10 Creative Bar Drills

NCAA gymnastics

Summer is a great time for gyms to work on all the things they don’t have time to focus on during competition season! Whether that is going back to the basics, cleaning up form on old skills, or learning upgrades, we have a drill for you to incorporate into your summer practices. Here are 10 drills to work on bars for various skill levels. If you have a good one we missed, link a video in the comments.

1. Clear Hip Shapes

This drill takes more work because it needs one-on-one spotting from a coach, but it is a great one to work on with kids learning clear hips! Showing kids the right shapes and talking through how their bodies should look during a skill can really make a difference. 


2. Clear Hip to Handstand

Once kids get the correct body shape to keep in a clear hip, this drill is great to teach them how to hit a handstand out of the skill. It might take a bit of practice, but this helps keep arms straight and teach the shoulder positions needed to get the skill around. If gymnasts aren’t quite ready to learn a handstand out of the clear hip, it can also be used to teach just a clear hip itself by shooting over into a push-up position. 


3. Giant Drill

Gymnastics coaches know that teaching a giant on bars is not an easy task. Thankfully, this drill can help! Showing gymnasts the right shape to have and to keep their arms pushing against the bar until the are completely in a handstand is very helpful when they transfer to a real bar and do the skill on their own. This drill could be combined with others in a day totally focused on working giants, or used as a side station while working on other tasks. 


4. Flyaway Drill

For gymnasts with a fear of flyaways or those who just need extra practice with them, this is a great drill to get them comfortable with the skill! It has the added bonus of being very safe and something gymnasts can do completely on their own to work on the mental and physical elements of the skill.


5. Jump to High Bar Shape

Summer is a great time to work on the small things, no matter how little they seem. The silliest things give away points, and most can be easy to fix! This drill works on jumping to the high bar in a good position, and it forces the gymnast to be in the correct shape upon reaching the high bar. Give it a try with the setup in this video, or try it with mats set up a different way and let us know how it goes. 


6. Kip Drills

Kips are such a frustrating skill for young gymnasts, and also one coaches can run out of drills for. Using many different drills for this skill is important, because different drills will help the skill click in different kids’ minds. My personal favorite is the first one shown in the video, because it helps with the extension at the beginning of the skill and lets the kids do most of it on their own, but all of these drills are worth a try. 


7. Casting

There are plenty of casting drills out there, but this one is especially good because it provides a fun incentive for gymnasts to cast high enough to have a friend roll the mat underneath them. Sometimes gymnasts have the ability and skill to cast higher than they currently do, but they are afraid to get higher. This drill takes the fear out of that idea by giving them something to land on and a fun reward of working with a friend to accomplish that goal. Gymnasts can do this in pairs or a group, or have a coach put in the mat when first learning the drill. 


7. Blind Change Breakdown

Blind changes are a big skill to learn on bars, and one that can cause a mental block for many gymnasts. This drill works on the skill itself, but also overcoming that fear! In this video it is spotted by a coach, but after awhile could be done with a partner. This gymnast is showing great form and how to work on body shape, realistically preparing to move the skill to a real bar. 


8. Learning Pirouettes

This genius pirouette drill can be used as a station on bars and done independently. By keeping the area they have to use small, it teaches gymnasts to keep their bodies tight and turn quickly. The pool noodles stop them from getting hurt if they don’t do it correctly, so even beginners can benefit from this station without fear. 


9. Tkatchev Timing/Catching

This Tkatchev drill is very helpful in teaching gymnasts the correct timing of the skill. It also helps them prepare to catch the bar, and know how it will feel on the real bar. Their attempts likely won’t look this good or be this close to the bar at first, but practice makes perfect! If gymnasts are afraid of the landing or you suspect they might not land that nicely at first, you can always put a sting mat on the landing side of the Tumbl Trak for awhile. 


10. Tap Swing Body Shapes

Tap swings are easy to teach, but clean ones that don’t get deductions are a little tougher! This drill is an easy one to set up and have gymnasts do alone that can help remind them of clean lines. Especially if it is done right before or after a turn, it can help young gymnasts keep those positions fresh in their minds—or remind older ones of the basics!


Aleah Finnegan Discusses Deltchevs And Diversity

Get The FloSports App

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Aleah Finnegan remembers watching Carlos Yulo make history at the 2018 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships. Yulo won bronze on floor exercise in Doha, making him the first Philippine gymnast to medal at a World Championships.

A New Generation Of Gymnasts: Why Morgan Hurd Aims To Be Voice Of Change

Morgan Hurd Women's March.jpeg

Morgan Hurd keeps her pronouns (she/her) in her bio, encourages everyone to wear a mask, and doesn’t shy away from sharing her opinions on social justice topics, even while she launches into the public eye as her career intensifies. Hurd speaks out about many social issues, especially ones that affect marginalized communities.

Division I Recruiting Dead Period In All Sports Extended Through April 2021

Get The FloSports App

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

By Michelle Brutlag Hosick

The Division I Council on Wednesday extended the recruiting dead period for all Division I sports through April 15.

Shane Wiskus Aims For His First Olympic Team Amongst Difficult Setbacks

Get The FloSports App

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Shane Wiskus dealt with his fair share of setbacks this year, but it hasn’t changed his goals. No matter what stands in his path, he has his sights set on Tokyo 2021. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Leanne Wong Commits To University Of Florida

Leanne Wong

Two-time U.S. Senior National Team member Leanne Wong, an elite from Great American Gymnastic Express (GAGE), announced her commitment to the University of Florida. Her signing ends months of gymternet guessing and giddiness. Known for her graceful extension, clean lines, and competitive consistency, Wong made it official November 14, 2020, through her Instagram account. 

Riley McCusker Files Lawsuit Against Maggie Haney

Riley McCusker and Coach Maggie Haney.jpg

Riley McCusker, a four-time national team member of USA Gymnastics, filed a lawsuit against former coach Maggie Haney and former assistant coach Victoria Levine. It's a civil case for damages, alleging negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress by her coaches for forcing her to train while injured. 

Auburn Women's Gymnastics Sign Four In 2021 Recruiting Class

sunisa lee 2019 world championships

Auburn women's gymnastics head coach Jeff Graba and staff are elated to sign one of the most promising classes school history. 

Kara Eaker And Grace McCallum Sign With Utah Gymnastics

Get The FloSports App

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

SALT LAKE CITY – Two-time World champions and two of the nation's top elite gymnasts - Kara Eaker and Grace McCallum - locked in their futures with Utah gymnastics on National Signing Day. As two of the most decorated signees in program history, the duo will vie for a 2021 Olympic Team berth prior to continuing their illustrious gymnastics careers in Salt Lake City.

Aly Raisman Continues Her Path As An Advocate For Gymnasts Everywhere

Aly Raisman

Best known for her accomplishments inside the gym, since her retirement from the sport Aly Raisman has made strides to leave a different kind of legacy in gymnastics. Besides her six Olympic medals, four World Championships medals, and numerous other successes, Raisman wants the sport to remember her for the change she created within it. 

What To Expect From The Friendship & Solidarity International Competition

Get The FloSports App

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

After months without international competitions, gymnastics fans can mark their calendars for a treat at the beginning of November! On November 8th, a competition named “Friendship and Solidarity” will take place in Japan. As the name suggests, this one-day competition will be fun and lighthearted, getting gymnasts back into competition mode.