What is the definition of back handspring in gymnastics?
1. A back handspring is a backward 360-degree revolution of the body where the gymnast starts and finishes on their feet, facing in the same direction as when they started. The main movement itself is a back flip in which the hands touch the ground as the gymnast reaches an inverted vertical position. The gymnast pushes off their hands to complete the “spring” portion of the move, providing an extra boost of power as they complete the flip and land back in an upright position.
How do you train for a back handspring?
Before training to do a back handspring, gymnasts usually learn a number of related tumbling skills with a lower risk of injury. Doing these moves will eventually aid them in performing a back handspring. Some of the skills that can be mastered prior to learning this type of handspring include:
- Backbend kickover
- Back walkover snapdowns
- Handstand snap downs
- Handstand hops emphasizing the block with the shoulders
- Hip drive bridge on an elevated surface
Once the gymnast is ready to start training to do the handspring, they can utilize a number of back handspring drills to master the move. Some of these drills include:
- Squat jumps: Doing squat jumps helps to develop leg strength for pushing off into a back handspring from a standing position.
- Bridges: This aids is developing good flexibility in the shoulders and back, which is essential for executing a back handspring. Push back through your arms and shoulders and try to straighten your legs as much as possible when practicing bridges.
- Handstands against the wall: While doing handstands on a wall, focus on keeping your body tight with your arms and legs straight. Practice blocking with your shoulder properly so you’ll be able to do it later on during the handspring.
- Push ups and pull ups: These exercises build arm and chest strength, which is helpful for the part of the handspring where the gymnasts hands touch the floor. You’ll especially need arm strength to push off for the final half of the flip.
- Trampoline practice: Back handsprings can be practiced on a trampoline first to help with jump momentum and provide a softer landing surface.
- Panel mat practice: The next step after trampoline practice is to practice back handsprings on a panel mat. This provides added cushioning in case of a fall, but pushes the gymnast to use their own strength to power the flip.
Because of the safety risk involved, the back handspring is not typically a self-taught skill. Instead, it should be aided by a step-by-step tutorial from an instructor and supervised by a spotter until the gymnast is confident that they can perform a back handspring independently.
What skills do you need for a back handspring?
There are a number of different skills and abilities that gymnasts must develop in order to master the back handspring. Some of the most important skills required for this move include leg strength, core strength, arm strength, flexibility, coordination, body awareness, and confidence.
Back handsprings require strong legs in order to push off the ground with enough power to go into a backflip from a standing position. If a gymnast struggles in this area, they may use another rotational move, such as a cartwheel or roundoff, directly beforehand in order to build up momentum prior to going into a back handspring.
Just as in a front handspring, it is important to maintain a tight core throughout the whole movement of a back handspring. This helps provided added stability and balance throughout the flip.
At the midpoint of a back handspring, the gymnasts hands touch the floor with their arms outstretched. They must have sufficient arm strength to support their body in an inverted vertical position and push off the floor to complete the move.
The back handspring requires the gymnast to bend backward as they begin their back flip. They must keep their shoulders, upper back and lower back limber to complete this movement and reach their hands down to the floor fast enough to support their body as it moves into an inverted vertical position.
There are a number of movements which must be completed in quick succession to execute a back handspring. Keeping the body balanced and stable during this process requires excellent coordination.
Any type of flip move, including the back handspring, requires consistent alignment of the body. As the gymnast is flipping through the air, they must be constantly aware of the positioning of their body not only for completing the move successfully, but also to prevent an injury.
Flipping backwards can be dangerous, so gymnasts need to be confident in their abilities before they begin. They must move purposefully and forcefully in order to get sufficient power for a safe and successful back handspring.
How do you do a back handspring?
The back handspring involves several movements that must be executed properly. It’s important to take safety precautions during the learning process in order to prevent injury. Make sure you have a spotter and use a trampoline or panel mats until you’re confident enough to perform the move on the floor.
Follow these back handspring steps to perform the move successfully:
- Sit backward almost like you are sitting into a chair with your legs about shoulder width apart, swinging your arms down to your side.
- Push and jump off the ground as you explode up from the sitting position, driving your arms up to your head. As your arms swing up, focus on keeping your jump both backwards and upwards without dumping your head back, which could cause you to undercut the handspring (meaning that your hands land too close to your feet).
- As you jump back, push your hips up to the sky so that your back is arched and your hips raise above your head. Legs and arms should be straight, and you should try to keep your eyes on your hands as they move toward the floor.
- As your hands reach the floor, drive your feet and hips forward to land in a handstand position. Keep your arms straight and push downward through your shoulders to maintain your inverted vertical position.
- Block off of the ground, initiating the movement with your shoulders as you continue to drive the feet and legs over your head. Make sure to move through this step quickly as spending too much time with your hands on the floor could cause you to lose momentum.
- As your legs pass over your head and your hands leave the floor after the block, drive your legs quickly down by thinking of snapping your feet to the ground. The core should be tight to keep your back in a hollow position rather than an arch position.
- When your feet start to touch the floor, drive your shoulder ups so that your body lands in an upright position to stick the landing.
How long does it take to learn a back handspring?
In general, gymnasts can expect to spend 6 months or more working on the back handspring before they’re able to do it confidently and independently and apply the move in competition. However, the time it takes to learn a back handspring varies widely based on each gymnast’s individual skills and abilities. A gymnast who already has a strong foundation in the sport will likely master the move more quickly than a beginner who hasn’t mastered a variety of other tumbling skills already.
How many back handsprings can you do in a row?
Once they’ve mastered the move, many gymnasts are able to complete multiple back handsprings in a row. The nature of the move creates momentum, which helps with successive flips. It’s not uncommon to see a skilled gymnast complete three or more back handsprings in a row, and some are able to do many more than that.
What is the world record for the most consecutive handsprings?
On what events can a back handspring be performed?
A back handspring can be performed on vault, floor or beam. In elite gymnastics, the back handspring typically occurs in a sequence of other moves. In addition, back handsprings are commonly used in cheerleading as part of choreographed routines.
What is the difference between a front handspring and a back handspring?
A front handspring begins with the gymnast facing forward. To complete the move, the gymnast goes into a front flip and uses their hands to spring off the floor before landing facing forward.
A back handspring is very similar to a front handspring, but the gymnast begins facing the opposite way, with their back toward the direction they plan to move in. They do a back flip and push off the ground, then land facing in the same direction that they started.
The front handspring and back handspring are sometimes referred to by the acronyms FHS and BHS, respectively.
What is the difference between a standing and running back handspring?
A standing back handspring starts with the gymnast at a stand still. A running back handspring is a back handspring preceded by a run and a round off. Because the back handspring is a backward motion and running is a forward motion, the gymnast must perform a move in between that reorients them to be able to have backward momentum, such as a roundoff.
Is a back handspring hard?
A back handspring is considered to be one of the basic skills that gymnasts should master relatively early in their training. However, because it involves flipping backward, there is often some initial fear that the gymnast needs to overcome since they have to flip in the opposite direction from where they’re facing.
Some gymnasts are encouraged to master the regular back flip and/or back tuck before attempting a back handspring. This helps them work on overcoming that fear so that they have more confidence going into the back handspring.
What is the origin of back handspring?
It’s unknown who invented the back handspring. However, its roots trace back to ancient Greece, where the sport of gymnastics was first developed. There is also evidence of people performing acrobatic and tumbling moves in a number of other ancient civilizations, including those in Egypt and China. Later, these types of moves were practiced by traveling entertainers during the medieval period. Back handsprings eventually became an essential part of the sport of gymnastics in its modern format.
Examples of how back handspring is used in commentary
2. Jade Carey is about to step out to perform her Olympic floor routine, which features a dizzying number of back handsprings across the mat.
Sport the term is used