Back Handspring FAQ


Back handsprings (BHS) are one of the signature and most essential skills of gymnastics, and the goal of nearly every beginner cheerleader. While it is considered a basic skill, a BHS takes longer than any other gymnastics skill to learn (kips on bars being a distant second). More research has been done on the optimal back handspring technique than any other skill, and even Olympic gymnasts are continually attempting to refine it. Why? Because a back handspring is the ultimate combination of strength, flexibility, coordination, body awareness, and confidence.

How long will it take my child to learn a back handspring?

First, there is no guarantee that the tumbler ever will; if they are missing even one of the above elements, they will never be able to perform a back handspring correctly and safely. However, assuming the tumbler has sufficient strength, flexibility, coordination, body awareness; does not develop a fear of the skill; and attends classes on a consistent basis, the general guideline is that they will start doing a standing back handspring on trampoline in about 20-30 classes after moving to Beginner II tumbling classes, standing back handspring on floor in about 40 weeks after moving up to Beginner II tumbling. 

Essential skills to learn a back handspring

Doing vs. Mastering

Please remember that there is a difference between doing a back handspring and doing a back handspring correctly. that being able to do a back handspring on the trampoline or spring floor means the tumbler is ready to do it on a cheer floor. If the cheerleader or gymnast wishes to connect additional skills (multiple back handsprings, back tucks, layouts, etc.), perfecting the back handspring is essential and time-consuming. And just because a tumbler is able to do a standing back handspring does not mean that they are ready to start working round-off back handsprings. A proper tumbling coach should make certain that the hurdle and roundoff are performed correctly and consistently before adding a back handspring. If either of these preceding skills is incorrect, the participant risks catastrophic injury.

Special note about round-off back tucks:

It is not recommended to start working round-off back tucks until the tumbler has perfected a round-off to 2 back handsprings. Because the roundoff's mechanics and landing position is different if the tumbler is performing a back handspring or back tuck afterwards, it often confuses the tumbler to continually switch between the two combinations. If he/she begins working on roundoff back tucks prior to mastering multiple back handpsrings, the tumbler often has two options: