How to Back Handspring | Cheerleading Stunts

How to Back Handspring

As you are learning how to complete a back handspring it is important to always warm up and use a spotter. When you have learned the technique and how to transfer energy through your body you can remove the spotter. Until then play it safe, and make sure someone trained is there to help you.



The starting position for a back handspring is simple. A cheerleader must begin with their feet near shoulder width apart, arms at a comfortable position down by their sides, and their head looking forward. They must remember to have a slight bend in their knees to begin the back handspring. The first movement of the back handspring is generally the most important. A cheerleader has a split second to build enough momentum to thrust their body back onto their hands and then again onto their feet. With slightly bent knees, like sitting in a chair, they must swing their arms down past their knees and back up again. This will help force energy through the legs into the mat and back through their body. The amount of energy forced down through the body will enable their muscles to fire. This pre-stunt stimulation will give them more power to complete the back handspring. As cheerleader's hands reach near face level they then must begin moving backwards. 

Moving into the Back Handspring Jump

Now that the cheerleader has transferred energy through their body with an arm swing, they must jump as their hands pass face level. The key to the jump is to jump backwards. The intention should be to jump backwards and try to find the mat with their hands. They must not jump up, or throw their knees forward. They must jump backwards as their arms pass their face. When their hands reach the mat, they must then push through their shoulders and into their hands to propel their body around to their feet. The arm push is essential to move their body over onto their feet.

Common Mistakes of the Back Handspring

A common mistake when completing a back handspring is a cheerleader throwing theirknees straight instead of back. This causes the cheerleader to flip in one place, often landing on their knees. Cheerleaders must jump and cover ground backwards.

Another form of this mistake is the cheerleader will jump straight up. Again this will cause the cheerleader to cover zero ground backwards and more often than not, land on their knees. 

One of the biggest mistakes cheerleaders often make is not their own fault. A weak upper body can cause cheerleaders to sink in their arms when they reach the upside down position. This "sink" will cause the cheerleader to lose momentum through their shoulders and again land on their knees. At this position a cheerleader is supposed to push through the mat with the upper body and propel onto their feet. With a weak upper body this is near impossible. A small drill cheerleaders can complete to help with this is simple. First they must begin in the handstand position. The cheerleader should then work to sink into their shoulders and then push through the mat landing on their feet. This method is similar to a handstand push-up without the depth of the push-up. Cheerleaders should complete this drill 12 to 15 reps, for 3 sets, 3 times a week until their upper body is strong enough to complete a back handspring.  


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