WAG Help with backbend kickover?

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Jan 23, 2014
I started gymnastics 2 months ago and I've been struggling to get my backbend kickover. I can do a backbend just fine. I can do a kickover with mats stacked 6 inches high, but no less than that. Any tips, conditioning, or stretching advice? Also, is it easier to do with your head neutral or looking at your hands? (When I try mine I look at my hands) And I know to like push your shoulders above your hands and put your feet on a surface higher than your hands. I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but I'm 5'3 and a bit on the tall side for gymnasts and other girls my age.
Well if it helps, I'm 5'4" and can do kick overs and walkovers just as well as the shorter girls, and right now I'm training them on beam.

When I learned them, we would hold bridges and put one leg up in the air as far as you can while keeping it straight, and then held it there. We also did bridges in front of a wall and pushed our shoulders against it. You should be looking at your hands, but just move your head far enough to see them.

Good Luck! I hope you enjoy gymnastics, and never give up.
Hey there. Your thoughts and technique all sound right on. Shoulder/back flexibility really is the biggest thing here. It is literally impossible to do a backbend kickover without your shoulders over your hands, so lots of backbends pressing through your shoulders would be very helpful (think about pressing your armpits into whatever wall you're facing during the bridge). Also, small trick: the closer toward your hands you can get the foot that you "step in" and push off of during the kick over, the easier the skill is going to be (because it forces you to push through the shoulders a bit more). Just don't push it too hard. It'll come, and there's few things more painful a sore back and wrists. Good luck to you!

Oh, and being tall may maybe make it slightly harder for you, but it really doesn't make that much of a difference. I'm very tall and years retired from the sport. I can still do these. So don't let being tall hold you back whatsoever. :)
Okay, do you have a panel mat? What I like to do when I teach bridge kick overs is I have them lay on a panel mat and put their hands on the floor. Then they bridge up and kick over. If they make it a couple times then I unfold one panel. If them make it that way, I take off a second panel, and it keeps going until they get to the ground. This tends to work better because you go little by little rather than going from a mat straight to the floor. You can also do something similar with a wedge (cheese mat, incline, whatever you want to call it). Lay on a wedge and have your feet at the highest end and your head towards the lower end. Bridge up and kick over. If you make it, scoot down the wedge a couple inches, and continue until your hands are on the floor. If you make it there you're ready for the floor.

This is what I mean for the wedge and the panel mat, but the way I say, you can slowly progress towards the floor.

Hope this helps!
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