WAG Hand and arm placement in BHS

Parents... Coaches... Judges... Gymnasts...
DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members See FEWER Ads!
Join for FREE!
Not open for further replies.
Nov 10, 2008
I am an adult athlete in my mid-30s who competes NAIGC dev. I've been out of the gym for the last year for a variety of reasons, I miss it desperately, and I am trying to organize myself for when I go back. As an adult athlete, practice is adult open gym and my coach is whoever is coaching it--we can generally get feedback on skills and maybe drill suggestions, but skill choice, progression, and most drill selection and application is on us as athlete. We cannot count on someone being able to spot us on something at any given practice.

The main skill I am trying to decide how to manage when I get back is BHS. I have highly hypermobile elbows that are not terribly stable, and they hyperextend or shift in the joint about 1/15 BHS that I do. The result can range anywhere from that's my last BHS for the day to I can't straighten my arm for a week. I've never had a complete dislocation or severe hyperexention on the skill, but I'm old and feel like it's likely a matter of time unless I change something. I have worked with a physical therapist on joint stability, but it's probably never going to be great (I apparently had a number of complete dislocations as a child, for one). My form and power on a good BHS are fine per the coaches I've had watch it, and it's a safe skill--except for when an elbow suddenly can't take the impact. Not terribly surprisingly, this has also led to a mental block on BHS in specific and the concept of diving backwards onto my hands in general.

The questions I'm trying to figure out:

1. Is there an arm/hand placement I can use that would protect my elbows in the skill? How do I drill them, and is there strength I should work on for it? What progressions can I do to help overcome my mental block about diving backwards onto my hands?


2. Would it make more sense to skip the BHS? I'm an adult competing NAIGC dev--I'm not going elite. It would be awesome if I could do level 7 some day. Would it make more sense and be easier on my body to learn how to tumble out of a RO and do front tumbling for my three flight elements, or would this be a situation where I might try to learn a whip instead of BHS? I could use the B skill and have done them by accident, but I have never trained them or done them on purpose.

I want to be clear that I'm not looking for drills to do without a coach in a basement--if there are suggestions for things I can safely and quietly practice in a small upper level apartment, I will. Mostly at home I'm trying to stay strong and flexible enough to ease my transition when I can be back in the gym. I just miss it, and I'm trying to figure out my goals and how to best manage my time when I go back; this is the skill I'm most uncertain of how to approach, and it's obviously an important one for figuring out how I should plan my floor for the 2022 season.


Proud Parent
May 19, 2020
First of all, that's awesome that you are still doing gymnastics! No tips on specific drills or approaches. But I think if it were me, I'd want to protect my elbow at this point. We absolutely have girls (even at L9) that steer away from back handsprings. In that case, they tumble out of a roundoff and do front tumbling. A whip, as you've suggested, could be a good option too! Good luck!
Not open for further replies.

New Posts