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How to Do a Bridge Kickover

by sorin ciovica on May 31, 2024

A bridge kickover is a type of backbend often performed in gymnastics and cheerleading. It involves getting into a backbend and then using momentum to kick your legs over your body and land on your feet. This move can be challenging for beginner gymnasts, but with the right preparation and practice, you can master it. Always remember to have a spotter when practicing gymnastics to ensure your safety. Use a soft mat or AirTrack Mat to prevent injury. 

1: Warming Up

1. Perform Simple Stretches

Before attempting a backbend or bridge kickover, it's essential to warm up properly to avoid injuries.

  • Stretch your arms, neck, shoulders, back, hips, and legs. Hold each stretch for at least 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Avoid overstretching. You can injure yourself by pushing a stretch too far.

2. Practice the Cobra Pose

The Cobra pose is a yoga position that helps increase back flexibility.

  • Lie face-down with your hands under your shoulders.
  • Push your upper body off the floor, keeping your legs and hips grounded.
  • Stretch as far as you comfortably can without causing lower back pain.

Beginners might find it hard to extend their arms fully, but regular practice will improve your flexibility over time.

3. Perform the See-Saw Move

This exercise gently stretches your back.

  • Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs straight.
  • Reach your arms back towards your feet and bend your knees, grabbing your ankles.
  • Lift your upper and lower body off the mat and rock back and forth gently.

If this move is too difficult, improve your flexibility with other stretching exercises or yoga.

 

2: Doing a Bridge Kickover

1. Get into a Bridge

You can start from a lying position or a standing backbend.

  • Lie on the ground with your knees bent and feet planted firmly on the mat.
  • Place your hands near your ears with your fingers pointing towards your feet and elbows pointing up.
  • Push your back off the mat with your feet and hands, straightening your arms and legs to form a complete bridge.

If you struggle to get into the bridge position, check your hand and foot placement. Your feet should be directly under your knees, and your hands should be close to your head.

2. Walk Your Hands Closer to Your Feet

To prepare for the kickover, walk your hands closer to your feet to increase leverage.

  • Ensure your back is properly arched without sagging.
  • Avoid overextending your back to prevent injuries.
  • Keep your neck relaxed to avoid strain.

3. Shift Your Weight Forward

You need to shift your weight forward to gain momentum for the kickover.

  • Confirm your body is in the correct bridge position before kicking over.
  • Adjust your posture and hand position if necessary.
  • Have your spotter ensure the area is clear of any obstacles before you proceed.

4. Kick with Your Good Leg

Push forward with your stronger leg.

  • This step is challenging because it requires enough flexibility and momentum to lift your leg over your body.
  • If you struggle, try shifting your weight forward more and pushing off the ground firmly.

5. Use Modifications if Needed

Beginners might lack the strength or flexibility for a complete kickover.

  • Use a wall to practice: get into a bridge near a wall, walk your feet up, and push off.
  • A wedged mat can provide extra height and leverage. Perform your backbend on the thick side to make the kickover easier.
  • Use a soft mat or AirTrack Mat to prevent injury. 

Use these modifications until you master the kickover, then try without them.

HOW TO DO A BRIDGE KICKOVER

Exercises You Can Do at Home

Crunches

Crunches strengthen the stomach muscles needed for a bridge kickover.

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Place your hands lightly behind your head.
  • Use your core to lift your upper body slightly off the ground, then lower back down.

Handstand Hold

Practicing handstands strengthens your arms, crucial for supporting yourself during a bridge kickover.

  • Practice holding a handstand against a wall if needed, with your stomach either facing the wall or away from it.
  • Keep your core, butt, and legs tight for balance.

Lunges

Lunges strengthen the leg muscles involved in pushing off for the kickover.

  • Stand with your legs together and hands on your hips.
  • Step one foot forward and bend both knees until your back knee almost touches the floor and your front thigh is parallel to the floor.
  • Ensure your front knee is above your ankle and your back knee doesn’t touch the floor.
  • Stand up and repeat with the other leg.

Frequent Questions Q&A

Q: What if you are afraid to kick over from the bridge?
A: Have someone spot you to catch you if you start to fall. Trust in your ability and keep practicing. Don't be discouraged if you don't get it on the first try.

Q: How do you put weight on your hands?
A: Straighten your legs and ensure your shoulders are aligned with your hands.

Q: What will happen if I fall?
A: Most likely, you will feel stunned or a little pain. Rest for a moment and try again. Always use a spotter while learning. Use a soft mat or AirTrack Mat to prevent injury. 

Q: How do I know when I'm ready to try a bridge kickover?
A: If you can hold a solid bridge position and feel confident in your flexibility and strength, you are ready to try. Always start with a spotter.

Q: What can I do to improve my back flexibility for this move?
A: Regularly practice backbends, the Cobra stretch, and other yoga poses that focus on back flexibility. Consistency is key to improving your flexibility.

With patience and practice, you’ll be performing a smooth bridge kickover in no time!

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