Somersault progressions with the AirIncline

By maarten • 3 min read


In addition to our AirTracks and AirBags, AirTrack Factory offers several accessories that are modular to the AirTrack. One of these items is the popular AirIncline. This item is available in several heights and widths and creates a quick, lightweight incline in a heartbeat.

We have seen them in every way possible; the DIY incline. Made from heavy benches, mats and blocks gathered from every corner of the gym. Building these heavy structures takes up valuable training time when there is a quick and easy solution: the AirIncline. Infinitely useful and easily portable.

When teaching the first somersaults, we recommend the 2×2 meter 60cm high AirIncline in combination with a thick mat of 3×2 meters. This creates a safe and suitable situation for teaching the somersault.

“The AirIncline is a challenging addition to the AirTrack set! It promotes safe learning of the somersault. The perfect sloping incline reduces the tension on the back with each landing compared to a straight surface.”

Why an AirIncline

To understand the benefits of an AirIncline, you need to understand what you need it for. After all, you can also work with landing mats on the ground (straight and low), soft mats, or a raised surface.

We are sure about these 4 reasons to choose an AirIncline:
1. As an accelerator. For example, when teaching the cartwheel. Athletes can build up speed on the ramp, saving previous training energy.
2. To secure the lower back. When learning front rollovers, the AirIncline helps students to keep momentum in their roll, preventing a sudden stop, and straining the lower back.
3. Increase height. Get that little bit of extra height in leaps and jumps when using the high end of the AirIncline.
4. Teaching the somersault. To stimulate students to increase their height through the set-up and to secure the lower back.

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What should the student be able to do before the forward somersault?

Before you start doing the somersault with an AirTrack or mini trampoline, you must first master some basic requirements. As you can imagine, you wouldn’t want to teach a somersault to a student who barely dares to flip over. First, check that they have mastered the following conditions:
1. Forward roll: start and finish on your feet, 2 feet off, grab knees, support moment.
2. High jump: jump over a height of 60cm. For example over 2 AirBox sections of 30cm.
3. Squat or roll on raised surface: height difference 90cm, hips come high enough so student can squat or over the top without assistance.

It is good to know that if you have not mastered the points above that the process just takes longer. Students who do master them can be taught a good independent somersault on an AirIncline in a few hours.

Exercises for the front flip

To help students experience more success, it is better to work with preparatory exercises that are easier than the somersault but contribute to the final picture. For example, it is much more motivating for the student to succeed in a forward roll on raised plane than to catch the somersault 10x where it often fails. For example, when the instruction is to jump higher or to bring the hips more over the head, you can easily achieve this with a raised plane.


Somersault progressions: Roll movements

  • Forward roll from low to high.
  • Forward roll over an AirBox part. This is how students go from low to high to low. (just like the somersault).
  • Focus: eyes open, touch knees, push off and land on 2 feet.
  • Forward roll over 2 AirBox parts. This requires the student to raise the hips more.
  • Forward roll on a raised surface or inclined surface of 90cm. The basic roll before doing a somersault.
  • Forward roll on an elevated or inclined surface of 90cm, but without support, so all the action is taken from the elevation/turn.

Somersault progressions

Use an AirTrack before the AirIncline to stimulate height. When using an AirTrack P3, the height difference from the AirTrack to the elevated surface is 30 cm lower than written down below.

  • Somersault on incline 90cm (AirIncline + thick mat) with 2 assistants.
  • Somersault on incline 90cm (AirIncline + thick mat) with 1 assistant.
  • Somersault on incline 90cm (AirIncline + thick mat) independently. Make sure students land on their feet before moving to the next step.
  • Assisted somersault on a flat 60cm elevated surface.
  • Somersault on a 60cm high flat surface, independently.
  • Somersault on the AirTrack!

The steps that are used the most and do take the longest are steps 7 and 8. If you pay more attention to the rollover technique you will find that students also jump somersaults independently faster because they go straight, turn faster, and have better awareness in the air.

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