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How To Do A Back Extension Roll [Drills To Help You Improve]

back extension roll

Back exercises are exceptionally engrossing as skills in gymnastics. At the same time, they are just as demanding and difficult. However, a back extension role seems to be an exception from the latter criteria.

For this reason, it is introduced to gymnasts at the primary stage of level four and is then onwards included in their mandatory routine. A back extension mainly consisted of two primary skills; a back roll and a handstand. Before you get on your feet to perform the skill under discussion, make sure you go over the prerequisite skills as well.

To perform a back extension roll, you will need to lift your hands in the air and make sure that your elbows are straight ahead, touching your ears as well.

An important point to make note of at this step is that before you get down to action, your fingers should be bent inwards. If you fail to remember this point, you might lose your direction.

Once you are through with the first step, you are going to need to bend your knees and fall backward on the floor. Be mindful of the fact that you are maintaining the same body posture you had at the beginning.

On the floor, your hands should be above your head and you should be able to use your core strength to give a push to your legs. As soon as your legs are up in the air, use your hands to thrust yourself into a handstand. Conventionally, this is the step most gymnasts have trouble getting through. 

A trivial yet excellent technique to time your handstand perfectly is to keep a strict watch on your toes.

From the handstand to the grand finale of your back extension roll, it is a piece of cake.

Corresponding to a handstand, your legs are going to form a split (this is not mandatory). You may go into a half split and land into a lunge.

Congratulations! You just did a back extension role and I’m extremely proud of you. Now, let us further dive into the depths of how you can improve your level four skill and what are its prerequisites. 

Primary body parts required to perform a back extension roll

To a gymnast, each of their bodies is involved in one skill or the other. Henceforth, they are required to follow a warm-up routine that includes a major role of all their bodies. However, if your current aim is only to perform a decent back extension roll, there are specific muscles you need to pay slightly more attention to.

Your arms, core muscles, and upper legs are what help you go through the entire skill and feel remarkable about yourself.

Had it not been for your core and hip muscles, you would not be able to bring your legs all the way up in the air like a candlestick, to do a back extension roll in the first place.

Similarly, you need to have the great arm strength to immediately go into a handstand. 

Exercises to do at home to improve/learn a back extension roll 

Before we jump into which exercises are necessary to make a ball extension roll easier, let’s rekindle our memory about why exercises are integral in the first place. Being a gymnast myself, I realize that at certain points it is extremely challenging to go all over a warm-up routine when all you can do is think about competing in the Olympics! 

The exercises we are to perform that are associated with each skill allow our bodies to gain more mobility and lose stiffness. In addition to this, they are also responsible for making sure we don’t end up with a snapped ankle or a twisted knee while performing a final skill. 

Having said that, the exercises which will provide your targeted muscles with strengthening are mentioned as follows;

1) Lunges 

They are truly unmatchable when it comes to strengthening leg muscles as they require constant stretching and movement on a gymnast’s limbs. While performing a lunge you are also required to keep your back straight upright, to restrict all movement other than that of your limbs. You may also add resistance to your exercise by using lightweights

2) Kettlebell

Here’s a confession; I’m an extremely huge fan of this particular exercise. The reason behind this is that the impact it brings on your core muscles is exceptionally noteworthy.

It also helps a great deal in performing secondary skills such as the kip.

Kettlebell targets both your core muscles and arms at once.

Nonetheless, if you opt for this exercise, be conscious that you do not end up exhausting yourself to the point that it proves to be detrimental and tiring for your body. 

Some other exercises that you can do at home include; a handstand, planks, and push-ups. 

Drills that you can do at home to improve back extension rolls

As I mentioned earlier, this skill set consists of a bunch of other skills taught to you at the junior level. Practicing those skills as drills can be beneficial to you in numerous ways.

Practicing a handstand against a wall before the actual skill will aid you in timing and in landing your back extension roll as well.

Furthermore, you may also come up with your drills by pinpointing your weak spots and working on them specifically. 

If I speak from personal experience, I would suggest you do dynamic stretching actively as a part of your drill routine. Doing so, helped me gain more momentum in my back extension rolls and I hope it will do the same for you.

Drills that you can do at The gym to improve your back extension rolls 

At a gymnasium, the chances that you will have access to more helpful equipment is higher than at home. Subsequently, you will have a greater margin for you to perform drills that will make the skill easy peasy lemon squeezy! 

As a beginner may bring the use of equipment such as roll-off blocks and wedges. Try and do a back extension roll on the mentioned tools to give your body the form required by the skillset.

As if this wasn’t enough, another plus point of using a roll-off black is that it will keep your body from developing a detrimental posture.

Performing a backward roll can also act as a drill to the skill since it is only an updated version! 

Equipment required for back extension roll

The tools required are mentioned as follows;

  • Lightweights
  • Kettlebells
  • A gymnastics mat
  •  A wedge
  • Other resistance adding material (if required)