If you think you’ve seen the best dance moves, then think again. Breakdancing utilizes elements of martial arts, gymnastics, and even yoga. Today, break dancers, better known as Bboys or Bgirls, have pushed the limits of the human body to the point of almost defying gravity. Straight from the underground dance scene, get ready to witness the top 25 craziest breakdance moves!
We start with the most recognizable move- the windmill. Originally borrowed from Kung fu, this move was used to spring up from the floor without using your hands. Now, the move has evolved into a continuous motion in which the dancer can perpetually rotate around his or her upper body. You can use your hands, forearms, elbows, or head to propel your momentum. The variations are endless!
Warning: Do not do this move on concrete… for obvious reasons. The headspin is probably the most iconic and most unnatural move in breakdancing. Although its origins are derived from capoeira, Kid freeze has claimed to have invented the ‘continuous headspin’. Today, the move has been mastered by bboys around the world. In fact Bboy Aichi, from Japan, holds the Guiness World record for 135 rotations in 1 minute.
You’ll come to find that many bboy moves do not actually look exactly like they sound. Such is the case for the jackhammer. This move may look impossible, but it’s actually just a matter of manipulating balance. It utilizes a technique called “stabbing, in which you support your entire bodyweight by placing your elbow on the stomach at a 90 degree angle. With the proper set up and a little leg push, the jackhammer is born.
Beginners, do not try this move without proper training and supervision. The headslide is an unnatural move and requires a lot of strength and support from the neck muscles. Just keep one thing in mind when doing this move: make sure you have hair.
This move is new. In fact, it’s so new, I had to make up a name for it. The ‘baby’ comes from a baby freeze, one of breakdancing’s most basic freezes. Basically, you quickly move in a circle while in this freeze. Not many bboys consider this a typical powermove yet, but it sure is becoming popular.
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This move originated in Capoeira, a traditional Brazilian martial art. Both hands push off the ground while the legs kick back and forth in a scissor-like motion to a simulate hopping. This may be a surprise, but holding a one-hand handstand isn’t a prerequisite. The key to this move is the ‘push and catch’ of each hop. As long as you master this, you can simply redistribute balance for a split second in between each hop before pushing off again.
Borrowed from gymnastics, this move requires a lot of upper body strength, relying on the arms, back, and core. Basically, the legs move in a circle around the body without touching the ground. The wider the legs are, the easier it is to carry momentum and to keep the hips high. So, just a helpful hint: having a wide straddle split will make this move a whole lot easier.
If you performed this move 20 years ago, people thought that you could defy all laws of physics. But today, it is regularly practiced powermove. It originated from doing a flare with the body almost inverted and hips exceptionally high. A little hop when traveling from hand to the other is what makes this move extraordinarily different. There are many variations, from keeping the legs piked together to catching with the forearms. It’s such a beautiful move that even gymnasts have begun adding it into floor routines.
Buddha spins are another recently invented move. People used to think this move was athletically difficult. Yet, it is becoming more and more common for bboys everywhere. You actually shift your body weight from one hand to the other. The hands control the rotation while the core is kept tight throughout the entire move.
Another gymnastics based move, the deadman float relies on momentum more than strength. The prerequisite is the UFO float, a similar move where the knees are bent and closer to the arms. However, the deadman is different because it takes a lot more core strength. Imagine doing a planche, but instead of holding the position you move your entire body in a circle. Sounds difficult right?
Instead of using the palm of the hand to support your weight, someone thought it was a good idea to use the entire forearm instead. You get slightly better balance, but the shoulder now absorbs more shock. As depicted above, variations can make this move look really cool.
This move is an illusion. Instead of both hands being flat on the ground, one hand supports all of the weight. While spinning on the palm of this supporting hand, the other hand is placed conveniently on top. You need two things in order to maintain momentum- one is a strong set-up initiated by the swinging of the legs and the other is a stable handstand in order to stay in the upright position. To generate even more momentum, bboys tighten the core and gradually bring the legs together.
The name of this move comes from the ‘V’ shape made by keeping the legs afloat. You need both quad muscle strength and a lot of hip flexibility to support your weight on your hands while bending forward. Speed is what makes boomerangs dynamic. So, most bboys use other powermoves to transition into this one.
Have you ever wondered what ballerina pirouette looks like upside-down? Well, wonder no more. The 1990 is a spinning one-handed handstand. Bboy Cico is famous for cranking out these spins almost effortlessly. In fact, he holds the world record for 27 spins.
Air Chair Spins
The air chair is exactly what it sounds like. But instead of “sitting” on an actual chair, you hold your body up with one hand while in mocked seated position. If you transition into this move from a windmill with enough momentum, you get the air chair spin. Some bboys like to wear a smooth cloth or glove covering the palm to maintain momentum.
Floating Gremlin Spin
This move is insane. I’ve decided to call this the ‘floating gremlin’ for lack of a better term (That’s right, this is another relatively new move). In regular Gremlin spins, bboys spin around a full 360 degrees on one hand without stabbing. In this variation, the hips are higher than normal. You’re going to need some powerful flares to transition into this move.
EDIT GIF What better way to make a move harder than to spin on your elbow instead of on your hand? With that kind of creativity, you’ll arrive at the elbow spins. You will often see this concept in many variations of other powermoves. This move is another illusion. Instead of spinning on the very tip of the elbow, you actually use the base of the forearm. Of course, a bit of soft padding maintains momentum and reduces pain due to friction.
EDIT GIF Again, you can upgrade difficulty by switching to your elbows. The hips are low in the front so muscles in the lower back must do more work to bring the hips high in the back. You end up leaning forward so much that you reach a posture similar to the ‘scorpion’ in yoga. The flexibility and abnormal strength required is what makes this move difficult.
So, you’ve mastered the air flare… What else is there to do? ‘Simple; master the air flare on your elbows! You don’t really use your elbows to propel you in this move. Instead, the entire forearm absorbs the shock. This move looks awesome- enough said.
I know what you’re thinking. If I weighed less than 100 pounds and had short legs, I could easily come up with this move. Well, you may be right. Bboy Taisuke is known for his quick movements and flow. He manages to throw his body up in the air with ease even when it seems that he lacks a proper wind-up. Don’t be surprised to find that this gif is in real time.
Elbow Chair Spins
It’s almost impossible to imagine how this move was invented, but someone did it. For those skeptics, this move is 100% real. After much practice, Bboy Uzee Rock has mastered the art of spinning on the very tip of his elbow while his body is parallel to the ground. Be lucky that this is a gif because this guy can do about 10 rotations in real life.
1.5 Air Flares
If you can already air flare, what would be the next step? Thats right! You just rotate your body an extra 180º degrees so that you land on your shoulder instead of your hands. No big deal right? Use a gym mat or soft ground when practicing because this move takes a lot of guts.
One-Arm Elbow Tracks
Put on some elbow pads because this move will hurt. There are no tricks to making this move easier; you have to in shape and comfortable stringing together powermoves. At this point in practice, it’s really just about going for it. Some bboys have even managed putting together 6 of these bad boys in a row.
One-Handed Air Flare
If you’ve made it this far in performing crazy breakdance moves, you still have one task ahead of you- the one arm air flare. This move just became popular among many ‘powermovers’ around the world. When done the right way, it can look very graceful. When done the wrong way, it can be very dangerous.
One-Handed Chair Flare
This move is absolutely ridiculous. Some of you may think it’s amazing that this guys’ arm doesn’t just collapse on the spot. You need a lot of shoulder strength to hop high enough, rotate fully, and catch safely on the same arm. The bboy in this gif is named ‘Bboy Kill,’ for obvious reasons.