Sports & Games

What Is a Front Walkover in Gymnastics? Learn Simone Biles’s Front Walkover Drills

Written by MasterClass

Sep 6, 2019 • 4 min read

A well-rounded gymnast must be able to perform a wide array of athletic maneuvers, including lunges, cartwheels, somersaults, saltos, back tucks, front handsprings, back handsprings, and more. One elemental maneuver in any gymnast’s palette is the front walkover, which can be seen at all levels of gymnastics, from amateur competitions to the Summer Olympic Games.

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What Is a Front Walkover?

A front walkover is an acrobatic maneuver that involves lifting one’s legs above one’s torso in a back bridge position. The legs fully rotate such that the gymnast both starts and finishes in a standing upright position.

To the untrained eye, the front walkover resembles a hybrid of a cartwheel, a handstand, and a round-off. In truth it is its own unique maneuver that draws upon a wide set of gymnastic skills. The front walkover can be found in a floor exercise, on the balance beam, or in realms that go beyond competitive gymnastics, such as acro dance and circus.

Perform a Front Walkover In 7 Steps

A front walkover consists of the following steps:

  1. Start in a standing position with one leg in front of the other.
  2. Keeping your arms and legs straight, bend forward at the waist and lean outward, propelling your arms toward the ground.
  3. As your arms touch the ground, kick your back leg up, followed by your front leg. This will propel you into a brief handstand.
  4. Allow your back leg to continue to propel you forward, quickly moving past the handstand position. Let your front leg trail at a considerable distance.
  5. Continue your leg rotation until what was your back leg touches down, providing support for your body. Your hands should remain on the ground as they were in a handstand position. This means you will now be in a back bridge position.
  6. Allow your front leg to glide forward, following your back leg, until it is back in front of your body. No weight should be on this leg. It’s your back leg that should be holding up your body.
  7. Come to an upright position, supported by your back leg. Your arms should be extended above your head, pressed against your ears.
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Common Front Walkover Variations

In a floor exercise or beam routine, the most common way to add variations to a front walkover is to combine it with other maneuvers coming directly before and directly after it. Because a walkover ends with a step out, with one leg in front of the other, a gymnast is already posed to take on another maneuver. These may include:

The front walkover is not to be attempted by gymnasts who are not sufficiently limber. In order to avoid injury, take the time to warm up, with a variation of split position stretches and perhaps a backbend or bridge kickover.

Simone Biles’s Front Walkover Drills

Both elite and junior gymnasts master complex skills by drilling the same movements over and over again until they are committed to “muscle memory.” Simone Biles’s drills for the front walkover will help you improve your walkover skills. Be sure to use plenty of gymnastics mats to land safely.

Simone Biles’s Front Walkover Drill 1
Start this one on the floor or a floor beam.

  1. Kick into a handstand split.
  2. Let your lead leg drop to the beam.
  3. Look toward the beam and toward your leg so you can spot the placement.
  4. Hold for a moment.
  5. From here, with your leg lifted, push your hips forward to stand up in locked position.
  6. Repeat.

Simone Biles’s Front Walkover Drill 2
Now try the same on the low beam.

  1. Stack panels to the height of the beam at one end of the beam.
  2. Kick into a handstand split with your hands on the beam.
  3. Lower your lead leg to the beam.
  4. Look toward the beam and toward your leg so you can spot the placement.
  5. Hold for a moment.
  6. From here, with your leg lifted, push your hips forward to stand up in locked position.
  7. Repeat.

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Want to Become a Better Athlete?

Whether you’re just starting out on the floor or dreaming big about going professional, gymnastics is as challenging as it is rewarding. At 22, Simone Biles is already a gymnastics legend. With 14 medals, including 10 gold, Simone is the most decorated World Championship American gymnast of all time. In Simone Biles’s MasterClass on gymnastics fundamentals, she breaks down her techniques for the vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor. Learn how to perform under pressure, practice like a champion, and claim your competitive edge.

Want to become a better athlete? From training regimens to mental preparedness, learn everything you need to enhance your athletic abilities with the MasterClass All-Access Pass. Gain exclusive access to video lessons taught by world champions, including Olympic gold-medal-winning gymnast Simone Biles, World No. 1-ranking tennis player Serena Williams, and six-time NBA All-Star Stephen Curry.

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