How to do a Gymnastic Back Handspring

How to do a Gymnastic Back Handspring

In this lesson you will learn how to do a gymnastic back handspring. Before you try the back handspring, you should learn the gymnastic handstand, the back roll to handstand and a few bridge variations. The gymnastic back handspring should go back, not up. For beginners it often seems easier to swing the arms very far and jump up, but again, a proper back handspring goes back and you should not over-arch your back. Try to keep your abdominals tight and fully extend your knees and your elbows. Find more gymnastics instructions at artistic gymnastics main.


  • Stand upright and look straight forward. Extend your arms over-head and push your finger tips up as high as possible. Align your legs your upper body and your arms vertically. Then sit down like if you were sitting on a chair and lower your arms to horizontal level. (keep your elbows extended). You can also learn forward a little and keep your arms aligned with your upper body. But if you lean forward, you should not lower your arms at all. Don't sit down too far, (your thighs should not pass horizontal level) and keep the arm strike small. Keep looking straight forward and make sure the weight rests flat on your feet. Don't stand on the balls of your feet! Don't shift your knees forward! Keep your legs closed and don't hollow your back. You should actually roll your lower back and your buttocks in a little bit so that you back is slightly rounded. Why all this? A good back handspring goes back quite far. If you lean forward as you strike out, or hollow your back at the beginning, your back handspring will automatically shorten - which is hard to control.
  • Swing your extended arms back-up and extend your legs. Jump off flat from both feet at the same time (or jump from your heels), but don't jump from the balls of your feet. From when you upper arms are next to your ears, head and arms move as one unit. If you had your arms next to your ears from the beginning, even better. Don't throw your head back or jump with your legs bent. Again, when you do a gymnastic back handspring, you jump back quite far. To create this back tendency, jump off when you almost fall back from the sitting position.
  • Jump back and push your hips up so that your back is slightly hollowed, but don't arch your back too much. Your elbows and your knees should remain fully extended. Make sure your head and your arms stick together and move as one unit. Make yourself long.
  • Make sure you bend your HANDS early enough to avoid a wrist injury. Land on your hands and let you body pass a perfect handstand position. Elbows, trunk, knees and ankles are fully extended. -> See handstand lesson. (abdominals tight, all limbs extended, toes as high as possible)
  • Whip your extended legs over and push off with your shoulders and your forearms like if you were doing a handstand hop - Don't push bending and extending your elbows. Your arms should already be straight. Kick your legs back but don't flex your hips too much. The legs, the upper body and the arms should still be kinda aligned. The head and the arms move as one unit. Now your back is slightly rounded and your abdominals are contracted. The first half of the back handspring is just as far and long (time span) as the second half. If you jump off too hard, you will land very late and crash onto your hands. Your back handspring should be wide, extended and stiff.
  • If you wanna go from a back handspring into another back handspring, land flat on your feet and not on the balls of your feet. The knees should be in a vertical line with your feet and the upper body and the arms should be aligned vertically. The arms and the head keep moving as one unit. You need a good arm-push for this. Keep your back slightly rounded (but not notable) and your abdominals tight. Keep your legs closed and don't bend your knees too much before you do your next back handspring. If you wanna go from a back handspring into a back flip, bounce off the balls of your feet without letting your heels touch the ground. (see gymnastic back flip lesson)


  • You can learn the back handspring with spotters, with a special back handspring roll, from the bridge and the back walkover or from the macaco (capoeira). In the old back handspring lesson some training methods were explained better. However, newer and more detailed exercises and training methods for this back handspring lesson will be added soon.
  • In the "Save And Risk Free Jumping Lesson", you can find an instruction on how to set up mats and trampoline.