Question-how to help with arch back (level 2 floor)

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UnoMas

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Aug 16, 2008
3,736
Hello-

Hoping somebody can help here.

My 7 year old dd is a pretty new gymnast (has been in for 1 year, started in beginner rec classes and is now in level 2 USAG). She unfortunately has inherited my flexibility:eek:which is not a good thing. She has all of her level 2 skills except for the arch back thing in the level 2 floor routine. She cannot do it or even get close!!

She can do a back bridge...no problem there...

Are there stretches/drills/etc that I can have her try? It is just so sad to watch her not getting this skill and getting nowhere fast with it!! I am guessing it is a flexibility and strength issue?

Thank you!
Kelly
 
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lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
Hello-

Hoping somebody can help here.

My 7 year old dd is a pretty new gymnast (has been in for 1 year, started in beginner rec classes and is now in level 2 USAG). She unfortunately has inherited my flexibility:eek:which is not a good thing. She has all of her level 2 skills except for the arch back thing in the level 2 floor routine. She cannot do it or even get close!!

She can do a back bridge...no problem there...

Are there stretches/drills/etc that I can have her try? It is just so sad to watch her not getting this skill and getting nowhere fast with it!! I am guessing it is a flexibility and strength issue?

Thank you!
Kelly

Do you mean that "hinge" bridge thing on their knees?

Have her focus more on stretching up and back instead of dropping backwards. Many times, in an effort to bend more, the kids disengage their back and shoulder muscles, allowing gravity to pull them toward the floor so fast that they lose control.

Bending too drastically too early can also shorten their body...not allowing for their backs to gradually arch. It's like bending a long pencil...and then bending a short pencil. The longer one is much easier to bend.

The skill can be practiced gradually against a wall to promote flexibility AND muscle control.

Good luck.
 
C

californiaaaa017

Guest
She could walk it down a wall to get used to it. Also, just be patient. it took me awhile to learn it, but when you have it, it's there... And years after quitting I can still do an arch back, no problem. Also make sure she has the right form and technique and not just trying to drop backwards.
 

UnoMas

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Aug 16, 2008
3,736
Thanks to both of you!

yes, lanamavitty it is the hinge brige thing. She reaches up, tries to reach back but just gets stuck and says it hurts. Obviously I dont want her to do anything that hurts her (I cant do the darn thing either or get close to it, ;) like I said she has been gifted witn my non-flexibility in this area...)

I am thinking she is approaching it the wrong way and is crunching her back instead of reaching up and over.

We will try the wall thing! sloooooowly!

Does this skill lead to the bridge kickover/back walkover/handspring eventually?

Thank you again!
Kelly
 

lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
Actually, I would say that is helps later on down the road with front walkovers, aerial walkovers, front layouts, as well as backwalkovers, back handsprings, whips etc...

It teaches the gymnast to move in and out of a bridge position correctly, and helps with skills which require a "tight arch" as opposed to a "loose arch" (the actual bridge).

It's a good skill to master, and even very flexible kids can do it incorrectly (using lower back flexibility, which can stress the back). It's more about muscle control.
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
I like the hinge bridge because it promotes better head position control and overall control.

The wall is great for this and for "regular" bridge positions and coming up. Without the wall, I face them and hold their hips on either side and have them go back as far as they can and come back up with support, then give less and less support as they get the position correctly. They need to stabilize their core rather than just falling back, so the butt and ab muscles have to be engaged. I just experimented and did it keeping my core as tight as possible (well okay, as tight as possible while bridging backwards), and it didn't really hurt at all. I stayed a little looser and then my back definitely had to pick up the slack and it hurt more. My lower back flexibility is all right, but my upper back, shoulders, and hip flexors can only be described as mediocre, and that's being generous. So it's pretty possible to do it without outstanding flexibility. I would say this can definitely be a strength issue, or an issue of having not developed the necessary muscular control. It can take them awhile to figure out how to consistently engage the right muscles.
 
C

californiaaaa017

Guest
A bridge is the basis for everything... pretty much every move passes through a bridge. When she gets her hinge and eventually her back bend (from a standing position), she'll learn how to kick over, and when you put it all together you get... A back walkover! Then she learns how to stand up and bam... A front walkover!
 

UnoMas

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Aug 16, 2008
3,736
Thanks to everyone who responded!

Last night at practice, she did the arch back part ALL ON HER OWN! (but now she can't get back up from the arch back...she is supposed to hinge back up!:p)...one step at a time, I guess.

Lots of backwards walking down the wall this week...and it worked!!! Now, how do I have her work on getting back UP?

(I was so darn proud of her that I screamed in the parents room at gym:eek:)

Kelly
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
Back up is hard, takes a fair amount of strength. It's important to keep the head back, i.e. not tuck the chin to the chest and pull the arms forward to create a shoulder angle. It's common to close in and kind of sit down on the bottom (or fall over crooked) rather than pull up and over the hips as the center. Once she goes down the wall, she can try coming back up again - that will help as well. And when she gets better at that, a spot stabilizing her hips will help.

But now that she's catching onto it, I wouldn't overdo the arching skills too much. Too much suddenly could lead to some back soreness from overuse.
 
C

californiaaaa017

Guest
You know how she practiced walking down? She could practice walking up, also. She needs some ab strength to pull up, and remember to pull up slowly! She could practice getting down on her knees and pulling up to biuld strength and get used to the motion.
 
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