I wanted to do a quick post today of one of the best ways to work handstands, pirouettes and other bar skills on the floor. I hear lots of coaches who say “that’s not handstand” or “that’s not locked out” or are frustrated by late pirouettes on bars (and let’s be real here, we’ve all been there).
The easiest and best way I’ve found to combat this is floor bar work. Lots of coaches do handstand holds, whether they be on the floor or against a wall. But if you want to get your handstands better on bars – DO YOUR HANDSTAND HOLDS ON A BAR. It can be a floor bar – but getting kids to understand where vertical is, hold their shape, use their thumbs etc to hold them in a nice handstand on a floor bar makes a HUGE difference. You’ll find kids who may have a 30 second – 1 minute handstand on the floor but you put them on a floor bar and it goes down to a second or two. This example has a springboard assisting her, but as they start to figure it out, take the springboard away.
After handstand holds I LOVE presses on bars. Again, along with building strength, you’re putting the gymnast on a bar, using the shapes that she’s going to need in stalders, cast handstands etc. It takes a huge amount of work – but it’s worth it in the end. Pull out your floor bars every day and spend 10 minutes just doing handstand holds and presses. Watch how your bars changes.
This is one you can start on the floor and progress to a floor bar. Being able to control going into and out of the pirouette ensures that the pirouette is landing on top. Another way you can do this is have them hold at each phase – press – hold handstand 3 seconds, pirouette, hold handstand 3 seconds, press down. When they’ve got that mastered on the floor – move it to a floor bar. Their awareness and ability to pirouette on top when they get to a real set will be so much better.
If you’ve got a kid who can whip out a bunch of presses in a row, or you know you want to do inbar work with, pike presses are your best friend. These are done on a beam – but again you can begin between panel mats (hands elevated to make it easier), progress to a beam and then to a bar. The muscles and muscle memory developed from doing these will make your life so much easier in the long run.