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Getting Feet Over In Backbend

Hello Coach Wayne,
I'm trying out for my second year of Junior Varsity this year, and this year they changed all the criteria... A standing back handspring IS required.. well Tryouts are at the end of April.. and yes, I have been attending gymnastic classes, but my biggest problem is I can get into the backbend; NO PROBLEM!.. but it's getting my feet over that's the problem. Do you have ANYTHING that could help me?  I've practiced all your exercises and done a total number on them!.. but I just need a tip on getting my weight over...

Try this exercise for a while.
Lay flat on your back... then push up into a backbend, like you normally do. Make sure your hands are VERY close together and the elbows REMAIN straight!
Work to bring your feet together and STRAIGHTEN your knees.
As you straighten your knees you'll find yourself pushing your head and shoulders AWAY from your feet... and OVER your hands. Your goal is to get your head WAY past your hands. Now, ROCK your body with your legs, keeping your elbows straight. We call that a "Rockin' Bridge."*

NEXT... bend your knees and elbows and lower your body to the floor... then PUSH UP again into the back-arch stand. We call that an "Arch Stand Push-up."

REPEAT a set of 10-20 arch-stand push-ups in a row. Performing a set 2x a day would be even better.
Make sure that you PUSH your head and shoulders as far past your hands (awy from your feet) as possible.

Lastly, you can even practice SMALL jumps with the hands... and then jump with the feet. We call that a "Jumpin' Bridge."* A good goal is to work up to a set 20 jumpin' bridges 2 x per day.

After 10 days of that, you'll be MUCH more coordinated and strong. Make sure that you rest your back & wrists when they become sore.


* Special THANKS to Coach Jon McCollum of Cheer X-treme in Ft. Smith, Arkansas for the "Rockin' Bridge" and the "Jumping Bridge" exercises. McCollum has dedicated over 30 years to finding simpler and more effective gymnastics exercises to develop tumblers.


You may also be interested in the following:
(FLASH player permission is required to view animations.)
Back Tuck Progressions
Benchmarks of Excellence
Cross Arm Spot
Gymnastics Jump
Jump, Set, Tuck
Lunge to Handstand
Round-Off Hand Placement
Straight Body Fall


Coach Wayne was 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 worldwide since 1991. Coach Wayne is available for tumbling instructor certification training. For booking information, coaches/owners should text or call 912.238.1747.



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