Athletes, Coaching, Injuries, Round-Off, Safety, Skill Development

Tumbling: Wrist and Ankle Pain

Does your student or child have consistent wrist and/or ankle pain when training their tumbling skills? This is a very common problem and one that can be be fixed through proper training. In most cases, it is due to poor technique in performing tumbling skills. If the technique is improved, it will result in much less stress on the body and joints.

We often see athletes wearing supports for wrists, ankles, and knees. There is no doubt that the sport if gymnastics and tumbling creates stress on the joints: Injuries: Prevention and Repair. These support braces will help with discomfort and provide added support while performing skills. However, the athlete should not rely on these braces for extended periods of time. The objective should be to heal and strengthen the area. If the braces are worn consistently, the area will not strengthen adequately, thus creating a dependence on the brace.

In the case of wrist discomfort, much of the cause may be poor technique in performing skills. One example is the hand placement on cartwheels and round-offs.

When performing these skills, the student should turn their second hand so the fingers are facing toward the first hand when placing on the floor. Not only will this allow the student to push or block off the floor for an adequate finish of the skill, it is the correct positioning of the hands.

Hand Placement for a Righty
Hand Placement for a Lefty

A very common mistake and one that is often unnoticed is that the second hand is turned in the opposite direction. Not only will this make it almost impossible to block off the floor, it can cause wrist discomfort and possible wrist damage.

Another problem with wrist discomfort could come from the action of performing the back handspring. As a coach, I am sure you have heard of your student complaining of wrist pain when doing their back handspring (I hear this constantly).

The problem occurs when the student isn’t getting their arms and hands in front of the shoulders upon impact of the floor. A simple explanation is to have the student get in a push up position – put them in a position where the shoulders are behind the hands. There should be no discomfort (if there is, the problem may be more serious).

If the shoulders are on front of the hands upon impact of the floor, this is where the stress and discomfort on the wrist occurs.

This is why it is so important that proper technique is followed when training these skills. It is a sure sign that when students are complaining of pain in a certain area, it could be the result of improper skill technique.

I am in the process of publishing my first training manual: “Beginner Tumbling Training” .  This will be a useful tool in training for all and any needing to learn proper technique and safety. Great for gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, martial arts, and more. I will keep you posted on that progress.

In addition, if you would like a personal training session or consultation with me, we can Skype a lesson. Private message me or email me at: