Fun Friday – Front handspring front handspring front vaults

Hi All!

I hope your week went exceptionally well. It has been a very busy week here in New Orleans, but that seems very much to be the standard of late. I thought I would share a vault today that I had totally forgotten about. I believe the tucked version is called and Ilg and the piked version is called a Garbarino (someone please correct me if I’m wrong here). Have any of you had your gymnasts try this vault? If so leave a comment and tell me how it went!

P.S. – Spots for 2014 clinics are officially ALL TAKEN. If you’d like to schedule your clinic for 2015 before it fills up shoot me an email at

Beginning Beam – Building Confidence

Hi All,

Today I wanted to talk just a little bit about doing beam with beginning gymnasts. A lot of beam in the beginning is kids learning to balance, learning where their arms and legs are, figuring out where to look, how to stand etc. All of this can be a little scary so I thought I would share some things that are often more fun than just walking and may help them get over some of those fears faster and build their confidence.

Beginning Beam - Building Confidence

This first one is stepping over cones which is great. You can also use bean bags etc. I really like the idea of something taller to help them get their knees up, but it also gets them a visual aid and stops them for taking those TINY TINY steps some of them take. Also I want them to learn to balance with their legs in different places, in front of them, behind them, high, low, etc. So learning to balance with their knees up is a good place to start.

This second one is bear crawls. Now let me explain one of the reasons I like this. I see a lot of people spending a lot of time with beginners on beam walking, which is great. But at the same time it means the only way they’ve ever interacted with beam is to stand on it. I want them to be on the beam at all levels. Sitting on it, crouching on it, kneeling on it etc. I want them to be as absolutely comfortable on beam as they can be, and that means they need to do more than walk on it.

This last one is long jumps. Long jumps are a HUGE fear buster for me. All my kids do them. I love them. Now, listen carefully, DO NOT have your rec kids do long jumps on the high beam. It’s a recipe for disaster and a broken arm. Start out on a line, move to a gummy beam, then a low beam. But they are by far one of my most used things on beam.

Train hard!

Taking the pressure off the low back

Hi All,

Today I wanted to share two very similar videos one from Dr. Larry Nassar and Dr. Dave Tilley. They are both talking about one very important concept and dealing with it in a similar way and that is taking the pressure off of our gymnasts lower backs by distributing the load more evenly.

Taking Pressure Off Of the Lower Back

Both of these videos show gymnasts increasing their thoracic mobility (upper back), while stabilizing their lumber spine (lower back). We all know that lots of our gymnasts end up with lower back pain (often way too young), and a lot of the problem comes from the distribution of the load (or lack there of). I’ll let the videos speak for themselves, but both Larry Nasser and Dave Tilley have great things to say about taking care of our gymnasts.

Side note: I HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend that you get some foam rollers for your gym.

Train hard!

Favorite staple giant drills

Hi All,

I wanted to share a few of my favorite staple giant drills. As weird as it seems to be in August it won’t be long until optionals are approaching their first meets (September-November goes FAST). So I know we will end up in the spot we end up in every year with people wondering “will she get her giants before the first meet?” My philosophy is always the same. It’s better to put in the time on the drills and wait than to compete something that isn’t ready and may create fear and problems down the road.

Favorite staple giant drills

I love 3/4 giants, and I’ve said that over and over. But I especially love starting kids from a tap swing for one reason in particular and that is: bent arm drops. If gymnasts bend their arms/lose their shape on the drop their drop chances of them peeling go up exponentially. This way it takes out the drop which 1. gives you more time to work it technically so they don’t bend their arms 2. takes out some of the fear of the speed and falling. I really like this progression.

This second video is just an old school drop drill. You can do it like this or onto something like a resi mat (thighs hitting it), so they have to keep their body tension. How ever you do it, just make sure that this piece is technically correct before letting them try giants on the bar.

Train hard!

Quick Tip: Bars when you don’t have bars

Hi All,

I wanted to share a quick video I did a while ago on getting “bars time” in when you aren’t on bars. I do lots of this kind of stuff because it’s a great way you can get your shaping and conditioning stuff done, and it can be set up during a floor rotation, on the vault runway etc.

Quick Tip - doing bars when you don't have bars

In this video:
1. Pike handstands – can be done on a floor bar when ready (see them on beam)
2. Handstands on barrel (see better example here)
3. Handstand levers (see one leg version here)
4. Cast holds – can also be done on floor bar
5. Hand switches in casting shape

Circuits like this can be easily modified to fit the level you need. If you have lower level gymnasts I would do a lot of kip compression stuff and and beginning shaping work. As they work up the levels I would start throwing in more weight transfer work for pirouettes etc.

Other things you could add to this circuit:
1. Push-up walks on floor bars (here)
2. Pike ups on blocks (here)
3. Any of this pirouetting complex (here)
4. Assisted handstands with board (here)
5. Pike throughs on parallettes (here)
6. Static stalder holds (here)
7. Any of the floor stuff from this handstand video (here)