In gymnastics, a cartwheel is the movement where one moves sideways (in the motion the wheel of a cart would follow) in a straight line keeping the back straight placing the hand of the same side on the ground followed by the other hand as the legs are passed over the body and then come down as the hands and body come up to a standing up position. The cartwheel can also be performed using one or no hands. A cartwheel using no hands is called an aerial and requires much more momentum and speed.

The name cartwheel is used because when a human performs this, their limbs move like the spokes of a turning wheel. In classical Indian dance it is called Talavilasitam karana.

Cartwheels have a long tradition in the city of Düsseldorf, Germany. According to the legend, upon hearing that their city had won the Battle of Worringen in 1288, the children of Düsseldorf started performing flips in celebration. Sooner or later, they began performing side flips. Then the flips became cartwheels. A cartwheel is just going in a sideways motion, so it really does not matter whether your legs are straight or bent in a cartwheel as long as you go in a side motion. Unless you are trying to be a technically articulate gymnast, in which case, you would want to keep your legs straight when going through the cartwheel motion, and your feet pointed when they are not on the ground.

Variations and similar skills

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