How to Split Leap

Gymnastics Girl Camper

It’s a “split leap!” Taken directly from Ballet and applied in gymnastics to Floor Exercises and the Balance Beam, this gymnastics skill begins with a leap forward where the athlete does a 180 degree split in the air, leaping off one foot and landing on the other.

The split leap is more that just doing a split in the air. Judges look for style, proper arm, hip and shoulder position as well. For example, it’s important to keep your shoulders and your hips square. This is a common error, in fact, because many young girl gymnasts have to turn their hips in order to do a split at all, and once they learn this, it’s difficult to “un-learn” it to do a split leap properly.

Of course, the trick to doing this gymnastics skill is excellent flexibility and strength, both of which come from proper form when practicing. It’s important to keep your hips and shoulders square as you stretch and improve hamstring, hip flexor and quadricep flexibility.

The Rockbrook Camp gymnastics activity is a place where girls can practice their split leap, improve their flexibility, and learn the correct techniques for this important gymnastics skill.

Camp Gymnastics Instruction

Gymnastics Instruction

Elaine Trozzo is returning this summer to head our camp gymnastics instruction program. Elaine has taught gymnastics for the Transylvania County (NC) Parks and Recreation Department for 14 years. She has coached a competitive gymnastics team for 3 years, and has served as a gymnastics competition judge for 4 years. She has been certified by USA Gymnastics and holds the National Safety Certification in gymnastics. This will be Elaine’s sixth year as the head of Rockbrook’s camp gymnastics instruction.

Also returning are some of our awesome gymnastics counselors from camp last summer. You’ll see Karen and Abby down at the gym. We’re also happy to introduce Jess Watrin. She has many years of gymnastics experience and will be one of our gymnastics main instructors.

Yea Gymnastics!! 🙂

Back Bends in Gymnastics

Gymnastic Camp Back Bend Exercise

There’s always something fun to learn at the gymnastics activity at Rockbrook Camp!

One important exercise we practice at Rockbrook is the “back bend.” Strength and flexibility are naturally the foundations of gymnastics, and here flexibility is the idea.

Work up to this exercise by first spending time warming up your muscles with stretching.  You’ll want to feel limber.  The next thing to try is to make a “bridge” where you lie down and press your hips up while extending your arms, arching your back into a bridge-like curve.  Practice this a lot to build up your strength.

What is a Back Bend?

A back bend is when you form a bridge from a standing position.  With someone spotting you (holding you up under your lower back), lean backwards with your hands extended ready to touch the floor over your head.  After developing the strength and flexibility to do this, you can move on to a “walkover” or, something even more advanced, a “back handspring.”  There is a definite gymnastics progression you can build upon.