Today I’m going to talk a little bit about endurance, especially on bars. Endurance is INCREDIBLY important, and not just in optional routines. Teaching kids how to swing strong the whole way through a routine is definitely an undertaking but it’s worth it. It will pay off in their gymnastics in the long term.
This first video, is one of a gymnast doing 8 clear hips in a row. Mind you, no routine you’ll ever find will have eight clear hips, but it’s great endurance training. How many of your athletes could do eight in a row? It’s definitely something to strive for.
Alright now watch this second video. A brilliant level ten bar routine. It has 16 skills in it. The new level 5 bar routine has 11 skills in it. That means we need to be training kids to do 10+ skills before getting off the bar. In my opinion this means more endurance work, less chalking up between every 2-3 skills, longer skill sets in complexes etc. If we want kids to be able to get through a routine of 16 skills, we need to prepare them to do it.
Photo Credit: Erin Costa
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Enrico Casella (Vanessa Ferrari’s coach) recommended doing drills right after getting off the bar in order to improve indurance. F. ex. as soon as the gymnast lands her dismount or finishes her complex, she runs to the rebounder and does 10-20 bounce-handstands. Depending on the level, push- up holds or handstand holds will do the job as well.
During off-season, when learning new skills is a priority and the gymnasts are busy enough trying to figure out new drills and skills, he has them do (f. ex.) 50 giants in straps after regular bar practice.
That’s a really great strategy. I may actually try to incorporate that or something similar in the future. I really do like trying to keep kids ON the bar for longer periods, but sometimes that’s just not possible especially when learning new skills.