A bridge kickover is a beginner gymnastics skill that can be really exciting when you first learn how to do one. It’s one of the first skills a gymnast learns where she is up-side down. It’s also a requirement in the level 2 floor routine. While the bridge kickover is the basis of a back walkover, with a bridge kickover you can either start standing up and lean backwards into a bridge, or start from a bridge on the ground.
In order to learn how to do a bridge kickover, you will need to have the back and shoulder flexibility to do a bridge (learn more about flexibility in gymnasts). In addition to having the flexibility, you will need to have the right muscle strength. I’m going to let you know some exercises to strengthen the muscles you need, along with some drills you can do to help you learn a bridge kickover.
Once you’ve mastered a bridge kickover, get the Bridge Kickover Club Certificate. Click Here to Download
Bridge Kickover Step by Step
Here is a bridge kickover step by step. Excuse any problems in form, this is my beautiful ex-gymnast (by like 7 years!) sister demonstrating.
1. Start in a Bridge: In this step you should be pushing your body forwards toward your shoulders. (In the picture, her shoulders should be more over her wrists.)
2. Kick Your Dominant Leg: The next step in a bridge kickover is to kick your dominant leg off the ground. (In the picture her leg should be straight.)
3. Split Handstand: In the middle of the bridge kickover, you should be in a handstand with your legs in a split. During this step you should be squeezing your legs tight and pushing through your shoulders.
4. Lever out of the handstand: Push through your shoulders in order to control your bridge kickover ending, so you can lever or “T” out of your handstand.
5. Land it: Land your bridge kickover in a lunge. (Sorry I cropped her arms.)
6. Finish the skill.
Muscles You Need for a Bridge Kickover
Core: You need strong core stomach muscles to do a bridge kickover because they are what pull your legs up off the ground.
Arms: You need arm muscles strong enough that they can hold your body up during the middle of the kickover.
Legs: You need some leg strength to kick your leg off the ground in order to kickover.
Exercises You Can Do at Home
Crunches: Crunches are a great exercise to help strengthen the stomach muscles you need for a bridge kickover. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head lightly with your fingertips. Using your core, lift your upper-body slightly off the ground. Lower your upper-body back to the ground to complete the repetition.
Handstand Hold: You can practice holding a handstand to strengthen your arms, for when they have to support you during your bridge kickover. If you can’t hold a handstand very long without support, you can practice them against a wall. 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.
Lunges: Doing some lunges to strengthen your leg muscles will mimic the motion of one leg pushing off the floor to kickover. To do a lunge, stand with your legs together and your hands on your hips (you don’t need to use weights like the girl in the picture). Your back should be straight and you should be looking in front of you. Step one foot forward and bend both legs until your back leg is almost touching the floor and your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Make sure your front knee is above your ankle, and that your back knee doesn’t touch the floor. Stand up and repeat with the other leg.
Bridge Kickover Drills
Bridge Kickover Off a Mat: A helpful way to learn how to do a bridge kickover is to practice them off a mat. Lie on your back next to a folded up panel mat, with your butt close to the edge. Put your feet on the edge of the panel mat and push up into a bridge. Then try to kickover. Once you have learned how to kickover on the raised surface, you can slowly lower the panel mat by un-folding it.
Bridge Kickover Down a Wedge Mat: Another way to practice doing a bridge kickover before you can do it on the floor, is to do it down a wedge mat. Push up into a bridge from lying down on a wedge mat and kickover.
Tools for Learning a Bridge Kickover
Here is some of the gymnastics equipment listed above to help you learn a bridge kickover.
Panel Mat– A panel mat is helpful to do a raised bridge kickover.
Wedge Mat– A great way to learn a bridge kickover is by doing one down a wedge mat.
Having the strength necessary and then practicing the above bridge kickover drills are the important steps to learn how to do a bridge kickover. And after you have learned a bridge kickover you will have learned the basis of a back walkover and be on your way to learning more advanced skills in the future! 🙂