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Jason Khalipa Learns the Backflip by Carl Paoli and Jason Khalipa - CrossFit Journal

Jason Khalipa Learns the Backflip

By Carl Paoli and Jason Khalipa

In Coaching, Gymnastics/Tumbling, Videos

December 07, 2010

Video Article

“Hopefully we can educate people and show them that, hey, gymnastics is something that’s really hard at an Olympic level where you’re super specific, but all this basic stuff is actually completely doable, especially if you have the fundamentals in CrossFit,” says Carl Paoli, a trainer at San Francisco CrossFit and the owner of Naka Athletics.

Join Paoli as he teaches Jason Khalipa the backflip—for time.

“If you can do a power clean at body weight and a nice, easy knees-to-elbows, and you know those two movements or those two motions, then you’re going to be able to put them together, and we’re going to put it into this backflip,” Paoli says. “It’s backflip for time.”

Khalipa doesn’t think the tutorial will be easy.

“I’m not just naturally gifted at anything. I’m not that guy, so I gotta kinda put in the work,” he says. “It means more to me because when you succeed at something you worked your ass off for it, it’s badass.”

With Khalipa ready to work, Paoli starts the progressions, moving from the landing to the jump and then on to the tuck position. Once Khalipa has those down, he attempts a backflip with a harness. When the harness is removed, can Khalipa perform a standing backflip?

22min 56sec

Additional reading: Why Train Gymnastics Basics? by Jeff Tucker, published Aug. 1, 2008.

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53 Comments on “Jason Khalipa Learns the Backflip”


wrote …

So great to watch and so true regarding the application, more visualisation and less instruction is much more effective.


wrote …

What a great coach.


Bryce Greenstein wrote …

Khalipa and Carl get double cool points for this.


wrote …

More from Carl: It's awesome.


wrote …

So sweet.

I need to find a gymnastic club. Or move to San Fran. Looks like a great time.


wrote …

That was pretty cool, gave me butterflies as if I was the one going to back flip.


wrote …

way to go! Nice video!


wrote …

This was amazing.

I think Khalipa is now officially "that guy"!


wrote …

i wanna do that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


wrote …

I kept talking to the screen, "land it like a partial squat snatch!" Really cool to see how all of these different movements inform each other and give us a better language with which to communicate complex movements. Way to go guys. Looked like a blast!


Chris Sinagoga wrote …

love the freeze frame!

when i learned the back tuck about a year and a half ago i also found the hardest part being the whole idea of flipping upside down. it freaked me out. but once i got the first assisted one out of the way it got easier. great job Jason


wrote …

Jason looks like a kid in a candy shop learning that backflip. That was so much fun to watch. Congrats J you are the man!!!!


wrote …

That is F-in awesome!! Did anyone else hold there breathe on that freeze frame?
Carl is a great coach, Jason is back flippin, can't ask for a better
gymnastics video.


wrote …

That was awesome!


wrote …

That was SUPER inspiring to watch. Wow.


wrote …

Great job. I really enjoyed the progressions.


wrote …

I love Jason's enthusiasm towards sport - it's infectious! Keep up the good work fellas.


wrote …

l love Jason's attitude and Carl is a superb teacher. Great combo. Cool video.


Jason Khalipa wrote …

Carl you are the man!! Thank you again for all of your coaching.


wrote …

This is great stuff guys. Way to go Jason. Impressive.
Great coaching Carl. I can take some cues to teach judo from this vid.


wrote …

Jason Khalipa: Ninja HULK


wrote …

Jason, I am your number one FAN!


robert day wrote …

very cool from both of them. jason looks like a kid at christmas with a new toy. brillant really loved watching that.


wrote …

Jason, awesome video, this is my number one goal, i just need to find a great coach. I would need the non-stop approach as well.

have you done any back tucks on your own since this video was shot? or even better have you walked along the street and bang!!!! BACK FLIP.....

Well done, you continue to inspire.


Dane Thomas wrote …

Very nicely done, both of you!

I'm inspired, but I've got to admit I'm also a bit jealous. There is plenty to learn here, but realistically many of us don't have the budget, space or access to half of the assistive devices (or expertise) that Carl used to help Jason progress that quickly.

It might make more sense for most affiliates to cooperate with local gymnastics clubs that already have the stuff rather than investing in half-baked (and potentially less safe) in-box solutions.


wrote …

this video is great. in fact, i plan on trying this. Carl, is it dangerous to try this without a knowledgeable coach?


wrote …

Way cool. Carl P is the man!


wrote …

I do have to say as a coach myself, I LOVE CP's APPROACH FROM START TO FINISH... SO, SO COOL, what an accomplishment for BOTH of you, WAY TO GO!!! Keep it up!!!


wrote …

That was awesome!


Michael Schaal wrote …

Can't wait to get this. I always preferred back flip compared to front flip off the pool diving board.


wrote …

so I have a new perspective on things now. i for one have never thought of Khalipa as an "athlete" the way i have defined an athlete. he wouldnt be my first pick in a game of dodge ball or flag football for example. i have always thought of him as a big ox w an engine. that being said i can not get the line "ive never had a problem putting in the work" out of my head. this guy is now one of my favorites.

great video


Our collective perception of Khalipa's athletic strengths (and weaknesses) is what makes this all the more inspiring. We've seen his size work against him on the run at the Games in 2009. We've seen K-Star give him s**t for his run-of-the-mill mobility. His height makes it that much more challenging for him to tuck and rotate, which makes it more of an accomplishment.

Nothing against compact, agile people (like Speal or Clever), but I would find it much more inspiring to see Carl work his kind of magic with people like Lipson and EC. (Nudge nudge, wink wink, know what I mean?)


wrote …

Incredible coaching. Like others, I've always wondered if I could do a back flip. This video demystifies the difficultly of learning the movement. The biggest obstacle (surprisingly) is finding a coach like Carl.


wrote …

Great stuff Carl! I was hoping you were going to do a vid taking someone through the progressions after you first introduced the back flip concept in your last video!! Amazed how quickly he nailed it!


wrote …

This is my second year of subscription to the journal and besides the Games content, I would say that this is probably my favorite video. Way to do work.


wrote …

When that freeze frame hit, I initially yelled at my computer to piss off -- thought I wasn't going to see the finish after all that build up! Fantastic work, both of you. Carl, GWOD is now on my list of sites to check in on daily.


wrote …

That is my all time favorite video now. Absolutely loved it and cracked me up! Congratulations to Jason for nailing it and to Carl for being such an excellent coach.

I've been wanting to know how to segment the training and perform it safely. I wonder how many Crossfitters like me are going to call the local gymnast box to sign up for an hour lesson now? I hope they do that.



wrote …

What a cool vid - to see such enthusiasm from student and teacher was awesome!! Huge props to both of you!! The adult class going on in the backround looks like a blast!


wrote …

Baker in #31:

Khalipa is not the lumbering bear you might expect. He taught at the Level 1 cert I attended and at lunchtime hit a WOD that included muscle ups and handstand push ups. This involved jumping to a high set of rings, knocking through a set, dropping to the ground from that full height, and bounding a few steps to the wall for the HSPU's. As you might imagine, all of this movement was very fast, but all the more impressive was that it was absolutely silent.

That's tremendous coaching. Carl's handstand push up progression has been working similar miracles for me.


wrote …

That was awesome.


wrote …


Another fantastic progression of movements and skill development. Your skill as a coach and teacher really shines through. It is great to see such an inspirational Crossfitter such as Jason shine with such unbridled enthusiasm. This is what Crossfit is all about...The Known and Unknowable.

Great Video. Keep them up and Carl when is the Gymnastics Cert coming to British Columbia.


wrote …

Carl want to take on a 50 year old? I'd love to get my backflip before my 9 year old daughter. While you're at it I'd love to get my handstand I've been working on for 5 years.

What a great coach!!!


wrote …

Cool vid! Even cooler since it's my sister in the red tank top working out on the hoop! Good stuff, Jason...and hi, Sasha!


Olivia de Santis wrote …

Love Jason's giddy excitement! Carl is so rad, and these videos show how much fun gymnastics is when you have a coach who breaks it down and keeps it fun.


wrote …

OMG what a great Video. I think a lot of us dream of hitting a back flip at the club or some random spot ha ha. You made that look so possible I am going to sign up for a class to learn to when I get back to the States!! Thanks for that inspiration!


wrote …



wrote …

Great job Carl!
Jason, burpee backflip is next!!!


wrote …

cool,cool vid, that was amazing stuff!!!


wrote …

OK - this is amazing - I've been taking my 11 year old to tumbling for the past six months so she could get her full - unfortunately the gym on works with kids - I'd love to be able to do a back flip, back handspring, handstand and handstand P/U


wrote …

atta boy! and it all does start with the basics, then we just ramp it up! good job both of you!


wrote …

Carl is a gifted instructor!! Keep up the good work!!


wrote …

That was awesome! Now I gotta try it!


wrote …

Jason's enthusiasm makes me want to try this before work.

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