Acrobatic Exercises

Vintage image of male gymnast swinging on bar

Acrobatics are most often associated with gymnastics, but they are also a part of many other sports including martial arts, free running, skateboarding, cheer leading and dancing. Acrobatics require balance, flexibility, agility, coordination and strength and can help you gain overall fitness and endurance. Some examples of acrobatic exercises include the handstand, cartwheel and the bar, or rings, swing.

About Acrobatics

Rather than using free weights, resistance weight or weight machines, acrobatic exercises focus on using the body's own weight to strengthen muscles and improve fitness. According to CNN Health, acrobatic exercise works by using your body weight on the bar and the floor to perform a series of strength exercises. Agility, coordination, and strength is developed through requiring the muscles to throw, catch and hold the body's weight in a number of different positions.


Handstands are an acrobatic exercise that requires you to hold yourself upside down while keeping your body straight and legs extended in the air. This exercise works your arms, shoulders, core and back while improving overall strength and balance. You should begin by using a wall for balance until your upper body strength and balance improves. Place your hands flat on the floor in front of you, between you and the wall, and gently kick your legs into the air, inverting your body position. Keep your arms straight and shoulders locked. Use the wall to catch your feet and balance your position with your hips and shoulders aligned. Hold this position for as long as you can to strengthen the core and upper body. Gradually move away from the wall as your strength improves.


Gymnast girl doing cartwheel

Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

A cartwheel is an acrobatic flip that requires you to use the momentum of your arms and legs to invert the body position and then return to the upright position. It is a precursor to more advanced acrobatic flips including the round-off, walk over and aerial as this exercise works the upper body while developing momentum and balance. To perform a cartwheel, begin with your arms over your head, point your strongest foot in front of you, lean forward to a lunge position, transfer the weight to your front leg and place your hands on the ground. If you start with your right leg in front, let your right hand touch the floor first. Kick your legs up to the hand stand position keeping your body sideways and your legs in a V-shape. The last leg to go up is the first leg to come down and the first hand to go down should be the first hand to come up, according to iSport Gymnastics. This exercise should be done in a continuous motion and repeated to improve upper body strength and balance.

Swinging with Bars and Rings

Male gymnast reaching for rings

Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

Swinging is an ideal acrobatic exercise to increase core and upper body strength and improve agility and coordination. Swinging can be done on the bars or rings to prepare you to make vertical circles. To perform the swing exercise, begin with your hands on the bar or rings a little more than shoulder-width apart. Begin with your arms straight and your body in the straight extended position. Pike your legs forward and then swing them back to the arched body position, keeping your arms and legs straight at all times. Repeat this motion to gain momentum and force to prepare yourself to make forward or backward vertical circles.