two men doing backflips

Parkour Basics: How to Do a Backflip on the Ground

Nearly everybody has seen the awesome parkour videos on YouTube. You might be wondering how you can execute some of these mind-blowing stunts yourself (without causing serious bodily injury, of course). One of the biggest goals of a beginning parkour enthusiast is to learn how to do a backflip on the ground.

The classic backflip, executed from the ground, is one of the standard gymnastics moves, and a must for those getting into parkour. Here are our tips for how to do a backflip on the ground.

Before You Begin: A Word about Safety

We understand that this is a trick you might want to learn on your own, but if you have the means and want to learn proper form and execution, you should consider finding a gymnastics tutor or instructor. If this doesn’t sound like the right move for you, at least have a friend nearby to “spot” you while you’re learning how to do a backflip on the ground.

At the very least, you need to practice on a crash mat – something to soften the blow of your landing; chances are, you’re going to mess up quite a few times before (and even after) you “master” the backflip. It’s also much safer to set a mat up on the grass or another soft area, as opposed to concrete, tile, or other hard surfaces.

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Backflip Fundamentals: Learning the Basics

To learn how to backflip safely and properly, you should first practice rolling forwards and backwards on the ground, using your hands to steady yourself. This is crucial to become comfortable with the feeling of being upside down, as well as building the core strength and momentum you’ll eventually need.

Many beginners find that the help of an inclined mat is necessary to get used to this movement. Have your friend or instructor tell you if you’re rolling in a straight line or veering off to the side.

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Jumping: How to Work on Your “Hops”

The jump is, arguably, the most important part of a solid backflip. After all, if you can’t get enough vertical height under you, you’re most likely going to land on your head; gravity is not your friend.

Research proper jumping technique to get your vertical leap where it needs to be. Once you’ve learned the proper form, you can practice jumping from the ground, or onto a sturdy surface like a box, bed, or even your kitchen counter.

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Practice Your Tucking Motion with a Chin-Up Bar

Chin-up bars are a godsend to those wanting to learn a backflip. Whether you use one at a gym or a home model, make sure it’s located above your head (and obviously, that it’s sturdy and will not fall down under your weight).

To practice the proper motion, simply follow these steps:

  1. Use your newly-improved vertical leap to grab the bar.
  2. Tuck those knees in as close to your chest as you can get them – it’s difficult to resist throwing your head back to accomplish it, but this will ruin your form – don’t do it!
  3. If you’re able to, continue to “roll” all the way back through your arms, landing safely back on your feet.

If you were able to follow these steps all the way through #3, congratulations! You’ve completed the basic motion you’ll be using when doing a backflip from the ground.

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The Trampoline: It’s Time to Bounce!

While you might feel like you’re ready at this point, we still urge you to practice the move on a trampoline before you go about trying it from the ground. This will allow you to execute your backflip from vertical height offered by a much higher bounce than your legs alone will get you.

However, keep in mind that we’re not talking about the average backyard trampolines, which are typically far too small to backflip safely. Go to a gymnastics gym or a dedicated trampoline center.

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Your First Off-the-Ground Backflip: The Big Moment

girl doing a backflip

Alright – the big day has arrived: you’re ready to perform your first backflip on the ground!

First, you need to warm up. Even for young people and those in great shape, backflips take their toll on the body, and it’s easy to strain muscles while performing them. Stretch your ankles, arms, legs, wrists, and even your neck before you begin.

Now, let’s look at how to do a backflip on the ground – for real this time!

  1. Stand firmly on your toes – shoulder-width apart.
  2. Rise up, putting your weight on your toes and stretch your arms into the air, as straight as you can get them.
  3. Bend your knees deeply (90 degrees – a straight line parallel to the ground), then throw your arms backward.
  4. Jump as high in the air as you can muster! Use the backswing of your arms to create your backward momentum. Do not throw your head back with your arms! Resist your body’s natural temptation to arch your back, as well.
  5. When you hit the peak of your vertical leap, tuck your knees into your chest – just like you did with the chin-up bar.
  6. Look for your landing! At the half-way point, your body should be entirely upside-down. Tilt your head back slightly to see where (and how) you’ll use your legs to “stick the landing.”
  7. Untuck your knees, the land firmly on your feet.

You just learned how to do a backflip on the ground!

Wrap-Up Points

If you mastered backflips through our guide, we’re extremely impressed and you should be, too! After all, you went from a parkour beginner all the way to learning how to do a backflip on the ground.

Obviously, it’s going to take practice to learn this trick, but once you do, you’ll amaze not only your friends, but yourself for the discipline and skill you have within you! Best of luck – keep on parkour-ing!

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