Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How to Do a Running Front Flip

How to Do a Running Front Flip

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This article will explain how to accomplish a running front tuck (also known as a "front flip"). This is a staple skill in gymnastics, although many people find it hard to do because you can't see landing point, yet the flip can only be completed if you commit yourself to it fully. Once you learn the proper form and prepare accordingly, however, it's actually a simple move that can be easily mastered.

[edit] Steps

Preparing for the Flip

  1. Enlist the help of an experienced spotter. If you don't know anyone familiar with gymnastics, get someone to supervise so that if you get injured, they can get help. They can also give you feedback on your form.
  2. Find a soft surface to practice on. Gymnastic pads or mats are highly recommended. If you don't have access to them, use a firm mattress.
  3. Prepare with exercises to strengthen your form.

    1. Jump straight up as high as you can. Bend your knees and powerfully push your body up towards the sky. Use your arms to help you reach higher, and land on the balls of your feet. Do this several times. The idea is to increase your vertical leap so that you get enough height when doing the flip.
    2. Hop and...
      Hop and...
      Reach high.
      Reach high.
      Repeat with a running head start. Jog a few steps, hop, plant your feet and punch up with the balls of your feet as high as you can.
    3. Practice forward rolls from a standing position. Stand, roll, and stand. This will allow you to get a feel for how you will tuck in the air.
    4. Run, jump and tuck.
      Run, jump and tuck.
      Combine the above. Take a running start, jump high, and tuck in (but don't flip!). Bring your knees to your chest at the highest point. You don't need to hold your knees, but you can if you want.
    5. Dive, head tucked in
      Dive, head tucked in
      Dive roll to get you over the fear of rotating over your head. It'll also help you get the hang of leading the rotation with your shoulders, not with your legs. Jump a bit up and forward on a dive and slightly tuck your head inward towards your chest. You should feel your body starting to rotate without much effort.

[edit]Performing the Flip

  1. Run forward at a moderate speed. Don't run so fast that you throw yourself off balance when you plant, and don't run so slow that you can't complete the flip. Many people have a tendency to run fast, thinking this will make for a powerful flip, but they often end up not jumping high enough, which results in landing on their back. A fast jog is sufficient.
  2. Mid-Hop
    After gaining a suitable amount of speed, take a small hopping jump and land with your feet planted firmly. Your feet should be planted at about your shoulders' width. Lift your arms while you jump, so that your arms are above your head as your feet hit the ground. In the next step, your arms will thrown forward to generate more spin for your flip.

    • Jump before you flip. Don't tuck your head until after your feet leave the ground, or you may not get the full rotation.[1]
  3. Jump and throw.
    Jump and throw.
    Jump into the air from your planted position, pulling your arms forward and down to create more rotation. It's quite possible to do a good front flip without your arms swinging, but it does make things a lot easier. Remember to "punch" off the ground with your feet to achieve maximum height. To help your body go up rather than forward, look up at the ceiling as you jump. You don't have to turn your face all the way up--just enough so you can see the ceiling above you.
  4. Make sure to tuck.
    Make sure to tuck.
    Pull your knees to your chest and tuck your body into a ball so that you'll rotate the entire 360 degrees.

    • Loose tuck.
      Loose tuck.
      Keep your tuck tight, not loose. If you don't tuck tightly enough with your shoulders, your landing will be unbalanced and sloppy.
  5. But don't stay that way too long.
    But don't stay that way too long.
    Untuck from the ball as soon as you feel yourself becoming right-side-up in the air. Some people suggest "looking" for your landing, but it's not as easy as it sounds to watch the ground while you're whirling in a circle. "Feel" your way through the flip.

    • Result of untucking too soon.
      Result of untucking too soon.
      Don't untuck too soon. You will land leaning backwards and fall on your rear. Hold the tuck a bit before opening.
  6. Stick the landing and bend your knees.
    Stick the landing and bend your knees.
    Land with your feet spread the same distance as before, about the same as your shoulders. Bend your knees as you land to absorb some of the force, and use your arms to balance yourself so you don't fall forwards or backwards. Always land on the balls of your feet.

[edit] Video Demonstration

[edit] Tips

  • You probably won't get it the first time, or the second time, or the third. Try to feel your body through the flip so you can get handle on what you did wrong and correct it the next time around. Having a friend critique you or recording yourself on video can be very helpful.
  • When practicing, the most important thing is to commit to the flip. Any hesitation will make the flip unsuccessful.
  • It helps to learn all gymnastics on a trampoline before you try them on the ground, unless you're confident in your abilities (and your mats and/or spotters).

[edit] Warnings

  • Use gymnastic mats and pads (or at least mattresses or other support) when learning to do any flip.
  • Know your limits and don't try to do anything that might be beyond them.
  • The front flip, as with any flip, can have dangerous consequences. Always practice under the supervision of someone who knows what they're doing!

[edit] Things You'll Need

  • Gymnastic Mats
  • A spotter

[edit] Sources and Citations

  • HawaiiPK.com - Source of screenshots, video, and a portion of the advice presented in this article. Shared with permission.

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