Physical Education (PE) teachers play a crucial role in helping students understand complex scientific concepts like balanced and unbalanced forces. While these concepts may seem abstract, they can be effectively taught through engaging and interactive activities. In this blog post, we’ll explore how you can use gymnastics, particularly handstands and headstands, as tools to teach your students about balanced and unbalanced forces, making biomechanics come to life in the gymnasium.

The Basics of Balanced and Unbalanced Forces

Before diving into the gymnastics activities, let’s briefly review what balanced and unbalanced forces are:

Balanced Forces: When two forces of equal strength act in opposite directions on an object, they cancel each other out, resulting in no change in motion. In essence, the object remains stationary or continues to move at a constant speed.

Unbalanced Forces: When two forces of unequal strength act on an object in opposite directions, they result in a net force that causes the object to accelerate in the direction of the stronger force.

Using Gymnastics to Teach Balanced Forces

Handstands: Start with basic handstand exercises. Ask students to perform handstands on the floor, emphasising the need to maintain balance by spreading their arms and adjusting their body position as needed. Explain that when their body is in equilibrium (no unbalanced forces acting on it), they can maintain the handstand position. Emphasise how their arm and core strength contribute to balance.

Headstands: Introduce headstands as another example of balanced forces. In headstands, the downward force of gravity is balanced by the upward force applied by the head and arms. Discuss how proper alignment and engagement of muscles are crucial for maintaining balance in this position.

Using Gymnastics to Teach Unbalanced Forces

Gymnastics Twists: Transition to gymnastics twists. Have students perform twists and somersaults on mats. Emphasize that when they twist or flip, they are applying a force to their body that causes it to accelerate in a different direction. This demonstrates the concept of unbalanced forces leading to motion.

Jumping Exercises: Incorporate jumping exercises on trampolines or springboards. Discuss how the upward force exerted by the trampoline is greater than the force of gravity acting downward. This results in an unbalanced force, causing the students to jump upward.

Vaulting: Teach vaulting techniques, highlighting how the initial push-off from the vault table provides an unbalanced force that propels the gymnast forward or upward, depending on the routine. This demonstrates how an applied force can cause acceleration.

Enhance Your Gymnastics Teaching Skills

To further develop your skills in teaching gymnastics and effectively incorporate these lessons into your PE curriculum, consider booking a gymnastics course with Elite Performance Northwest. Their expert instructors can provide you with valuable insights and techniques that will empower you to inspire your students while fostering their understanding of balanced and unbalanced forces through gymnastics.


Gymnastics, including handstands and headstands, offers an exciting platform for teaching the concepts of balanced and unbalanced forces in a physical education setting. Engaging students in these activities helps them grasp these fundamental physics principles while staying active and enthusiastic. As PE teachers, you have the opportunity to make science come alive through physical activities, leaving a lasting impact on your students’ learning experiences.

If you’re eager to enhance your teaching skills in gymnastics and explore innovative ways to incorporate these lessons into your curriculum, we highly recommend considering a gymnastics course with Elite Performance Northwest. Their expert instructors provide invaluable insights and techniques to inspire students while fostering a deep understanding of balanced and unbalanced forces through gymnastics. It’s a great opportunity to further develop your expertise and offer an enriched learning experience to your students. Don’t miss this chance to elevate your teaching game with Elite Performance Northwest!