How to Do a Gymnastic Spin

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Spins and turns are some of the most beautiful skills in the sport of gymnastics. To the untrained eye, a spin should look effortless and graceful. Turns can complement artistic floor and beam choreography or connect to tumbling and jumps. However, don't be fooled -- mastering a turn isn't necessarily easy. With plenty of consistent practice and a few simple steps, though, gymnasts can learn how to perform this move.

Stand upright with your arms to your sides and your ankles together. Bring your stronger leg forward into a lunge position. The backward leg should lean just slightly to the front, at about a 45- to 60-degree angle from the floor. According to gymnastics coach Kellie Mizoguchi, when learning a spin, it's important to pay close attention to each body position right from the start.

Pick a spot to stare at on the wall. Although this might seem like a strange step, gymnasts should always look to find the same spot when completing a 360-degree turn, according to Gymnastics Zone. When you're turning later, you'll want to snap your head back so you can see the spot.

Bring whichever arm corresponds with your lunging leg to the front, resting it at shoulder height. Bend your elbow inward just slightly, so it looks like a semi-circle with the inside of your wrist facing your chest. Bring your other arm up to the side, at shoulder length, and stretch it outward. Mizoguchi advises gymnasts to keep their shoulders relaxed and their tummies tucked in when in this position.

Push off the floor with your lunging leg so you're now on your tiptoes. Bend the back leg at the knee, and bring it forward so your back ankle is glued to your lunging leg knee. Keep your muscles tight, Mizoguchi says, and be careful not to let your ankle slip away from your knee, which is a mistake many gymnasts will make.

Use the force of your back leg to turn your hips, shoulders and forward leg 360 degrees. Keep your butt and abs tight, says USA Gymnastics National Team coach and choreographer Antonia Markova. Remember to snap your head back as you turn so you can always keep your eyes on the initial spot.

Bring your back leg down to the ground, placing it in front of your lunging leg. Stand on your tiptoes with both legs. Raise and stretch your arms upward in a salute position. Although this is the end of the turn, you should still keep a tight body position and good form in your salute, says Mizoguchi.

Tips

Try turning on floor before you move on to the beam. Practice this skill several times each practice. Don't move on to harder turns until you've mastered the full turn.

Warnings

Always try new skills in the presence of a gymnastics coach. Make sure to try this somewhere with proper gymnastics equipment to avoid injury. Keep your forward leg muscles tight to avoid twisting your ankle.

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