High Bar A Skills


1/2 Pirouette
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  • On a floor bar kick to handstand in undergrip 1/2 fall hollow in over grip to an 8" mat to lie on stomach.
  • Same as above working the turn early. The gymnast should complete the turn in the handstand.
  • A good developmental drill for later skills is to work this skill but fall the other direction.
Back giant
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  • A lot of giants are not made because a gymnasts casts are sloppy. Work tight casts trying to finish the cast hollow with extended shoulders. A handstand is not necessary (though desired) to make good giants, but if the gymnast leads with their chest after the cast the giant will be difficult and excecuted improperly.
  • Work handstand hollow fall to a mat on a floor bar. Set up a floor bar over an 8" mat. Kick to handstand in an overgrip and fall to the mat. Body position should be hollow and extended. The gymnast should push be pushing away from the bar as much as possible, as this will enhance swing on the high bar.
  • Back extension rolls while watching the toes. The gymnast should work back extension rolls keeping their head in and lead with their toes so they can see their toes throughout. This will help develop a feel for leading with toes to handstand.
  • A very common error is to throw the chest over the bar and arch. This is caused by a loose body and an early tap. The tap should occur after passing vertical and the toes should lead to the handstand. Work tap swings and focus on a late tap that goes towards the ceiling not forward.
  • Lie on your back on a mat grasping a floor bar over your head. Have one or two coaches grab your legs and lift you to handstand on the rail. Be sure you keep tight and hollow, and lead with your toes.
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  • No drills yet available for this skill.
Blind turn/blind change
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  • A blind change is simply a swing half turn over the bar. It can be learned by just working swing half turns.
  • Dead hang in a slight hollow position with the head in. Half turn to mix grip keeping hollow. The turn should be initiated by and aggresive throw of the release hand.
  • Swing half turn to mix grip, swing forward, swing back and switch the under hand to overgrip, repeat. (Very important to have legs tight and squeezed together throuhgout these drills)
  • Swing half turn immediate switch to overgrip. (a piece of foam held between the feet or knees help the gymnast keep good form. Again, very important)
  • Consecutive swing half turns building amplitude. This drill can be done until the gymnast swings over the bar, then it is a simple step to do a swing half-turn over the bar to undergrip.
Clear Hip
  • A good hollow cast is essential to developing a good back hip circle.
  • The most common mistake is to throw the head back to initiate the hip circle. Head should be kept neutral. The shoulders should be dropped back aggressively to initiate the hip circle.
Front flyaway 1/2 twist
  • The gymnast should have a solid front flyaway.
  • The gymnast should work towards a layout front flyaway, while not necessary for the skill it will make it significantly more fluid.
  • The twist occurs immediatly after opening on a tucked or piked dismount or shortly after release for a layout.
  • The twist is initiated by dropping the left arm (for right twist) and looking under the right arm.
Front giant
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  • The first thing a gymnast needs to work a front giant is a cast hanstand in undergrip.
  • The tendency is to dump the shoulders forward and basically do a forward roll over the bar.
  • Work cast handstand lower back to the bar with a spot A LOT!
  • From the handstand the gymnast must think about extending as far from the bar as possible on the downward swing.
  • The gymnast should stay fully extended until just before passing under the bar.
  • As the swing begins to rise a pull down on the bar is initiated as the heels are driven upward.
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  • The timing of the kip is everything and most gymnasts tend to kip early.
  • Work glides on a low bar, being sure to keep straight legs, head in, shoulders open.
  • If the gymnast has a good glide then they can work glide and lift their toes to the bar on the rearward phase. Ensure that they do not lift their toes too early.
  • Once they can glide and lift their toes then they can work kips with a spot to develop a feel for the motion.
  • Hanging leg lifts will greatly improve kips as it strengthens both the abs and the critical muscle groups in closing the shoulders.
  • Stem rises: On a bar mounted near a wall, or a set of P-bars set uneven (distance apart will depend on size and strength of gymnast) hang on the higher bar with feet on the low bar (or wall) push off the bar/wall with the feet and pull the bar to the waiste with straight arms. Widen the bars to increase difficulty.
  • On a low bar, stretch body over a barrel. Shoulders should be extended and body straight. (glide swing extension). Pull toes to bar and kip.
  • Place a block or stacked panel mats next to a high bar upright. Loop an elastic band with handles over the bar. Lie on your back with your bottom close to the edge of the mats/block. Hold the handles, lift your legs to the handles and pull down while bringing your feet to the ground and trying to stand up. Keep straight arms.
  • Hold onto the bar with open shoulders with toes to the bar. This will help develop stomach strength required for the kip.
  • Lay down and hold a weight slightly off the ground with your arms by your ears. Then aggresively bring the weight with straight arms to your quadraceps and sit up.
  • Click here to view an article on the glide kip.
  • Fun game, good drill. Place foam blocks or other small light object at the extension point of the gymnasts glide. Have the gymnast grab the block and throw it over the bar.
Mix grip stem swing to front giant
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  • No drills yet available for this skill.
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  • No drills yet available for this skill.