Sports & Games

How to Do Yurchenko Drills With Simone Biles

Written by MasterClass

Aug 20, 2019 • 3 min read

The Yurchenko is named for Soviet gymnast Natalia Yurchenko, who first performed it in a 1982 Moscow competition. The Yurchenko is typically performed by during vault routines in women’s artistic gymnastics competitions, like during the Olympics.

Whether you’re just starting your gymnastics career or have been training for years, Simone Biles’s MasterClass will help you improve your technique by perfecting the basics of the sport and then using those basics to execute more advanced moves.

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What Is a Yurchenko Vault?

A Yurchenko is a type of vault (and vault family) that begins with a roundoff entry onto the springboard and is followed by a back handspring onto the vaulting table and a flip off the table. A twist may be added on the way off the table or between the springboard and the table.

How Does the Yurchenko Work?

To perform a Yurchenko, the gymnast sprints down a narrow runway that’s 82 feet long, launches onto a springboard, and “vaults” off a four-foot-high table.

Judges evaluate for proper form, fast repulsion (how quickly you spring off the board or table), the height and distance achieved, and the number of flips and twists in a vault. If you’re a more elite gymnast, chances are you’ll perform a Yurchenko “entry,” which means a roundoff onto the springboard and back handspring onto the vault table.

How Does the Yurchenko Work?

To perform a Yurchenko, the gymnast sprints down a narrow runway that’s 82 feet long, launches onto a springboard, and “vaults” off a four-foot-high table.

Judges evaluate for proper form, fast repulsion (how quickly you spring off the board or table), the height and distance achieved, and the number of flips and twists in a vault. If you’re a more elite gymnast, chances are you’ll perform a Yurchenko “entry,” which means a roundoff onto the springboard and back handspring onto the vault table.

Watch Simone Biles Perform the Yurchenko Full

Simone Biles’s Yurchenko Drills: Yurchenko Full Training

Yurchenko Preflight Drill 1:

This drill helps you work on the roundoff and bounce off. It also helps you learn to get your chest up off the board quickly. That way, you’ll be able to do a perfect straight jump while still traveling back, and land on your feet on the stacked mats. Using mats will help you build to a Yurchenko.

  1. Place a springboard in front of stacked mats. A combination of mats, like a whale mat with a few eight-inchers on top of it, works well. The mats should be close to the height of the vault. Make sure the u-pad is around the board.
  2. Round off onto the board, and rebound with feet together.
  3. Land standing up straight on the stacked-up mats with your arms by your ears. (If you don’t get your chest up quickly, you’ll land on the mats on your bum.)
  4. Once you’ve mastered the above, try the same drill again, but land all the way on your back.

Yurchenko Preflight Drill 2:

The focus of this drill is to practice the body shape into the preflight. It simulates how you should enter your back handspring and helps assuage any fear (since there’s no vault there for you to run into).

  1. Place a springboard in front of stacked mats. A combination of mats, like a whale mat with a few eight-inchers on top of it, works well. The mats should be close to the height of the vault. Make sure the u-pad is around the board.
  2. Round off onto the board.
  3. Layout.
  4. Land on the stacked eight-incher mats.

Focus on quick arm action into the layout. Keep your body completely extended all the way around.

How to Become a Better Athlete

Want to become a better athlete? From training regimens to mental preparedness, learn everything you need to enhance your athletic abilities with the MasterClass All-Access Pass. Gain exclusive access to video lessons taught by world champions, including Olympic gold-medal-winning gymnast Simone Biles, World No. 1-ranking tennis player Serena Williams, and six-time NBA All-Star Stephen Curry.

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