Front Handsprings and Back Handsprings

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I am new at teaching these skills and I was looking for some creative drills to incorporate into my lessons. These drills can involve any floor drills using wedges, mats, traps, or blocks, can also involve tumble tracks, pit mats, and even the pit.

Sep 21, 2008
Back handsprings come from repetition. I suggest you make stations working on specific pieces - the sit and jump, arms to ears, pac-man w/ spot, and hand spotting down a wedge or slanted mat. Remind them, push the floor down and away then reach for the ceiling (only then, if they want, can they look for the floor).

Front handsprings are a little tricker. They require a good amount of shoulder flexibility. Properly shape their bridge position, and hand spot "rocking" to standing from the bridge. 3 rocks or so per turn. Walking up the wall (like the back bend practice) will help as well.

There are a few ways to go from here. I had one suggestion that said practice a floor (or neck) kip to bridge, then stand, but I find this really tends to put a lot of strain on the shoulders and chest if the gymnast is not ready. What is good is that they can do this on their own, and if they need support they can do it down a wedge. The bad is potential for injury if they are not flexible enough, or do not bridge properly.

The other suggestion is pretty similar, but is a little more progressive. Start by doing headstands on the top of a wedge, and fall forward (ala headspring), to stand. Eventually, do a real headspring, and then when the hip action is understood, move to handsprings.

In truth, front handsprings have always caused me trouble. Any other suggestions would be wonderful! Though Im sure they will be similar to the ones above.



For floor handspring, we are working on a lot of front limber progressions or simply kick to handstand to a block and kick back over after holding a bridge for 3-5 seconds. When their handstands get better, I can start worrying about handstand pops but until then it's just a lot of static HS and wall HS and walking HS.


For front handsprings, shoulder flexibility is really important, so I do a lot of conditioning and stretches to improve this...

One stretch is standing with feet shoulder-width apart about a metre from the wall, then with arms placed straight on the wall the gymnasts push down their shoulders so that they stretch.

Also I would recommend doing lots of handstand pop work and handstand shoulder-shrugs, which also help with the pushing through the shoulders instead of bent arms.

Hope this helps :)


Yeah, I like the cat stretch. I always have them place their hands on something hip height and get into it.

I still like headsprings/necksprings but they can be tough to teach.
For front handsprings, it is important to emphasize keeping the arms by the ears, so you can have them hold something to their ears with their arms to make good habits. Front limbers with COMPLETELY straight legs are good too, paired with lots of handstand pops.
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