Back Handspring 101

Back-handspring, flick, backflip are all the same and are a much sought after skill. As a coach it's a skill that the beginners aspire to and the advanced tumblers are always seeking to improve. The most common question parents and athletes ask is how to achieve the back-handspring.

Firstly don't think of the back-handspring as a stand alone skill. It is in fact a progression - just like the handstand, cartwheel and round-off - to higher level skills. We find when athletes are limited to just achieving the back-handspring, they aren't conditioned to what comes after and therefore end up with sloppy skills that only just "stick".


Pre requisites

  • Solid handstand hold (without a wall) for 3 counts. 
  • Round-off with great control and power generation, understanding correct rebound technique and body positioning.
  • Jump to crash mat landing on back, demonstrating correct set, jump, swing, body tension, hips up and tight arms.
  • Handstand pops
  • Shoulder flexibility enabling a powerful swing past your ears without compromising tight arch body shape whilst inverted.
  • (Note a back-walkover is not a prerequisite for a back-handspring)


Training drills for home

  • Dish & Superman holds
  • Arm swings and lifting hips simultaneously whilst lying on back
  • Handstands with chest against wall, hold for 30 seconds and repeat twice
  • Banana handstands with back facing wall. Hands out from wall to promote tight arch and shoulder flexibility
  • Wrist crunches using flex band, filled water bottle or weights


How ankle magnets can help

When doing drills or practicing your skills at home (assuming it is safe to do so) use ankle magnets to achieve correct feet and body alignment promoting greater power generation and joint support. The great thing about ankle magnets is, when used regularly, they take the conscious effort out of keeping feet together and train the leg and feet muscles to automatically align. It's like having a coach with you at home correcting your technique.

Should I use a trampoline or get mum/dad to spot me?

Trampolines are fun but they can promote poor tumbling technique as they tend to launch the athlete into skills without much effort or need for technique. If your athlete uses the trampoline at home a lot and is struggling with achieving skills then take a break from the trampoline and work drills on an air track or crash mat etc. until the athlete develops better strength and body tension.

Have more questions? email us and we are happy to answer your tumbling technique queries.

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