ABCs of Bars with Tony Retrosi

Hi All, Today I wanted to share a really great lecture that Tony Retrosi does called the ABCs of bars. I won’t say too much about it, but I’ll let his lecture speak for itself. If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing (try to find the time, it’s really good) – skip to the end of the second video for one of my favorite drills that I don’t think gets done enough.

Tony Retrosi's ABCs of BARS

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Quick Tip: Developing aggressive, narrow hurdle arms

Hi All,

Today I wanted to share one of my most used round off drills. One of the most difficult things I find for coaches to do, is to go back and un-teach skills and then re-teach them properly. I think a lot of times coaches get overeager with the round off and say the hurdle is “good enough” despite the gymnasts chest being sideways, or them cross stepping, or other things of that nature. But going back and un-teaching a hurdle like that can be very difficult. So I try to make sure that from the very beginning my gymnasts have the best shot at having a great hurdle, that won’t cause problems later in tumbling or their yurchenkos.

Developing aggressive narrow hurdle arms

This drill is incredibly simple, and kids really like it because it’s fun for them. What I want them to do is to throw the foam as aggressively as they can, maintaining tight straight arms. I also want them focusing on not tucking their chin, keeping their ribs in, and not releasing any of the body tension when they throw the foam. The only thing you have to watch for in this drill is kids letting their arms go wide once they’ve released, make sure they know to keep them narrow. I usually have them stand in front of the pit to do this.

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Fun Friday #79

Hi All,

Wow, what a crazy week it has been, it has FLOWN by. There are some really exciting things coming for Swing Big! in the new year, and I’m so happy to get to share them with you soon. One of the things is that I have had SO MANY requests for Swing Big! clinics to be more accessible for all coaches. So I’m going to be setting up a few coaching clinics across the US for next year. I posted this on Facebook last night, asking people to tell me where they would like these to be held. Please, either leave a comment on the Facebook post, leave a comment here, or drop me an email at to let me know where YOU want me to hold these clinics. Also, if your gym wants to host one of these, drop me an email as well.

Alright, enough about that stuff. Let’s get to some videos. Double pirouette from Keara Glover? Pretty cool. I know it finishes late, but still, pretty awesome.

Oh, and I found an old routine from Irina Alexeeva back in 2010. Wow, so sharp, so crisp. So adorable. Also, I love the tik-tok near the end.

Building In Prehab When Planning Workouts – With Dr. Dave Tilley

Hi All,

Today we’ve got another great piece by Dr. Dave Tilley. Since this is #3 I won’t give much preamble. But as always he has great things to say.


If you had your way of planning workouts how much time would you ideally devote to rephab/prehab work?


After a lot of trial and error, my boss and myself have found success with implementing pre-hab work in 3 ways. This includes


1) A Pre-Warm Up and During Warm Up: Like I noted above, I have our girls come in 10 minutes and run through a one page sheet related to mobility/activation/movement prep from above. I think it’s really important to do before a warm up. This is called a “RAMP program”, which I have learned about from some great rehab specialists through continuing education. I have just tweaked it and tried to get a generic one for my gymnasts.  Along with this, I have remolded our warm up program to be try and encompass dynamic mobility. After reading and researching a lot, I personally believe in active mobility work rather than static stretching or some of the things I did growing up. I think most gyms do a great job of this already. At the end of the warm up every day before events, I have our girls go through a series of core stability/control drills, and jumping/landing drills because I think there really important.


Gymnasts doing prehab


2) Integrated Into Event Work As Side Stations: Along with the warm up I like building in more specific drills to events, which directly relate to the focus of the event. For example, I work Turkish Get Ups into most of our pirouetting/blind/long hang workouts to teach the gymnast overhead control. I also work in single leg stability, or knee prevention drills during leap and dance days because proper single leg control is really important to prevent issues like ACL tears, overuse knee injuries, and so on. Another example is putting in core stability and rotary control drills we do twisting on floor.  Along with all the great twisting drills we have as coaches, I think some of these more find tuned position drills can help tune into overall shape awareness, twisting control, and reflexive core activation. These are just a few examples, but having them built into circuits has worked really well for us, and helps us be time efficient.

Turkish getups

3) 15 Minute Chunks During The Week: I do think that there is huge value in taking the time to teach the gymnast why they need pre-hab, and why they need to take care of themselves. Empowering the gymnast to be educated about the “why” for the rationale behind things based off of good science really makes them buy in and want to actively take part in pre-hab. If you have the skill set, taking 15 minutes to explain proper jumping/landing form, core stability drills, soft tissue work, and so on makes things easier down the road. You can start to develop a base of pre-hab that the gymnasts are educated on during workouts, and also your giving them tools for how to take care of themselves throughout their gymnastics career. I have patients of mine take their home program with them and work it in 3x/week before practice as a maintenance program to encourage lasting results and lowered re-injury risk. The girls I coach have actually grown to like pre-hab, and a ton of them come in early because they understand the benefit. I really encourage gyms to team up with local healthcare to be involved in this process; it can be huge for your gym.

I think between these three different areas, you can build in a lot of really productive time that has carry over for developing gymnastics but also helping to address common injury risks with gymnasts.

A few thoughts on circles on bars

Hi All,

Today I wanted to share a couple really nice videos pertaining to circles on bars. Two of the major things that circles need are a ton of repetition (this really can’t be skipped), and a good concept of technique. And that’s exactly what I want to share with you in these videos.

Thoughts on bar circles

This first video is a really nice set of stations emphasizing keeping pressure on the bar. With everything else that goes on in circles (front and back) I think that this is actually one of the things that gets overlooked most frequently. Also, remember what I was saying about unused boys equipment on Monday? That p-bar set-up is awesome.

This second video is of clear hips on strap bar. And I put this in this post because I HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY encourage you to have gymnasts do clear hips on strap, for many reasons. The first of which is that they can take a million turns, well maybe not, but they can do a lot. The number of turns they can take on strap far exceeds that of a normal bar. The other part is that you can get gymnasts opening up earlier (even too early) without fear. Stick an 8″ on the ground so it’s soft and let them experiment. This will get rid of them doing the same clear hip for 6 months in a row.

Train hard!