Can I Learn How To Do Dropbacks On A Wall?

September 5, 2023

Transcript of: Can I learn how to do dropbacks on a wall?

Hey everybody! Welcome to this month’s question of the month. I’m David Keil and if you’ve got a question, go to I’ll answer it for you on video. This month’s question comes from Beate and it’s about how to learn dropbacks on a wall.

The Question:

“Hi, I’m an Ashtangi. I watch people trying to learn dropbacks as they try to go down to the floor with their hands moving down the wall. But as they do so, the hips move slightly back instead of forward, and so they never learned dropbacks until now. Is it right to learn going down with [the] help of the wall?”

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The Answer:

As it turns out, I have an online workshop that is all about dropbacks. To answer your question, working with dropbacks on the wall can be helpful in certain ways. Particularly if there’s a fear of just going back from the beginning, then working with dropbacks on the wall can help with that.

Bad habits can crop up on the wall

But, as you pointed out, the wall when used too much or incorrectly has the potential to create bad habits. The one that you pointed out was that the hips move back. And when the hips move back and the elbows bend, and you learn to bend the elbows while you’re walking—by the time you get off of that wall and you come out to the front of your mat to do dropbacks you might as well be starting over. This is because nothing that you learned on the wall is going to help you when you’re wall-less.

So, I’m not a fan of it. For me of course, as a teacher, I’m assisting and adjusting. You know, sometimes I’ll have people fall into my hands a little bit and I’ll catch them so they get the feeling of that fall. There are some ways to use the wall when learning dropbacks. And again, as you pointed out, if you’re going to use the wall for practicing dropbacks, then make sure your hips are going forward. Of course, they do end up going back when you fall to whatever degree.

Creating good habits on the wall

The second thing, and this is the biggest one, is when you fall back to the wall, you should catch your body weight through your fingers and your hands and not bend your elbows. Because, if you create the pattern—which is what you’re doing every time you do a movement—if you create the pattern with your elbows bending, when you try to do dropbacks without the wall and your hands hit the floor, your elbows are going to bend. And when your elbows bend, your head hits the floor.

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So, I typically split answers this way. Can the wall help? Yes, the wall can help with dropbacks. The wall can teach you some things. Can the wall hurt? The wall can hurt. You can end up creating neuromuscular patterns that will not benefit you when you get off the wall. So, you have to be very careful with it.

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