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Contortionist doing a backbend

A backbend is a gymnastics, contortion, or dance move, where the spine is bent backwards, and catching oneself with the hands. Throughout the move, the abdominal muscles, obliques, and legs are used to steady the performer while curving backwards. Backbending can be acquired from intense training or genetics.


The spine consists of 24 vertebrae and between the vertebrae are small cushions referred to as disks. The movement of the vertebrae and the compression ability of the disks give the spine its flexibility.

It is easier to perform a backbend after mastering a bridge. A bridge helps familiarize the bones and muscles to the positions and movements of a backbend.


The backbend is important in gymnastics because it is essential to perform a back handspring.

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