Toes to bar is one of my favorite core exercises in CrossFit, but it took me a long time to really master it. This article features demonstrations on all the progressions for toes to bar, plus eight great tips to help you improve and also protect your hands.
Value of Learning The T2B Gymnastics Skill
Toes to Bar (T2B) quickly training the core, hips, shoulders, and grip. The speed at which this exercise can train and stress these muscle groups cannot be replicated by machines or other conventional “core” exercises.
The kipping toes to bar (KT2B) is a great progression tool for other gymnastics skills like the kipping bar muscle up and ring muscle up.
Movements Standards & Cues
- Thumbs around the bar at all times
- Active shoulders throughout the movement
- Push the bar hard with your shoulders
- Push yourself away from the bar as you bring your legs up
- Keep your shoulders active as you pull your legs back down
- Timing is critical when stringing them together.
- Practice one kipping toes 2 bar / one kipping knee raise or beat swing until you get the proper rhythm.
- It’s a skill… practice, practice, practice. Find a coach to help you.
Chalk is necessary on Toes to Bar type movements. Without chalk, the oils in your hands will make the bar slippery. Chalk also reduces damage to your skin from swinging in the bar.
Grips are massively helpful for Toes to Bar. They significantly reduce damage to your hands, reduce pain, and reduce fatigue. We sell the leading two types of grips… Victory Grips and Bear Komplex. Anyone that wants to try out them out, just ask a coach to try them out.
Gloves do not work well for CrossFit. They bunch up and make the bar wider in your hands. No professional athletes or CrossFit coaches recommend using gloves in CrossFit. Save the gloves for Planet Fitness.
Progressions for the Toes To Bar
- Kipping Toes to Bar is the Rx’d version in most cases. Progressing this skill up is generally done by wearing lifters or simply doing larger sets.
- Strict Toes to Bar is generally done as a training exercises since it’s slower than the kipping version and require more effort.
- Kipping Knees to Elbow is almost as difficult as the Toes 2 Bar. The main advantage of this variation is that it doesn’t have the same posterior chain mobility requirements as the Toes to Bar
- Kipping Knee Raise: provided you are strong enough to hold yourself on the bar… this is an excellent scaling for more people. It directly builds the kipping mechanic and with practice… easily translated to the full toes to bar.
- Hanging Knee Raise: This version is very commonly done… but not very effective for much of anything. It requires minimal effort and does not help you build the skill for the full version of the movement.
- Beat Swing: this technique helps you practice and learn the kipping mechanic.
- Supine Toes To Bar: this technique helps you build the core strength to do a full toes to bar. Try to keep your legs straight and knees locked out the whole to reap the maximal benefit.