How to Do a Back Walkover

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How to Do a Back Walkover

A back walkover is a skill that usually a gymnast learns twice, once on floor and once on beam. On both floor and beam it can be a scary skill, because it’s usually the first time a gymnast is doing a skill backwards.

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Before learning a back walkover on floor, you should know how to do a bridge kickover. The idea of the skill is very similar, but the mechanics are different.

Before attempting to learn a back walkover on beam, you should have mastered a back walkover on a line on the floor, and then on a low beam.

Muscles You Need for a Back Walkovermuscles you need for a back walkover

Core: Your stomach muscles do most of the work in a back walkover. Your stomach muscles help control your body on the way back to your hands, and they are what help pull your legs over your head.

Arms: You need to have strong enough arm muscles that they can hold you up while you are inverted.

Exercises You Can Do at Home

Handstand Holds: You can practice holding a handstand to strengthen your arms, for when they have to support you during your back walkover. If you can’t hold a handstand very long without support, you can practice them against a wall with a handstand homework mat. You can either do a handstand with your stomach facing the wall, or your stomach facing away from the wall. Make sure to squeeze your core, butt and legs.


Planks: Planks will help you develop the core muscles you need for a back walkover. Start by trying to hold them for 10 seconds at a time, working up to 60 seconds. You can do a plank exercise from either your wrists or your elbows. When you are in the plank position you want to be squeezing your legs, butt and core. Your shoulders should be over your elbows, and your body should be in a straight line from your head to your feet. As you are squeezing all your muscles and maintaining a straight-body position, make sure to breathe!


V-Ups: V-ups are a harder core exercise, but are great for strengthening the muscles you need for a back walkover. The action of lifting your legs off the ground mimics the action of your leg coming off the ground in the beginning of a back walkover. To do a V-up, start lying flat on the floor with your arms over your head and your legs straight and squeezed together. Using your core, pull your legs up at the same time as you pull your upper-body off the floor, making sure to not arch your back. You want your hands to touch your feet. Lower both your upper-body and your legs back to the floor to complete the repetition.


Home Gymnastics

Drills for Learning a Back Walkover

Before you attempt a back walkover, you should be able do a bridge kickover. Check out how to do a bridge kickover for more drill ideas.

Walk Your Hands Down the Wall to a Bridge: Stand between a foot and two feet from the wall, the distance depends how tall you are. Do a back bend by leaning back and walking your hands down the wall. You should end in a bridge with your hands on the floor.

Drills for Learning a Back Walkover on the Beam

Bridge on the Beam: Lie on your back and push up into a bridge on first a low beam, and then a high beam. You should be able to push up into a bridge on the beam before attempting a back walkover.

Handstand on the Beam: Doing a handstand on the beam and landing in a lunge is basically the second half of the back walkover. So you should be able to do a handstand on the beam perfectly before ever attempting a back walkover.

Back Walkover on a Line: Make a line with duct tape on a panel mat. You can practice doing a back walkover on that duct tape line. Make sure your hands are on the duct tape as well as your feet.

Back Walkover on the Low Beam: The next progression for learning a back walkover on the high beam is to be able to do one on the low beam. Make sure you have figured out how to get your hands together on the beam. Some people put their thumbs together in the center of the beam, and use the rest of their hands to grip the beam, while others put the edge of one hand between the thumb and index finger of the other hand.

Tools for Learning a Back Walkover

tools for learning a back walkover

Here are some tools and equipment mentioned above for helping you learn a back walkover on both the floor and beam.

Low BeamA low beam is important for learning how to do a back walkover on the high beam. It’s an important skill progression.

Handstand Homework MatA handstand homework mat is helpful for practicing handstands at home without having to do them against a hard wall. Since the middle of the back walkover is basically a handstand in a split position, it’s important to practice and have mastered handstands.

If you strengthen the muscles you need for a back walkover, and practice the drills listed above, we have confidence that you will soon learn how to do a back walkover. Once you have mastered a back walkover on floor, it just takes a couple of tweaks and lots more practice before you can learn a back walkover on beam.

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27 comments… add one
  • Rachel February 17, 2017, 2:14 pm

    O.o IM a quick learner but….whats the difference between a kickover and a walkover?

    • Coachkathy March 20, 2017, 9:12 am

      The difference between a kick over and a walkover is a kick over you are in a bridge and kick over. One leg at a time . In the walk over you are in a standing position go into bridge with one leg going up and over in motion at same time you go into bridge and complete in a lunge position( both feet are now over ) Also known as movement hand hand foot foot = Back walk over. Kick over = hands foot foot

    • Carolyn April 28, 2022, 8:48 pm

      I can’t do itt

  • Naomi March 18, 2017, 1:26 pm

    When you do a back kickover, you have to stop then kick over. In a back walkover, you don’t stop at all until the skill is done.

  • Katherine June 6, 2017, 6:12 pm

    I can do my back walkovers on the beam perfectly when a coach is there “spotting” me. But, when they leave, I cannot do them. How do I get over the fear of doing them by myself on the high beam.

    • Mandy March 16, 2018, 2:49 pm

      I can do a back walkover with one of my legs in front of the other and kickover without stopping,but then when I put my leg up and do it the normal way I fall down.So how do I do a backbend with my leg up?

      • lilllllli May 20, 2019, 10:59 am

        hello i can do a walkover thouhg

    • Emma January 7, 2021, 5:24 pm

      Practice!!! If you can do it with your coach spotting you, you can do it!!! I started just like you! The advice my coach gave me was to go on the beginner beam, the one that doesn’t have any bars on it that the little kids use (lol) It might be weird, but I had the coach gradually spot me less until she wasn’t even touching me. Then, I would do it and slowly work my way up to the regular high-ish beam. I hope it helped!!!!!!!

  • Mikaila June 12, 2017, 6:20 pm

    Stay calm imagine your coach is right there spotting you take a deep breath and then go. You are an amazing gymnast you can do it.

  • Amenah Seddik July 21, 2017, 7:47 am

    I can do it but the problem is I can’t do a bridge with one leg

  • Makaya November 12, 2017, 10:03 pm

    For school I have to do a how to project so I went on line I looke up equipment for back walk over I found gymnastics Matt and a beam and it work and I got a hundred on my project.

  • Susan April 18, 2018, 9:29 am

    Our daughter is 9 years old and started gymnastics about 6 months ago.. She really loves the sport and wants to compete, we have her in group lessons twice a week…..But I was wondering should we have her in one group lesson and maybe add a private lesson?

  • raegen April 21, 2018, 9:17 am

    thanks for this I think it can help me

    • gymnasticshq March 30, 2019, 6:42 pm

      That’s great to hear Raegen!

  • Anna March 17, 2019, 9:27 pm

    I have been learning a backwalkover on beam, and I can do it fine when my coach spots me and I have done it by myself before, does anyone have some tips for getting over my fear.

    • gymnasticshq March 30, 2019, 6:42 pm

      Anna, practice doing the skill in your mind. See yourself doing your back walkover by yourself on beam over and over. The more you can believe it, the easier it will be to get on your own. Plus, practice makes perfect!

  • gymnastics queen December 10, 2019, 6:06 pm

    what if you do not have a balance beam what do you do then?

  • Gymnastics Forever January 7, 2020, 6:46 pm

    Then, make a diy beam by placing duct tape on your basement floor. Or if your parents allow you to draw a diy beam with marker on you mat, do that. Or, use chalk or marker to draw a beam on the sidewalk but be prepared for very serious injuries.

  • Kate schreir July 4, 2020, 3:33 pm

    I have tried doing a back walk over but I am hitting the ground too hard and it hurts my hands and arms, also it is hard to keep my legs straight when going backwards any tips?

    • Riley October 9, 2020, 9:57 am

      so you probably are going to fast or you don’t have enough flexibility in your back. Practice going slower it might help

  • jessy July 27, 2020, 3:18 pm

    what i do is i fall to bridge with my leg up onto a higher surface so i have less of a fall and go lower and lower until i feel comfortable to do it on the ground

  • Saniyah February 12, 2021, 8:19 pm

    Hello I’ve been trying to learn my backhand spring and back walkover but I can’t seem to get it so you have any tips

  • Catherine March 6, 2021, 10:13 pm

    I keep falling when I do my back walkover now but I was doing it perfectly before

  • Jada Orendorff April 1, 2021, 9:34 am

    I have a fear of going backwards with one leg. Help!

  • izzy October 6, 2021, 8:53 pm

    I’m having a hard time doing this and cheerleading tryouts are next week please get back to me soon.

  • Brooklyn October 19, 2021, 10:10 am

    I’m trying to get my back handspring and this is the prefect building block to help me

  • Brielle Foutz February 28, 2022, 12:40 pm

    I practiced bending my hands back onto blankets. That way I would have a soft landing, be able to do it, and not have to go down as far. It worked really well. STRETCH YOUR WRISTS THO!!!!! I can not explain how important this step is. If you go down without stretching your wrists, It WILL hurt. Trust me <3


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