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Gymnastics Seminars Part 1: Toes to Bar

By Jasmine Gerritsen | In Articles, Blog | on September 9, 2019

Welcome to the toes to bar gymnastic seminar recap; the first in a series of five, addressing those pesky movements that just don’t want to come your way. Our goal is to provide you with some valuable drills and some suggestions as to how to add them to your training routine.

Before we get started, we want to distinguish between practice and training. Practice is when you spend time doing the not-so-shiny stuff (such as the drills we have provided you in this blog post). Practice is typically done when you’re fresh (at least when you’re first learning a movement) or when you’re trying to better your technique. Oftentimes, practice is where we get back to the basics, work on our strict strength, and address any muscle imbalances or weaknesses.

Training on the other hand is the stuff we do in class. Training (at least for CrossFit) is our testing ground. It’s the stuff that gets your heart rate up and leaves you feeling pumped and glorious. Unfortunately, when movements are difficult for us, they may take us too long to be able to accomplish or learn the movement in a workout, and so we scale.

We want you to think of practice as the opportunity to slow things down, and challenge yourself to move with intention and precision. Our hope is that you implement some of these drills 1 to 2 times per week. Once you are able to get a movement down, then it will be time to get you training with your brand-new shiny scale!

None or A Few Un-stringed TTB




Barbell Knee to Chest

-low sets and reps=good movement integrity +strength build

Lat activation, aggressive hollow and tuck, strict strength



Swing movement pattern

PVC Prone Drill

-Higher reps= hypertrophy and muscle fatigue focus. Trying to get those muscles bigger, into better positions, and better able to withstand reps

Strict strength+mobility of shoulders + upper back

Supine Arch to Hollow

-Explosive drills= quick to fatigue muscles. Sets are low to prevent fatigue, reps are low for movement integrity

Core muscles including posterior and anterior muscles, + learning how to contract muscles dynamically

Around the World

-Reps take lots of effort and time. Do one rep, hop down, go in the opposite direction with total control. Don’t string until you can make them look beautiful

Strict strength focus on core, lats, and grip

Straight legged Beat swing to increasing heights

-with each swing go higher, restart height with the beginning of each set. Shoot for making third set, rep 4-5 the highest!

Hamstring flexibility, aggressive lat pull-down, hinging at hips not knees

How to Implement Drills

Pick 2-3 drills to work on once, or preferably twice a week. If you are more on the beginner side of things, it will be important for you to do these drills when you are relatively fresh, as you need to be in a more optimal state to learn the new movement pathways, and to practice good form. Intermediate athletes that have a few toes to bar, might be able to get away with adding these exercises after a workout, but again we are looking for quality movement and are attempting to build strict strength–which can often be compromised when done after a grueling WOD.A

Advanced/Stringed TTB


Sets + Reps


Around the Worlds


Strict strength

Straddle Leg Raises

2-5 reps with 4 bands
2-5 reps with 3 bands
2-5 reps with 2 bands
2-5 reps with 1 band
2-5 reps without bands

Core strength

Figure 4

3×20 sec hold

Hamstring flexibility

Double banded beat swing


Maintaining tension for a good reset

3 types of swing
Bent knee
Straight leg

Bent knee = less lat, more core
Straight leg = more lat, less core
Butterfly  = speed. All lat, all core

How to Implement Drills

Consider adding 2-3 of these drills to work on right after a workout. For more advanced athletes, we are trying to build your work capacity. So, it’s important to have you practice TTB when you are fatigued. The more you do it, the more you will be able to withstand the fatigue settling in during a WOD.

Types of Toes-to-Bars

Glossary of Drills

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