How to Do a Back Layout in Gymnastics


After a gymnast learns her back tuck on the floor, the next tumbling stunt she will work on is the back layout. Similar in motion to the back tuck, the layout differs only in body positioning and height. Try a few techniques to master your back layout.

  • Kick out of your back tuck. If you’re a competitive gymnast, you know that halfway around in tuck position, you are required to extend your body fully before landing. If you’re a cheerleader, practice by shooting your legs upwards when you are upside down in tuck position before you land.

  • Generate the extra height needed to complete the stunt by increasing speed in your roundoff and keeping your hurdle low and fast. Your rebound should be high and controlled.

  • Lift your arms going into the layout quickly and firmly by your ears. Your arm lift must be strong because it shifts your body’s momentum upwards. Practice your arm lift while standing on the floor. Your arms will remain straight and rigid as you swing them up forcefully. You should feel a strong pull in your shoulders from the movement.

  • Lower your arms to your sides as soon as your body begins the aerial rotation. By the time your body reaches the vertical upside-down position, your arms should align with your body.

  • Maintain a “hollow” chest position to keep your back from arching. This isn’t as important for cheerleaders, but for gymnasts, a pronounced arch means a deduction from the judges.

  • Land the layout on both feet, knees slightly bent to absorb the impact.

Tips & Warnings

  • Competitive gymnasts can practice rebounding as they finish their layout to prepare for future tumbling stunts, such as a punch front.
  • All tumbling stunts are dangerous. Practice only under the instruction of a qualified and experienced gymnastics coach and observe all the safety rules of the gym.

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