Hand releasing cartwheel

Video exampler: coming soon…

Video tutorial: coming soon…

Recommended prerequisites: cartwheel

Description: If I had half of a brain, I'd probably name this the steroid cartwheel or something, because that's what it is. With normal cartwheels, it's easy to get lazy. You're nothing but a wheel. Wheels don't need much to start rolling. Just a little push will do. But to transform a cartwheel into an aerial, you can't be lazy. You have to put some hardcore effort behind the trick and really start to understand what it means to push off the ground and lift that leg with aggression.

Slide by slide breakdown

Hand Releasing Cartwheel by Anthony Mychal

The hand releasing cartwheel is a cry against lazy, so we're going to be aggressive. And it starts with the take off. I use a violent little faerie hop to get me going. It combines forward and rotational momentum and just feels right to me.

Start by shifting your weight onto your back leg. At the beginning of the takeoff, my shoulders are square. Now though? They aren't. My shoulders are rotated out of position, essentially winding me up for what's to come.

Hand Releasing Cartwheel by Anthony Mychal

From the winded up starting position, I take a hop and open my body up. Yeah, I unwind. Whoda' seen that coming?  The aggressive takeoff is best understood via video, so compare a normal cartwheel takeoff to this more aggressive takeoff there. JFrom the slides though, you can see I have a bit more oomph going into the trick right now.

Hand Releasing Cartwheel by Anthony Mychal

It should all look very cartwheel in the beginning, as all we're doing is putting more into the takeoff. At this point, you should be familiar with the takeoff so you shouldn't have to think about it much from a technical standpoint. Putting more into something that you don't understand technically is usually bad juju. Get good with the cartwheel.

Hand Releasing Cartwheel by Anthony Mychal

Still very cartwheel in appearance, but because I'm eventually going to release my hands, I'm actually going down with a bent arm mindset. Planting with bent arms will allow me to push off the ground to release my hands later. I'm sure gymnasts with there multitudes of connective tissue strength can do this fancy push with straight arms, but it doesn't matter much for us.

Hand Releasing Cartwheel by Anthony Mychal

Here's where you can see the bent arms in action.


Don't think of this as a push-up out of a cartwheel. Think of it more along the lines of you doing a cartwheel on lava and you want your hands to make the least ground contact time as possible.

Hand Releasing Cartwheel by Anthony Mychal

Hands are retracting now, which is the beginning of the end. As you get familiar with this move, couple the release of the hands with an aggressive back extension type movement — think about someone with a rope pulling your body upright.

Hand Releasing Cartwheel by Anthony Mychal

Hands are a millisecond away from pulling away from the grass. Legs bent. Whatever. Rule number one of tricking is to always have a scapegoat to cover up inadequacies. I'm tall. See? All better.

But really, I'd rather see you do the move right otherwise with bent legs because fixing bent legs is really easy when the rest of the move is so automatic that you can just consciously think about having straight legs during the move. Don't try to think about everything at once. Pick one or two things to focus on and do the trick. Adjust as you go along.

Hand Releasing Cartwheel by Anthony Mychal

So this is the land releasing cartwheel in a nutshell. You complete half of the move with your hands off the ground.

Hand Releasing Cartwheel by Anthony Mychal

A good way to cue your body into releasing the hands is to think about tucking them close to your body. This also tends to help get your torso up high for the landing, too.

Hand Releasing Cartwheel by Anthony Mychal

After you groove these, you can start using the same kind of strategy on your one-handed variations. Keep putting more and more and more into them and touching your hand to the ground less and less. Obviously, the better you're able to do those things on all three cartwheel variations, the closer you are to being able to aerial with ease.

Recap cues:

  • For the lifting leg, think about lifting hard and high.
  • Touch both of your hands on a white line. (Better yet, get a white line and do it on the line.)
  • Slink your trailing arm over the top by your ear.
  • Think of the ground as lava.


Not getting bounce? You might need to be more aggressive with your takeoff. The more you put in, the more you put out.

Legs bent? That's alright. Bent legs fix themselves with familiarity. When you get comfortable with the move you can consciously think about keeping them straight assuming you have the flexibility. If your static or dynamic flexibility sucks, maybe you should start there though.

Advanced variations:

  • Aerial