Sports & Games

Simone Biles’s 10 Basic Floor Drills for Gymnasts of All Levels

Written by MasterClass

Sep 4, 2019 • 5 min read

Floor exercises make up the fundamentals of gymnastics. Floor routine is one of the four main events in women’s competitive gymnastics, alongside the balance beam, vault exercises, and uneven bars.

Floor drills are a basic skill in gymnastics classes. Their purpose is to warm up a gymnast for more complicated exercises. Follow these exercises from Olympic medalist and women's gymnastics star Simone Biles in your gymnastics training.

Save

Share


Simone Biles Teaches Gymnastics FundamentalsSimone Biles Teaches Gymnastics Fundamentals

Gold-winning Olympic gymnast Simone Biles teaches her training techniques—from beginner to advanced—so you can practice like a champion.

Learn More

Basic Floor Drill 1: Cartwheel Wall Drill

Mark a line on the floor with chalk or tape to help keep your movement in one straight line.

  1. Reach your arms up by your ears.
  2. Step through mountain climber lunge.
  3. Move your hands into cartwheel placement one hand at a time.
  4. Kick up to side handstand with your legs in a straddle position and your feet on the wall. Your hips should be flat and your belly should be facing the wall.
  5. Look under your armpit in the direction you’re going.
  6. Turn your hips square to the wall.
  7. Step down to complete your cartwheel, moving through lever with arms up by your ears.
  8. Finish with your hips square and one foot in front of the other.

Basic Floor Drill 2: Knee Floor Cartwheel Drill

After you’ve practiced the drill above against the wall, try it on the floor away from the wall.

  1. Mark a line on the floor with chalk or tape to help keep your movement in one straight line.
  2. Begin in a half-kneeling position. One leg is at a 90-degree angle while the knee of your other leg is on the floor.
  3. Reach your arms up by your ears with your shoulders shrugged.
  4. Move your hands into cartwheel placement one hand at a time.
  5. Kick up to side handstand with your hips flat.
  6. Look under your armpit in the direction you’re going and turn your hips square in the same direction.
  7. Return to standing with your hips square and your arms by your ears.
Simone Biles Teaches Gymnastics Fundamentals
Serena Williams Teaches Tennis
Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess
Stephen Curry Teaches Shooting, Ball-Handling, and Scoring

Basic Floor Drill 3: Tunnel Drill

Try this with stacking panel mats or eight-inch mats.

  1. Make a passageway by propping or stacking panel mats or eight-inchers. It should be wide enough for you to walk through.
  2. First, try a cartwheel starting from one knee.
  3. Then try it from standing.

Basic Floor Drill 4: Knee Floor Roundoff Drill

Make a line on the floor with chalk or tape to help keep your movement in one straight line.

  1. Begin on one knee with your arms up by your ears.
  2. Place your hands on the line, then kick into your roundoff.
  3. Snap your head to look under your armpit.
  4. Make sure your hips are flat overhead.
  5. Push off of your hands, and bring your feet to the ground together.
  6. Stand up out of the roundoff and bring both arms up at the same time.

Basic Floor Drill 5: Standing Roundoff Wall Drill With Snap

Start facing the wall with your knee lifted. Your arms are up and shoulders shrugged.

  1. Step through mountain climber lunge.
  2. Kick up into a side handstand: First, put one hand down in front of you. Next, place your other hand at a 90-degree angle to the first. Your shoulders, wrist, and torso should be toward the wall.
  3. Your legs will follow. Flex the foot of the leg that’s closest to the wall, and allow the toes to rest against the wall. Keep the other leg vertical in the air.
  4. Practice snapping your entire body into a vertical position all at once.
  5. Step down.
  6. Repeat 10 times.

MasterClass

Suggested for You

Online classes taught by the world’s greatest minds. Extend your knowledge in these categories.

Simone Biles

Teaches Gymnastics Fundamentals

Learn More
Serena Williams

Teaches Tennis

Learn More
Garry Kasparov

Teaches Chess

Learn More
Stephen Curry

Teaches Shooting, Ball Handling, And Scoring

Learn More

Basic Floor Drill 6: Cat Back Block Drill

This exercise helps you with the second half of a roundoff.

  1. Place a panel mat on the ground.
  2. Kneel on the floor, and place your hands in front of you on the panel mat.
  3. Round your back like a cat.
  4. Push off your hands all the way through your fingers to practice your block.
  5. Maintain that rounded position in your back and cover your ears with your arms.
  6. Return to your original position.

Basic Floor Drill 7: Front Handspring Drill

This helps you work on the shape of the preflight.

  1. Start on the tumble track trampoline.
  2. Bounce to your knees in a nice, rounded shape. Make sure to keep your core engaged.
  3. From there, bounce to an angled handstand (at about 45 degrees) in a “preflight” position.
  4. Return to your knees.
  5. Repeat: Knee, bounce, knee, bounce, either moving all the way down the trampoline or staying in one place.

Basic Floor Drill 8: Back Handspring Drill

Think Like a Pro

Gold-winning Olympic gymnast Simone Biles teaches her training techniques—from beginner to advanced—so you can practice like a champion.

View Class

Position stacked panel mats parallel to one another—the number of mats you need will vary depending on the height of the gymnast.

  1. Make sure there’s enough space between the mats so you’ll be able to stand. Place another set of stacked panel mats at one end, connecting the parallel mats and creating a U-shape. Place a circular mat on top of the two parallel mats, like a bridge.
  2. Sit in chair pose with your back to the circular mat.
  3. Jump up and back, emphasizing turning over your hips.
  4. Place your hands down on the other side of the mat.
  5. Pike your legs down with straight knees. Bring your hands up to finish.

Basic Floor Drill 9: Back Handspring Wedge Mat Drill

This exercise will help you with the first part of a back handspring. Be sure to use a spot when trying this drill for the first time.

  1. With your back facing the wedge, sit into your normal chair position.
  2. Jump up and back, turning your hips over. Instead of completing the back handspring, pause once your hands touch the ground and your hips are extended.
  3. Roll out.

Basic Floor Drill 10: Back Handspring Eight-inch Mat Drill

Place an eight-inch mat on the floor.

  1. Stand on the mat, and sit in chair pose.
  2. Jump up and back, turning over your hips.
  3. Pass through the handstand. Extend through your shoulders.
  4. Land in a tight, hollow-body position.

Want to Become a Better Athlete?

Editors Pick

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 her MasterClass on gymnastics fundamentals, Simone 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.

Save

Share