A lot of times we speak to new parents who say, “My child wants to do gymnastics….or tumbling. She wants to learn cartwheels. Which is that?”

While the terms are often used interchangeably, tumbling is commonly used to refer to floor skills such as cartwheels, roundoffs, back handsprings and any sort of flipping on a spring floor or mat.

Gymnastics refers to skills on equipment or with equipment. There are many types of gymnastics you’ll see in the upcoming 2020 Olympics (Which we are already counting down to!):

Artistic Gymnastics

This is the most common gymnastics we see on television. In artistic gymnastics, athletes demonstrate skills on the uneven bars, balance beam, vault and our favorite – floor routines (think dance and tumbling combined!) For men’s gymnastics, you’ll see them compete on the parallel bars, pommel horse, rings, single bar, vault, and floor routines.


Trampoline is another sport you’ll see in the upcoming Olympics, and while it doesn’t technically fall under “gymnastics” for the Olympics, it requires many of the same technical skills of flipping and twisting. The trampoline skills these athletes are competing aren’t your backyard front tucks! Here is a video of Canadian, Rosannagh Maclennan, who won the Gold Medal in trampoline in Rio in 2016. Often trampoline is paired with power tumbling (running roundoff back handsprings, tucks, layouts, twists and so much more!) Unfortunately the Olympics doesn’t currently offer power tumbling with trampoline, but it’s such a huge part of the sport!

So why is Ultimate Canadian Athletics, a cheerleading gym here in Toronto telling you about gymnastics? Well, all great gymnasts began with a forward roll. Then, they likely moved on to a handstand or a cartwheel. They worked hard for their skills and had setbacks at times. But, along the way, they had coaches pushing them to achieve their goals.

Our tumbling classes here at UCA teach all of those skills and so many more. With tumbling, your child can later go on to compete in gymnastics or – our specialty – all star cheerleading, which is also currently being considered for the Olympics (Our fingers are crossed!!)

Tumbling is the foundation for many cheerleaders and gymnasts. It teaches athletes not only the physical skills, where they build flexibility, core strength and proper body positions, but it teaches them the mental skills as well. Our athletes learn self-determination, goal-setting and resilience in the face of challenge.

If your child is interested in tumbling or cheerleading, check out our class schedule and trial membership. We’d love to help them find that sport they truly love!