Back handspringing is an athletic move requiring strength, skill, and timing. Mastery requires practice; students should be patient as they work hard at the gym several times each week while also making time to practice outside of class.
Start by placing a mat or piece of carpet with an elevated soft surface on which to stand with arms by ears, before sitting down to start stretching.
Start your back handspring off right by starting in the correct starting position - solid block and ready to swing your arms down quickly and in a Flic-Flac motion. This drill gives students experience in being in sitting back position as well as developing power in shoulders and arms.
This drill can be an excellent team or student building activity. Stand against a wall, lean forward as though "sitting" in a chair with feet together at hip distance apart and move your legs so they reach under your knees - this simulates the take off position for back handsprings!
This drill works great on a trampoline as the spring provides you with extra support when mastering this skill. This drill teaches how to transfer weight from feet to hands in chair position and also how to quickly lower legs while moving from arch to hollow position.
Back handsprings are one of the more challenging gymnastic moves, requiring much power and precision in execution. Any improper technique could result in injury or a poor landing; gymnasts must practice all movements involved to be able to perform this flip successfully.
One mistake that many gymnasts make is jumping too early, leading them to land with legs slamming against the ground before having enough momentum for a back handspring.
An effective way to prevent back handspring errors is to perform a tuck stand and jump up prior to trying the back handspring. A tuck stand serves as an ideal warm-up exercise because it develops the core and back muscles necessary for back handspringing.
Jump ups can help develop the arm and shoulder strength necessary for performing back handsprings. Proper shoulder positioning before performing one is critical to making this move smooth and efficient.
Swing Your Arms Down
Arching requires gymnasts to swing their arms downward from behind their ears in a "v" shape in order to block and catch themselves with momentum while flipping downward. Many gymnasts can perform multiple back handsprings with practice; as this skill can be developed over time.
When gymnast's shoulders don't fully open during arch phase (phase 3), or their arms and legs flex at impact, this indicates they aren't pushing off through their shoulders enough - leading to less intense snap-downs than expected.
To remedy this, coaches often instruct gymnasts to practice bridges and handstands with a spotter in order to increase shoulder and arm strength, helping them push off correctly and transition more smoothly into handsprings - potentially helping avoid serious neck injuries caused by incorrect back handsprings.
Snap Your Legs Through
Positioning of the arms is absolutely key in performing a back handspring. If the hands are too far forward, they could push off and create an unsafe arch in the lower back that could potentially be devastatingly painful.
As part of a back handspring flight, it is critical to quickly swing both legs down into an "essentially chair pose" for one second before transitioning from arch position (phase 4) to hollow position (phase 5), giving yourself enough height and control to land on your feet safely.
To practice sitting into a chair with legs pushed against walls or the ground and swinging them down as you jump up and backwards can strengthen muscles necessary for doing a back handspring. Always make sure a spotter is available when practicing new skills such as back handspringing; otherwise serious injuries such as broken bones can occur from trying this feat without proper support.