How To Do A Back Handspring On A Trampoline In One Day [5 Simple Steps]
If you’re anything like me (i.e. not a ten-year-old girl) learning how to do a back handspring on a trampoline can be difficult.
The truth is:
Some paths are more difficult than others, and some are meant for different body types.
As it happens, the vast majority of tutorials I’ve found online have been from, strangely enough, young pre-teenage girls. This is fine (and good for them!), but the thing is: not everyone has the natural flexibility of an Olympic gymnast.
If you do have such gifts, then I haven’t left you out of the conversation; take a look at the fast-tracked progression listed at the end of my post (with a video to see it in action).
For the rest of us normal folks, I’ve compiled 5 steps that will have you back handspringing in no time: without any back-breaking contortions along the way.
Let’s get started.
The Backwards Drop.
The backwards drop is a great way to start overcoming your fear of the back handspring.
Did I say you were scared? Well, there’s no shame in it if you are. Flipping your body head over tail, with only a brief ground contact in between, isn’t the most appealing movement for the human body.
In fact, we have many unconscious safety systems which stop us from doing it. You know that feeling when you tip a little too far backwards in your chair? Well, the reason so many people falter at the very thought of a back handspring (or a backflip, for that matter) has something to do with this natural bodily mechanism.
How to train it.
Enter: the backwards drop. It sounds about as easy as it is. Starting from a standing position, you’re simply going to practice falling directly backwards onto your back.
This will help your body (and mind) feel a little more comfortable with the sensation of falling backwards. It’s kind of like a trust fall; except, with the trampoline, there’s no risk of your friends getting distracted and dropping you!
(Don’t worry, you don’t need the fancy triangle equipment!)
Repeat this step five to ten times, until you are comfortable falling to the trampoline and you feel in control of the movement.
The Backdrop Roll
This is where my tutorial differs from the ‘more flexible people’s’ version.
Rather than twisting our spines into a backwards bridge, then flipping over (which I couldn’t do if my life depended on it), we’re going to turn it into a backdrop roll progression.
How To Backdrop Roll
As with all progressions, let’s start with the basics:
From a standing or crouched position, simply roll backwards over your shoulders on the trampoline, so that you finish either on all fours or standing. If you’ve never done a backward roll before, don’t stress. It isn’t so scary. Your body should stay in contact with the trampoline at all times, so that even if you make a mistake, nothing bad will happen.
From there, we’re going to build things up a little. Instead of rolling the whole way through, we’re going to practice bouncing off our backs and continuing into the roll with a little more oomph. You should get a little bit airborne here, but there’s no danger in under or over-rotating: you can always just use your hands, elbows or knees to catch yourself.
Ideally, you will be able to finish this stage with something that looks like this:
Repeat this movement, slowly progressing from a backwards roll up to the backdrop roll with or without help from your hands.
The Twisted Cartwheel
This step might feel like we’re back-tracking, but believe me:
It’s important to get comfortable with your hands if you want to do a perfect back handspring.
Trampolines are an even surface, but when you apply pressure to them (as you know) they stretch and compress.
Placing your weight through your hands on this material can be something that takes a little getting used to, so let’s do a little bit of that right now; while also taking us indirectly closer to the final back handspring product.
How To Do A Twisted Cartwheel
Feel free to warm up with a few regular cartwheels, but it isn’t necessary. You’re going to start by facing the same direction you have been facing for the previous two steps.
Then, instead of falling backwards, you’re going to twist around into a regular cartwheel. Try to hold the backwards fall for as long as possible, then almost trick yourself into doing a cartwheel at the last moment. This will help you get the feeling of falling back onto your hands, while also preparing you to push off with your arms for the final step.
This video is progressing toward a backflip, but the steps are still the same and very useful:
Progress this stage until you are able to begin the twisted cartwheel from a few bounces.
Unlike a regular cartwheel which requires that you place each hand down separately, you can begin to plant both hands down at the same time. This will protect your wrists from taking your full bodyweight, while also preparing you for what’s about to come.
The Back Handspring
Before jumping straight into it, you might benefit from repeating a few backwards drops and backdrop rolls.
Then, the final leap is in sight. Rather than twisting into your side-on cartwheel, throw your body backwards with your hands outstretched. Whip your neck and arms back quickly so that you can find the floor as early as possible, then place your hands down firmly and simultaneously. You may over-rotate the first few times–this is fine. Simply let yourself fall to your knees and try again.
Always lead with your hands, and be sure to get enough height on your starting bounces.
Unlike the backflip, you’re not trying to jump straight up and down. You want to push off backwards with your take-off, then catch yourself about half a body-length behind you with your hands. This will take a little getting used to, but with the steps leading into this final stage and a few sessions of practice, you guys are ready to spring!
Fast-tracked Progression Bonus: For the Naturally Flexible
If you are someone who has no issue bending over backwards into a bridge, then the back handspring will take a slightly simpler progression.
Rather than practicing the backdrop roll, you can simply fall backwards into a bridge, and practice flipping your legs over behind you.
The only progression from there is to gain some bounce with the initial phase, then bounce off of your hands to complete the perfect hand spring. To see it in action, look here:
The only thing left, now, is to clean up your form and see how smooth you can make it. The back handspring is one of the coolest tricks you can learn, and with these 5 simple steps, you’ll be well on your way.
For more articles on trampolines check out:
How to put a trampoline together
Learn how much does a trampoline cost
Find the safest trampoline
Learn how to measure a trampoline
Best trampoline park
Best kids trampoline