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Bent Elbow in Back Handspring

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amandaf91

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Nov 7, 2017
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Hello All,

Looking for some suggestions for my daughter on fixing an issue she has had for quite some time with her back handspring. When she lands on her hands for her back handspring her shoulders are open and arms straight but she immediately bends her elbows before pushing off her hands to initiate the snap down. She is very frustrated as she is trying so hard to keep her shoulders open and not bend her elbows but it's become a bad habit that she hasn't been able to break. She's been working on them on an incline mat to see if that helps too but I would love to hear some drill suggestions or technique suggestions that would help her fix this issue. Thanks so much in advance. Here is a link to a video with her back handspring.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Disclaimer: I do not endorse training this skill at home.

If I had an athlete doing backhandspring like this in one of my classes at the gym, I honestly wouldn't worry about the arm bend; I would focus on getting a later snap down for a longer backhandspring.

In an ideal backhandspring, the athlete should not snap the feet over until after the shoulders, chest, and hips have already passed over the hands. This delayed snapdown creates greater acceleration and a longer backhandspring.

Generally in the gym, the drill I'd use for this is to have her stand roughly 3-4 feet in front of a soft mat (probably either a resi or a wedge with the low end closer to her) and have her work on a back handspring to flat belly.

After that, I would begin working towards standing 2 backhandsprings.

In my opinion, arms should bend in a backhandspring. A slight bend is both safer and mechanically more efficient.

But this is purely a hypothetical discussion of mechanics and technique; as I said above, I do not endorse training this skill at home.
 

wandrewsjr

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I agree with above that her amount of arm bend wouldn't worry me and focusing on making it longer is a good goal. That will help her work towards connecting other skills - multiple handsprings, back tuck etc.

I am assuming by her finish she is a cheer tumbler? It actually looks pretty good to me. And I am no expert on cheer tumbling but if it's potentially going to be done on a harder surface(like a football field or basketball court) I would think a little arm bend would actually be good to help absorb the force, making it safer.
 

JBS

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In my opinion, arms should bend in a backhandspring. A slight bend is both safer and mechanically more efficient.

I agree... this back handspring looks pretty good. Looks like she could be a little stronger... work some basic strength with her... good back handspring though.
 
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amandaf91

New Member
Proud Parent
Nov 7, 2017
5
42
Country
USA
Disclaimer: I do not endorse training this skill at home.

If I had an athlete doing backhandspring like this in one of my classes at the gym, I honestly wouldn't worry about the arm bend; I would focus on getting a later snap down for a longer backhandspring.

In an ideal backhandspring, the athlete should not snap the feet over until after the shoulders, chest, and hips have already passed over the hands. This delayed snapdown creates greater acceleration and a longer backhandspring.

Generally in the gym, the drill I'd use for this is to have her stand roughly 3-4 feet in front of a soft mat (probably either a resi or a wedge with the low end closer to her) and have her work on a back handspring to flat belly.

After that, I would begin working towards standing 2 backhandsprings.

In my opinion, arms should bend in a backhandspring. A slight bend is both safer and mechanically more efficient.

But this is purely a hypothetical discussion of mechanics and technique; as I said above, I do not endorse training this skill at home.

Thank you so much for the feedback. She's been so worried and frustrated with her arm bending, it's nice to know that a little bend isn't a huge deal. She was working on doing her back handspring and landing in a plank to help lengthen it. Will have her go back to working on that as we don't have a soft mat at home. We'd definitely rather be in a gym working on her skills :), hopefully our gym will be opening back up later in the summer :)
 

amandaf91

New Member
Proud Parent
Nov 7, 2017
5
42
Country
USA
I agree with above that her amount of arm bend wouldn't worry me and focusing on making it longer is a good goal. That will help her work towards connecting other skills - multiple handsprings, back tuck etc.

I am assuming by her finish she is a cheer tumbler? It actually looks pretty good to me. And I am no expert on cheer tumbling but if it's potentially going to be done on a harder surface(like a football field or basketball court) I would think a little arm bend would actually be good to help absorb the force, making it safer.
Thank you. I'm so glad to hear feedback that a little arm bend isn't a big deal. She's been so worried and frustrated about it. Yes, she is a cheer tumbler :)
 

LTmom

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Feb 7, 2018
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Not going to comment on safety and cheerleader form as I have no info on those topics but when DD had that problem, one coach told her to stop bending her arms (totally unhelpful) but the HC told her the reason her arms were bending is because arms are too weak to absorb that amount of force so the shoulders need to do the heavy lifting. A drill she was given to work on at home was to put feet on edge of bed and go into an upside down backward push up position (position 1 of the bhs) and do "push ups" by shrugging the shoulders. Cleaned it right up.
 
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