Starting Crossfit

Toes To Bar – Why You’re Struggling to Touch Your Tootsies

There is nothing easy about doing Toes To Bar kips, absolutely nothing. If your technique isn’t right then you’ll be lucky to even reach the bar with your toes, much less maintain a good momentum. To make things worse, the taller you are the more difficult it’s going to be. So how do you get a handle on this kip that has everyone huffing and puffing with frustration? First, you’ve got to look at what you are doing wrong. If you don’t focus on strengthening the right areas and perfecting your technique, then Toes To Bar’s will remain your worst nightmare in the box.

Toes To Bar, Basic Mistakes

This particular kip is aimed at flexibility as well as arm, abdominal and grip strength. If you are struggling in one of these areas it’s going to affect the workout as a whole. This is where you start from the beginning and find your weakness.

A Lack of Core Strength

Without the necessary core strength you can hang on those bars till the cows come home. It is the fundamental focus point for just about every sport or exercise out there, because apart from just stabilizing your body during a movement, it’s also the center of the force needed to perform the movement. Before you even consider a Toes To Bar kip, get your core strength in order with some of the following exercises:

– Planks
– Hollow Rocks
– Deadlifts
– Good Mornings
– GHD Extensions
– L-Holds
– Hanging Knee Raises


These are by no means the only core exercises, but they are great starting points.

No Technique

The first thing a newbie is going to do (and I can attest to this) is to hang on the bars and simply kick those legs up in hopes that their toes will reach the expected destination. Good luck with that. Even though your instincts tell you to perform a Toes To Bar kip with as much comfort as possible, avoid listening to that little voice. You have to be conscious about the parts of your body that allow you to perform a half decent Toes To Bar and when to use them.

No Leg Control

Assuming you are able to reach the bar with your toes, but you are unable to do it a second or third time. You’re probably kicking your legs out on the way down instead of using proper technique, which is going to burn you out quicker than a blast of napalm in the morning. Rhythm is a very important part of Toes To Bar kips and kicking out your legs will break it in half.

2013 Open workout descriptions with Julie Foucher

2013 Open workout descriptions with Julie Foucher

A Weak Grip

For every bar related exercise you are going to need a strong grip. So if you have the technique down and you’ve pumped up your core strength, but you’re still struggling, your grip is probably the issue. In order to get your grip to the level it needs to be you can incorporate targeted exercises that go hand in hand with core strength workouts, such as the farmers walk. Also work on your upper body strength with an active hang, one arm active hang and switch grip hangs.

Three Simple Steps to Remember for Toes To Bar

Now that we’ve covered the basic mistakes newbie CrossFitters make, here are three great tips to help improve the process.

Use Your Shoulders

When you initiate a Toes To Bar kip, don’t do it with your legs. Instead, let your chest make the first movement forward and back, followed by your hips and legs. What you don’t want is to swing without any control. Any leverage you can get in a WOD regarding control is something you take.

Get Your Hips Behind The Bar

The reason why you want your hips behind the bar when your toes make contact is because you’re in a better position for the next kip. As you come down your chest is going to swing forward and build a little momentum.


Bring It Straight Down

On your way down, don’t just let your legs swing back. Instead, pull your knees up to your chest, which will decrease the angle of the swing and leave you with better control going into the second kip.

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