Do a Gainer off of a Diving Board

A gainer is an advanced diving skill that should only be attempted if you're comfortable doing a backflip and a front flip. To do a gainer off a diving board, you'll have to jump up forward and then rotate backward to do a backflip, entering the water feet first. If it's your first time trying the gainer, make sure you take safety precautions, practice jumping into the water without rotating first, and have supervision. If you want to add the gainer to your repertoire of diving tricks, just follow these steps.


  1. Practice your hurdle. The hurdle is the jump that will help you gain momentum, moving away from the board and up in the air, in order to have enough room and time to do a gainer. Before you attempt the gainer, you should be comfortable just doing the hurdle into the pool. You should also be comfortable doing a front and back flip. Here's how you do it:
    • Take a few quick steps toward the edge of the board.
    • Bend your knees and swing your arms up as you jump off the board
    • Jump up and out
    • Tuck your knees into your chest
    • Fall straight into the water
      • After you're comfortable with this skill, you can wrap your arms around you knees after you tuck them into your chest.
  2. Stand at the back of the diving board. The board should ideally be about 10 feet (3 meters) above the water. Keep your posture pretty straight but bent you knees just a bit to get comfortable with the bounce of the board. Your arms should hang at your sides.
  3. Take three big steps forward. Space your steps so that your stronger foot plants last, with your toes planted just behind the front edge of the diving board. These steps should be quick, enough to build momentum, but not so quick that you slip and lose your balance.
  4. Hurdle forward. The first main motion for doing the gainer is the hurdle that you've practiced. To hurtle forward, reach the edge of the board with your feet and jump forward as you raise your arms on your last step and raise your knees to the height of your hips or higher. This combination will lift you upwards as high as you can go. You need to jump forward enough that you won't hit your head on the board but focus on going out and up, not just out.
  5. Swing your feet upward and over your head. Your head and chest will stay still as you're propelled forward. Lean back and let your tucked feet fall backwards over your head. Your knees should already begin to move closer to your chest and your arms should approach your knees.
  6. Pull your knees into your chest. You should begin to tuck tightly at the height of the jump. Wrap your arms around your knees into the tuck, which will help your body become more compact. You can think of this as curling into a cannonball.
  7. Continue rotating backward. Keep your body neatly tucked until you approach the water with your feet.
  8. Begin to extend your legs. When you're just 1 to 2 feet away from the water (.3 to .6 meters), you can start to extend your legs, to get ready to land in the water feet first. If you don't do this, you'll land on your face or stomach -- not only will this not look so elegant, but you'll be in pain as your body slaps the water.
    • Your arms can move away from your knees and approach your sides.
  9. Stretch your legs into the water. Right before you enter the water, extend your legs completely as you gracefully land into the water vertically with your feet first. Your arms should be nearly at your sides when you do this.
    • As you improve your gainer technique, you can work on rotating your body a bit faster and tucking your knees to your chest for longer before you enter the water.



  • Visualize performing the reverse somersault "gainer" before starting each dive. Perform each attempt with full strength to avoid failing from looseness. Confidence is key.
  • Moving forward briskly ensures passing by the diving board end on the way down.
  • Learn how to do a front flip and back flip before trying this dive. It requires more rotation and blocks the landing from view until the near the end of the dive.


  • Only attempt this dive under supervision of a diving coach or experienced competitive diver.
  • Never do this under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You could injure yourself or die!

Related Articles

  • Do a Forward One and a Half Flip Dive
  • Do a Dive
  • Perform a Back Dive With a Half Twist
  • Back Dive
  • Do a Springboard Back Suicide Dive
  • Forward One and a Half Flip from a Springboard

Sources and Citations

  • Dr. Kenneth William Hirsch, ex Stanford and U.S. Army competitive springboard and platform diver, swimming & diving teacher/coach.

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