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The Back Handspring by Roger Harrell - CrossFit Journal

The Back Handspring

By Roger Harrell

In Gymnastics/Tumbling

July 01, 2006

PDF Article

If you ask beginner gymnasts what skill they most want to learn, the most common answer is “a back handspring.” It is a visually impressive skill and is frequently used in performance arts and in movies. It is a functionally powerful movement and helps develop strength, power, and agility. Learning to do a back handspring properly and safely also requires individuals to overcome fear and override many reflexive instincts. Overcoming these obstacles is a valuable skill in itself—one that carries into other aspects of training—and life.

Fear is a significant factor in learning a back handspring. The fear response is a good thing. Executed improperly or without appropriate progressions, an attempted back handspring can lead to serious injury. Follow all steps correctly and thoroughly. Ensure that you have the right equipment (including mats and pads) and spotting for each of the stages.

The first step in learning a back handspring is learning how to sit back properly. The main direction of the back handspring is backward, not upward. This is somewhat counterintuitive, and you must learn how to sit back properly so your jump travels backward. Find a stack of mats that is just below hip height. Stand facing away from the mats with your heels about two feet away from them. From this position, sit back and jump backward onto the mats. You should try to travel as far across the mat as possible leading with your hands. During the sit, your torso and lower leg should remain vertical. You must bend at the hip and the knee so that your hips track well behind your knees, and your knees stay directly above, or just behind your feet.

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5 Comments on “The Back Handspring”


wrote …

i need to learn how to do a back hand spring
go to 4 kids in give me a comment


wrote …

i need to learn how to do a back hand spring
go to 4 kids in give me a comment


Anonymous wrote …

im practicing on my backhandsprings and i've got a friend whos teaching me and she knows how to do a perfect one oh! also she is my spotter i need someone to teach me badly



Rozzinator wrote …

About a year ago I started taken tumbling classes. In about a month I was able to do my backhandspring by my self. A couple of weeks later I was on the tumbling track and a incline mat I wasnt on the mat far enough and I landed on my neck. Every sense then I have been afraid of doing it with out a spotter! They say they dont even touch me and in my round-off back handsprings and multiples they say I just stand there. I wish there was a way that I could just get over my fear and do it again!


wrote …

I want to be on the varsity competition squad at my school but I don't know how to do my back handspring. I can't take tumbling lessons because im on varsity basketball cheerleading. What should I do?

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