High Bar - Basics


3/4 giant
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Cast handstand
  • Be sure the gymnast leans well over the bar. Most gymnasts have a tendency to cast back and not up.
  • Work a lot of casts. With spots, without spots. Work casts with good form. Be sure to also work cast handstand and lower back to the bar, because the negative motion will strengthen the cast.
  • Swing handstand on P-bars with good technique will help improve cast handstands. (For both male and female gymnasts).
  • Wrap a therapy band or surgical tubing around the base of very sturdy equipment, such as beam, vault, or bar base. Lie on back and grasp the band or surgical tubing. The feet should be closer to the base than the head. Bend knees. Holding the band very tight, while keeping the arms straight and close to body, pull band from the thighs toward the ceiling and then up toward the head. Return the band slowly using the same direction, toward the ceiling then down toward the base/thighs. This should simulate the uppoer body while performing a cast to hanstand.
  • Lay stomach down on a sixty centimetre block or two resi-mats with a floor bar infront of the block/resi-mats, get gymnast to place hands on bar with shoulders in front with open hip postition heel drive to handstand position then fall to flatback this drill can be spotted at first to give gymnast impression of leading with their feet.
  • Click here to view an article on the cast handstand.
Clear hip to handstand
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  • Back hip circles with no cast. A hollow should be held throughout. This will force the gymnast to keep tight and initiate the skill with their shoulders.
  • Clear hip to high support. The gymnast should aim to finish the clear hip horizontal or higher. A spotter should catch the gymnast in their final position.
  • Consecutive clear hips. This will force the gymnast to hit a solid support and shift their wrists to prepare for the next clear hip. Each clear hip can build amplitude.
  • The key is to stay tight, head in, and aggressively drop the shoulders back when initiating the skill.
  • To get a consistant clearhip hand stand practice back hip circles then try getting your hips away from the bars then putting a bar height box behind and the low bar. stand on the box, then putting your hands on the bar swing around the bar and try to get your feet back on the box.
  • Back extension roll to push up position. Really focus on a tight hollow back extension roll.
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  • Tap swing release to land on back in a pit, resi-pit, or stacked mats. The gymnast should look at their toes during the flight.
  • Tap swing release spotter catches the gymnast. (For larger gymnasts a spotting belt is the next best thing) Target position should be about 45 degrees above horizontal. Again the gymnast should look at their toes.
  • Same as above drill but after brief pause the spotter turns the gymnast over to complete the flyaway. This pause can be gradually eliminated, then the spot can be gradually eliminated.
Front flyaway
  • The key to this skill is getting a feel for the tap. It is essentially a reverse of a normal tap swing. The front swing position is an open body leading with the heels, as the gymnast passes through the bottom, they must hollow then kick their heels towards the ceiling. Work the tap without releasing the bar until you get a feel for it. The tendency is to tap early. Work the tap late.
  • Once the tap is consistant, dismounting into a pit or with a belt to get the feel for the turnover is next.
  • The gymnast should feel a significant block off the bar prior to release. This will aid in gaining amplitude and good direction for the dismount.
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  • No drills yet available for this skill.
Swing 1/2 turn
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  • Work drop arm half turns. Have the gymnast hang in a hollow on the bar looking at their toes. Then release the bar with one arm drop it to their side while doing a half turn and regrasp the bar. This is all done without swing. Keeping tight is crititcal.
  • Be sure the gymnast has a good concept of the tap swing before working swing 1/2 turns. It's much easier to teach it properly than to fix bad habits later.
  • Work swing half turns with a piece of foam, or other object between the ankles. This will force tight 1/2 turns.
  • The gymnasts anchor arm must pull back on the bar and remain straight as the turn is excecuted.
Tap swing
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  • An aggressive effective tap swing is key to a dynamic high bar routine.
  • The gymnast should be hollow in the rear phase of the swing. Head in, hollow chest and pushing away from the bar on the downward swing.
  • As the gymnast passes between the uprights they should open to prepare for the tap. (Most gymnasts open the swing early causing the tap to go forward and not upward)
  • As the gymnast begins the upwards phase of the forward swing they should tap aggressively towards the ceiling.
  • As the upwards swing rises the gymnast should pull the bar back and push away to get their center of gravity as far away from the bar as possible for the downward swing.