Pursuit of the Back Tuck

On October 24, 2013, I will turn 28. This isn’t a post about my birthday, I’m sure that one will come closer to (or perhaps on) my birthday. This post is about my birthday as the end date. The deadline.

When I first started training with Lu Yi, he put his hand on my shoulder and said “What is your goal?” At the time, I didn’t have a goal in mind. I was just having fun doing handstands. I hadn’t really thought about what I was planning to do with my newly acquired skills. I just wanted some sweet party tricks.

“I want to land a backflip before my 28th birthday.” I said.

“Impossible.” He said, shaking his head at the arrogance of youth. (Compared to Lu Yi, 27 years old may be considered “youth.”)

Now… I wouldn’t cuss at an old man (and I didn’t) but if I was ever going to do it, it was that moment.

“Great!” I said, keeping my cool and instead accepting his denial as an outright challenge. “Sounds like I’m going to land a backflip on my birthday.”

Other than the fact the trick is actually called a back tuck, I decided this was a goal that I would happily strive to achieve and a few weeks ago I reminded Lu Yi of my goal and the looming deadline. He smiled, nodded his head, and said “okay.”

Front Handspring WCS

HANDSTANDS: 60 SECONDS, 3x

“In core. Fingers open.”

STRADDLE UPS: 10

Straddle.”

TUCK UPS: 10

Tuck.”

HANDSTAND PUSHUPS (BENCH): 5

“Don’t arch. Back strong.”

FRONT HANDSPRINGS: 10, 2x

“No mats.” (This is an old picture.)

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CARTWHEELS/ROUND OFFS: 25x

“Left side only.”

HEADSPRINGS: 10x

“Neck strong!”

BACK HANDSPRINGS (IN LINES): 10, 2x

Rainbow.”

BACK TUCK FLOPS: 10

Up first.”

In preparation for back tucks, he had me stand with my back to a pile of mats that came up to the middle of my chest. With my ankles a few inches away, he had me jump up as high as I could then tuck, landing on my back on the mats. This is initially harder than I thought but I got the hang of it.

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BACK TUCKS (IN LINES): 5, 2x

“The momentum will carry you over.”

So we did some back tucks in lines. I’m sure Lu Yi was holding up my bodyweight on most of my attempts, but as a first exercise, it showed me the necessary mechanics I’ll need to get a hold of in the next month.

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90 uninterrupted minutes of training. Between sets we’d take a break. I’d grab water and Lu Yi would do handstands. The guy’s in his 70s and he’s still got it!

Lu Yi will be heading to China for two weeks to assist with a show. Things will slow down a tiny bit, which may give me a moment to sneak away and work on my back tuck exercises.

When he returns on October 16, we’ll check in on my progress.

So what do you think, friends…

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