Backflip tutorial for amateurs (checkpoints to determine if you’re ready)

It has been approximately seven months since I have done a flat ground backflip. I’m a 41-year old father and new business owner and it just doesn’t seem to be a topic that comes up. I know it won’t be forever that I can pull this off, and I still want to try it. So…here goes.

Prerequisites for a flat ground back flip:backflip guy

  1. Remember ***This is far more of a showboating skill than a training movement. Unless you are training to be a gymnast, run from any personal trainer who uses or pushes backflips as part of a training plan to improve strength/speed/power/athleticism etc.

2. You shall not worry about doing a backflip if you don’t want to. So don’t let anyone pressure you into trying it. This is only for those who want to do it and are willing to take on the relatively small risk of learning in a hurry (without years of gymnastic practice).

3. You need to have some degree of air awareness. If you don’t, stay on a trampoline and progress gradually until you are -very- comfortable going backwards and have build some -natural- understanding of where your body is in space.

4. You should not try a flat ground backflip until the trampoline backflip (with minimal spring, lean-in, and no layout) is very easy AND you know that your vertical jump and hip flexion/tuck are sufficient.

5. You need to be able to easily tuck jump over or onto something that’s over belly button height.

6. This tutorial is meant to provide simple, applicable and basic progressions along with some benchmarks to help you easily identify whether or not you are ready for the next step. Don’t listen to me if you don’t want to, or if you know a better way.  I’m only a self-taught physical therapist, not a gymnastics instructor.

That being said…I see nothing like this on the internets. Most of what I see is not really all that helpful or overly technical. Something like

1. Step one, lay down and practice tucking tight, 2. Step two, do a backflip.       —or— long drawn out gymnastic pieces that don’t help you determine what progression you are ready for.

Here is my simple, 6-minute video on everything I know about backflips. One take! Detailed progression but not overly technical!

1 Build general air awareness on the trampoline.

-once you have mastered that…-

2. Practice getting big with hip and trunk extension and then quickly tucking (do this laying on your back and in the air).

-once you have mastered that…-

3. Lean back for a layout backflip on the trampoline where you can easily spot your landing.

-once you have mastered that…-

4. Turn that into a vertical jump and tuck on the trampoline, but with minimal use of the springs.

-once you have mastered that…-

5. Get on the ground and do some plyometric activities to give your body and brain the feel of flat ground.

-once you have mastered that…-

6. Make sure that you can easily tuck jump to about belly button level. You may need to spend weeks or months building total body strength (resistance training) and explosive power (plyometrics).

-once you have mastered that…-

7. Have a soft, graded surface (or small step down) to buy you some space on your first “non trampoline” attempts. Have a spotter if that helps you feel better.

-once you have mastered that…-

8. Go to the flat ground. If you commit, even with poor form, the worst that you will do is bust up your feet or ankles. If you hesitate at the wrong time it could be very bad news and it’s simply not worth it. Go back to the previous steps until you are confident enough to commit.