The back handspring is a gymnastics skill that requires body control and flexibility. Beginners should first master simpler gymnastic skills before attempting a back handspring. The easier skills will prepare your body for the more advanced technique required for a back handspring.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Spandex shorts
- Fitted shirt or tank top
- Padded open floor space
- Athletic shoes (optional)
Practice and perfect a backbend, or bridge. This will prepare you for the backward bending of your body in a back handspring. To perform this movement, begin by lying down on your back. Place your hands flat on the floor by your ears with your elbows pointing toward the ceiling. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor near your buttocks. With one big exertion of energy, push down into your hands and feet and lock your elbows while you lift at the hips and buttocks. Hold this position for a few seconds. Keep practicing the backbend for a few days until your body becomes flexible and strong in this position.
Attempt a backbend kickover. To perform this skill, start by positioning yourself in a backbend. Then, with your arms straight and directly next to your ears, practice shifting your weight from your feet to your hands, and rock back and forth in your bridge. When you start to kick over, make sure to lead with your chest and keep your legs straight when kicking over. This can be a tricky skill as you need to kick your legs over your head. Once you have mastered the backbend kickover, you can move to the next skill.
Try a back walkover. A back walkover starts with one leg in the air while in a bridge position. Lead with the lifted leg and push off the foot that is on the ground. Your legs should be in a split position before you completely flip over. As your leading leg reaches the ground, use the momentum to finish the skill by transferring your weight from your hands to your feet and then standing straight up. Keep practicing this sequence of movements until you can perform the back walkover seamlessly and with control.
Attempt a handstand snap down. On an elevated surface, kick up into a handstand position, then snap your legs down quickly, pushing off your hands. It is important that once you push off your hands, you keep your arms straight and glued to your ears. This skill will prepare you for the push-off required in a back handspring.
Attempt a bridge kickover from an elevated surface. With your feet positioned on an elevated surface of about one foot in height, position yourself into a bridge. Instead of kicking one foot over at a time as you would in a backbend kickover, try to kickover using both feet at the same time. You should land with both feet together, with your arms straight next to your ears, and standing straight up.
Attempt a back handspring. This skill takes the back walkover to the next level. The back handspring is the same movements as the back walkover, but performed with power and speed. To begin, extend your arms straight by your ears, standing up tall with your legs together. As you squat down to build power, swing your arms down by your side and then back toward your ears again. During the upward swing of the arms, push of your feet and extend your legs as you lean backwards. Make floor contact with your hands, then push off your hands as your legs swing over your body at the same time. When your feet land on the floor, stand straight up with your arms extended straight by your ears. This completes the back handspring.
Tips and warnings
- The best way to learn how to do a back handspring is to find a qualified instructor at your local gymnastics centre. You can also sign up for private gymnastics lessons, which will give you one-on-one time with the instructor. You could also attend your local gym's open gym day to work on your skills.
- If you try to perform these skills at home, you run the risk of injury. Always use a padded surface when trying new skills, such as a carpeted room, to reduce possible injuries. Beginners should have an experienced spotter present when trying a new skill as spotters can help them through the movements safely.
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