The double leg circle is the most vital, basic component of any pommel horse
routine in men's gymnastics
, always abbreviated to just 'circle' by gymnasts. It is the movement that allows one to stay up on the pommel horse in constant motion for long periods of time. The skill takes years to perfect, beginning with early training on an apperatus called the 'mushroom
' which simulates the pommel horse without pommels and encourages circular motion by its shape, which is, yes, like a mushroom.
The double leg circle has four basic components. They must be performed exactly to maintain the delicate balance and momentum rquired to keep the movement going, but once they are aligned one can circle for minutes on end. Both hands begin forward, with the spacing of 4 to 6 inches, fingers splayed to give balance, and oriented slightly on the diagonal. Depending on personal body preference (it doesn't have to do with whether you are left-handed or right-handed, nor whether you are goofy-footed), you will choose a direction to circle in (I'll assume clockwise, as that's my preference). The body is swung in the counterclockwise, to give propelling force, and then launched clockwise. During this first fourth, the hips must be rotated so that they are parallel to the ground, facing sideways. Your weight of balance, as well, must be pushed as far to the right hand as possible. Just as the legs are reaching the stopping point provided by your planted left hand, you lift it briefly to allow them to pass beneath, then plant it again. If all has gone well, your planted right hand should be stable enough to carry your weight for that brief period of time.
Next comes the easiest part. For the second fourth, your main goal is to shift the weight right smack dab between your hands again and reorient your hips so they're facing upwards, straight to the ceiling. In a good gymnast, this should be the most extended portion of the circle, with the momentum at its highest. Once past the midway point, it's like the first fourth in reverse: reorient your hips again so that they're parallel with the ground in the opposite direction this time, adjust weight to the left hand, quickly up the right hand to allow the legs passage, replant the right hand and turn hips to their original position. You've now completed the first circle.
Complicated, huh? That's why it can take from a year to several years to learn it competently enough on the mushroom, much less the pommel horse, where you must be concerned about placing your hand exactly on the pommel and gripping. Once the body has ingrained the movement, however, it becomes second nature, so you can go on to worry about all the other hard shit you'll have to pull from there. I mean, it is only the most basic skill *wink*
Extra special bonus hint: spread your legs, instead of keeping them tightly held together, and it's a flare. Of course, now you'll have to accentuate the hip movement all the more, joy