Head-Up Range-of-Motion Drills

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Brought to you by AXIS Flight School Instructor Niklas Daniel at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by Brianne Thompson. For more information visit axisflightschool.com.



  • For solo jumpers to become more stable and mobile in a sit
  • To gain the skill set necessary to take grips on another jumper


  • Ability to smoothly transition over the legs between the belly and back orientations
  • Ability to transition from a horizontal to a head-up position
  • Proficiency in the head-up neutral position (See “Foundations of Flight—Head-Up Neutral,” February 2015 Parachutist.)


Once you are proficient at flying head-up, you will eventually want to connect with your friends. However, you should also be able to control your heading and level (upward and downward movement) and be proficient at moving forward and backward before you do so. Before attempting to take docks with other jumpers, challenge your own stability by performing range-of-motion drills. First, attempt to touch various parts of your body with one hand only. In order of difficulty, try touching:

  1. Back of your head
  2. Chest
  3. Waist
  4. Hands
  5. Knees
  6. Feet

When you begin docking on another jumper, you should not rely on that person to maintain stability. Therefore, your goal in these exercises is to maintain stability, heading and a consistent fall rate while solo, which will translate to reliable performance on group jumps.

Helpful Hints:

Once you’re proficient performing these skills with one hand, perform them using both hands at the same time. Once that is easy, attempt to touch the same points across your centerline (e.g., right hand on left knee, etc.). If you can execute these moves, you’re likely to be successful when you start trying to take grips.


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