How to do a backbend? TUTORIAL!
How to Do a Backbend
The backbend is a fun and graceful move that stretches your back, opens up your chest and looks great--when you can pull it off! The trick is to work your way up, starting with simple stretches and then practicing your bridge. Before long, you'll be backbending on the wall, with a spotter and then, finally, all on your own!
Stretching and Warming Up
Warm up your muscles by jogging, jumping rope or doing jumping jacks.Get your blood flowing and your muscles warm to start stretching out.
Lay out a mat, or find some soft ground.Use a yoga or gymnastics mat or a mattress, or clear an area on a soft carpet or rug. Make sure your area is clear of any tripping hazards.
Stretch your ankles.Flex your foot as far back as you can, so the toes are pointing up in the air. Then point your foot down, so the toes are parallel to the floor or, if you’re more flexible, angled slightly towards it. Repeat 10-20 times, then switch feet. Roll out your ankles by sitting and holding an ankle in one hand. Roll your foot in circles several times, then switch feet.
Do a wrist extensor stretch.Extend your arm with your palm facing upwards and elbow straight. Pull your hand down with your other hand. Hold for ten seconds, then repeat with your other wrist.
- Your wrists will be bending and bearing a lot of your weight in a backbend, so make sure you stretch them well.
Do a wrist flexor stretch.Extend one wrist in front of you with your palm facing away and your fingertips up. Pull your fingers back with your other hand until you feel a nice stretch. Hold for ten seconds and repeat with the other hand.
Do a cat cow pose.This simple yoga pose will open up your chest and back and get you ready for more intense stretches. Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly below your shoulders. Inhale and drop your belly towards the mat, arching your spine. Exhale and draw your belly into your spine, rounding your back. Repeat 10-15 times.
Try some deeper yoga poses.Get into cobra position by lying with your belly on the floor, placing your hands under your armpits and pushing up, arching your spine and stretching your chest. Try a camel pose by kneeling, placing your hands on your lower back and arching your spine back. If you’re more flexible, give the bow pose a try.
Doing a Bridge
Lie on your back and bend your legs up.Place your feet close together on the floor and bend your legs so that your knees are sticking straight up off the ground.
Place your hands by your head.Your fingertips should be pointing towards your shoulders and your palms pushed flat against the floor with your elbows pointing up in the air.
Push through your shoulders and lift your body.Straighten your arms as much as you can. Focus on keeping your core, legs and butt muscles tight.
- It’s okay if you can’t lift far off the ground yet, or if you need to keep your arms bent. Practice your bridges a couple times a day and you’ll feel yourself grow stronger.
Lift only your hips off the ground if you can’t push all the way up.From your position laying on the floor, place your arms down at your sides. Squeeze your butt and core to lift your hips off the ground.
Hold the pose for a few seconds, then lower yourself down.Bend your arms and slowly lower your body until you’re laying flat on the ground. Give yourself a short rest, then repeat 2-3 more times.
Practicing a Backbend Against a Wall
Take one to two steps away from a blank wall.Place your feet about shoulder-width apart from each other.
Place your palms against your buttocks and push your hips forward.Lift and elongate your spine and rib cage.This will allow your spine to stretch out and arch more cleanly.
Stretch your arms straight up above your head and tilt your head back.Reach back far enough with your neck and back so that you can look at the wall.
Bend your back and place your palms against the wall.Keep your elbows straight, your head tipped back and your neck long. Press your hands against the wall. Remember to keep breathing!
Walk down as far as you can.Continue to keep your elbows straight and breathe evenly.
Walk your arms back up the wall and straighten from your hips.Inhale as you come back to standing. Take your time and lift your head slowly.
Fall forward gently and touch your toes to stretch out.Exhale and bend smoothly from your hips, allowing your back to relax. Take a couple of deep breaths.
Step farther from the wall and repeat.Placing more room between you and the wall will force you to bend back a little further each time without the wall to support you, getting you closer to a full backbend.
- Challenge yourself to walk down a little further each time, keeping your elbows straight and breathing evenly.
Doing a Full Backbend
Do a backbend with a spotter supporting your back.Ask a friend or parents to place one hand on your lower back and one hand on your stomach. Using the same technique as your wall backbend (minus the wall!), slowly lower into a backbend with your spotter supporting you.
Have your spotter lift you back up.Ask them to move both hands to your lower back and slowly raise you back to standing.
Try a full backbend without a spotter.Once you feel comfortable doing a backbend with a spotter, try it on your own. Lift your pelvis and ribs and keep your arms bent and strong behind your head. Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart. As you lower down, look through your arms to spot the floor.
Breathe evenly and listen to your body.If you can’t go down all the way today, take a break and try again later. Take your time and remember the technique you perfected using the wall.
- If you’re nervous about trying your backbend the first time, place some pillows under your back so you know you have something soft to land on if you fall.
Standing from Your Backbend
Rock back and forth to introduce the movement.Push from your hands and roll forward into your toes, then back onto your heels while keeping your head and neck relaxed. As you get more comfortable, peel your hands just slightly off the floor as you rock, which will introduce the lifting motion to your body.
Tuck your chin against your chest.Focus your weight and power in your lower body and core.
Thrust up with your chest as you rock forward into your feet.Let your hands lift from the ground and slowly push yourself up into a standing position. Focus on using your core and quads to stabilize your body.
QuestionHow do I get over a mental block stopping me from doing a backbend?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerStart at the wall, but slowly walk down only two to three steps with your hands, and do not go all the way down, just walk back up to your standing position. Put several pillows where you imagine your head will hit "when you collapse", which you won't, if you only take yourself several steps down the wall with your arms. The soft landing will take away the fear of falling on your head painfully. Always keep your eyes open, as seeing your position will give you a sense of control. When you feel comfortable walking down the wall 2-3 steps, then add one more, and so on. Take at least a week to get used to it.Thanks!
QuestionShould I keep my arms by my ears when doing a backbend?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, keeping your arms by your ears will provide added stability when you do the backbend.Thanks!
QuestionIn your first try, how far down should you go when you do a back bend on the wall?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAs far as you're comfortable doing it, but it is recommended that you try it to where your head is to begin with. If you can do it further, do it far enough that you can walk your feet out a little, then walk your hands down the wall to form a full back bend.Thanks!
QuestionDo you have to have a a spotter?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, but it is recommended; it's easier to do it with someone else, because they can help you get used to it, especially if they have the skill as well.Thanks!
QuestionHow do you bend your back? Every time I try, I just land straight in my back.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere are lots of stretches you can do for back flexibility, like the Cobra in yoga, or the cat stretch, etc. Try doing some back flexibility stretches, and then move on to the Bridge. Once you can hold the Bridge for about 30 seconds, you can move on to other steps.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I get my shoulders and arms strong enough to do a backbend.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerExercise every other day using hand weights to build upper body strength. Try doing push ups, curls and planks to increase strength.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I practice on if I don't have a mat or mattress?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGet a couple of pillows and stack them up or use your couch. You can also practice on a carpet or some grass instead.Thanks!
QuestionDo I bend my legs?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhen you begin practicing a backbend, go ahead and bend your legs, as this makes the process easier. As you get better at backbends, try bending less and less until you can go down with your legs straight.Thanks!
QuestionHow do you bend your back? I tried that for like 30 minutes and all I got was a head that hurts so much after doing it!wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can get a little lightheaded and dizzy from doing this, not to mention stomach cramps. To deal with this, try to stretch in a cobra position or a downward dog pose a few times. Then see if your back is flexible enough. Take plenty of breaks and it's a really good idea to have an experienced person walk you through this if you're just not getting it.Thanks!
QuestionWhat types of stretches should I do to improve my back flexibility?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPractice doing bridge-ups and a downward dog position to stretch out your spine. After attempting a series of backbends, you should lie down into a ball and roll out your back.Thanks!
To do a backbend, start by planting your feet shoulder-width apart and placing your palms against the tops of your buttocks so that they push your hips forward. Next, stretch you arms above your head and tilt your head far enough back so that you can see behind you. Then, slowly lower yourself down, keeping your your pelvis lifted and your arms bent behind you to help you balance.
- Stretch regularly to improve your flexibility.
- When doing a backbend, bend your back as much as you can, then put your hands on the ground. If you can’t see the ground, or aren’t close to the ground, stretch more before trying again.
- When doing a backbend, spread your legs a little and slightly bend them to make you go down easier. Remember to keep your arms strong.
- You should stretch every day.
- If your back, wrists or shoulders start to hurt, stop and rest for a while. If you’re still in pain after a day, consult a doctor or trainer before you start practicing again.
- Take your time. The backbend is a difficult move for beginners, so if it feels difficult or impossible the first time, be patient and continue practicing your bridge and wall backbends and work your way down.
Things You'll Need
A blank wall
Mattress or yoga mat, or a soft ground surface
Sources and Citations
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of How to Do a Backbend was reviewed by Sarah Firth on March 14, 2019.
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Video: How to do a Backbend + come up from a backbend
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