How to Do a Back Handspring

Two Parts:PreparationForm

The back handspring is a basic building block for many gymnastics or cheerleading routines. To do a back handspring, you have to fall backwards, land upside-down on your hands, and push upwards to land back on your feet. If you want to do a back handspring, you should already have built up your upper body strength, especially in your arms and shoulders, and you should be comfortable doing a backbend, hand stand, and back walkover. If you want to know how to do a back handspring, just follow these steps.

Part 1

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    Get a soft mat. To get comfortable going backwards you should use a soft surface to prevent injury of any kind. Find a cushy, soft mat and practice jumping backwards on to it.
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    Stretch. It's important that you stretch before you do a back handspring or you are putting yourself in serious risk for getting an injury. The most important parts of your body that you should stretch are your back your wrists and your ankles, though stretching your legs, arms, and neck won't hurt, either. Here are some stretches to try:
    • To stretch your back, do a backbend. If you don't know how to do one, you should master this skill before you move on.
    • After the backbend, you should curl up into a ball on the floor and roll up and down, rolling out your back.
    • To stretch your wrists, get on your knees and place your hands on the ground palms-down, with the fingers pointed at you. Then, pull back on your arms to feel a deep stretch in your wrists.
    • After you stretch your wrists, roll them clockwise and counterclockwise five times each.
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    Gain some confidence. If you're not feeling confident about backwards movements, or you're a beginner to this move, start off on a trampoline or mat. This way, you can gain your confidence until you're ready to go and do it on a harder surface like grass without the risk of injury. Also, having an experienced gymnast watching you will help you get over the fear of doing a back handspring so you can boost your confidence.
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    Get a spotter. Make sure that when you try to do a back handspring for the first time, you have a spotter, a coach or gymnastics teacher to spot you. This will prevent you from hurting yourself and will give you the confidence you need to successfully do the back handspring. The spotter should place one hand on your lower back and one hand under your thighs to help you flip backwards*Note* Make sure your spotter can sustain your weight and make sure they can properly spot. As you stand by your spotter, bring your legs and feet together, your knees together and your arms in front of you.Also make sure they can do the move and that you can support their weight and properly spot.
    • Practice doing a "trust fall" -- just fall back into your spotter's arms to make sure that the spotter can handle your weight. Make sure you are on a soft mat in case they lie or can't handle your weight.
    • At the beginning, your spotter can help you flip your body over by pushing your back and thighs upwards. As you get more experienced, the spotter will only be there for your safety and won't help you gather momentum. Make sure you jump hard, the spotter can not do all of the work

Part 2

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    Get in a sitting position with your arms swinging upwards. First, stand tall with your arms up. Then, sit back, like you're going to lean back in a chair. Your knees should be directly over your feet, not positioned in front of your feet, or you won't generate enough momentum to land on your hands.
    • Raise your arms high, so they're pointing straight up and almost touching your ears, as you assume the sitting position.
    • Then, move your shoulders down and lower your arms to your sides and swing them upwards to generate momentum as you begin to fall further backwards.
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    Push through your toes and lift your arms up, following your hands with your eyes. Continue swinging your arms to generate momentum until they reach over your head. At the same time, push through your toes to get that upward momentum. Lean your arms back as far as you can -- you shouldn't land your arms right near the place where your feet stood.
    • Tighten the arm and shoulder muscles driving up and back from your feet, raising your head back between your arms.
    • Make sure your arms are by your ears.
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    Continue to fall backwards without arching your back too much. Arching your back too much is called undercutting and will not only make your back handspring look less pretty, but it could also injure your back. As you fall, let your legs continue to drive you upward and backward. Point your toes and extend through your ankles. Make sure you keep your head back between your arms as they approach the floor. Start to look for your landing spot on the mat.
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    Plant your hands on the floor. Reach for the floor as you fall backwards. Keep your body arched as your hands touch the floor. Make sure you keep your arms straight so you don't hit your head on the floor. Your fingers should be pointing up and away from your face with your palms flat on the ground. Let the momentum of your legs, with your lower body still following, carry you over. This position is similar to a handstand, which is why it's important to know how to hold a handstand for a few seconds before you attempt the back handspring.
    • When your hands are planted on the floor, use the pads of your hands and fingers, your arms, and your shoulders for support. Don't put all of your weight and pressure on your hands.
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    Swing your legs over your hands. Make sure that when you swing your legs over if you feel the need to fall don't let your strength just loosen, lean off to the side like you were going to do a cartwheel.Your body will look like it's in the handstand position at this point, though you'll be holding this position very briefly. Just keep your feet together and pointed and keep your shoulders strong, directly over your hands. Don't lock your knees, but keep your legs almost straight.
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    Plant your feet on the floor. Continue by swinging your legs and feet over and snapping them down firmly toward the floor. Keep your upper body straight as your toes approach the floor.
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    Pop up. To finish the back handspring, just land with your legs slightly bent, pop up a bit, and swing your arms straight in front of you and then up, to strike the finishing pose with your arms up and your feet straight and touching. Don't be discouraged if you don't get it right immediately. Work with a spotter until you feel comfortable enough to do it on your own. With enough hard work, you'll have a neat and smoothly-executed back handspring in no time.


  • Make sure your toes are the last thing to leave the floor, this will keep your legs straight and give you more power.
  • Always make sure to keep your head in position with your arms and not throw your head back.
  • Always make sure that your hands and fingers are together, because if you were to land on them wrong, it can result in serious pain.
  • If you are finding it hard to keep your legs straight then hold a pair of socks between your feet when you are doing your back handspring, and it will help you keep your legs together!
  • A good back handspring should cover a distance of about 6 - 8 feet (depending on your height). If you are landing nearer to where you started, you are not leaning back far enough.
  • When first learning, practice your bridge/backbends until you get comfortable thinking about the back handspring.
  • If you're tall it will be especially hard to keep your legs straight, so watch out for that. Also keep them squeezed together.
  • Always make sure when you push go into a handspring and go in a comfortable sitting position.
  • If your feet come apart, you can put a cushion or hand grip (good for gymnastic classes) between the ankles. If the object goes flying out of your ankles, you need to work on your form.
  • Practice jumping upwards while swinging your arms up at the same time to get the feel of the right position.
  • Always have a spotter, and if not, do this on a soft surface.
  • Always have enough height or your knees will hit your nose.
  • Make sure your arms are strong enough to hit the ground with that much pressure by jumping into handstands or else you might land on your head resulting in a bad head ache.
  • Practice handstand snap downs if you can't get the last part of the back handspring.
  • Keep your hands flat. Especially when you land onto your hands. If you land on your fingers you may slip and end up in serious conditions.
  • When halfway through, with hands on the ground, push off the ground with your shoulders, not with your elbows.
  • To practice for going over, try doing a handstand with your legs bent back over your head.
  • Make sure that the spotter is trained in spotting you.
  • Always make sure that you do not sit too low before throwing, or you won't have enough power to complete the handspring.
  • You can also do this on a 8-inch mat, a cheese mat, the trampoline, a Tumble Track, and finally the floor!
  • Put your hands close to your head and keep your body tight with your legs straight.
  • Always stretch before attempting a back handspring, especially your back and wrist.
  • Remember to hit a tall handstand halfway through. It really helps.
  • To do a back handspring it's just like doing a bridge but keep doing it faster and faster rack time.
  • While kicking over push off hard with your other leg.
  • Don't flip your head back or it can seriously hurt you.
  • Practice backbends to get over the fear of jumping back.
  • It helps if you practice in your pool first. Start on the edges and kick off the walls.
  • Locate a reputable gymnastics or all-star cheerleading school and find one that has been recommended to you by other students. Allow them to teach you how to do this. A trained coach is best because they know all the tricks and will show you how to do it right the first time.
  • Don't throw your head back.
  • Always remember to practice the bridge! You could get hurt if you never tried the bridge.
  • Don't hesitate, because then, you will doubt yourself. You might hurt yourself if you get scared halfway, so just do it.
  • Keep your arms stiff and straight. Never bend them because you can injure your head.
  • Learn to do a back walkover first: it is like a back handspring in slow motion. This requires a good amount of flexibility, but if you can [Do a Back Walkover] then you shouldn't have trouble doing a back handspring.
  • Learn to bend back into a bridge: before attempting this handspring.
  • Learn to do a back round off: practice and perfect it before trying the back handspring.
  • At the beginning sit back like you are sitting in a chair, then fall back and push off.
  • If you feel to scared of your head getting injured, or going back, you can always try a backwards roll of some sort to get used to the feeling.
  • Unlike the pictures you should keep your head in and reach vertical in the back handspring. When you finish you shouldn't simply pop and land either, you should do a tight rebound.
  • To help prepare you for for the feeling of performing a back handspring, practice jumping up, landing on your back and then bouncing back up from that position.
  • You must know how to do a back walkover before attempting.
  • Always have a spotter. Have them spot you less and less to where they are just spotting your back or just your thighs It will get you closer and closer to your back handspring! And always remember to believe in yourself. You can do it!
  • Make sure your hands don't turn in (finger tips touching) because it can cause injury.
  • Make sure you are 100% sure you are ready. Meaning, make sure you have the confidence and don't get scared when you are going back, because if you get scared you tend to back out, and if you have already started and try to back out, which is normal so don't be upset; it will result in a minor to severe injury.
  • Keep your hands pointed the right way (to the front) or else your wrists will hurt and it will make you even more scared to do it!
  • Before learning a back handspring, you should know how to do a back limber .
  • Don't bend you legs all the way down, just about 3/4 down before heading into your back bend.
  • Think of it as adding a bounce to a back bend and then you will has less dear of going backwards.
  • Make sure that your hands do not go out to the side. Pretend like you are holding trays of pizza.
  • When you plant your hands on the floor, make sure they are not stiff, or else you could cause a serious injury.
  • Learn on a trampoline first, and it'll get you more used to back handsprings. This will help you get the confidence to do it on the floor!
  • Make sure you strengthen your wrists before.
  • When doing your back handspring don't turn your head over your shoulder and look where you're going; this will cause you to twist. Don't "look" during your handspring. What you imagine it should look like as you go has nothing to do with what it actually looks like and you'll just get bad form.
  • Make sure you rebound at the end to prevent falling backwards or tripping also to get the rest of your power.
  • You can do bridge kickovers or backflips but if you can't do them don't force yourself. It will take time to do these.
  • To get good at the Backbend or bridge you can Backbend onto your couch just stand and go backwards again.
  • Have someone that can spot you or catch you. Try to get an adult to help.
  • Try wrapping a scrunchie around your ankles. This will force you to keep your legs together.


  • Make sure a mat that is decently thick is under you before you attempt this for the first time.
  • Without the guidance of a professional instructor, attempting a back handspring can result in serious injury, possibly even breaking your neck which often causes paralysis.
  • Don't try this at home, unless a trainer or professional gymnast is around and you know they can catch you. It's best to go to a gym to do backhand springs, unless if your instructor says you're ready to do this by yourself.
  • You shouldn't try this if you are a beginner.

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