back extension roll

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lives-in-gymMom

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My gymnast is newly competing level 5, doing great. The one thing currently giving her trouble, of all things, is the back extention roll w/ straight arms. This is a skill she had (briefly), but then her neck and back were sore and she avoided them for a few weeks, and now she's not popping straight up. Any ideas for hints, drills, advice? Thanks!
 
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BlairBob

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Sounds like she was rolling off her head a bit.

Look for full extension in arms. Arms have to be vertical with shoulders in ears, extended. Many kids don't do this as they reach to the floor.

This is almost why I prefer kids start back extension rolls with their arms vertical instead of swinging their arms back. Same as I don't typically like kids swinging their arms up in the glide kip.
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
This is almost why I prefer kids start back extension rolls with their arms vertical instead of swinging their arms back.
Yes! I learned them with my coaches always saying "your hands hit the floor first, before your head" and that's what I tell kids to aim for (starting the arms up/a little behind if they have the shoulder flexibility, and maintaining that while they roll through candlestick). Really what usually happens is they hit more like at the same time, but it's an easy thing for them to think of that keeps them from getting a shoulder angle in between the stand and the candlestick. If they don't have their arms ready, they're going to bend or kind of hit their head on the ground. It needs to stay stabilized between the arms. I remember always getting headaches from back extensions when I was little until someone coached me on it correctly to keep my head tucked in more with the arms taking the impact on the floor.
 

CoachKat

New Member
Oct 27, 2008
40
Colby, Kansas
We do a drill which is very simple but it seems to help a lill. I have the girls lay on their backs with arms straight out and legs in the air. I grab their ankles and have them start trying to pull to that handstand and then I pull their ankles . But it really helps them feel how to use those muscle in their shoulders. I pull them to the handstand then roll them back down all with straight arms. It seems to help with us.
 
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BlairBob

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We used to do hollow rock to candlestick focusing on popping off the floor. Not the most comfortable thing. Have to reach back aggressively with the arms extended and pop a little bit. It's more about keeping the shoulders extended and rocking and shooting to candlestick very aggressively which causes the lift.

Simply stay tight and don't get loose while in the air and there isn't a discomfort problem when you come back down to the ground unless you start losing that hollow/candle shape and arch.

One of the boys in L4 ( they only do back extension roll to pushup like the girls ) has a hard time keeping extended due to his poor shoulder flexibility. When he reaches his shoulder angle has really closed especially as his head is out. When his shoulders are not extended, because he is not reaching back ( and possibly his poor shoulder flexibility ), his elbows bend and well, there he is.
 

gymalex

Member
Jan 3, 2009
75
Dallas, TX
My gymnast is newly competing level 5, doing great. The one thing currently giving her trouble, of all things, is the back extention roll w/ straight arms. This is a skill she had (briefly), but then her neck and back were sore and she avoided them for a few weeks, and now she's not popping straight up. Any ideas for hints, drills, advice? Thanks!
I would recommend practicing down an incline mat with perfect form. Start standing at the top of the mat with arms stretched overhead, fingers laced (this is ok to learn the skill- it keeps the hands close together in the handstand), or one hand over the other, palms up. Squat down with the heels close the backside, and as you roll back, look for your toes. That prevents arching. The head can move back to neutral at vertical. Once that becomes easy, you can do them off of a folded panel mat turned long-ways. Stand on the mat so that when you roll back, your hands are on the floor, the area just above wrists in line with the end of the mat. It will give the shoulders a little extra bit of "oomph" to get that nice pop into vertical with straight arms. That's probably my favorite drill. My kids have always been back extension roll rock stars, and I attribute it to that drill! After you can do them well on the floor, practice doing half and full turns in the handstand phase. That will tighten up the vertical part of the handstand, and is a great prep for bar skills.

Good luck!
 
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BlairBob

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We, as well practice it off panel mats, eventually taking layers off till they are doing it on floor.

I learned my back ext roll from a pike sit on floor. However, I was over 20 and strong enough.

If they are strong and competent in their handstand/shoulders, it helps a lot.
 
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