Good news everyone:
You don’t have to be at a gymnastics gym to learn or practice any of these bar skills.
In fact, learning and practicing these skills at home helps out the coaches tremendously in terms of level progression.
Since the process of learning is gradual and (especially with gymnastics) not immediate, knowing these skills help to improve form, familiarity, and most importantly level advancement.
It takes baby steps, and these baby steps are the skills you can do at home in order to make much bigger steps (bigger steps being skills you should practice at the gymnastics gym under a coach’s supervision).
So, in order to practice these skills at home you will need gymnastics bars (a branch on a tree will suffice…just kidding don’t do that), the Tumbl Trak PRO bar being the most reliable which can be attributed to it’s popularity and Gym2Dance being the most affordable out of the choices.
List of Skills:
Plan on competing? Even if you aren’t, basically this skill is an alternative to mounting onto the bar and typically where everyone starts. It is especially difficult for preschoolers to do since there hasn’t been much development of core muscles. A mixture of practicing pullovers and core conditioning exercises, nothing too intense but just enough to do the job. Once this mount is mastered, it makes it easier to do others.
This level 1 skill is so easy it’s a little amazing that it’s even called a skill, plus kids love doing it. Great thing about this one is that it’s practically step 1 to back hip circles (you’ll use the momentum from this skill to complete a back hip circle). Like I said before “baby steps”, they are key to learning difficult skills. It’s not necessary when doing your cast to go fully upright into a handstand on the bar, so just focus on using the momentum from swinging your legs to separate yourself from the bar.
Single Leg Cut
Like all of the gymnastics moves learned on bars, this one utilizes a lot of upper body strength. Easy to learn at home since all you really need to get down is holding yourself up on the bar, then from there swing either one leg over the bar. Single leg cuts are the step before doing front mill circles (this move is required to learn for competition).
Front Hip Circle
Don’t have back hip circle down? No worries, just practice the alternative, it’s way easier and you’ve probably already done it before. I practically religiously teach this skill to level 1 gymnast because it’s simple and most times they are already familiar with how to do it, they just have never heard the terminology for it before.
Back Hip Circle
Good to practice at home ONLY IF you are already comfortable doing it alone without a spotter. Practicing this at home helps execution with the skill so performing it in in your routine will be the least of your worries.
Another great way to mount the bar, and probably the most often used method, is by doing a kip. There are several methods to doing a kip that cater to your body, and that’ll have to be found out through trial and error. Since this skill requires core strength you can do some core conditioning exercises like leg lifts. Implement the 1, 2, 3 method to break up the skill into different part, this helps performing the whole skill a lot easier.
Part 1: Pull your feet to the bar
Part 2: Leg slide, knees to the bar
Part 3: Hips to the bar and shoulders over
Kips also make a smooth transition into casts so this is an important gymnastics move to get familiar with.
What makes this skill easy to learn is if you already have your back hip circle down, it’s basically just a continuation of that. The momentum from that practically makes this dismount effortless. If you don’t have your back hip circle, another good way to gain momentum is to do a cast into the dismount.
This is a good list to start off with if you are at a lower level, but learning and practicing these will go a long way.