To do a handspring, you start from a standing position, then leap backward. As you fall, you arch your back to land on your hands, then spring up off your hands to land on your feat. This difficult maneuver is a hallmark of experienced gymnasts.
Tumbling and Calories
A single tumbling move is strenuous on the muscles but doesn't require much in the way of cardio or calories. Over in less than a second, your back handspring never gets the chance to demand energy or oxygen. Put simply, gymnastics coach Gwen Haney notes that you burn far more calories becoming able to do a back handspring than you would doing a single repetition.
According to health resource website NutriStrategy.com, a 155-lb. person will burn about 280 calories per hour of gymnastics or tumbling. At 3,600 seconds per hour, a 1-second handspring burns less than one calorie. Heavier people will burn more, and lighter people will burn less.
Gymnastics moves, such as back handsprings, build muscle quickly. According to Harvard health writer Walter Willett, the more muscular in your body, the more calories you will burn. This means that for every handspring you do, the next handspring will burn marginally more calories.
- Gwen Haney, Martial Arts & Gymnastics Instructor, Hillsboro, Oregon
- NutriStrategy.com: Calories by Exercise
- "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy"; Walter Willett, MD; 2007