Thanks to Pamela Gagnon for joining this week to discuss Toes To Bar efficiency. This is a movement that a lot of fitness athletes have difficulty with as their technique robs them of energy and slows them down! Pamela has some great insight into optimizing your technique.
Gymnastics skills such as the T2B give many CrossFit athletes a lot of trouble. If you want more gymnastics movement help check out these articles:
Be sure to also check out our Toes To Bar Overhaul program which is part of our Performance Plus Programming, the performance program created by me and Pamela to help skyrocket your fitness performance!
Toes To Bar Efficiency Tips
The main faults I see is lack of tension in the hang, and swing. And, also, the body position is not usually correct. We want to maintain that hollow body as long as possible throughout the entire movement, other than the front toe, the arch swing.
Let’s talk about the first thing. We want to have that active hang by activating the lats. So, when we just up to the bar, we want to pull down on the bar to create a space between our ears and our shoulders. What that, ideally, does is allows me to gain a lot of tension on the rig throughout my body, and then lets me control the swing. If I don’t do that, and I get my feet up to the bar, and then I relax that active hang, that’s when you get that really weird pendulum swing, that you’ll then have to double kick. So, we want to avoid that by activating the lats.
The second thing is the body position. After you jump into that active hang, we want to contract our ribs toward our belly button as we pull down. This is, ideally, gonna bring the rig closer to our toes. If I am in this arch position, it’s harder to get my toes up into that bar. We want to think, “Holding my position,” whether we’re doing a tuck and a kick, or we’re doing a straight leg.
Since we’ve just gone over the tuck and kick and straight leg, let’s talk about those two methods. Straight leg in is a beautiful method. It uses a lot of hip flexor, and quad strength. It is a little bit slower. If you are competing and you run through a lot more, the tuck and kick kipping toes to bar will definitely get you to the bar faster, and allow you to rep out more.
Both methods, I do believe, should be practiced, because, ultimately, they’ll both help you with strength and coordination in your swing.
Let’s demo it up on the rig.
I’m gonna jump up on the rig, hands are shoulder-width, and then I’m gonna pull into that active hang. Even when I start my swing, or my tuck and hollow out, I’m never gonna drop out of that. You’ll notice, as I bring my knees up high, I contract into hollow, and I drive my heels back and down very quickly as I’m hanging actively.
There’s a lot going on. It takes a lot of practice. Pick one thing to work on, and then you’ll continually add to it. After we get into that good cadence where we can really have tension and active hang, we can start to learn to tuck, or we can go for that straight leg. It’s a little bit harder, requires a lot more flexibility, and hip flexor and quad strength.
Another one of my favorite drills, to work both the hollow body and the active hang, is grabbing a low bar. You’re gonna grab a low bar where you can touch on the bottom of the floor with your bottom. Then you want to pull actively so you don’t have your bottom hang on the ground. Then, you’re gonna pull down on the bar, and contract into a really tight hollow. Really tight tuck.
What we’re doing is, we’re working on lat strength, and we’re also working on getting our feet back and down in a smaller skip. There is a lot that goes with kipping toes to bar. Work activating the lats, hip flexors, and core. Be patient in the process, and I hope these tips help.