How to Keep Arms Straight in Standing Back Handspring

Female Gymnast Doing Back Handspring

As basic gymnastics skills, standing back handsprings get a level "A" difficulty rating in the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique’s Code of Points. In addition to gymnasts, dancers and cheerleaders also frequently perform this move. Keeping your arms straight is part of proper back handspring technique. It helps you get a good block so that you can come back to a standing position or link that back handspring to another skill.

Practice your standing back handsprings with two trained spotters. One spotter should stand on each side of your body, behind you. When you first begin to work on this skill, the spotters should support the majority of your body weight, guiding you slowly through the movement. Concentrate on keeping your arms straight throughout the skill, from the preparation to the finish. As you progress, add more force to your jump backwards so that you do more of the work.

Strengthen your shoulders with springboard exercises. Place your hands flat on the end of the springboard, with your toes on the floor. Your body position should be as if you were going to do a pushup with your hands on the springboard. Keeping your arms and legs straight, move your body up and down. All of the motion should come from your shoulders.

Stretch your shoulders in a bridge. While performing your bridges, concentrate on pushing your shoulders over your hands. This flexibility helps you keep your shoulders open and your arms straight during your standing back handsprings.

Check your eye focus. Often, people turn their heads as they jump backwards, making it difficult to keep proper form. As you jump, look towards your hands and see them reach toward the mat.


Standing back handsprings carry a potential for injury. When you are first learning the skill, work with knowledgeable and trained spotters. Use a surfaces, such as a gymnastics floor or mat, suitable for back handsprings.