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Biomechanics of the Flash-Kick



First flash-kick observations (Pros vs. Newbies)


How to improve your flash-kick:


The flash-kick to us in THT is a trick somewhere between a BACKFLIP and a BACK HANDSPRING, similar to most backflip variations (Back-pike, X-out, Lay-out). Instead of setting your chest up high like in a backflip, a flash kick could be set up a bit lower, by “sitting back” and having more of your center of gravity shifted backward to make it easier for your body to rotate around. The jumping focus of the legs would be shifted more towards the extension of the hips, also known as “hip thrust”, this helps generate more jumping power while in the “sitting back” position, and also increases the rotational force acting on the body, bearing in mind that the hip thrust should have minimal back arch as it could reduce jumping power. Anyway, let's jump into more of the specifics of the Flash-Kick!



Flash-Kick

Three stages of the Flash kick: The Take Off, The Flip, and The Landing


The Take Off: Quarter, Half, or Full Squat???



Explanation:

The depth of the squat you perform before jumping could be one of the factors that could help you perform different tricks.

We usually want to be tall and explode off the floor quickly when doing a standing back flip for example, so we perform a quarter squat depth when performing of counter movement jump.

We go into a deeper depth for tricks like the back handspring, because we need to stay close to the floor, flip quickly and, the jump does not need to be as explosive.

As for the flash kick, it helps if we find a middle ground between the mentioned depths, we need the explosiveness of the quarter squat depth, and the quicker rotation that comes from the lower depth of the squat backward.

  • From a standing position, you would squat back into your hips almost like you are trying to sit back onto a chair similar to the technique used in a back handspring, but for the flash kick, you do not have to sit as low.

  • In your “half squat”, perform your arm swing as hard as you can upwards, generating complimenting forces to your jump.

  • As your arm swing reaches its peak, that should be the time when you have started pushing through your legs for the jump.

  • The jump is slightly different from a backflip, the flash kick requires more hip thrust, which would result in helping you lean back slightly to increase the rotation speed, and also sitting slightly backward into your squat, hip extension is very important to maximize the jump.

  • Note: leaning back should mostly come from the hip extension, not the spinal extension.


The Flip: Single-leg pike



  • After performing the jump, the way you want to “tighten up” to increase the speed of the rotation, and achieve the flash kick aesthetics, is to perform a “pike” with whichever leg you want.

  • Essentially after you take off, looking for the floor on your way around, that is when you want to perform your “single leg pike” or your flash kick.

  • The kick should be performed by flexing the abdomen, flexing at the hip, and extending the knees, allowing you to drive the toe with power and speed generating more force for your rotation back towards the ground.

  • Drills like the “handstand drop in a dish hold” and “handstand kick downs” can help imitate the posture needed to perform the flash kick


The Landing: Single leg landing, with help from BHS step out



  • Like any trick, landing is the hardest part, with practice, experience, and drills to help imitate the landing, it will get easier over time.

  • Spotting will be the first step, while flipping, you should be able to spot the floor first, then perform the flash kick.

  • As you perform the flash kick, you should be thinking of kicking down with an extended leg towards the spot where you have your eyes in the middle of the flip, this is a visual queue that could help you with landing.

  • You can even try to land it with 2 legs but staggered (one in front of the other to build confidence gradually)

  • Practicing pike backflips could be good practice, as both tricks require similar techniques, just that the flash kick is a single-leg landing.


How to strengthen your Flash Kick:

  1. Single leg Planks: working on the strength of your hip flexor, and abdominal muscles, performing it unilaterally could be beneficial as it works more stabilizing muscles that would be more beneficial than a normal plank.

  2. Wall-supported handstand kick downs: working on the awareness of leg placement when landing, it imitates the flash kick down towards the ground.

  3. Backdrops: Focusing on being able to perform the half squat properly, squatting back into your hips, and keeping the chest high. Ensuring you jump as high as you can with maximal hip thrust and minimal back extension, and landing on the back on a high soft mat.

  4. Lying flash kicks: Lying down on a block elevated off the ground, letting your legs hang off the block, ensuring your abdominal is flexed, and hip is extended, performing the flash kick as quickly as you can, then controlling the movement back down slowly, to improve abdominal strength.

  5. Back handspring stepouts: this could be very helpful to practice if you are able to perform a BHS, it has very similar properties to the flash kick and could help a lot with landing mechanics. This can be done with more and more height and eventually gaining the confidence to perform the flash kick.










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