Part two in our series on drills for Toes to Bar (T2B)
If you've been trying to improve your T2B technique or maybe start linking up your T2B, pop 10 - 20 minutes worth of practice in before or after class twice a week and you'll be surprised at how quickly you progress.
T2B Progression Three: Initiating the Kip by Opening and Closing the Shoulders
This is similar to progression one and two. This time, however, you’re hanging from the bar and attempting to find the arch and hollow positions by using your mid-line.
When you feel like a kid swinging on the monkey bars and your kip is totally out of control, it’s because you’re attempting to kip using your legs rather than your shoulders. Think about bringing your chest forward and back rather than lifting your legs and initiating from there.
Now here's where it gets tricky - gymnasts will argue that you should initiate the kip from your HIPS. Whereas most CrossFit gyms will teach you to initiate through your shoulders. Given the gymnastic training we have received as coaches at CrossFit WODen, we prefer to subscribe to the idea that kipping originates from your hips. Athletes who attempt to use their shoulders to initiate kipping usually end up with shoulder injuries - especially if they don't have the initial shoulder strength developed from strict movements.
"But if I use my hips then I swing my legs!" Yes. If you use your hips WITHOUT engaging your midsection correctly, you will end up using your legs. You need to be able to maintain a switched on core and active shoulders to complete a kipping movement effectively. Confused? Don't worry! Just ask a coach to take you through it in person 🙂
T2B Progression Four: Partner Assisted Push/Pull
It can be a challenge to feel the rubber-band tightness needed to snap the legs back up to the bar while learning the kip. With the partner assisted push-pull movement, you can feel and help someone else feel the control. This drill is great for your first toes to bar and/or a great reminder of how it should feel to keep tight when doing this movement.
The person on the bar will begin their hollow-body/bow hollow movement as learned in step three of this progression, keeping the legs and ankles together and the mid-line tight. The spotting partner will place their hands on the mid to lower back of the person swinging to support the kip and ensure that the person doesn’t swing uncontrollably. The spotter will help guide the athlete into a superman position by gently pushing their mid-line forward. As the athlete begins to push down on the bar to return to the hollow body position, the spotter will gently pull the athlete’s mid-section back behind the bar to help them find that position. This progression can be really helpful when trying to feel the rhythm and flow of the kip.
Remember, if you don't have a partner just ask a coach! Happy practicing!