Become Superhuman – Learn How to Backflip in Less than Thirty Minutes

The backflip is a whore. It's appealing until you find out how easy it is to take advantage of. And if you're dilligent, the whole “taking advantage of” thing won't take longer than thirty minutes of solid practice.

You don't need a massive vertical jump. You don't need freak strength. You just need technical knowledge, friends, and cojones.

So take some action. Your path to superhuman awaits.

TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE

Before you think about flipping end over end, have a mental plan. Know the technical aspects of the backflip. Study this tutorial from Jujimufu. Understand the move from every angle possible.

It isn't about jumping backwards, I can tell you that. Don't do that unless you're looking for a disability check in the mail.

Memorize the technique and  visualize yourself performing it perfectly. Onward.

FRIENDS

Find two able body friends. Disinterested Mothers and Fathers aren't ideal. Not only aren't they the strongest candidates, but they also aren't big fans of perceived potential neck breaking activities. (Even though the backflip is rather safe, especially when using this technique.)

So get two people that are strong enough to carry you. And then teach them how to backflip. Force them to read the tutorial. Discuss it over coffee. They are your safe net. It's your responsibility to get people you know and trust to help you do this safely.

COJONES

With backflips, there are no prerequisite fear abolishers. It's kind of a “just do it” move.

Using a spotter is a great idea. But even then, you still have to muster the courage to chuck the flip. Luckily, I have a fool proof method that will have you flipping within a half hour using your two volunteer friends. They take away the fear, which is why this technique is so effective.

STEP ONE

Have a spotter on each side—one to the left, one to the right. Have them put one hand on your lower back and the other on your hamstrings. From here, have them lift you up so that your legs don't touch the ground. (It looks like you’re sitting in a chair.)

None of your body is touching the ground, which why you need strong spotters.

Extend your hands over your head. Have the spotters lean your body back so that your hands touch the ground, and once they do, tell them to throw your legs over your head.

This is an extremely spotted back handspring — not ideal, but it gets you familiar with the feeling of going backwards.

Repeat this  step until you're comfortable with the process — it shouldn't feel “scary.”

STEP TWO

Add a small dip and jump to the processes of Step One.

Have the spotters latched onto your lower back and hamstrings at all times. But instead of having them lift and toss you, provide a little leg push from the ground as you extend your arms up and over your head.

The spotters still end up supporting you in mid air and tossing your legs over your head.

Keep your arms extended above your head during the entire movement to support against the ground if needed.

STEP THREE

Step three is the same as two, except with more leg drive.

Instead of keeping the arms extended above your head, swing them down and up with your jump. (Last step was all leg push, this step integrates arms into the jump.)

Again, spotters cradle the entire movement and essentially “hold” you. There's no need for fear.

Because you're using more leg drive, you'll get more height. Stop putting your hands on the ground during this step.  So after they swing up for the jump, keep them near your head for personal peace of mind. But after realizing you're no where near landing on your head, try to make the movement smoother.

Abandoning the arms teaches you to jump up and not back. Using the hands at first is fine for the fear. But the backflip is a jump up in the air. So getting into the jump back habit isn't good. The earlier you ditch it, the better off you are.

STEP FOUR

More jump and more arm swing. Focus on jumping up and actively tucking your legs to your chest on the flip. Don’t use, or even think about using, your hands for support. Don’t use them for “protection.”

If your spotters made it this far, you're not going to land on your head. They still cradle the entire movement.

Swing your arms down, swing them back up, jump up, and tuck our knees to your chest.

STEP FIVE

The spotters remain, but their role decreases. They still support your lower back and hamstrings, but they should only flip your legs over your head after you initiate the jump and flip.

You really want to focus on doing the flip yourself.

Dip, swing your arms down (warn your spotters that you'll likely hit their arms), and jump in the air. You should be landing your flip, and your friends should be helping less and less with every go.

STEP SIX

From a physical standpoint, your spotters are ghosts. Their arms are only contacting your body to give you a mental edge. They are spotting still, yes, but only if you decide to bail mid-flip.

Groove some backflips. When you stick them consistently, have your spotters remove the constant contact on your hamstrings. The lower back support stays.

Your spotters should help flip your legs over if needed, but the goal of this stage is to remove one of the physical contacts.

STEP SEVEN

Remove one spotter.

The remaining spotter keeps a hand on your lower back throughout the movement. The other spotter will be there, but with no body contact, helping only if needed.

STEP EIGHT

Both spotters will spot, but neither has pre-takeoff contact with your body.

STEP NINE

Remove one spotter completely. Keep the other on whichever side is most comfortable without pre-takeoff contact.

STEP TEN

Remove both spotters.

You are now free.

CONCLUSION

There's something comforting and calming when both your lower back and hamstrings are supported with a spotter. It's a safety net that mentally signifies someone being there to catch you. And with two people, it makes it much safer.

And if that isn't convincing enough, here's a silly video of myself from years ago landing one of my first backflips:

So what do YOU say? Are you going to try it? Do you have the friends? The cojones?

Are you going to take one step closer to superhuman?

I'd love to hear what you think, so drop some questions below.

Photo Credit: Mitch Lee of Fresh Fox Apparel

 

Trying to lose fat, build muscle, and build a body you’re proud of?

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You’re capable of more than know.

You just have to open your eyes.

My weekly column can help.

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Unless I’m hungover.

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What I’m trying to say is that it’ll come Monday.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Andy April 13, 2012, 3:51 am

    Man, this is too true.

    I delayed on learning the back flip for years when I was a kid because somebody had convinced me that I needed to master the back handspring first. I never did get a clean handspring (which is much more technical IMO), but when I finally tried the flip… yeah, about 30 minutes.

    Spotters are good. Cajones are requisite. And Juji’s tutorial is a great way to learn the technique.

    • Anthony April 15, 2012, 3:23 am

      I agree. I never enjoyed back handsprings. Much tougher, IMO.

  • Daluke April 13, 2012, 4:10 am

    I’m game; just point me to the nearest Rent-A-Friend!

    🙂

    • Anthony April 15, 2012, 3:22 am

      Hah, Craigslist that up!

  • Keith April 13, 2012, 9:47 am

    Great tutorial Anthony. I did my first backflip in a Teaching Gymnastics class in college and vowed to be able to do one until I am 50 years old. I’m 32 and it’s still a great party trick 😉 good stuff as always!

    • Anthony April 15, 2012, 3:22 am

      That’s awesome Keith! I vowed to stop tricking at parties after an incident at a wedding and being overly intoxicated. But more power to you! And glad to hear from you. Welcome to my little home 🙂

      • Keith April 16, 2012, 1:46 am

        haha! Oh I’ve definitely been injured at a wedding before, but when you stick and the drunken crowd erupts, it’s well worth it to keep trying.

        • Anthony April 19, 2012, 12:51 pm

          Yeah. Never had that moment of glory yet, I suppose.

  • Manuel April 13, 2012, 10:24 am

    Good reading, this article helped a friend of mine figuring it out.
    Thanks for your devotion Anthony!

    • Anthony April 15, 2012, 3:21 am

      Thank Manuel. Always great to hear from you.

  • Martin K April 13, 2012, 11:12 am

    Awesome! More like this please…

    • Anthony April 15, 2012, 3:21 am

      Sure thing Martin, glad to see your comment and nice to have you around!

  • Josh T. April 13, 2012, 12:02 pm

    Anthony,

    I appreciate you writing this up. Its somewhat different from how I teach them, but this would definitely help with people who bail mid flip. Will definitely use this with those people in the future. May also try to get extra credit using this method!

    When you first did one, did you go crazy afterwards and throw a whole bunch? I know when I learned almost two years ago the two days after I learned I probably through around 40 backflips each day. Then I came face to face with the fact that backflips can cause some serious ab soreness, so I toned it down a little bit haha.

    • Anthony April 15, 2012, 3:21 am

      Yeah. Abs MAJORLY sore. Very common and very painful. I remember how discomforting it was. It sucks to a point to because it prevents you from practicing them for a while.

  • yannick noah April 13, 2012, 6:01 pm

    being able to perform a backflip was not in my list of goals, but seriously i feel like putting it in my list now! It is really fun and interesting to learn something new like this and to me at least, it is definitely outside my usual box. cool post man

    • Anthony April 15, 2012, 3:20 am

      Outside of the box is right. Like I said, it opens up a door of possibilities. Great experience.

  • Andrea Rodolfo Nadia April 13, 2012, 8:12 pm

    That was roughly the progression I used to learn my backflip.
    I didn’t have the guts to try it with only one spotter, so I started with two.

    From my first spotted try, landing one on my own (November 17th 2011) took almost 20 training sessions, spanned between 4 months. When it happened, I felt awesome and super-capable, but actually, the fact that it took me so long to learn it (when many people do it in a day) and that it still looks like shit despite having trained it regularly from then, really shows how miserable I am as a trickster. 😀

    • Anthony April 15, 2012, 3:20 am

      Well, don’t get down on yourself. Tricking is tough. It took me over a year to learn how to 540. Stick with it and good things happen!

  • Bennett April 13, 2012, 9:33 pm

    Well, now I’ve got incentive to find a couple of adventurous friends. By the time I’ve accomplished that, we’ll find out how my cojones are faring.

    But I am game to try!

    • Anthony April 15, 2012, 3:19 am

      Hah! Find friends and cojones. It’s worth it. It’s almost like a spiritual experience.

      • Bennett April 15, 2012, 5:22 am

        Funny you say that–I’ve found that going to church helps with both. 😉

  • Phil Isabella June 6, 2012, 3:31 pm

    Definitely having a clear visual of landing a backflip was key for me. Also, after getting the backflip, I could understand the handspring. But, I never even attempted to land a handspring first. So the reverse order works much better if you really wanted a handspring to add the arsenal. Some helpers for height – If you were to put your hands straight up in the air and visualize this in the air, you will land a good backflip (this with the rest of the flip being done correctly.) If you try to add more reach while in the air (hands are now behind the head after leaving your feet), you will see more height. I also got some awesome one footed landings by reaching after elevating off the ground. Gets easier with practice. As noted, your abs take a beating, but you also know it is being done correctly. Perfection with pain..

  • david June 11, 2012, 4:18 pm

    Very good. I got my first back flip at work after a bit of goading from a friend. 30 minutes is about right. The hardest part is the first try. Once you realize that it’s easy to get at least far enough around to land on your knees, so that it’s almost impossible to land on your head and die, the fear goes away.

    • Anthony June 12, 2012, 3:13 am

      Yeah, it’s difficult to land on your head. The body is smarter than people give it credit for.

  • Oli July 20, 2012, 11:09 pm

    In all fairness, the first person to ever do a backflip taught himself. Therefore, learning it can’t be that hard, its the fear that gets it the way.

    • Anthony July 21, 2012, 8:26 pm

      Hah, awesome. The fear is the limiter.

  • bboy Pj February 5, 2013, 12:13 pm

    that wass grreeaat………..It reallly helped not only th tutorials but allso the comments too helped me to overcome fear

    • Anthony February 6, 2013, 2:15 am

      Nice.

  • anthony hess February 13, 2013, 3:15 am

    I want to lern how to do a backflip but i dont have friends and hard to do it without anothet person their … It sucks i want to learn it badly

    • Anthony February 13, 2013, 8:40 pm

      Find a local gymnastics gym. They’ll help.

  • Narek June 5, 2013, 10:34 am

    I didn’t have the friends, but cojones are enough. Put some mats down landed on my head a few times and kneed myself a few times. Then after landing on my knees fear was gone. It’s day 2 and I’m very sore 🙁

    • Anthony June 6, 2013, 5:00 pm

      Landing on the head is never fun.

      • Narek June 9, 2013, 5:05 pm

        Well it motivated me, because it made me angry. I have moved on to sand and was able to land a few. Is back pain/soreness normal?

        • Anthony June 10, 2013, 3:19 pm

          No, back pain isn’t. Ab pain, however, is.

  • peter July 1, 2013, 10:13 pm

    i am learning. But í promise to flip this month

    • Anthony July 2, 2013, 2:49 pm

      Nice.

  • Addison Zhou August 24, 2013, 7:17 pm

    Awesome tutorial! I will be trying this with a couple of friends very soon. One question though: In the first steps, where your friends just throw your feet over backward, how high should they carry you? Should they simulate the actual height of the backflip or should they just go progressively higher throughout the steps?

    • Anthony August 26, 2013, 8:29 pm

      It will get progressively higher. You’ll only be as high as you will be during the flip when you actually start jumping. All others will be rather low.

  • Stephen October 18, 2013, 3:13 pm

    Hey, i was a very good gymnast, my backflip was way higher than my friend’s,bt over d holiday i didn’t practice and neither did they.when we got together to practice some of our gymnastics, i found out that i was lower than ever,i landed face flat on d ground even from a high platform…ur post should work 4 me

    • Anthony October 22, 2013, 2:44 pm

      Practice is good.

  • Bechara November 12, 2013, 4:36 am

    From the video, you are one TALL mofo!

    Two, the tutorial link for Jujimufu is broken, if you could point in the right direction it would be appreciated!

    Looks like its going to be a fun thing to do on the weekend with some mates!

    Thanks for the lesson 🙂

    • Addison Zhou November 13, 2013, 1:31 am

      Hey, trickstutorials.com has been down for a while, but if you just add “.php” to the end of a page you can still access it. Try http://www.trickstutorials.com/content/t_backflip.php.
      The backflip tutorial video should be on YouTube, just search it up.

      • Anthony November 13, 2013, 6:46 pm

        Indeedy, Juji posted that hack recently.

  • Farhat January 11, 2014, 9:49 am

    super!! tutorial ,, helps me a lot, thanx..

    • Anthony January 11, 2014, 4:28 pm

      Welcome. Thanks for reading.

  • Josh February 7, 2014, 11:38 am

    ok im almost 32. I have dreamed ( literally. My girlfriend makes fun of me for it) of doing tricks and back flips. im 6 foot 2 and about 210. I have a great martial arts back ground but never did anything beyond basic jumping spin kicks. how hard do you think it is for someone a little older like myself?

    • Anthony February 7, 2014, 4:55 pm

      Obviously harder than someone who is 16, but not impossible. Used to be an older gent in his 40’s-50’s that got into it years ago. A lot of tricksters now are on the older side heh, since we got into it long ago.

  • Eric Taylor April 15, 2014, 9:47 pm

    Im really afraid to even try because Im 13, 5’6 and weigh 160 pounds. What do I do?

    • Anthony April 18, 2014, 4:32 pm

      height and weight have nothing to do with it. find both spotters and do the sequence.

  • dave September 10, 2014, 3:27 pm

    Clicking on the link “Study this tutorial from Jujimufu” produces a 404 error message

    • Anthony September 11, 2014, 8:58 pm

      That’s the problem with linking to off site content. I have no control over his website, but I do know the cheat code: add .php to the end of the URL.

  • joe June 27, 2015, 3:17 pm

    Hey im 6′ and 185 I dont know if I can jump high enough

    • Anthony July 17, 2015, 12:03 am

      You don’t need to jump very high in order to backflip. You just need to jump UP.

  • Mitchell July 9, 2015, 5:46 pm

    Im kinda mad at myself haha… I have backflipped already and nearly landed them, so i know i can get around but i just cant get myself to do it again. Any way to get over the fear?

    • Anthony July 17, 2015, 12:19 am

      Spotters.

  • Diego Ewuzie July 15, 2015, 1:01 am

    I can do backflip but I wanna learn how to frontflip.

    • Anthony July 17, 2015, 12:08 am

      I can’t front flip, so I can’t help you there.

  • Katelyn January 13, 2016, 3:25 am

    I threw my back handspring and landed it and kept doing it at practice and a little after I got home my lower back started to hurt. I don’t know if it was just because it was doing something new that I am not completely used to doing yet or what. It just hurts to bend my back, maybe I pulled muscles?

    • Anthony February 7, 2016, 1:26 pm

      Maybe a lot of things happened. I can’t tell from this side of the screen, sorry.