I’ve been coaching for a long time, and the sitting back handspring is a movement that more and more you have been requesting that I share how to do. I’ve been successful in incorporating multiple movements into the sitting back handspring, and seeing this has others also want to do it.
For the record, know that I’m not the first one to do the sitting back handspring, but I did popularize it with all the add-ons.
I’m happy to share with you here some of my secrets when doing the sitting back handspring.
The only thing I ask is that you already know how to do a good, solid, strong back handspring. If you haven’t done it standing, it will be even more difficult to do sitting. So number one, learn how to do it standing first. If you don’t know how I have a handy video right here that you can click on to teach you how. Once you have that down, you’ll be ready to go to the next step.
Strength and Flexibility
For this to go well for you, you will need very good core and back flexibility, as well as a lot of arm strength. You’ll be sitting so you’ll be low to the ground and will be bringing all of your body weight onto your arms. So strong arms and shoulders are a plus. You also want to ensure that you can bend really well, so having that core and back flexibility is a must in order to land on your hand from sitting.
Stretches are important to any exercise, and it also applies here. Here are simples stretches you can do to stretch out your core and your back:
- Bridges - Hands out holding a bridge position.
- Seal stretch - Lay down on your stomach and push.
- Standing back stretches - Bend over the front and do normal standing pike stretches.
These stretches will help stretch your front and your back muscles, which will be helpful for doing the sitting back handspring.
The sitting back handspring can be done on multiple surfaces. Some known surfaces for doing this are tumble tracks, air tracks, spring floors, and the grass. Wherever you choose to do it, make sure it’s comfortable for you. Hardwood and concrete surfaces are not recommended, as they could be harmful to your head.
There are a few different ways to start doing the sitting back handspring before actually doing it from a sitting position. One way is to hop first. The surface you’re doing this on will greatly influence how successful this is. You could also try standing and dropping. That allows you some additional flexibility for other movements, as well. Then there’s the stationary way where you are in a sitting position. Our focus will be on the sitting position.
From the Sitting Position
Make sure you’re in a sitting position on the surface of choice. Apply these steps to pull off your sitting back handspring:
- Keep your legs straight in front of you.
- Point your toes. When your feet are flexed, it pulls a lot more on your calves and hamstrings and can be a little painful. When you start with your toes pointing, it helps you to properly lift to end up on your heels.
- Lean forward and bring your arms back. Bring your arms back as far as you can as you’re leaning forward to drive your arms up for momentum.
- Arms up, Chest open, Lift hips. Aggressively throw your arms up. When this happens, your chest is opening, and you get on to your heels by lifting your hips (this is where you get engaged with your core/back). From there, you’re able to add a hop from the floor.
There’s no one specific way to do sitting back handsprings. These tips and tricks will help, but once you’ve mastered it, you’ve got it. All body styles are different, so yours may not look exactly like someone else’s.
As long as you’re working on your arm strength, flexibility in your core and back, making sure your shoulders are nice and strong, and applying to the proper surface for safety, you’ll be just fine.