How to Do a Back Handspring on a Trampoline?

How to Do a Back Handspring on a Trampoline – Without Being Scared

Before attempting to do a back handspring on a trampoline, it is important to know what a back handspring is, how to execute it properly and the link between the trampoline and overall form required to perfect the technique.

Related: The Safest Trampolines Reviewed

Practice is as important as body alignment and awareness of placement of the limbs during execution. Most gymnastic instructors begin with the basic placement of the head and limbs before the actual execution of a back handspring. Misalignment of the head limbs affects backward propulsion and also revolution of the body.

What are Back Handsprings? 

In essence, a back handspring propels the human body backward with the aid of hands that help revolve the body to an erect forward facing position.

a gymnast doing perfect back handspring movement

The word “handspring” is a clue to the most important part of a back handspring’s technique. Back handsprings are generally part of gymnastic floor exercises or performed on gymnastic equipment like a trampoline, balance beam, uneven parallel bars or pummel horse. How well a back handspring is performed depends on the skill and ability of the performer. (1)

The Steps to Do a Successful Back Handspring 

In order to execute a successful back handspring is it necessary to dissect each part of the motion involved in performing it. A body in motion is referred to as kinesiology.

A handspring is a handstand that propels the body forward or backward. So, to execute a handspring, learn how to find your balance point while in a handstand.

a girl practicing handstand on the beautiful beach

To find your balance point in a handstand or handspring, stand in front of a mirror and draw an imaginary line from the top of your head to your feet.

Then, use the imaginary line whenever you need to balance in handstands or any other type of floor exercise such as a front or back walkover, roundoff, cartwheel or tinsika.

You will find it not only helps maintain body balance but helps avoid motion sickness for those who are sensitive to revolving or backward motion.

Next, take the time to warm up muscles and bones before you begin any form of exercise. For back handsprings, warm up should include deep knee bends keeping the spine straight, swinging arms and legs forward and back and making a circular motion right to left and left to right with the head.

Try using your newly acquired balance point by standing on one leg while swinging the opposite leg and then reverse.

If your legs still feel tight, try sitting on the floor with legs straddled and stretch from the waist over the right leg and then the left while you reach with your fingers to touch your toes. This can be done with knees slightly bent or as the legs feel more flexible, with knees locked.

Learn Your Handsprings Safely 

Gymnastic and acrobatic dance instructors teach forward handsprings first. This helps students to understand the basic form and motion as well as use of limbs.

instructor teaching a baby girl to move back handspring safely

Instructors use a safety mat, “spotters” and a belt with two ropes on either side which is held by spotters to prevent an accident and also to help the student develop a sense of handspring motion.

Some gym instructors use an aerial belt located over a safety mat with two spotters who follow the student as the aerial belt helps them propel themselves forward or backward.

Moving to the Trampoline 

A trampoline by its very nature has strong fabric secured by springs attached to a frame. The frame is usually covered in padding to protect users.

Note that trampolines are sold in different shapes. Some are long, rectangular beds while others may be octagonal or round. It is also important to know the actual size, so you have an idea of how much room you have to do a series of aerial tricks.

children playing on trampolines outdoor

Trampoline users should first assess the amount of buoyancy their particular trampoline has before attempting any acrobatic tricks on it. This also helps to accustom the user to the levels of height they can achieve by simply springing up and down on a trampoline.

If you’ve ever had your elementary school teacher show you how to perform forward and backward rolls on a floor mat, you might want to try these before you graduate to forward or back handsprings, tucks and layouts. Do these crouching type rolls without bouncing on the trampoline at first and then try them with a few jumps.

Moving to the Back Handspring on a Trampoline

To get the idea of tackling the first back handspring on a trampoline, keep in mind that you need a certain level of height in order to get your body to propel and revolve backward in this dual motion.

Keep your arms close to your body and then swing them downward and upward overhead close to your ears as you bend your knees while you gain height with each jump on the trampoline. Practice this until you feel you can thrust your body backward.

little girl doing a nicely back handsrping on trampoline

Once you are able to thrust your body backward using the force of the motion of your arms, you need to keep your body well aligned in midair for balance and your hands ready to meet the trampoline’s floor.

Ideally, you want your landing to be with your knees bent so you can quickly recover to perform the next back handspring successfully.

Success at Last

Once you achieve the first successful back handspring, you might want to create serial tricks such as back handspring to forward handspring. These are quite spectacular to see performed. It assumes you are proficient at forward and back handsprings.

You can also try a single handed or aerial back handspring if you are confident in your technique.

Single handed back handsprings require only one hand to perform. That indicates that you can thrust your body backward with only one hand for propulsion and revolution.

An aerial back handspring requires no hands to complete. However, given that a trampoline acts as a major source of height, aerials are fairly easy to accomplish with practice.

More Fun with Jumping Tricks

To really impress yourself and others, try “doubles” back handspring routines with a partner. This is where achieving skill with single handed back hand springs is helpful. When working with a partner, back handsprings also teach reliance on precision movements and timing for each partner.

Additional solo tricks with back handsprings on a trampoline include adding a false roundoff before the back handspring is executed. It requires two short, preliminary steps forward and then a fast back handspring.

Nothing is as impressive as a well performed series of tricks on a trampoline. As you perfect your back handspring technique, create a series of coordinating tricks. These include:

  • With an aerial tinsika
  • With a back tuck 
  • With a layout
  • With a front tuck finished with a layout

Trampoline with No Age Barriers

If you can bend your knees, you can soar on a trampoline. The motion of the trampoline is similar to the buoyancy experienced when doing swimming pool exercise.

Note that children and adults can perform back handsprings more easily on a trampoline than they can as part of floor exercise. The trampoline is actually an aid to achieving a successful back handspring as well as numerous other acrobatic tricks.

A Fun Hobby

Trampoline use is a lot fun, but it can also be a hobby to share with family and friends. Try offering trampoline challenges to see who can create the most interesting trampoline tricks and routines. This is one way to make the most use of a backyard trampoline rather than sporadic use.

Trampolinists find their trampoline is excellent for maintaining good heart health and physical exercise. Children from four to ten years old can start to use a trampoline that is less than 14 feet in size to learn on or choose a mini trampoline that is about ten to twelve inches in height.

Susan Lee