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Sports & Gaming

Balance Beam Basics

Simone Biles

Lesson time 13:19 min

Requiring a combination of acrobatics and dance, the balance beam is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. Nine-year-old Paislee demonstrates as Simone discusses skills like handstands, cartwheels, walkovers, and back handsprings.

Simone 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.
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SIMONE BILES: This is the balance beam. The balance beam is more of a mental event in the sport of gymnastics. And it's a combination of acro and dance. The fundamentals of balance beam are very important because each of the basics that you do set you up for the bigger skills. So anything that you do in the compulsory levels one to five will always set you up for your optional levels, which are six to 10. [MUSIC PLAYING] In this chapter, we're going to show you some basic drills and skills for beam, including variations of walks, kicks, and acro skills. You'll still find many of these base skills in my routines today. I just add onto them for bonus or requirement purposes. [MUSIC PLAYING] Here, Paisley is going to demonstrate these fundamental skills, starting with forward and backward walks. Start by pushing up onto the balls of your feet to achieve high releve. Whether you're walking forwards, backwards, or sideways, you should stay on high releve the whole time, with your legs straight. Stand up straight, pulling up as tall as you can from your core, while pressing your shoulders down and keeping your upper body and arms completely still. Squeeze your bum and shoulder blades to help keep your arms back and maintain a tight body position. Going backward, keep the same form as the forward walk. Keep your chin up and look forward. This is a common way to begin a beam complex, which helps you warm up. Sideways walks are a little more challenging, but still essential to master. On this drill, step one foot first and bring the second to meet it. Ideally, you're in high releve with your knees locked. This side movement is easier in that position. Stand up tall, and squeeze your bum for alignment and balance. If you start piking, your center of gravity will go forward. If you arch, you'll go backwards. Keep your hips flat so that your center of gravity is balanced on the beam. Place your arms out to the side for balance, and squeeze your shoulders back. Since there's no beam in front or behind to focus on, it can seem uncomfortable at first. Keep your eyes straight ahead, and use your core for balance. [MUSIC PLAYING] Now we're on forward kicks. To start, kick as high as you can while keeping your chest up and your bottom leg straight. Every time you kick, push your hips forward, engage your core, and lift up. Then, snap your leg down and squeeze your bum. This drill is about learning to isolate your movements. Keep your back straight and your upper body still. Make sure you're bringing your leg up to meet your chest, not the other way around. Check out the workbook for details on additional exercises for this drill. Side kicks help improve your balance and prepare you for future leaps and jumps. Once again, stay in high releve, and kick as high as you can while maintaining a straight bottom leg. Your shoulders should stay square to the beam, and your legs should do all the movement. You can see ...

Perfect your technique

At 22, Simone Biles is already a legend. With 14 medals, including 10 gold, Simone is the most decorated World Championship American gymnast of all time. Now the Olympic gymnast—part of the gold-medal-winning USA gymnastics "Final Five"—breaks down her techniques for vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor. Discover how Simone performs under pressure, learn to practice like a champion, and claim your competitive edge.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

This is so cool and interesting to watch! Simone you are so cool!

Fun to watch and see the levels that go into the various events. Simone is amazing!!

Fabulously successful young woman - I'm telling some of her stories to some of my own students to inspire them.

i earned better technique and how to use my fundamentals to help get new and harder skills