“Toes To Bar – 6 Tips For Beginners” by Dani Horan

“Toes To Bar – 6 Tips For Beginners” by Dani Horan

One of the FIRST movements most of us learned when we did our first WOD was the good ol’ “toes to bar”.  It’s basically the king (or queen) of leg raises and it’s a vital skill to master if you want to compete in fitness.  The strict version is also a great way to develop total body strength, from your core to your grip.

While toes to bar (T2B for short!) is not a highly technical movement, it’s still got some ins and outs you should be aware of.  Here are some tips on the kipping toes to bar from Games athlete Dani Horan!

Note that it’s probably a good idea to master pull-ups to make your toes to bar easier and more reliable, so check out our article “7 Reasons Why You’re STILL Struggling With Pull-Ups!” while you’re here.

1.  Start at the floor.  Work on perfecting the hollow and “Superman” positions.  Staying tight in these positions will allow you to transfer more power into the bar so you can move more efficiently.
2.  Take those two positions and put them together on the pull-up bar.  Practice transitioning between the hollow and Superman positions and get into a rhythm to perfect your kip.  If you start to flop around, take a break and get back to it.
3.  Work on your grip strength.  If your grip is giving out, you’re not going to last long.  You need to work on specific grip strength on the pull-up bar.  Simply hanging from the bar for time – 30 seconds is a great place to start – can address a deficiency.
4.  Knees up.  Work on knees to elbows.  This is a remedial/scaled version of the exercise that’s great for people with mobility issues as well as folks who just want a way to make the exercise easier and work on developing core strength.
5.  Activate your lats.  When you come behind the bar at the top,  focus on engaging the lats.  Push down on the bar and descend quickly.
6.  Work on small sets.  To develop your technique without ingraining bad habits, keep the reps low and focus on perfect form.  If you push until your form begins to break down/loosen up, or even until you fail a rep, you’re just making it harder on yourself in the long run.  Quality vs. quantity!
In addition to these tips, you might also want to work on your hip mobility during your warm-ups.  Stretch those hamstrings too!

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