|High Bar height
||Around 228 cm
|Low Bar height
||Around 148 cm
|Distance between bars
||Around 150 cm
Grips and Giant Swings
There are five types of swings, all of which have their own unique grip (the way that the
gymnast holds the bar). A giant swing occurs when the gymnast swings all
the way around the bar with straight body. The Five types are:
- Normal Grip: This is the most common swing, where the gymnast travels
face-first around the bar. The bar is held with hands facing forward.
All elite level gymnasts compete these.
Forward, or Front Giant
- Reverse Grip: The gymnast swings around the bar back-first with arms
rotated inwards and hands facing upwards.
Inverted Giants- L-Grip
(aka Dorsel Grip, Eagle Grip): Swing around the bar back first with arms
rotated outwards and hands facing upwards (try holding your arms above
your head and rotating them like this it's - not easy!). These are best
performed by the Chinese team but also by many others with varying styles
including Elena Produnova (RUS), and Viktoria Karpenko (UKR).
around the bar with hands and arms rotated behind the back in an
inlocation. Elvire Teza (FRA), Anna Mirodskaya, and Lu Li are some of
the only women to compete these.
- One hand in L-grip, the other hand in normal grip. This grip is swung out of Healy
Back Hip Circle
- The gymnast rolls backwards around the bar on her hips.
Cast - This allows the
gymnast to get from front support to handstand position. From front
support, the gymnast pushes off the bar with her hips and lifts her body
to straighten the shoulders and finish in 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.
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 upper body while
performing a cast to handstand.
- From a front support, the gymnast moves backwards around the bar with her hips close
but not touching it.
- On the low bar, the gymnast swings forwards with her legs straight and roughly parallel to
the floor, then swings backwards
Kip - This is the element
that the gymnast uses to get from hanging position to front support. She
first brings her legs to the bar, then pulls her hips to the bar, and
then pulls herself all the way up until she is in front support
position. It is usually combined with a cast to get to handstand.
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 waist
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.
circle - Tips:
The key to a strong stride circle is understanding 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 further 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 interrupt 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 executed with an undergrip.
Most gymnasts simple 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.
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.
- Tips: 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 consistent, 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.
Initiate the skill from a high support. The bar should be
resting on the upper thigh. The
gymnast should fall forward with a tight body leaning well
forward to initiate momentum. As
the gymnast moves to execute the skill they should lean
forward aggressively and reach around the bar to get their hands on top of the bar.
cast handstand - Tips:
The gymnasts kip should occur late enough so that the gymnast
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 execute the cast. If the gymnast is completely open upon
completion of the kip there's no where to go for the cast.
Tap Swing - An
A skill. Tips:
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.
Giant - A B skill.
The first thing a gymnast needs to work a front giant is a
cast handstand 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.
Back Giant - A B skill. Tips:
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 executed 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.
Straddle Back -
A B skill. Tips:
The gymnast should understand how to stretch forward in the
front swing to generate a strong rearward swing. For a
timing exercise, 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
draped on the bar and work straddle backs. Focus should be
on lifting the hips on the rearward swing.
- A C skill. From regular
grip, the gymnast swings backwards, releases the bar and does a ½ turn
followed by a backward flip in pike position to catch facing the bar
(the difference between a Gienger and a Deltchev is where the twist
occurs - much like the difference between a barani and a cuervo on
vault). Many gymnasts compete Giengers including Viktoria Karpenko (UKR),
Andreea Raducan (ROM), Simona Amanar (ROM), Ludivine Furnon (FRA),
Kristen Maloney (USA).
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.
Jaeger - A C
skill. From reverse or el-grip, the gymnast swings forwards, releases the bar and does a
forward salto before catching the bar in regular grip; done piked (legs
together), straddled (legs apart) or the most difficult, layed out
(straight body). This is also one of the more common release elements
being performed most of the Chinese and Spanish gymnasts as well as
Allana Slater (AUS), Elena Zamolodchikova and Ekaterina Lobaznyuk.
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
- A C skill. With her back to the low bar, the gymnast swings forward, releasing the
bar and traveling horizontally to catch the low bar in handstand. It
can be performed from an over-grip, under-grip or mixed-grip.
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.
Tkatchev or Reverse-hecht -
A C skill. The gymnast swings backwards and releases the bar close to the top of
the swing, then flies backwards over the bar in straddle or pike
position to catch the bar on the other side. Also can be performed from
a Stalder (Ricna), free-hip (aka Hindorff) or toe-on (like
Elise Ray). This is the most popular release element besides the Jaeger
and is being performed by many gymnasts. Most gymnasts do it in
straddled position, but Elena Produnova does hers in piked position. Tips:
The timing of the tap and an aggressive throwing of the bar are keys to this
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 aggressively
pops their chest upward and develops support on the bar. The
gymnast should lead with their chest and not hips.
- From a cast, the gymnast lets go before handstand and performs a front flip to catch on
the way down. Dong Fangxiao (CHN) and Vanessa Atler (USA) have both
competed this element recently.
Deltchev - From regular
grip, the gymnast swings backwards, releases the bar and does a backward
salto in straddle position, followed by a ½ turn to catch facing the
bar. Brooke Walker (AUS) is one of the only gymnasts still performing
this skill which she does in the pike position.
Def or Hristkieva
- A geinger with an extra full twists - the gymnast swings backwards,
releases the bar and does a backward flip with 1 ½ turn to catch facing
the bar. Isabelle Severino (FRA) and Elena Dolgopolova (RUS), Sneja
Hristkieva and Elena Piskun all competed Defs at some point in their careers. It is called a "def" on mens high bar but is
officially named after Hristkieva on womens bars.
- A free hip to tkatchev - the gymnast starts in handstand, then swings forward with her
hips close to the bar. Before she reaches handstand she releases the bar
and flies backward over the bar to catch. Yvonne Tousek (CAN) is one of
the few who perform this skill.
Kim Salto or Counter Kim or Xiao Ruzhi
- From a backward giant, the gymnast swings forward,
releases the bar and then changes direction to do a forward salto and
catches the bar facing away from it in L-grip. Evgenia Roschina (RUS)
competed this skill before her retirement in 1998.
Mo Salto or Gaylord
- From a forward or inverted giant, the gymnast swings forward, releases and
does a front flip to catch the bar in reverse grip. Mo Huilan and Bi
Wenjing (both Chinese) competed this skill at the 1996 Olympics where Bi
did it from el-grip.
High to Low
Overshoot (aka bail or undershoot)
- From a backward swing, facing the low bar, the gymnast
releases the bar at the bottom of the swing and does a layout with ½
turn to catch the low bar (if she catches in handstand it is much more
difficult than catching with bent body). This is a common transition
element following release elements.
- From a backward swing, facing the low bar, the gymnast releases the bar at the bottom of
the swing and does a backward layout to catch the low bar. Watch for the
best to combine a Pak Salto with an earlier release such as a Tkachev,
Gienger or Jaeger as do Ling Jie (CHN-Jaeger), Elena Produnova (RUS-Tkachev)
and Viktoria Karpenko (UKR-Gienger).
Bhardwaj Salto ~ A full-twisting
layout somersault from the high bar to the low bar on Uneven Bars. This
skill was created and successfully executed by Mohini Bhardwaj (USA).
Low to High
Free hip Hecht -
From handstand facing away from the high bar, the gymnast does a free hip,
then releases the bar and flies in the opposite direction to catch the
high bar. This can also be done from a stalder (stalder shoot) or
sole circle instead (toe-on hecht) of a free hip.
handstand facing the high bar, the gymnast does a free hip, then
releases the bar and flies backward to catch the high bar above her
head. Performed by Jamie Dantzscher and Elena Produnova.
- A straddled
Shaposhnikova with a ½ turn to catch the high bar.
- basically a turn
in handstand. The gymnast releases one hand to place it on the opposite
side of her other hand. They can be done out of giant swings (in any
grip), stalders, toe-ons, free hips etc.
- A move used
to get from regular grip to L-grip. From handstand, the gymnast rotates
outwards (so she is facing away from the bar) on one arm to do a ½
turn, ending up in L-grip. Most often seen from Chinese gymnasts.
- A Stalder going
forward. Yvonne Tousek and Morgan White are two gymnasts to
perform this element recently.
An endo is any forward stalder no matter
what grip it is in. White did hers in el-grip.
A full turn on one arm performed at any time in
or after handstand while falling forward. It can be performed from a
front giant, back giant, clear hip, stalder, endo, weiler kip, cast, blind
change, higgins, giant hop 1/2 to mixed etc.
- Also used to
get from regular grip to L-grip, a Higgins Roll requires the gymnast to
let go of the bar with one arm, make a ½ turn, rotate inwards (so her
free hand sort of slides along the bar) and place her free hand on the
opposite side of where it was, thus ending up in L-grip.
- Giant with
full pirouette through handstand. May be performed from either a front
or back giant.
Giant 1 ½ (Kim)
with 1 ½ turns through handstand ending in either mixed grip or reverse grip.
Giant 1 ½ (Dawes)
with 1 ½ turns in handstand from a backward giant to a normal grip.
- Swing around the
bar with piked body and straddled legs. Should be performed from
handstand to handstand. Amy Chow and Svetlana Khorkina are famous for these.
- Swing around the
bar with body piked so much the feet are on the bar. Should be performed
from handstand to handstand. Olga Teslenko (UKR), Elise Ray, and Kristen
Maloney (USA) do a lot of toe-on work. Many gymnasts use a sole circle transition.
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