Bridges

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nicci1999

Active Member
Gymnast
Dec 21, 2008
799
NH
If you need to start working your back flexibility, do some seal stretches. Also, from starting on the floor, get up into a bridge, and rock yourself back and forth, that will work your shoulder flexibility as well. Sorry I am not the most helpful person for this, but I think those two are at least a start! Oh, and also, when youre in a bridge, walk your hands in closer to your feet as well, that will help increase the flexibilty, just be sure to take it little bit by little bit
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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You do not need to be able to do a bridge to do a BHS. A backwalkover is such a different skill requiring great shoulder and back flexibilty.

For the BHS you need two things a strong push back from your legs and a strong snap down from a handstand. These should be worked on separately and in a gym with a good spot. As you are an adult you can work on jump backs onto stacked mats. The stack should be at about the height of your butt, stand about two feet away from the stack with your back facing them, then sit back like sitting in a chair, keeping your chest up, put your arms up by your ears (this is where your arms should be all through the skill) then push/jump back as far as you can onto the mat stack, keeping your body tight. This drill will help you to get a feel for the first phase of the bhs.

Snap downs can be done off a raised block, that is stable of course, or the high end of a spring board. Kick up to a handstand, then using your shoulders to push and your legs to drive snap to a standing position.

When you have these two elements strongly ask for someone strong to spot you on the skill on mats or a tramp.

Good luck and remember to practice safely and with other adults present, accidents do happen.
 
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BlairBob

Guest
I still teach the bridge for adults or tumblers and go through all the walkover/kickover stuff but it is not a prerequisite. A good HS is. It's good to learn the progresssions for the feel of transition through the skill.

I prefer to teach the bridge focusing on shoulder opening, especially for those with poor shoulder flexion as hitting the floor in a HS with the shoulders flexed is just asking for a faceplant unless they are strong in their shoulders.
 
Mar 27, 2009
80
Singapore/Perth
Hi, thanks for all the replies! I currently do do the seal stretch in the gym as a warmup. It's the one where u lie face down with your legs together then you push your upper body up with your arms right?

bogwoppit, I don't quite understand the first drill you mentioned. If I'm sitting back like in a chair, how am I going to jump up onto the mats?

I look forward to being able to do a BHS but I think I should work on my HS first. ;) How do I get more flexibility around my shoulders?
 

marie83

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Mar 23, 2009
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For shoulder flexibility, we do lots of stretches in our warm up:

After the seal stretch, stick your bottom up into the air and bend the knees, so that your hips are right above your knees. keeping arms straight, try and get your arm pits to touch the floor.

Kneeling down, link your hands infront of you and with straight arms, pull your arms above your head and backwards as far as you can. Hold the stretch for a good 10 seconds. You can also make small circles with your arms whilst in this position.
Next, bring your arms down to your side and round the back, link them together again and lean forwards. Don't let your bottom lift up and try and pull your arms towards the floor. If you are feeling brave, you could get someone to pull your hands down gently.

Lying on your stomach with arms by your ears, hands linked, try to keep your head on the floor and ask a partner to lift your arms up as high as possible. They might need to push down in between your shoulder blades too, to stop you from lifting your head.

Sit in long sit, and link your hands behind you on the floor. Shuffle your bottom forwards until you can't go any further and hold.

Bridge rocks as described above

Do a bridge with your head next to a wall, and try to push your arm pits towards the wall.

Stand at a beam or ballet bar with hands on the bar/beam. Move backwards until your hips are at 90 degrees, back flat. Get a partner to gently push between your shoulder blades.

I hope I described those ok! If you don't understand anything, I'll try again!

This is something I really need to work on too!
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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right?

bogwoppit, I don't quite understand the first drill you mentioned. If I'm sitting back like in a chair, how am I going to jump up onto the mats?

The stretches everyone mentioned will help with the shoulder flexibilty. YOu can never do too many handstnds as it is the basis of good gymnastics.

The idea of sitting back, before you jump/push back, is so that you keep up you chest and then push/jump back so that you end up lying on the pile of mats. It will also help you use all your leg power to get you through this first phase of the skill.

Hope that is clearer. Just remember to take things one step at a time, nobody learned gymnastics quickly. Have fun too.
 
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Catya

Guest
To help strengthen the leg push, I do jumps traveling backwards up a hill. And then I do handstand snapdowns. The flexibility in a walkover aren't required to do a bhs but having sufficient flexibility helps prevent injury, so it's good that you're stretching out anyway.
 
Mar 27, 2009
80
Singapore/Perth
For shoulder flexibility, we do lots of stretches in our warm up:

After the seal stretch, stick your bottom up into the air and bend the knees, so that your hips are right above your knees. keeping arms straight, try and get your arm pits to touch the floor.

Kneeling down, link your hands infront of you and with straight arms, pull your arms above your head and backwards as far as you can. Hold the stretch for a good 10 seconds. You can also make small circles with your arms whilst in this position.
Next, bring your arms down to your side and round the back, link them together again and lean forwards. Don't let your bottom lift up and try and pull your arms towards the floor. If you are feeling brave, you could get someone to pull your hands down gently.

Lying on your stomach with arms by your ears, hands linked, try to keep your head on the floor and ask a partner to lift your arms up as high as possible. They might need to push down in between your shoulder blades too, to stop you from lifting your head.

Sit in long sit, and link your hands behind you on the floor. Shuffle your bottom forwards until you can't go any further and hold.

Bridge rocks as described above

Do a bridge with your head next to a wall, and try to push your arm pits towards the wall.

Stand at a beam or ballet bar with hands on the bar/beam. Move backwards until your hips are at 90 degrees, back flat. Get a partner to gently push between your shoulder blades.

I hope I described those ok! If you don't understand anything, I'll try again!

This is something I really need to work on too!
With the last one, you mean standing with my back facing the beam right? I can't quite visualise the first one. Is it like when your knees and tucked under your bum and you like "prostrate" on the floor?
 

LittleLady

Member
Feb 3, 2009
215
Vermont
"Stand at a beam or ballet bar with hands on the bar/beam. Move backwards until your hips are at 90 degrees, back flat. Get a partner to gently push between your shoulder blades."

This means to stand facing the beam with your hands on it with straight arms. When you move your feet backwards until your hips are at a 90 degree angle, stop! You should have a flat back with straight arms with your legs underneath you. That way, someone can push between your shoulder blades and stretch your shoulders. Keep your arms tight and straight when they push but try not to resist. Let them know if you are in pain rather than a stretch. Mild stretching discomfort is good, but pain is not. Go slow and be patient. The flexibility will come over time.
 

marie83

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Mar 23, 2009
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With the last one, you mean standing with my back facing the beam right? I can't quite visualise the first one. Is it like when your knees and tucked under your bum and you like "prostrate" on the floor?
Littlelady described it correctly (much better than I did!!)

For the first one, start curled up in a ball on your knees, arms outstretched infront of you. From this position, just move your knees backwards until your bottom is as high up as you can get it (its really attractive! haha) knees should be in a straight line with your hips. From here you can push your armpits down to the floor.

Hope that explains it a bit better!
 
Mar 27, 2009
80
Singapore/Perth
Ok I realise this thread is abit dated but I just thought of something that I was wondering if I could do. My coach and a classmate helped me with a back tuck the other day and I remember feeling totally weird. While I'm ok with being in a HS now (I used to feel weird but I strangely like it now!), leaning backwards with your head down feels funny. As I am still attempting to achieve a bridge and don't have much space in my room to stretch out, I was wondering...since my bed's some distance of the floor, could I lie on my back on it and let my back and shoulders try to reach to floor when I hang a certain bit of my back (maybe 3/4 down my back) off the bed end? I hope you guys know what I'm trying to describe here lol. :) Is it one way?

My chiropractor did mention that my back's becoming more flexible because she finds she needs to push harder to find problem bits as opposed to last time! I was so happy when I heard that! :D
 
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