High arm-to-arm balance

Number of persons:
Position of the flyer: ,
Position of the base:
Gymnastic position: ,

Using the same grip described in the low balance, partners stand facing each other. B will find that stationing one foot somewhat ahead of the other will offer a much more stable base (picture 1).

Coordinating the initial jump is aided by a slight up and down “pumping” action of the arms, together with a verbal count. On the agreed-upon signal, T springs into a straddle around B's chest, high under B’s arms (picture 2), B bands at the waist, lowering T’s head close to the mat (picture 3), and immediately recoils, swinging the arms overhead. T maintains the straddle, using it as a lever to raise the hips as high as B’s swinging action permits, then releases the leg grip to hold a momentary balance in a tucked (picture 4) or a straddle. If this position feels secure, T extends to the final balance (picture 5).

The most common problem in learning this move is in T releasing the leg grip too early. When this is permitted to occur, B is called upon to swing the entire weight of T aloft by use of the arms alone, a dlfficult task with all but very small top balancers. Another tendency to avoid in arm to arm balancing is for T to sag down so that the partners’ heads are almost touching. To avoid this, T should try to stretch high by straightening the arms as much as possible. Also, T may at first experience a “sticking point” where the hips are not quite high enough to permit the press-up to be completed. T may find it helpful to push off with the toes from B’s chest. Should an overbalance occur, B simply turns around, changing the direction of T’s fall to an underbalanced condition, and maintains support until T’s feet touch the floor.

In a controlled dismount, T should balance down through a tuck or straddle, and not just fall with extended body. Another method of lowering consists of exactly reversing the mounting procedure.


A more spectacular technique of lowering is that of the roll-down. B lowers T until their heads are almost touching, then both tuck their heads under, B bends forward and pikes sharply, and executes a forward roll down B’s back (picture 5). There should be a brief pause in position to be certain that T will not slip off before releasing the arms. T walks out, one leg at a time, to make a smoother ground contact (picture 6).

High arm-to-arm balance High arm-to-arm balance High arm-to-arm balance
High arm-to-arm balance High arm-to-arm balance High arm-to-arm balance
High arm-to-arm balance

Balancing & Sport Acrobatics, Stan Buchholtz, 1978