One of the best parts of having a trampoline is that you can do all sorts of tricks that you might not be able to do regularly. One of the simplest, but scariest, tricks is the backflip. If you would like to learn to backflip, the trampoline is a great tool to start with. Here are some guidelines that will help you avoid injury and complete your first backflip with ease.
1. Increase Your Strength
Most people have trouble doing backflips because of fear; it's hard to voluntarily throw yourself backwards, exposing your head and neck to potential trauma if the flip is incomplete. You can help to avoid injury by making sure you build up your strength before flipping backward through the air. Your strength as you push off the trampoline will result in greater airtime, giving you a longer duration to complete the jump safely. A good exercise for improving backflip jump strength is the deadlift. Deadlifts help develop your legs, core strength, and arm strength. The position you assume when deadlifting weights is nearly identical to the power position you assume to complete a jump-- even a jump where you throw your body backwards.
If you have weak lower body strength, the backflip will be harder for you to complete. Therefore, the trampoline will be your crutch in giving you the air space you need for jump completion. Be sure you are able to jump consistently high and well before attempting to flip. Meanwhile, increase your strength at the gym before you ever attempt the jump without a trampoline to exaggerate your upward momentum.
You can also increase your chances of succeeding with a proper backflip without injuring yourself by doing ab work. During a flip, you need to tuck your legs to help your body move more quickly through the air. This tucking motion requires ab strength, as you pull your legs as close to your chest as possible. Practice this motion at the gym by hanging from a pull-up bar and bringing your legs consistently up to your chest.
2. Increase Your Speed
The other part of avoiding injury is making sure you complete the flipping motion before your body moves back down toward the trampoline surface. You can increase muscle quickness by practicing jumping on solid ground and by doing quick successive jumps that end in a squat, powering from the squat back into the air. These actions will improve the explosive power of your muscles, moving you more quickly through air when you do attempt to flip.
3. Practice and visualize the motion.
Once you have speed and strength on your side, it's time to learn the essentials of the jump:
- Bend at the knees with your back in neutral spine. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart, and you should squat as close to the ground as possible to maximize the potential kinetic energy of your muscles.
- Throw your arms behind you to increase your backward momentum when your feet leave the ground. This essentially winds your body up for the most movement possible when the time for jumping backward comes.
- Initiate the flip. Throw your arms upward and back while at the same time pushing through the balls of your feet as you power backwards. Continue to push against the trampoline until you can use the tension in the surface to help you propel backwards. Your body will fully extend as you power off the surface.
- Tuck your knees to maximize spin speed. Place your hands behind your knees in order to keep the momentum of the flip.
- Land with your feet first, and power up quickly through the balls of the feet, extending the body in the upright position with the knees bent. Landing may take some practice, but just be careful not to lock your knees, as this causes injury. Allow the trampoline to catch you in a bad landing instead of forcing your legs to catch you if they are not in position to do so.
Visualizing the motion of the flip is just as important as executing it; the visual will help you to allay your fears of landing on your head. These steps should help you be well on your way to executing a perfect trampoline backflip.