How To Do A Back Walkover [Steps And Exercises To Help You Improve]
To say I am pumped to write about this topic would be an understatement. A back walkover used to be one of the skills I abhorred. As a young gymnast, I would always think if I was hired as the SEO of gymnastics, I would ban back walkovers!
It may seem hilarious to you at this point but to me, back walkovers were an arch-nemesis. That was the case until one fine morning I tried to perform a back walkover one last time and surprisingly succeed.
From then onwards, back walkovers are my most favourite skills to perform and teach. Therefore, trust me when I say, back walkovers are one of the most thrilling skills in gymnastics, the trick is just to get them right. I am going to try and deliver to you the method of performing a back walkover as best and easiest as I can.
What is a back walkover?
If broken down, a back walkover is a combination of several other skills. Likely, you have already learned these skills at prior levels.
Most importantly, the skills you need to be aware of and have command over are a backbend, bridge, etc.
Nonetheless, even if that is not the case, there is nothing you have to worry about. With just a little more practice than is required you will be good to go. I would also advise instead of investing your time in trying to perform a decent back walkover straight away, you take a step back and master the pre-required skills.
I know, you may feel as if moving backward is confining you from learning, but the truth is quite contrary.
Proper Steps On Doing a back walkover?
To do a back walkover, you are going to need to assume the position of a backbend and maintain it. Once you are done with the first step, try and move your less dominant leg closer to your hands (while staying in the same position).
Afterward, you are going to need to point your lead leg a little forward (away from your head and hands) in a manner that it is pointing.
Use your lead leg to push against the ground and bring your leg up to midair. Your other leg should follow right afterward.
At this point, your legs should be in a position that is almost identical to a split. To make it easier for yourself, start lifting your head when your dominant leg is almost across to the other side. Make a perfect landing by putting your lead leg on the ground followed by your back leg. Once you are on the ground, raise your hands in the air again but slightly leaning forward with one of your legs somewhat bent. You did it!
If you are a beginner, the best way to go about doing a back walkover is to start practicing it repetitively on the floor till there are no obstacles left standing in your way. Once you are satisfied with your performance, move a step ahead and start practicing the same skill according to the steps mentioned over a beam.
If you are planning to compete at higher gymnastics levels, being able to perform a back walkover on a beam is going to help you score better at multiple stages.
Primary body parts required to perform a back walkover
Before I begin to tutor you about the muscles that are most needed, I believe it is necessary to remind a gymnast to take excellent care of her entire body.
As a gymnast myself, I would often forget to take proper care of my body and only realize it once it was too late.
Henceforth, I speak from experience when I put to words the importance of keeping yourself well-fed and hydrated.
Moreover, your upper limbs, core muscles, and legs are the body parts most actively involved in helping you perform a back walkover. Once you assume the posture of a backbend, the entirety of your body weight automatically shifts to your arms and shoulders.
To maintain that particular posture, your arms play a significant role. Not too different in the case of the other two muscles that help you selflessly from the start of the performance to the very end.
Exercises to strengthen the required muscles
If you are a gymnast, you would know the importance of having to warm up before starting with your gymnastics routine. Correspondingly, exercises that make your muscles (of requirement) should be a crucial part of your routine.
As far as a back walkover is concerned, the exercise most reliable and renowned is considered to be a handstand.
It plays its part as an all-rounder, with the inclusion of almost all the skills that are needed for a back walkover.
Therefore, it also brings your arms and legs into the right shape necessary. Once you are through with doing a handstand, upgrade to trying to hold it for a certain period.
Other exercises that you should try doing to build up your muscles (especially arms) are planks, v ups, and ledges.
Drills to perform before doing a back walkover
As I mentioned before, back walkover is an amalgamation of a couple of other comparatively basic skills in gymnastics. I would strongly suggest you draw a drill routine consisting of all those skills as best as you can suit yourself.
Additionally, attempting to do a bridge walkover or a handstand next to a wall helps A LOT more than one would imagine.
P.s. The drills for doing a back walkover on a beam are not too contrasting from the ones that need to be performed on the floor. A few examples of these are; bridge on the beam and a handstand on the beam.