10 Must-Try Beam Drills

Kseniia Klimenko (RUS)

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Beam is an important event to work hard on in the summer, since it is an event where you can always upgrade something in the routine, whether it is the series, dismount, dance, or mount. Although there are many more than just 10 drills to work on for this event, here are 10 of our favorites. 

1. Jump drills

In this preseason workout with Universal Gymnastics, they show a great way to learn jumps or leaps on the beam. At 3:58 the drill is shown, and it is just doing the jump or leap off the beam and landing on a mat. This way, gymnasts can feel what it would be like to take off the beam, without worrying about the landing. This is also a great way to work on making jumps and leaps higher, even if gymnasts have already competed them. 


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2. Bent back knee cure

If your gymnasts have bent knees on beam (or anywhere else!), this drill is helpful in getting them to remember how to fix it. Isolating the back knee and focusing on feeling it straighten can help them to straighten it in routines better than just vocally reminding them. Better yet, this station is easily set up and could be done instead of wasting time standing in line in between turns!


3. Front aerial mat drill

This drill works on correcting front aerial problems before they are even created. This drill can be done while gymnasts are learning aerials on beam and even before they get to the beam because it teaches the correct way to do a front aerial before bad habits are formed. By doing it up to the panel mat, they get enough space and height to be able to do the skill on the beam. 


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4. Horizontal leg up turn

As L turns become more popular, more gyms are teaching them to gymnasts, and teaching them correctly from the start is important. As this is a popular beam skill, this drill is a good one to make sure the gymnast’s leg does not drop to ensure she gets credit for the skill. The mat on both sides makes sure the turn makes it all the way around, nice and clean. 


Positioning On Horizontal L Turns

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5. Switch ring leaps

For kids who are close to being able to do a switch ring leap, or any similar variation of the skill, these drills are great to open up the hip flexors and back and make it possible for them to achieve the skill. If gymnasts are ready to do the skill but don’t quite know the motions to go through, these are also excellent drills to get them used to throwing their head back. 


Switch Ring Drill

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6. Arm movements between flight series

These quick drills to work on arm movements during flight series can help make beam series so much better! Not only will it fix the kids who lead with their heads and help them understand to lead with the back of their hands/arms instead, it also helps the series be quicker, straighter, and cleaner and shows how quick and dynamic connections should be, rather than having a pause between skills.


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7. Height in a back handspring/back layout series

For gymnasts who have an issue with getting enough height for the back layout in a back handspring/back layout series, this drill is the key to fixing that problem. This drill has gymnasts going off of a spring board onto a low beam, working the second half of the series. It can also help get in numbers and teach gymnasts how to control the landing of a series, if that is something they need to work on.


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8. Band work

Using bands before beam can warm up the leg muscles and get them ready to work, as well as enforce good form. Doing pulses in each direction helps keep the legs straight and tight, which is needed on this event. The squat walks are also good for the hips. Although these can be done on the floor as well, doing the exercises on the beam helps focus on staying straight. 


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9. Roundoff dismount drill

For roundoff dismounts, you want straight legs to snap down for the dismount. This drill aims to eliminate the squat position some gymnasts get in the habit of doing. For this drill, the gymnast puts her hands on the floor in front of the panel mat and does a strong roundoff up to the mat, snapping the feet down to land on top of it.


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10. Working beam skills uphill

Although they show front tucks in the video, this drill can be used for most any beam skill. The idea is that the skill is done off the beam, so it still feels like it is being trained on the beam, but it is done off the end onto a pile of stacked mats. These mats are stacked higher so gymnasts can work on getting height for when they finish it on the beam and also work on landing without wobbles. 


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