How to do a Roundoff Back Handspring

How to Do a Roundoff Back Handspring

Two Parts:

The roundoff back handspring is a gymnastics skill that allows you to use the momentum from the basic roundoff to generate a fast and powerful back handspring — it is not meant for beginners. In order to do the roundoff back handspring, you should know how to do a roundoff and a back handspring separately. Though the momentum from a roundoff may make the back handspring easier, you should be able to master the skills needed to do the back handspring on its own first so you don't injure yourself. If you want to know how to do a roundoff back handspring, see Step 1 to get started.


Getting Ready

  1. Make sure you have the basic skills down.Before you learn to do a roundoff back handspring, you should have the basic skills down or you won't be able to put it all together. More importantly, you risk injuring yourself if you try to do something that is above your skill and experience level. Here are the skills you should have down before you attempt the roundoff back handspring:
  2. Practice on a trampoline or springy surface.Before you try the roundoff back handspring on the ground, you should use a running trampoline or the floor at your gymnastics gym. A trampoline and gymnastics floor are springy and more giving, and will allow you to gather more confidence and momentum than you would get from an ordinary floor.
    • It goes without saying that if you've never done a back handspring, you should try doing one with a spotter first until you feel really comfortable with it.
  3. Stretch well.It's important to stretch your back, your wrists, your arms, your legs, and pretty much every part of your body before you attempt the roundoff back handspring. Though your wrists and back are the most prone to injury, you shouldn't neglect any part of your body when you warm up. Here are some stretches to try:
    • Stretch out your wrists by getting on your hands and knees with your palms down. Move forward and back a bit until you feel a deep stretch in your wrists. Then, turn your hands so that your fingers are pointed towards your body instead of away from it. When you're done stretching them, roll them in one direction and then the other.
    • Stretch your back by pushing up into a backbend and holding it for a few seconds. Then, come down and curl up in a ball on the floor, rolling up and down to roll out your back. This is a great counter stretch  to the backbend.
    • Stretch your hamstrings by standing on one foot, grabbing your other foot, and pulling your leg back until the back of your calf is on your thigh. Hold for a few seconds and repeat on your other leg.
    • Roll your head clockwise five times, and then roll it in the other direction, to release tension in your neck.

Doing a Roundoff Back Handspring

Doing a Roundoff

  1. Run or lunge forward.Before you do your roundoff, you'll want to run or lunge forward a bit so that your body gathers speed and momentum before you move into your roundoff. If you lunge forward, you should place your dominant foot forward. You can also just slightly lift the foot in the air in front of you and then plant it back down. Remember that you can do a standing roundoff, too. Running or lunging forward a bit can just help you gather some momentum.
  2. Raise your arms above your head.Your arms should be raised over your head, so that your arms are up by your ears. You can lift your arms up at the same time as when you run or move forward. Your arms should be in this position pretty much throughout the roundoff — even when you're upside down.
  3. Turn your body sideways and move your hands toward the ground.Now, turn your body sideways and start lowering your upper body toward the ground while lifting your lower body in the air. You should move so that you plant the hand on the same side of your body as your dominant foot first.
  4. Plant your hands on the ground.Now, plant your hands on the ground, with the hand that is the same as your dominant foot landing slightly first. Once both hands are on the ground, you will essentially be doing a handstand, even though you don't have to hold it. In a handstand, your shoulders, arms, and wrists are all parallel, and you generate power from your palms and fingers as you push through your shoulders.
    • Your feet should be straight up in the air and parallel for an instant as they move toward the ground.
  5. Land on your feet with your feet together.As you move out of the cartwheel toward your other side, focus on lowering your feet so you land on the ground with your feet together, while you lift your lower body up and finish with your hands over your head. You should land facing the opposite direction that you started from when you began the roundoff.
    • If it helps, you can think of the roundoff as just a cartwheel with your feet together.
  6. Rebound as high as you can.As you finish your rebound, jump up as high as you can without jumping, keeping your arms up by your head. This will help you generate the momentum you need to move into your back handspring. Ideally, the roundoff back handspring will be one fluid motion, but you can start off by working on your roundoff, stopping, doing a back handspring, and then try to bring it all together.

Doing a Back Handspring

  1. Get in a sitting position with your arms swinging upwards.After you complete the roundoff, you should use the momentum you generated from your rebound to sit back, as if you're going to sit in a chair behind you. You should position your knees over your feet for balance and to help generate enough momentum for you to jump backwards and land on your hands.
    • As you get in the sitting position, you should lift your arms high, so that they're directly up above your head, with your ears between your inner arms.
    • Once you get in the sitting position with those arms up high, you should melt your shoulders down and lower your arms to your sides. After that, you should swing them upwards as you continue to fall backwards, to help generate more momentum.
  2. Push through your toes as you deepen your sitting position and raise your arms all the way up.You should keep swinging your arms upwards until they reach over your head. As you do this, you'll need to push through your toes to get the upward mobility you need. Swing those arms up as high as they will go. The higher they go, the higher your body will follow. As you push through your toes, you should sink a bit lower into that imaginary chair. Don't worry if you feel like you're about to fall — that's part of the process. The idea is to get low before you fall backwards.
    • You can also tighten those shoulder and arm muscles to get ready to land on your arms. Your head should be between your arms, with your arms by your ears.
  3. Continue to fall backwards with your arms still by your ears.Try to maintain the same position between your head and your arms as you move backwards. It's important that you avoid arching your back too much. This is called undercutting, and it can injure your back. You also want to fall back a fair amount in a back handspring instead of landing close to where you started; not arching your back as much will carry you further backwards.
    • Use your legs to help drive you upwardandbackward.
    • Point your toes, extending through your ankles. Use all of the power in your legs.
    • As you move closer to the floor, you can start looking for a landing spot, or a place to plant your hands. It's important to keep your head in between your hands so they plant down before your head does.
  4. Plant your hands on the floor.As you fall backwards enough that your hands approach the floor, let your hands touch the floor while your body remains arched. Keep those arms nice and straight so your head doesn't hit the floor in the process. Your palms should be flat on the ground, with your fingers pointing away from your face. The momentum of your legs, with your lower body still following your upper body, should carry you over, so that your legs begin to approach a handstand position.
    • When your hands hit the floor, you should generate strength and stability from your palms and your fingers, not your wrists. You should also use your arms and shoulders for support. If you put too much pressure on your wrists, you will be likely to injure yourself.
  5. Swing your legs over your hands.This will briefly you put you in what is basically the handstand position. Though you won't be staying still on your hands and your legs will be continually moving, the basics of the motion are the same: your shoulders should be over your wrists, with your head looking down between your hands, while your legs are up in the air and relatively parallel. Since this position is essentially the handstand position, it's important for you to know how to do a handstand before you attempt the roundoff back handspring.
    • Keep your feet almost together with your toes pointed and the soles of your feet parallel to the ceiling.
    • Avoid locking your knees while keeping your legs almost straight.
  6. Plant your feet on the ground.Swing your legs and feet all the way over and snap them down firmly toward the floor. As you do this, you should keep your upper body as straight as it can be so that you land without losing balance. You should land with your legs slightly bent just a bit.
    • After all, it's called a back handspring because you "spring" off of your hands to land on your feet. Think of yourself as a giant slinky, generating momentum.
  7. Pop up.The last thing you have to do to finish the back handspring is to plant your feet on the ground and then to pop your body up a bit by swinging your arms straight in front of you and then up. This will allow you to strike the finishing pose, with your arms raised up and your feet straight and just touching each other.
  8. Keep practicing.Chances are that you won't land the perfect roundoff back handspring right away. You may over rotate and land with your back on the ground, or you may not rotate enough to fully plant your hands on the ground. That's why practicing is so important — you'll eventually be able to find balance with your roundoff back handspring.
    • If you're not comfortable doing it on your own yet, then continue working with a spotter.
    • If you want extra support, you can use a trampoline or even a floor at a gymnastics gym, which will give you more spring and cushion than the ground.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How do I go down, and how do I get rid of the fears?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    One tip is to fall back on something soft to practice falling and your fear of going over. A back walkover can help you go over in a back handspring.
  • Question
    Why do I have to lean back?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You have to lean back because it will help your legs power up and push off the surface you're doing the handspring on.
  • Question
    Should you always make sure you have a spotter the first few times to get your confidence about going backwards?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    That's how everyone starts out. Once you're more confident, you can throw it by yourself.
  • Question
    Is it safe to do a roundoff on grass?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It is perfectly safe to do a round off on the grass if you have enough experience, but it's best to start with a mat or springy surface.
  • Question
    Is a roundoff back bend close to a roundoff back handspring?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No, but it is one step forward. Back handsprings require jump and swing, while back ends don't require lots of momentum.
  • Question
    What if I have a small trampoline?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Try doing a handstand, kick down with your feet together, then do a back handspring.
  • Question
    What's the difference between a back handspring and a back handspring step out?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You do not step out when doing a regular back handspring.
  • Question
    I know how to do the back handspring, but when I finish the round-off, I get so scared to do the back handspring without swinging my arms. What should I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Practice with someone spotting you on a soft mat until you have more confidence. Or do a round off, stop, then do a back handspring but try not to swing before it.
  • Question
    How do I know when to do the back handspring after doing the round off?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    As soon as you land, just reach straight back. Your hands will land on the ground; then, just lift through your shoulders.
  • Question
    How do I tighten my body during the back handspring?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Imagine you're an unbreakable wooden board! This visualization trick can help keep your body stiff and tight.
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  • After the round off you want to have a good rebound to be able to get a good back handspring out of it.
  • Keep your hands next to your ears while landing the round- off. This gives you more momentum when you swing backwards to do the back handspring.
  • Try to do a handstand, land on your feet and go straight into your back handspring.
  • After your round off try to keep your hands by your ears so it is easier to push off into your back handspring.
  • Spring off your feet for momentum then you will also have more power to go into your back handspring.
  • The round-off makes the entire move. If you can't do a solid round-off with good form, don't even bother, fix the round-off first.
  • Practice doing a jump as high as you can straight after landing the round off.
  • Spot the ground while you do your back handspring.
  • Also do not be scared it is not as easy as it looks but keep trying!
  • If you don't feel confident doing a back handspring do not do a round-off back handspring without a spotter.
  • Gradually work your way to doing it on grass or mats. Doing round off back handsprings on the trampoline can start bad habits, which can prevent you from maintaining a perfect round off back handspring.
    • When doing this for your first time, don't pause in between your round off and back handspring.Or maybe try getting a spot on the first one.
  • If you're doing it by yourself, don't hesitate. It's harder to do if you stop after your round off.
  • Be sure you can do a round off in a straight line before you attempt this skill. If your round off is crooked, your back handspring will also be crooked and not in a straight line! You don't want to start off with any bad habits in the beginning, as they are hard to break later on.
  • When you do a roundoff make sure both feet get on the ground if they come down one after another you make do a back handspring without your legs beside each other causing you to hurt yourself.


  • Make sure your knees are straight and your legs are together. DO NOT bend your arms, This is deducted heavily! and also could be dangerous
  • If beginning, havea coachwith you and spot you and use proper safety mats.
  • Stretch before doing anything that could possibly injure you.
  • Do not attempt round off back hand spring without being taught by a trained coach
  • Be very careful.

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