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Gymnastic Back Roll
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Gymnastic Back Roll
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Gymnastic Back Roll

In this lesson you will learn how to do a gymnastic back roll. This instruction is for the most basic variation of the back roll, the back roll with bent elbows and bent knees. After learning this, you can try the back roll with extended arms, the back roll with extended legs and then the back roll to handstand. This is the first time you are moving backwards. For subsequent instructions (for example the gymnastic back handspring instruction), it is important that you learn to roll back straight and plant your hands synchronously. The back roll is a very easy, but essential gymnastics skill and should be part of your warm-up routine. Find more gymnastics drills at artistic gymnastics main.

Execution

  • I recommend you try the back roll on a soft mat first. Start from a standing position and extend your arms overhead. Look straight forward and fully extend your elbows and your knees. Push your finger tips up as high as possible. Keep your abdominals tight, don't hollow your back.
  • Sit down without elevating your heels and incline your upper body. Keep your arms in one line with your upper body as long as possible. Bring your arms and your upper body into a horizontal position for a short moment. This makes the back roll slower and easier for beginners. Round your back and bring your chin close to your chest. Don't hollow your back.
  • Sit down and let your hands touch the floor (or slide on the floor) shortly. Make sure you keep your back round and your chin close to your chest. If you want to do a fast back roll, you don't have to extend you arms in front of you and touch the floor with your hands. Instead you can keep your hands pretty high and bend your arms back when you start rolling backwards. However, if you want to do a back roll with extended legs and elbows, you can touch the floor with your hands, but that's an other lesson.
  • Roll back, bend your arms and plant your hands close to your shoulders and
    next to your ears. Your fingers point straight forward, to where you are coming from. It is very important that you roll back straight and plant your hands synchronously. Don't bend you head to one side. Keep you back round and your chin close to your chest. Keep your legs closed and flex your knees, so that your heels are as close as possible to your buttocks. If you are trying the back roll the first time, roll back slowly, plant your hands and push a little. The then roll forward again. This way you get used to carrying yourself with your hands. Don't roll back before you are sure you can carry the weight with the strength of your arms. You don't wanna injure your neck. You will get used to this very fast.
  • Push your hands down, so that you can roll back without injuring your neck. Push yourself up and align your arms and your upper body. Then straighten your legs. But don't extend your legs too early! In this exercise you are not supposed to go into a handstand.
  • Then plant your feet and raise your upper body. Keep your arms and your upper body aligned. Stand up and now extend your entire body vertically. Push your finger tips up as high as you can and look straight forward again. The end is just like the beginning position.

Advice

  • Learn the front roll before you try the back roll.
  • Practice the gymnastic back roll on a very soft mat or a mattress at the beginning.
  • If you are afraid of injuring you neck at the beginning, roll back half way and learn how to push and support yourself with the hands.
  • Roll back as straight as possible, don't bend your head to the side and plant both hands at the same time.
  • After learning the back roll with bent elbows and knees (this instructions), you can try the back roll with extended arms and then with straight arms and straight legs.

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