked in and rolled sideways with your body tense.

Forward roll

The forward roll is a good initial gymnastic move to teach the need for control and momentum. However, it would help if you clarified that children need to move quickly to complete the roll. They’ll also need to plant their hands firmly and in parallel to make sure they come out of the roll in a straight line.

Half turn jump

A jumping movement in which the gymnast jumps in the air and turns 180 degrees, landing upright and facing the opposite direction.

Jumping jack

Jump from two feet, bending your knees and pushing upwards. Open arms and legs sideways to create a star shape in the air. Land on the balls of two feet, bending the knees. Bring the arms in front and up to shoulder height for landing.


The ending position of a skill or movement.

Log roll

Roll sideways from back to front in a stretched position with legs together, and arms stretched above the head.


Movement in which the gymnast rotates on the ball of one foot.


A combination of two or more skills performed, one after the other.


A position in which the body faces forward and the legs are spread out wide to the side.

Straight jump

Jump from two feet to two feet. Bend the knees, hips, and ankles for take-off and landing. Then, jump straight up, keeping the body upright and the head up. Bend the knees when landing and bring the arms in front and up to shoulder height.


A basic action of movement, e.g., skipping, running, or hopping.

Tuck jump

Jump from two feet, bending your knees and pushing upwards. Bring the knees towards the chest, keeping the body straight and the head up. Take the arms over the head for propulsion and bring them in front, at shoulder height, for landing. Land on the balls of two feet, bending the knees.

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