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How to Do Backflips

After you've mastered the more basic gymnastics moves, try doing the backflip -- a gravity-defying aerial stunt.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Practice with spotter Practice with an experienced spotter, preferably one who has taught backflips before. Begin on a trampoline to get the feel for the motion of the trick before you try it on the ground.
  • Step 2: Use correct form Bend your knees at a 45-degree angle and jump straight up and slightly back with your body fully extended. Keeping your head straight, swing both arms overhead. Then forcefully pull your legs up and in tight to your chest and catch them with your arms to rotate and complete the flip, using your abdominals to help with the rotation.
  • TIP: Don't try to lean back to flip; the action of pulling your legs in and tucking will naturally cause you to flip.
  • Step 3: Land Straighten your legs and bring your arms back up and over your head after the rotation is complete. When your feet hit the ground, bend your knees to reduce shock and help stick the landing.
  • Step 4: Try alone After you've mastered the flip on the trampoline with a spotter, try it alone. Then practice on the floor with a spotter, doing backflips into crash mats or a raised pad at a height of 3 feet. Gradually lower the height of the pad until you can do it with a spotter and no raised padding.
  • TIP: Practice on a mat or other soft surface, like grass or sand.
  • Step 5: Videotape Have someone record your practice so you can easily spot flaws in your technique.
  • FACT: The U.S. men's double mini-trampoline team won the gold medal at the 1999 world championship.

You Will Need

  • Experienced spotter
  • Trampoline
  • Crash mats or raised padding
  • Video camera and operator

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