5 Steps and 10 Tips for Perfecting Turns on Beam and Floor

Full turns are a requirement on both beam and floor exercise and even at the International Elite level, you see gymnast after gymnast who has trouble sticking even just full turns, much less multiple turns. for many years, there were few gymnasts who risked dong more than the minimum required full turn on beam.

New International Scoring Has Changed Turns in Gymnastics

With the new scoring system for International gymnastics, there has been an increased emphasis on performing more difficult turns. Instead of the basic full turn, that was not just required but rarely upgraded, you now see most International Elites doing turns with upgraded difficulty like with the leg held above horizontal or double turns, and working triple, quad and even quintuple turns.

Mai Murakami of Japan Doing a Quadruple Turn on Beam

The Effect of Perfecting Turns

An important part of the beauty of any floor exercise routine are powerful, yet elegant, turns. Turns often seem to be one of the simplest, but most mysterious skill to master and coach. Multiple and higher difficulty turns on beam, not only require perfect technique but a certain fearlessness to include in a beam routine.

Japanese Gymnast, Yui Fujii, Doing Quintuple Turn on Beam

5 Steps to Learning and Perfecting Turns

There is a specific process to learning and mastering turns:
First, learn to turn.
Second, learn turns in progression – 1/2, full turn, 1&1/2, double turn, 2&1/2, triple turn, 3&1/2, quad turn, 4&1/2, quintuple turn.
Third, learn the coordination of spotting the turn.
Fourth, focus on form.
Fifth, start working really hard on perfecting simple turns early, so you can add more difficult turns later as you move up in level.

10 Tips on Turns

  • There is no real substitute for ballet and barre training for turns, including plies, releves, etc.
  • Learning to spot turns is basic and essential for multiple turns.
  • Take a moment and calm yourself and your mind before you turn. The power and momentum of the turn are created in that moment.
  • Before you turn, breathe, exhale and relax so that you can float through your turn.
  • Successful turns depend on maintaining a strong center.
  • On floor exercise, the music determines when a turn is done.
  • On beam, after you relax, the timing of the turn almost decides itself.
  • The momentum of the turn tells you when to finish the turn.
  • As with most skills, correct repetition is the key to perfecting your turns.
  • Throughout your turn training you cannot sacrifice form. There is literally no point to doing turn after turn without proper technique and form.

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