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Handstand & Walkovers

Handstand & Walkovers

Technique & Drills




Stand in a lunge, arms by the ears.  Reach forward while lifting the back leg up and pushing off the front leg.  From the side, the body should look like a T.  Touch the floor with the hands, head stays between the arms.  Return to a lunge without dropping the arms, keeping the back leg straight throughout.

 Stand beside the gymnast and place 1 hand under the gymnast's lifted knee, the other under her arms to promote the feeling of a letter T.

Donkey kick


Begin in a lunge, arms up, head in.  Reach forward as in teeter-totter to grasp the floor with both hands.  Hop lightly on the front foot, keeping the back leg up and straight, looking at the hands.  Return to a lunge, keeping arms by ears throughout.


Handstand on wall


Begin in a lunge facing the wall.  Kick up to a handstand, hands shoulder distance apart.  Stretch the entire body against the wedge mat on the wall, looking at the hands.  Step down onto the same foot that began in front and return to a lunge position.  In the handstand, stretch through the shoulders and squeeze the belly and rear.  Try not to arch the back at all.


·         Kick up to a handstand with the back resting against the wall.

·         Handstand with stomach on the wall: Stand with the back to the wall, place hands on the floor, and walk the feet up the wall, then walk the hands in so they’re about 3-4” from the wall.  Squeeze all core muscles and try to touch the chin to the mat.  Push up through the shoulders.

Stand beside the gymnast & grasp the hips as s/he kicks up into the handstand.  This helps with learning the feeling of balance on the hands & prevents the gymnast from falling over.

Handstand hold


Begin in a lunge, arms up, weight evenly distributed between the feet.  Shift the weight forward onto the front foot while lifting the back leg and reaching forward and down with the hands, keeping head in.  Focus on hands while kicking up into the handstand, keeping body straight and tight.  Balance with the shoulders over the hands.  Split and step down into a lunge, keeping the same foot in front, arms up.

The handstand should be as tall as possible. The gymnast should be stretching upwards toward the ceiling and staying hollow.


·         Handstand hold with back on wall.

·         Handstand with stomach on wall.

·         Handstand hold with spot.

·         Handstand contests


Handstand into bridge


Begin in lunge, kick up to a handstand.  At the top of the handstand, with legs together and body tall, stretch taller & lean the shoulders back while arching forward over the fingertips, keeping legs straight and tight until the feet contact the floor.  Once feet contact floor, hold bridge position.


·         Handstand hold

·         Handstand to bridge over barrel

·         Handstand to bridge on Tumble Track/trampoline

·         Handstand to bridge on sting mat

Stand to the side of the gymnast.  Place one arm across the gymnast’s lower back to support his/her weight as the back arches.  Sometimes, beginners will bend their arms & tuck their chins to their chests, so you’ll have to catch more weight.

Front limber


Execute a handstand into bridge.  Then, once the feet contact the floor, rock weight over them while pushing off the floor with hands to attain standing position, arms up.  Focus on the hands from the time they touch the floor until attaining standing position at the end.


·         See Handstand into bridge drills

·         Backbend stand up

·         Front limber on wedge mat

Similar to spotting handstand to bridge.  As the gymnast rocks weight over feet to stand up, help him/her lift shoulders while pushing hips forward. 

Front walkover


Begin in a lunge, kick up to a handstand in a split position.  Keeping the legs in a split, arch the back so that the 1st foot contacts floor and push off hands.    Step forward and up with the 2nd foot while pushing with the hands to finish in a stand with 1 foot held up to waist height.  The hips should be pressed forward. Head and arms are the last to come upright.  The key to a front walkover is good shoulder flexibility and proper body positions.


·         Front limber

·         Handstand in split position

·         Standing backbend holding one leg up

Similar to spotting a front limber, except 1 arm will be on the gymnast’s back behind the shoulders, while the other hand will hold up the gymnast’s front leg as s/he stands.

Bridge kickover


From layout position, push up into a bridge with straight arms.  Push the shoulders over the hands while kicking 1 foot over and pushing off the floor with the other foot, body passes through an inverted split position, head in.  Finish in a lunge, arms up.  Focus is on the hands throughout, arms and legs straight.


·         Bridge hold up 1 foot

·         Bridge kickover off panel mat: Start with mat completely folded, hands on floor, feet on the mat. Push up into a bridge, pushing shoulders away from the mat.  Then kick over wit the same technique described above.   Once 1 level of the mat is consistently mastered, open the mat to a lower level.  Progress lower and lower until the skill is mastered on the floor.

·         Bridge kickover down wedge mat

Similar to spotting bridge holding up 1 foot, you will kneel beside the gymnast.  With 1 hand, help push the gymnast’s shoulders over her hands while your other hand will guide the leg over.  Once the gymnast is able to push off the back foot alone, you can start to reposition your hands to form spot, paying special attention to straightening the legs and widening the split.  If you pull up at the waste, that puts extra stress on the lower back, so avoid that if at all possible.

Standing backbend and stand up

Stand with feet about hip distance apart, arms up, focus on hands.  Arch and reach back while pushing the hips slightly forward, feet flat on floor, so that hands contact floor behind the feet.  The gymnast rocks briefly over the hands, keeping the arms straight, then rocks back over the feet while pushing off the hands.  The feet push into the floor while the hips rocks forward, lifting the belly to resume standing.  Focus on hands throughout.


·         Walk hands down and up wall to backbend and stand

·         Backbend on squishy mat or wedge with feet on floor

You can choose to stand either in front of the gymnast or to the gymnast’s side.  If you choose to stand beside the gymnast, place both hands on her back, just under her shoulders to guide her down to the backbend.  If she falls, this position helps you to slow down the fall.  If you choose to stand in front of the gymnast, place one hand on either side of her back, just under the shoulders & guide her down.  Where you choose to stand is a matter of personal preference.

Back walkover


Stand and lift 1 foot, arms up.  Stretch the body up and arch back to touch the hands on the floor.  Push the shoulders over the hands and kick the lifted foot over the hands while pushing the other foot off the floor, passing though an inverted split position.  Once the 1st foot contacts floor, push off hands, and step back to finish in a lunge.  The head stays in throughout.  The key to a back walkover is good shoulder flexibility.


·         Bridge kickover

·         Backbend kickover

·         Back walkover with front foot resting on mat

·         Back walkover with spot

Similar to spotting the bridge kickover.  Stand next to the gymnast with one hand on her back, just under the shoulders, the other hand on her lifted leg.  As she arches back, you will support some degree of her weight on the hand that is on her back, while the other hand will help her lift her leg over.

Back limber

Stand with arms up, legs together or shoulder distance apart.  Stretch up and arch back, pushing the hips slightly forward as hands reach the floor.  Once hands contact the floor behind the feet, rock over the shoulders and push off both feet, passing through handstand position to land on opposite side.  Push off the hands to finish in a straight stand.  Focus on hands throughout, arms and legs straight.


·         Standing backbend

·         Front limber

·         Back walkover

Similar to spotting the back walkover.