Gymnastics Lesson Plans

Gymnastics lesson plans

Gymnastics lesson plans offer an introduction to the basic components of gymnastics skills. Students can practice and develop body control, balance, mobility, strength, and more through the fun and exciting sport of gymnastics. We break down the what, why, and how of introducing gymnastics lesson plans to students.

Gymnastic Lesson Plans Don’t Need To Be Complicated!


When it comes to preparing for gymnastics lesson plans in physical education, you don’t need an Olympic style set up from pommel horses to parallel bars. Instead, PE teachers can introduce basic gymnastics skills in just about any gymnasium or space.


By keeping things simple, PE teachers can introduce students to the basic elements of gymnastics with some soft mats, balance beams (or even lines painted on the floor), and boxes or other elevated surfaces.


At PLT4M, we recommend teaching gymnastic skills to the entire class allowing ample students time to practice the movements together. From here, teachers can create stations where students can spread out into smaller groups and practice different types of exercises.


As always, PE teachers can use their discretion and experience to determine what structure and format makes the most sense for their class and audience.

Skills For Gymnastics Lesson Plans


Just like our equipment, the skills we introduce in PE lessons can be simple, yet fun and impactful. Mirrored from many introductory gymnastics classes, PLT4M taps into the following 6 categories during gymnastics lessons.


Gymnastics lesson plans can include:

  1. Crawls 

  2. Tumbling 

  3. Jumps 

  4. Beam 

  5. Holds 

  6. Flexibility 


Within each category, students can move in different ways, finding the right fit and challenge for their experience and ability. Let’s take a closer look at a drill example from each of the 6 categories.


6 Examples From Gymnastics Lesson Plans


Below are 6 different exercise examples from PLT4M’s gymnastics lesson plans.


Each exercise has written and video instruction. We recommend taking about 10 minutes on any drill to introduce the skill and allow time for students to practice.


Teachers can pair and match different drills depending on total class time. In addition, students will benefit from reviewing and repeating drills over multiple classes to really fine tune their gymnastic skills. Eventually, teachers can create different stations for more independent practice and development. 

1) Crawls – Bear


Starting gymnastics lesson plans with crawls via a warm-up is a popular choice for PE teachers because it helps students develop the basic skills of transferring weight between feet and hands. Below is the bear crawl with written notes and instructions!


  1. Start with your feet shoulder width apart. Students can bend knees or bring legs further apart to modify the difficulty of the movement.

  2. Bring your hands out in front of you and lean your weight forward so that you can begin to travel forward. Think biceps by the ears!

  3. Move with opposite hand and leg as you travel forward.

2) Tumbling – Forward Roll

For all of our tumbling movements in gymnastics lesson plans, we want to move with control. Slow things down so that you can perform these movements with great form and technique! Always use soft surfaces when practicing tumbling.

  1. Start with your feet together and arms pressed overhead with your biceps hugging your ears.
  2. Bend down placing your slightly out in front of you on the ground.
  3. Tuck your chin to your chest as you let your body roll over.
  4. Do your best as you finish your roll to come to a standing position with your feet together. Option to modify the movement by bringing your feet further apart.
  5. Stay controlled throughout this motion. We want to keep our body rounded and avoid flopping over.
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3) Jumps – Straight Jump with 180 Spin


When performing any of our jump movements in gymnastics lessons, we don’t need a lot of elevation to be successful. The goal with all of our jumping movements is to learn how to jump and land safely. Only allow students to add height so long as they are maintaining the points of performance of the jump and land techniques. For jumps you can use boxes, steps, or even gymnasium bleachers

  1.  Start with your feet hip distance apart on the box.
  2. Bend your knees, hips back, and swing your arms backward.
  3. As you go to jump, extend your knees and ankles as you swing your hands up.
  4. Now, as you go into the air twist half way, squeezing your core to stay tall and strong.
  5. Land softly with your knees bent, hips back, and arms out in front of you.
  6. Avoid landing with straight legs or knees caving forward or sideways.

4) Beam – Tip Toe Forward


There are lots of options when it comes to performing the beam exercises during gymnastics lesson plans. If you have a soft beam or slightly elevated beam that is great. But all beam exercises can also be achieved by using any of the painted lines on the gym floor or by putting down a line of tape. In fact, we strongly recommend beginner students all starting off the beam and on a line before trying movements on the beam itself!

  1. Start with one foot in front of the other on your beam/line.
  2. Raise up onto your toes and and lift your arms overhead. Option to keep your arms by the side in a T position to help with balance.
  3. Squeeze your belly and butt as you walk to the other end of the beam/line.
  4. A nice trick is to spot or look at the other end of the beam/line to help with balance.

5) Holds – Tuck


With all of our holds, encourage students to keep their hold position for 5-10 seconds to start. As students progress in gymnastics lesson plans, the goal is to extend our time on the hold from 10, to 20, to 30 seconds if possible. Teachers can set the goal times based on the group they are working with! 

  1. Start seated on the ground with hands right behind your bum.
  2. Bring your knees together and lift them up to create a 90 degree angle.
  3. Squeeze your core to hold yourself in the tuck position.
  4. If you want to make this hold more challenging, take your hands off the ground and point them straight out in front of you and work to stay balanced.

6) Flexibility – Pike

With all of our flexibility movements in gymnastics lesson plans, encourage students to keep their hold position for 10-15 seconds to start. As students progress, the goal is to extend our time on the hold from 10, to 20, to 30 seconds if possible. Teachers can set the goal times based on the group they are working with! 

Key Takeaways on Gymnastics Lesson Plans


Gymnastics lessons can be an excellent addition for elementary and middle school physical education classes! There are no advanced skill requirements for students to start with the basics of gymnastics.


As you look for the right gymnastic lessons resources, look no further than PLT4M to build out your gymnastic classes. These 6 sample videos are just a taste of the full slate of resources within the PLT4M library that help PE teachers:

  • Introduce lifelong fitness skills using high quality resources and instructional materials

  • Hit state and national standards within gymnastics and other fitness, health, and wellness skills

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Free Download!

Get The P.E Teacher's Resource Pack

Our Resource Pack is full of lessons, videos, workouts, and ideas to help you expand your course offerings, inspire students, and wow your admins!

What other types of lesson plans and workouts does PLT4M have?


Consider PLT4M your full learning management system for health and physical education.


PLT4M has a full slate of PE lessons for physical education teachers to choose from! From PE games to fitness activities, PLT4M has countless options. Check out some of the most popular below:


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