We’ve already given you the general guidelines on How to Toss Like a Boss in Part 1 of the series (if you haven’t read it yet, now’s the time!). Let’s take it a step further and talk specifics of the Backflip Toss, which is an instrumental exercise as you embark on your KPP journey.
What is the Backflip Toss?
The Backflip Toss consists of swinging a kettlebell for three repetitions while counting out loud, then releasing it into a backflip on the third count with the intention of landing the bell flat on its bottom, handle positioned straight up to the sky. Performing the count out loud is important because it is essential to passing safely with your partner. The two practice swings at the beginning help you to dial in your accuracy, just like a baseball player takes a few swings before he comes to bat. Additionally, it is how every partner passing set begins so it is helpful to establish the habit before you stand in front of another person.
The Backflip Toss is the most fluid way to toss the kettlebell, as the bell naturally wants to flip backwards when you throw it. The momentum of the bell is moving forward while the backflip initiates backward momentum, and these contrary forces make it easier to stick the bell’s landing (as opposed to other ways we practice tossing kettlebells in KPP; stay tuned for future articles!).
6 Tips to Backflip Toss
1. As you release the Backflip Toss, let the kettlebell handle slide out of your hands, all the way to the tips of your fingers. When it’s about to leave your fingers, gently push your fingers to the floor while maintaining relaxed hands. Your fingers are for fine tuning the toss!
2. Focus on turning the bell handle rather than flipping the bell end over end.
3. Aim for a landing spot 4-5 feet in front of you.
4. Follow through with your hands, pointing them at the place you want the bell to land. Just before the bell hits the ground, drop your arms down to your sides.
5. Use the hips to project the bell out and the hands to guide the rotation. If the hips don’t fully extend, you’ll use your arms to do the work, causing a wonky pass. Remember: the arms are geared to steer, not throw!
6. If the bell doesn’t land square to you (window of the kettlebell handle facing you directly), it means you’re pushing harder with one side than the other.
What are the Benefits of the Backflip Toss?
Tossing builds Aptitude, Body awareness, Confidence, and Depth perception in one's KPP practice (the ABCD’s of tossing). The Backflip Toss gives you the aptitude to steer the bell with your fingers and control the rotation of the bell as it’s being projected away from you, as opposed to flipping the bell to yourself. While flipping the bell to yourself is a valuable skill in and of itself, the Backflip Toss more closely resembles the way you would flip a kettlebell to your partner. Therefore, improving your toss will improve your pass as well. As you become more skilled at tossing the bell, your body awareness will improve and you’ll know how to move your body in order to achieve the desired outcome. This will build confidence while using the kettlebell for workouts as well as passing it with a partner. Finally, your depth perception will improve as you practice hitting targets at various distances and sticking the landing.
4 Steps to Practice the Backflip Toss
1. Let go of the bell without any agenda. Just let the bell go and watch what happens. The tosses in this step are for observation purposes only.
2. Toss the bell with an objective in mind, i.e. going a certain distance or sticking the landing.
3. Develop accuracy by creating a target to toss the bell into or onto (draw a circle in the sand, make a pile of leaves, etc).
4. When you can stick 10 in a row, you’ve achieved boss level. When you can stick 20 in a row, you’ve achieved hoss level. Are you ready to level up?
Even after leveling up, continue your tossing practice. Tossing hones your skills and maintains them between passing sessions with your partner. Plus, tossing the bell is a great workout and a lot of fun, especially if you go to the beach or another beautiful spot in nature!
PSA: Be sure not to leave divots in the ground at public parks or other areas where people are walking.
Find the rest of the blog series here: