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Back Extension


Could you give me some drills for back extensions?

Also, when a gymnast complains of back ache, what should we do?

As always, thanks for your time,

The extension to handstand is a "KIP" ... all the power is generated when the closed body (in a tight pike or 'V') is opened rapidly.
Student lays flat on back. Arms straight over the head also on the floor.
Lift straight legs over the head to touch the floor.
I recommend starting with straight arms... to emphasize the focus on the "KIP" action in the hips rather than the arm-push.
COACH stands astride the hands... and grasps the ankles of the student... ready to lift the student's feet straight up towards the ceiling.

FIRST have the student push STRAIGHT legs and pointed toes upwards... SLOWLY... and the coach RESISTS by pushing the legs down softly... The goal is to have the student focus on which muscles (buttocks/lumbar) are doing the work.10-20 reps.

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MAKE SURE THE KNEES remain locked straight.
SECOND... have the student push the feet skyward while the coach guides the feet towards the sky. Don't work the arms... stop when the student is high up on her back/shoulders and the body is basically straight up and down. 20-40 reps
THIRD... speed up the kip... with the coach assisting still... this time pushing all the way up to a handstand.
FORTH... from a squad-push back-sit-roll... without the coach. using an arm push is natural... straight arm extension-roll to handstand is easy IF the kip is powerful and accurate.
the bad habit of tossing the head must be resisted... the head should remain neutral.
Start there and let me know what problems you're having.

Coach Wayne is the Head Coach for the Savannah College of Art and Design Cheerleading team and Executive Coach of Olympic Gymnast Zuzana Sekerova. His articles, videos and books have been used by students and instructors world wide since 1991. Coach Wayne is available for in-gym instructor training and performance tumbling clinics throughout the year. For booking information, coaches/owners should call 912.398.8082. Students and parents should request coaches/owners to contact Coach Wayne.



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