Uneven Bars Drills and Skills

The higher of the uneven bars is set around 228 cm, and the low bar is set around 148 cm. The distance between the bars can be up to 150 cm.


Basic SKILLS



3/4 giant
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  • Most gymnasts simply are not aggressive enough when first learning this skill.
  • Working back hip circles and finishing in a solid support, and multiple back hip circles will help develop a sense of the wrist shift necessary for this skill.
Cast squat on
  • The cast squat on for most gymnasts is more a mental thing than physical. A certain level of confidence is required to commit to casting sufficiently and really pushing with the arms in order to get ones feet on the bar.
  • Place a large mat, or stacked mats so that the mats are just under the bar. The gymnast should start in a hollow prone with their hands on the bar and jump to squat on the bar.
  • Ensure the gymnast is keeping their weight over their hands throughout this skill.
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.
Stride circle
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  • The key to a strong stride circle is undertanding extending away from the bar on the downward swing. This is a fundamental concept for all swinging skills.
  • From the stride support the gymnast should push upwards to move their center of gravity as far from the bar as possible. This extension continues through the entire downward phase of the swing.
  • In addition to pushing upwards the gymnast should lift their legs as much as possible to futher accentuate the swing.
  • A common mistake on the upwards phase of this skill is to pull in to the bar and bend the front leg. This will kill the swing and interupt the skill. The push is similar to a kip (and will help with learning kips). The arms should be kept straight. Downward pressure should be applied to the bar. This skill is most easily excecuted with an undergrip.
Tap swing
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  • 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.


A SKILLS



Flyaway
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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.
Fronthip circle
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  • Initiate the skill from a high support. The bar should be resting on the upper theigh.
  • The gymnast should fall forward with a tight body leaning well forward to initiate momentum.
  • As the gymnast moves to excecute the skill they should lean forward agressively and reach around the bar to get their hands on top of the bar.
  • Stack folded panel mats under the bar. Have the gymnast sit on the mats and lean forward to support on the bar. This helps develop the feel for the last portion of the front hip circle.
Kip
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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.
Kip cast handstand
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  • The gymnasts kip should occur late enough so that the gymast can reach support leaning forward with shrugged shoulders. The most common difficulty with this skill is an early kip which finishes in a vertical support. The cast then goes backwards and not upwards
  • A lot of cast handstands need to be worked so this part of the skill is not a struggle. In working cast handstand sets be sure to work cast to handstand, lower back to the bar, as the negative motion greatly helps develop strength.
  • The gymnast needs to finish the kip with their shoulders forward, and feet down so they can excecute the cast. If the gymnast is completely open upon completion of the kip there's no where to go for the cast.


B SKILLS



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 through 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.
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.
Double flyaway
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  • No drills yet available for this skill.
Front giant
  • 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.
Overshoot
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  • Use a single high bar with stacked mats to simulate the low bar. Swing facing the stacked mats and release in the front swing. Do a half twist and land in a prone on the stacked mats. As the gymnast gets comfortable with this drill they can work towards catching higher, eventually in handstand.
Straddle Back
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  • The gymnast should understand how to stretch forward in the front swing to generate a strong rearward swing.
  • For a timing exersize, work swings in which the gymnast straddles in the rearward swing, lifts their hips, and looks down to the low bar. The straddle should occur after the vertical phase of the swing.
  • With a single rail a stack of mats with a wedge on the top can be used to simulate the low bar. On this setup work straddle back to straddle stand. The gymnast should be encouraged to land in a straddle stand and not a seated straddle position.
  • Use either a bar pad, or sting mat drapped on the bar and work straddle backs. Focus should be on lifting the hips on the rearward swing.


C SKILLS



Jager/piked jager
  • The gymnast should have a solid front flyaway.
  • Front pike dismounts from a swing or cast. The dismount should not travel far from the bar.
  • In a pit, resi-pit, or over stacked mats, piked front 1 1/4 to the mats. This will help develop a feel for the over rotation needed to do the skill properly. (this also teaches the gymnast what to do when they miss the release move)
  • Once the front pike dismount is high enough and getting close to the bar, it just takes a little later release and a reach for the bar.
Straddle Back To Handstand
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  • All drills for a straddle back apply.
  • The gymnast must focus on the hips rising and not the heels. The motion is very similar to a press handstand.
  • A tight hollow on the catch is critical to stabilize the skill.


D SKILLS



Geinger
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  • Work layout flyaway 1/2 turn. Once comfortable with this motion over rotate the flyaway 1/2 to your stomach onto a port-a-pit or stacked mats.
  • Be sure to tap towards the ceiling and keep your shoulder angle open. There is a tendency to pike and pull in on the bar.
  • Once the flyaway 1/2 to your stomach is solid, start looking for the bar and adjusting the tap to bring yourself closer to the bar.
Tkatchev
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  • The timing of the tap and an aggressive throwing of the bar are keys to this skill.
  • Work back extension, snap to straddle sit or stand. The back extension should never reach above 45 deg. As the gymnast rises they should throw the floor back aggressively and reach forward, the goal being a straddle stand.
  • The same drill can be done on trampoline to give more amplitude. Also work the same drill to stomach drop.
  • If a tramp bar is available then this drill can be worked from a back drop using the bar as one would on a high rail.
  • On the bar the gymnasts tap should be earlier than for a giant. The tap should be directed straight towards the ceiling, and the toes topped just past horizontal. The throw is critical for countering the rotation of the swing.
  • On a low bar work glides to high arched support. This drill requires two spotters. The spotters spot at the ankle and shoulders. The gymnast does glide swings then aggressivly pops their chest upward and develops support on the bar. The gymnast should lead with their chest and not hips.
  • Lie on your stomach on a block with your arms by your head (hanging off the edge of the block). With your arms straight lift and throw weight as far as possible without bending your arms (a medicine ball is perfect for this). This will help develop the explosive strength necessary for the skill.


E SKILLS



Note: If you are working these skills you are probably beyond the usefullness of these pages, but hey they are cool skills.
No E skills yet available for this event.