It seems like it should be super simple, but it's actually a little bit hard. At least it was hard for me. But I did it, I finally did it. I landed a front flip on a trampoline. And if I can do it anyone can.
It all began on December 2016. For Christmas my wife and I bought our just-about-to-turn-four-year-old a trampoline. On that day I made it my mission to land a front flip on the thing. I thought this would be a two day project. It wasn't.
I was doing everything wrong. I kept landing on my ass. That hurt. I'm old and creaky. My back would start aching so I'd stop. I'd wake up the next day and my neck would hurt. I sort of just gave up.
Then one day I saw my four-year-old almost land a goddamn front flip. That lit a fire under my ass. I couldn't let my goddamn four-year-old beat me!
Here's my advice on how to get the job done.
#1 Count To Three
One of the trickiest things about doing a front flip is committing to actually jumping high during the flip. When it came time to flip I'd bottle it and do a smaller jump — mainly because I was worried about hurting myself.
To counter that I started jumping at a consistent, decent height. Then I'd start counting and jump on three. One... two... FLIP.
For some reason that helped me maintain my height, giving me enough time in the air to make it all the way around.
#2 Land In The Spot Where You Jump
I had this idea that I had to jump forward to flip. That's inaccurate. When you watch expert flippers, you'll notice they basically jump straight in the air and land in the same spot. I'm not quite there yet, but once I committed to at least try and land in the spot where I was jumping, everything became a little easier.
#3 Think About Your Ass, Not Your Head
Another good trick is to concentrate on your ass.
Instead of leaning forward to try and get that momentum, focus on getting your actual ass over. For some reason this makes it easier to flip.
#4 Practice Tuck Jumps
I got this advice from this WikiHow article (which is actually pretty helpful).
If you practice tuck jumps your body gets used to tucking, which is handy when you want to flip quickly. Another helpful piece of advice from that article — practice flipping from your hands and knees. This really helps with creating that explosive momentum you need to complete a flip.
#5 Use Your Hands
I found it really helpful to keep my hands up (usually before counting to three) and then pulling my hands into the tuck as I flipped over.
I recommend this.
#6 Be Persistent
It can actually hurt to practice flips, but it especially in the beginning, because you're less controlled and you're more likely to land in awkward spots. Know that it gets easier the better you get.
I properly dreaded flipping to begin with. I'd watch my four year old practice with wild abandon. I, on the other hand, had actual pain the day afterwards because my body is old and shit.
But you get used to it. And once I started getting close to flipping I noticed that everything hurt less.
There is light at the end of the flipping tunnel.
Worthy of note: I am not a gymnast. I'm a buffoon who can barely do a flip on a trampoline. But here's the thing, when experts tried to show me how to flip, I found the advice difficult to put into practice. Mainly because the experts were so far ahead of me their advice was difficult to follow.
If your goal is like mine — learn to flip as a party trick — this is the bare minimum. You can do it! If I can do it anyone can.