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Backward roll to handstand

Aussie_Gymnast

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Oct 23, 2019
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Hi I was wondering if anyone: gymnast or coach has ever had trouble learning or teaching backward roll to handstand correctly.
If there are issues,what are normally the most common problems that make this skill feel impossible to do correctly?
Is it more a skill that is about physical preparation or is it more about skill/timing or coordination.
How is the backward roll to handstand usually taught? Is it taught specifically or is it naturally learnt thought other drills/ skills that are done in a gymnastics program?


From observation there appear to be 2 kinds of techniques in the drop towards bottom phase.

1. lift arms up and sort of reach arms forward while going into the roll.
2. put your hands down next to your legs and then quickly lift them up over your head.

which technique do you find more effective?

What sort of strength exercises help with the backward roll to handstand? can flexibility, specifically shoulder flexibility (Passive or Active) be a limiting factor due to the arms not being able to reach the floor and push fast enough?

I am having a really hard time with this skill. My technique does not seem effective but it could also be a physical preparation issue. It seems to be an incredibly challenging and complicated skill. A lot of people make it look easy though.

Any ideas/advice would be much appreciated.
 

Sari

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Are you talking about a back extension roll or a backward roll to handstand that starts with bent arms?


If there are issues,what are normally the most common problems that make this skill feel impossible to do correctly?
Lack of strength. Slow arms before/when hitting the ground. Arching into the handstand.

How is the backward roll to handstand usually taught? Is it taught specifically or is it naturally learnt thought other drills/ skills that are done in a gymnastics program?
I teach back extension rolls down an incline into a pushup position first and then build that up by stacking blocks where the feet go when the gymnasts finishes the roll. And then work that up towards handstand with a mat held upright by a wall or blocks (or two strong coaches, lol). Accompanied by strength training and handstand holds. I definitely teach it specifically but pre-requisite skills like the handstand as well as conditioning and breaking down the skill are obviously important and factor into successfully learning a back extension roll.

From observation there appear to be 2 kinds of techniques in the drop towards bottom phase.

1. lift arms up and sort of reach arms forward while going into the roll.
2. put your hands down next to your legs and then quickly lift them up over your head.

which technique do you find more effective?
I teach technique 1.
Similar to this video:
I don't understand why someone would go for technique 2, if I'm honest. I feel like it would make it much harder to get the arms into position for the push action in time as well as encourage the gymnast to slap their hands against the floor on the way down.
 

Aussie_Gymnast

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Thanks so much for your answer. I haven’t been able to find any good videos or articles ect that explain the backward roll to handstand in specific detail. There seem to be useful information about other skills but not this one.

Yes I am talking about the backward roll to handstand with straight arms, not the bent arm version. Also I am talking about the version where you do a pike roll with straight legs going into it, not starting in the tuck position like shown in the video.

Thanks for suggesting that it could be lack of strength. I know lack of strength can be really significant in learning or struggling with skills but was not sure specifically what type of strength exercises could help with the backward roll to handstand? I have some general base strength, can do leg lifts, chin ups, pushups, dish holds ect. I am definitely strong enough to do bars and found kips, clear hip circles and swinging elements very intuitive and easy to learn compared to many other skills. I know that some people struggle with those things and yet they can still do things like the backward roll to handstand. I wonder if there are some specific exercises to build up strength to do the backward roll to handstand? I thought that maybe something the mimics a fast candle lift action or the candle to handstand phase? It is hard to create something effective specifically. What do you think would be the minimum strength requirements to do the skill? Do you need to be able to do press handstands?

One my problems in the skill seems to be that I hit the ground on my bottom really hard and it seems to slow down the momentum of the roll. The whole thing is very slow in general.

Another problem I think is reaching the candle position too late. What seems to happen is the my hips don’t lift up fast enough when the arms reach the ground.What happens is I do an early split and miss the handstand. It feels awkward and looks terrible.

Another problem is that the arms/ fingers don’t contact the ground fast enough. It seems to be hard to put enough weight on the hands to be able to lift up hard or fast enough to reach handstand.

Some people have suggested to try it on the wedge but it has never worked for me. Another people suggested that the backward roll to front support/ pushup is a lead up. It feels like a completely different skill to me. I can do it with no problems, with straight arms and good body tension and it has not seemed to help with backward roll to handstand.

The only things that have worked so far to get to handstand are spotting and doing it against a wall. I can get to handstand off of a 10cm elevated mat onto a mat that is against the wall. Without the 10cm mat and the wall I struggle to get to handstand. It is a very exhausting skill to practise and even against the wall it is not always consistent.

It feels really awkward and takes a lot of energy to practise it on the floor with nothing. I really want to master this skill but just was not sure how.

I think you are right about using technique 1. I used to do technique 2 and there is just was not enough time to get the arms back up. I still struggle so much with getting the arms up fast in technique 1.
 

Carabistouille

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Do you need to be able to do press handstands?
Absolutely not, many gymnasts can do a backward roll to HS but no press hanstand, which is much harder. Also, if you can do a clear hip circle (not to handstand I assume), I'm not sure strengh is the issue in your case... Anyway, the skill is mainly about shoulder opening so we do a lot of that at my gym (with therabands).
Some people have suggested to try it on the wedge but it has never worked for me. Another people suggested that the backward roll to front support/ pushup is a lead up. It feels like a completely different skill to me. I can do it with no problems, with straight arms and good body tension and it has not seemed to help with backward roll to handstand.
Well, it is essentialy the same skill and it shouldn't feel that different to you. Maybe you use a different technique (e.g. over-arching) when you try going to HS ? Have you tried doing it to push-up position onto an elevated surface (going higher and higher until you hit handstand) ?
 
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