Gymnastics - Back Roll to Handstand


  • Stand upright and extend your arms over head. Hands as high as possible, finger tips point up. Your shoulders are next to your ears and your entire body is in a perfect vertical and straight line. Look straight forward.
  • Sit down without bending your knees and keep the balls of your feet as long as possible on the floor, so that the ankles are fully extended when your buttocks touch the floor. To avoid that you fall on your behind, lean forward with your upper body. Your trunk, your head and your arms move as one unit as long as possible. Shortly before the buttocks touch the floor, put your hands down and let them slide on the floor as you roll back. Knees and elbows have to stay fully extended (throughout the entire exercise).
  • When your buttocks touch the floor, lean back and extend your arms behind your head (with fingers pointing towards each-other). Make sure your chin is close to you chest, or you will hit the the floor with the back of your head. Round your back slightly and contract your abdominals so that your legs move up from alone when you roll back. When your hands touch the floor, your legs should point straight up. The slower you roll, the closer your feet should be to your head when your hands touch the floor. Don't forget that the arms have to be fully extended. Many beginners make the mistake to bend knees and elbows at this point. That's bad form, but it's ok if you never did this exercise before. If you are working on your form, never bend your elbows or your knees. When you put your hands down behind you, the small fingers should touch the floor first. Fingers point in (hands: v-shape) like illustrated here.
  • Roll back and elevate yourself on your extended arms, so that you go into a perfect handstand position (see gymnastic handstand lesson). This sometimes seems impossible for beginners. A lot of gymnastics newbies think that they will hurt their elbows or their shoulders if they try this. But the speed from the first half of the roll will do most of the work and you can't really hurt yourself. If you are afraid of trying it like this, start off with bent knees and elbows and correct your form later.
  • Move your legs back down like if you were coming from a normal handstand and raise your arms at the end (see gymnastic handstand lesson). You can also kick down both legs at the same time and do a back handspring at the end.


  • If you are afraid of trying the back roll- handstand like this, start off with bent knees and elbows and correct your form later.
  • Don't forget to put pull your chin to your chest before your hands touch the floor.
  • Don't try this if you can't do a normal back roll and a handstand.
  • Don't try this on hard ground at the beginning.