How to Do an Aerial Cartwheel | AirTrack Blog

How to Do an Aerial Cartwheel | AirTrack Blog

How to Do an Aerial Cartwheel:

A side aerial, aerial cartwheel, or no-handed cartwheel are all different names for the same skill. Generally speaking, an aerial is a cartwheel with no hands on the ground. Sounds simple enough, but takes plenty of practice to achieve.

From the stage to the competition floor, aerials are used to showcase power and pizazz. Follow along as we break down the steps to nailing your aerial cartwheel with helpful tips and tricks along the way.

Breaking Down the Aerial Cartwheel

Step 1: Fundamentals

Before learning your gymnastics aerial cartwheel, your side cartwheel should have excellent form. Make sure your cartwheel is smooth with all its power and momentum in a straight line. Use the line on your AirTrack as a guide to make sure each hand placement and foot is directly on the line in front of you. The straighter the cartwheel the greater chance of success for your side aerial.

Step 2: Focus

Make sure your eyes are focused on the floor and visibly see each of your hands placed in front of you. This will help orient yourself when you eventually take your hands away to perform the side aerial. 

Step 3: Lunge and kick!

To make sure you have a strong lunge, make sure your front knee is bent and has a majority of your weight on the foot. As we push through this front leg you want to kick your back leg directly over your head. The stronger you can drive the back leg over the head, the higher chance of not having to use your hands at all on the side aerial.

Step 4: Add power with your arms

Extend through your lunge and use a backwards arm circle. As we jump off our front leg it is important to push all the way through that leg to get the maximum amount of height. As we push through our front leg, circle your arms backwards and into the direction of your side aerial to add power and keep your body in alignment with your side aerial. Make sure your eyes are fixed on the ground as your body is in the air so you can prepare for the landing on the other side.

Step 5: Landing safely

The leg that you are driving over your head will be the first leg to land on the other side. Stare at the ground to make sure you are ready and prepared to land in a lunge position on the other side. Use your hands for safety if you do not have enough height to make it all the way around. It is important to note that you actively lift your chest as we land one foot after the other to minimize the impact on the front landing leg and give us the best chance at completing the side aerial successfully.

Step 6. Repeat!

Acrobatic skills take a lot of practice before we master them. Use safety equipment like our AirTrack mats to protect your joints from overuse injuries and make sure to always have fun when you’re training!!


How to do an aerial cartwheel


Aerial Cartwheel Drills

Mastering a new skill takes time and countless hours of practice. When starting your journey, break down the skill to build strength and endurance throughout your body. Refine your technique by practicing the basics and increasing the level of difficulty of your skills. Your training should build on top of itself to continually challenge your body and build confidence.

Your aerial cartwheel progression:

Needle Kick


Cartwheels & Knee Cartwheels

 Dive Rolls

One Handed Cartwheels


Use these skills to prepare your body and mind for your side aerial. And don’t forget to have fun every step of the way!



What is an aerial?

An aerial is an advanced acrobatic skill found in Gymnastics, Cheerleading, Dance, and more. The skill consists of a cartwheel with no hands.

How long does it take to learn an aerial?

Depending on your skill level, it athletes 1 – 2 years to perfect their aerial. Don’t rush your progression, be sure to take your time and build up strength within your body before attempting new tricks.

How can I learn an aerial at home?

Safety should be your top priority when attempting an aerial cartwheel. A supportive mat to cushion your landing like an AirTrack is ideal for home practice. Use the line down the center of the AirTrack to help in your aerial progression. Always have a spotter or someone there to guide you through the cartwheel motion.

What is a cartwheel without hands called?

A cartwheel without hands is called an aerial. Also commonly referred to as an aerial cartwheel, side aerial, or no-handed cartwheel.

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