How to Do a Back Walkover in 5 Simple Steps

Caucasian businessman doing handstand
Eric Raptosh Photography / Getty Images
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Back Walkover Drill: Bridge with Leg Up

A gymnast doing a bridge with one leg up

Paula Tribble

Can you do a solid bridge stretch? Then you're ready to start working on a back walkover. The first step:

  • Push up to a bridge, and lift one leg as high as you can.
  • Work up to a position where you can lift your leg so it points straight up to the ceiling. This helps you learn how to balance with your hands and only one leg, and improves your flexibility, too.
  • Be sure to practice lifting each of your legs. Though you will most likely do a back walkover with the same leg supporting you each time, it's still helpful to be able to do this drill on both legs.
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Backbend Kickover

gymnasts practice backbends from standing with assistance

Paula Tribble

The next step is to try a back bend kickover over a barrel mat or with a spotter:

  • Start standing up, with your arms stretched over your head.
  • Arch back slowly, using the barrel mat or a spotter to support your back.
  • Continue to arch back until you reach a bridge position. That was the backbend.
  • Now you'll start the kickover. Push off with both legs at the same time, so your weight shifts to your hands.
  • Use the barrel mat or have your spotter help you kick your legs all the way up until you reach a handstand position.
  • Then step down one leg at a time into a lunge, as you would from a handstand.

When both you and your coach feel that you're ready, try the backbend kickover without a spotter or the barrel.

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Back Walkover With a Spot

Gymnast doing a back walkover with a spot

Paula Tribble

Once you can comfortably do a back bend kick over, you're ready to try a real back walk over with a spotter. Here's how to do it:

  • Start standing with your arms stretched over your head, and one leg (whichever one you prefer) held straight out. You can also start with both feet on the ground, and one leg slightly in front of the other.
  • Now arch back, keeping your weight on only one leg, until your hands make contact with the ground.
  • Push off your leg and shift your weight to your hands. You'll reach a handstand position, and your legs will be split.
  • Step down into a lunge position from the handstand.
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Back Walkover with a Barrel Mat

Gymnast doing a back walkover: back walkover with a barrel mat

Paula Tribble

You may also want to try your back walkover using a barrel mat instead of a spotter. The steps are essentially the same. You arch over the barrel mat then use it to help support your back while you kick over the top.

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Back Walkover by Yourself

Gymnast doing a a back walkover without a spotter

Paula Tribble

When you and your coach decide that you're ready, try a back walkover without a spot or barrel.

Be sure to keep good form without -- keep your toes pointed and legs straight when they aren't being used to push off the ground.