Due to the gradual nature of learning gymnastics, it is beneficial to start off with the basics at home. This helps coaches in level progressions, introducing new manoeuvres to the child’s skill set and doing more complex gymnastics movements at the gym.
Here are some lists of skills you can do on your bars at home:
Find Your Gripping
This is a great place to start so gymnasts can determine that the use of overhand grip is needed to perform movements on the bar. The overhand grip adds a lot of friction when doing vigorous movements so it is important to also use grips and chalk to prevent severe calluses.
For this to be in full effect, it is best to do this on a spotting block to allow the gymnast to have greater height and reach the bar without jumping. Matting underneath the bar is advised especially when it comes to dismounting. From here, grip the bar appropriately and do a swift swing underneath the bar, keeping your feet in front of you. When doing this, ensure that your arms are straight and on either side of your ears. Release the bar and then land softly on two feet.
You can then advance to pike by hanging from the bar and hold your legs out at a 90 angle degree – this is really good for building the core. You can also do the straddle by splitting the legs at an acute angle and attempt to hang still, and tuck where you tuck your knees into your chest whilst hanging from the bar.
This is a gymnastics skill that is performed on uneven bars. Simply use an incline wedge, spotting block or a plyo box and place it in front of the bar. Grasp the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and walk up the mat. Bend your elbows to pull the bar towards your chin, and from here, kick your hips towards the bar, one foot at a time. From here, pull yourself over the bar, which should result in front support. Reverse the movement by tucking your chin and rolling forward. The Pullover also then builds the foundations for more complex movements.
Similar setup to the pullover, walk up to the bar, grip the bar and jump up to a front support position. Learning how to cast builds a foundation for more complex movements that are heavily based on casting. When in this position, ensure your hips are level with the bar. When performing this manoeuvre, keep your arms straight and swing your feet backward, casting away from the bar. Continue this movement three to five times to ensure the efficiency of the overall movement. These can also be alternated into different ways, in order to be utilised in more complex skills.
For a gymnast to do this movement, they need a lot of core strength. This is, however, easy to do at home as a gymnast initially needs to be able to hold themselves on top of the bar. From this position, swing your legs over the bar, making the ‘cutting’ movements. This can then evolve into front mill circles which are compulsory to learn when it comes to competing.
Before performing kips, the gymnast must have warmed up and conditioned appropriately. To do a kip, mount the bar and pull your feet towards the bar. Slightly adjust your position so that your knees are aligned with the bar rather than your hips, and ‘kip’ by swinging your hips to the bar and pulling your shoulders over. The kip has many variations which include drop kip, pike glide kip, long hang kip and more.
Front Hip Circle
This movement is beneficial for a gymnast who is struggling to nail a back hip circle. Start in the position where your hips are aligned with the bar, and your arms are straight. It takes force to be able to complete this movement smoothly, so act as though you are pushing the bar into the ground with your shoulders. Push yourself up slightly, and arch your legs out at a slight angle up behind you. From here, drop your chest, and maintain your feet in that initial position. Drop forward and swing around the bar, returning to the initial starting position.
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