tricky back walkovers on beam!

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

Members See FEWER Ads!
Join for FREE!
Not open for further replies.


I am asking this for my level 7 daughter...

I can do my back walkover on beam and 9 times out of ten I can do it with no problem. I don't have a ton of back flexibility, and my coaches tell me to look back when I start the skill to help my spine start to flex....

my question is... how do you do this... how do you teach it to your gymnasts?
any suggestions would be great!


Proud Parent
May 11, 2007
Pacific NW
This was a LONG time ago, but when I was young, my coach always told me to rely on shoulder flexibility more than back flexibililty for back walkover on beam. To do this, it's good to make sure you start with arms as far back as possible behind your head.


Personally, I feel that shoulder flexibility is more important that back flexibility. For backwalkovers on beam--keep shoulders back by ears (try to go behind the head like ZJsMom said) and push yourself tall--extend your hips.

Hopefully this is helpful--this is how I remember doing it, but it's been a while since i've taught anyone to do it.


Nov 12, 2007


The back walkover even though it does requires some degree of flexibility in the back, this should not come from the lower back, which is where most kids will do it. THis is because kids (at 9) still dont have fully mature and developed joints (that collagen which form the connective tissue is begining to set in stone so to speak from about this age)...and so its much easier for them to do it with their lower backs rather then the shoulders (its also a lot less scary)
The reason why its not good to use the lower back is beacause:
1- It will lead to lordosis (which an excessive lordotic curve in the spine as they age = poor posture= BAD! haha)
2- It can lead to serious lower back issues in time. such as spondyliosis (spelling is probably wrong)

The technique for a good backwalkover requires a good strong bridge, that has open hips, and the shoulders are above and preferably over the hands. This means the gymnast has adaquate and beyond shoulder flexibility.
THey need stong hip flexors, and quadriceps.

The techique goes as follows.

From standing up with arms by ears (this is most common technique, so however its not the only one) with the leading leg lifted and held as high as possible (the higher the better) the gymnast reaches and back (initiate this movements through a active opening of the shoulders without! leaning back, or starting to arch) as they lengthen through the spine, when they start to go back they should begin to look back inbetween their thumbs, without leading with the head (always leading with the arms). At the same time as they begin to reach back they need to start to push their hips up (because they are want to stay tall on the supporting leg, rather then sink down in the hips) and forward (to keep the center of gravity over the supporting foot) while the heel on the supporting leg stays against the floor as well as continue to lift leading leg over their head. They should be able to control the going back part by using the hip flexors and quads, from colapsing hard back on the hands. The hands should placed as close to the supporting foot as possible (without relying on the lower back but rather shoulders). As the hands make contact with the floor, the gymanst leading leg should be over the head and the supporting leg pushes of the floor aiding the continuation of the leading leg over the top. The gymnast as this poin passes through the split handstand. From there is just depends how they gymnast has to finish.. either ina lunge, or with two free together to connect a jump or something etc..

I teach it by workin on lots of bridges, bridge kicks, active leg flexibility
Then working back limbers (from 2 feet going back into a bridge), and the standing up. Specific quad and hip strength (coach should know exercise for this).
and finaly spotting them over and over again until the gymnast has learned the technique well, and i can feel that they are ready to do it on their own.

Sorry it a bit long winded explanation but its best i could do at this time.

Hope that help



ChalkBucket Founder
Staff member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
when they start to go back they should begin to look back inbetween their thumbs, without leading with the head (always leading with the arms).

Excellent...I completely agree. With the body fully extended (arms and shoulders up), a gymnast should be able to see the thumbs out of the tops of their eyes. If they can see their whole hand, they either have shoulder angle or the shoulders are not fully extended and the head is whipped back.

I tell my gymnasts, "Stretch tall...arms back...go...and look." It seems to work well. They really don't understand that a fully extended position with the arms up will stop the head from going all the way back. You need to put them into the position so they can feel it.
Last edited:


awesome responses guys! I will make sure she sees this!
She would rather do a back handspring on beam than a back walkover and even is doing back tucks! Just want more tools in the arseonal so to speak!
Thank you for all your advice!


beam walkover.

I have NO back flexiblitly so i found that the placement of my hands helped a lot and the position of my head. For your hands, your thumbs should be side by side touching. It works, trust me. For your eyes, WATCH YOUR HANDS UNTIL THEY HIT THE BEAM, then, watch your feet land. I promsie you it works.
Not open for further replies.