Guest Post – Mike Durante — 60 turns in 60 minutes!!

About Mike: Mike has over twenty-one years of experience coaching women’s artistic gymnastics levels 4-Elite.  Mike has a great passion for and knowledge of gymnastics and developing confident, healthy and responsible gymnasts. In recent years, he has spoken at both Regional and National Congresses.

60 Turns in 60 Minutes!

I want to first say thank you to Zari and her Swing Big! blog for the chance to express my thoughts on coaching gymnastics. This has been my passion for over 20 years.

Today I want to discuss bars. Specifically, what a normal workout looks like. This workout focuses on getting my gymnasts moving quickly so that they are able to take 60 turns in 60 minutes! I am a firm believer in the philosophy that: more turns equals more comfort with the skill which in turn equals better gymnastics. Without further adieu lets take a look at what the Level 10s  do on Mondays.

First, we warm-up with a long endurance routine of casts, giants and conditioning. This is followed by 4 different sets of 5 giants. Specifically, these sets are designed to help with controlling giants for pirouetting. I won’t go into to much details about this as it’s not the focus of the post, but I will say that this is a killer warm-up routine and takes over 3 minutes to finish. As the warm-up is so long it seems like it will be difficult to get 60 turns in. But that time will be made up later. After the warm-up we move into dismounts, then high bar to low bar releases, and we finish up with major releases.

The fast pace of our bars workout is partially accomplished by breaking the hour long rotations into 15 minute increments. The girls have 15 minutes to finish the warm up. Sure they can get a drink, fix their hair and make funny little animals out of tape if they choose to, but regardless of what they do, the 15 minutes begins promptly when the rotation begins. Every 15 minutes the girls move right along onto the next assignment. Any unfinished assignment must be finished before working on new “free time” fun skills. These are periods of time in which I let the girls pick any new skill they need to work on. The girls have that free time a few times a week. If a gymnast didn’t finish any 15 minute assignment, she still has to move on to the next 15 minute assignment. This ensures that she gets to each category of skills in that day, and that she is not avoiding a skill by not finishing the assignment before it. This creates a sense of urgency. With only a short window of opportunity to get skills done the gymnast will work harder knowing the end is near.

It begins to hit home on days like Saturday, where they would like to choose some fun skills to play with but they might be stuck on unfinished assignments from Monday. Saturday’s assignment is 15 minutes of warm up and 45 minutes of “Free (choice)” that they can choose only if they have completed all the week’s assignments. If they have not finished the assignments then I choose their destiny for the day starting with what they didn’t finish and you can bet it’s the warm up turn if they didn’t complete it during the week! Perhaps several warm up turns if they happened to not complete the warm up more then once.

My bars assignment breakdown:






That is a normal day on bars. I hope this has brought you some insight and knowledge. If it has led to more questions, that’s great, because then you’re thinking of how to make your gymnasts better!
Michael Durante

If you have any questions for Mike he kindly provided his contact info:
YouTube: @mikedurante1991
Twitter and Instagram: @michael_durante

A big thank you to Mike for this fantastic post! Train hard!


  1. abby says:

    That was a great post- can you give me advice on a 15 minute warm up routine for my level 8/9 group- I only have 1 bar set for them and a second uneven station (not at their setting), but able to use. This group in particular tends to stand around and wait for turns, but don’t get much done…
    Thanks for your help!

    • Zari Goldmann says:

      Personally, I would make a warm-up “routine” that they have to do on the normal set. Right after that since your second set isn’t set for them I would have them do 5 – 10 drop kip – cast handstands in a row (on the spare set), and then set -up a wall bar stations where they can handstand hold right after the drop kips. Have them rotate through that the first 15 minutes of bars and their strength will go up substantially.

  2. wordsmith says:

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Great idea, getting such a distinguished coach to provide a guest post! Thanks, Zari!

  3. Ryan Newman says:

    Thanks for this post, it was extremely helpful. I am going to use this for my 8/9 group, but modify it a little bit. For you warm ups do you do routines everyday? or is it something different?
    let me know,
    Thanks again,
    Ryan Newman

    • Zari Goldmann says:

      When I refer to warm-up routines (like I did in the comment below), I usually mean I “routine” that’s basically an endurance routine of basics. Ie. kip cast-handstands, clearhips, giants etc. Mike actually posted one of his here: I’m on a tiny hiatus from coaching because of how my classes are this semester. But when I am I usually expect my gymnasts to do whatever their typical warm-up is every day. It’s gets them in a routine. They come to bars and they know what the expectation is.

      • Ryan Newman says:

        Thanks, for the quick reply! I do have one more question. You say you do this 15 min warm up. How many times do they do this? It only takes a couple mins for a gymnast to complete. What do they do with the remanining minutes of warm up time?

        • Zari Goldmann says:

          The warm-up in this post is by Mike Durante. So I’m not really sure how their warm-up works exactly (ie. how many turns they take). You could definitely tweet at him or email him. Often in my warm-ups I include something like a warm-up routine, as well as other strength/shaping things that I want done at the beginning of bars. Ie. pike handstands on floor bars, weight shifting drills in handstands for pirouettes etc.

  4. Michael Durante says:

    I do this warm up every day! I give them 15 minutes because the warm up turn can take about 3 minutes itself. But keep in mind they are required to complete it. So if they get half way done on the turn and they miss a giant or fall over on a cast, they start over! Plus we also do 25 more giants, consisting of 5 different variations. And like the first warm up turn these giants need to be completed in their entirety. So again if they don’t do the sets of giants correctly they don’t count. Therefore the 15 minute warm up is 6 different turns that need to be completed correctly to count. It’s not a killer pace but that includes getting the grips on and setting the bars and getting mats set up. If they hit all 6 turns with no mistakes and the bars are set and they rotate on time from the event before it they can get done around 11 minutes on a good day.

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