A one-handed back handspring is called a Valdez, and it's the next fun trick to learn after you've perfected your regular back handspring. This is a cool inversion skill that can provide a neat transition to your tumbling routine. The audience loves seeing the Valdez, which is an awesome way to add some variety to the classic skills. Yes, the Valdez is a more advanced move, but with the right training, you'll be mastering it in no time. Read on to learn how to perform the Valdez!
The Anatomy of the Valdez
Once you've learned the back handspring, you can begin working on the one-handed variation, which we call Valdez. You'll need greater arm strength, though. While your weight is distributed evenly in the back handspring, a single-arm is taking the full force of your momentum.
You'll begin by engaging the same muscles as a back handspring: your quads contract as you squat, then you activate your latissimus dorsi and delts to flex your arms upward as you jump. Squeeze the glutes to extend your body as you press your hands toward the sky and rotate your scapulae upward.
Now comes the difference from a regular back handspring. You'll still be engaging that trapezius to adduct the shoulder blade and stabilize your shoulder. But you'll also need greater tricep and bicep strength to hold your arm straight when you land. Also, your supporting arm needs to be perpendicular to the floor. To achieve this, you must have good shoulder abduction. You'll engage the teres minor to prevent your shoulder from collapsing inward.
Then, pike hard to snap your feet down. You can land with both feet or only one, depending on the next trick in your routine.
The Valdez Step-by-Step
- As with the back handspring, start with a squat. Engage your quads and glutes to start leaning backward.
- Squeeze your calves to jump off the floor. As you leave the ground, extend backward into the arched shape you learned in the back handspring, and send your preferred arm straight up by your ear.
- Maintain the alignment of your upper spine, neck, and arm as you make contact with the ground. Ensure your scapulae are drawn together and your rotator cuff muscles are fully engaged
- Land on one hand in a very short one-armed handstand.
- Contract your abs to maintain core stability. Your body may drift away from your downward hand due to momentum. So, engage the obliques on the same side as the hand you put down to maintain your alignment,
- Engage your quads and rectus abdominis to snap into a pike position.
- Snap your feet down, whether together or one at a time. The Valdez is a fast movement, so be prepared to get your feet down.
- The Valdez is great for transitioning into regular back handsprings or fulls (from both-feet landing), or swinging skills (from single-foot landing).
Unlike in back handspring, you do not need to lock your arm straight unless you feel your biceps aren't strong enough to support your weight in a handstand. Otherwise, it's okay to slightly bend the arm in Valdez.
Be sure that your hand is pointing straight ahead in line with your body, or even slightly inward. Do not let your wrist rotate outward as this could cause injury.
This skill relies heavily on momentum, which can make it challenging to spot. That's why I recommend you feel very comfortable with your regular back handspring before attempting Valdez.
However, you can have your spotter place hands at your midback and behind the knees as you would with back handspring training. Once you extend backward, they can make sure you land in a proper one-armed handstand. They should NOT touch your arms, but they can guide your legs into a pike as you come out of the single-arm landing.
You can also practice this with a rolly and focus on planting that downward arm with good engagement.
I hope this guide was helpful as you tackle this awesome and challenging skill! Want more tutorials and tips. Feel free to follow me on social media and YouTube, where you can see the Valdez in action. It flows well into a lot of tricks where you need to gain some air. I also travel around the world doing workshops and competitions, so keep in touch to learn when and where I may be able to teach you the Valdez in person!