So, I asked for your feedback on this blog series about what you wanted to hear more about and the majority of people wanted more information about training and also gymnastics technical information like understanding the code of points and various requirements for competitions.
If you do have any specific requests please do feel free to get in touch on the adult gymnastics Facebook group, as I’ll be happy to share these.
In this entry I am going to be talking about bars.
I didn’t compete on bars at all last year. This was because I didn’t have enough skills to put a routine together. The skills that I needed either required greater strength than I had or were quite scary to try. It’s not uncommon in adult competitions for people to choose to sit out of bars. In the all-around you only count three out of four scores in the women’s competition so this means you can sit out on one piece of apparatus. Obviously, that increases pressure on the other three pieces of apparatus as you don’t leave room for any falls, but it does mean you don’t have to worry about a piece you are really struggling with.
With all competitions cancelled for the year, and with this increased period of time out of the gym, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could increase my strength – something which had been preventing me from competing some of my bars skills. A lot of this has been very basic, adding in regular conditioning sessions which involve press-ups and planks, and holding handstands against a wall. I’ve also been doing repetitions with dumbbells. Another area that has required strengthening has been by core, and I’ve found doing regular v-sits has been helpful as well as trying leg lifts (admittedly this would be a more effective exercise if I was using wall-bars rather than how I’m doing it, but it’s still a helpful exercise).
I’ve also been practicing my dish and arch shapes in readiness for swinging on the bars themselves.
The great news is that all of these exercises can be done at home without the need for equipment, (with the exceptions of the weight related exercises) so anyone can add these in during the week.
I mentioned in my previous blog how amazed I was that my conditioning paid off when I hit bars and that suddenly I was able to complete a circle up, which I hadn’t been able to do before. The same could be said when I was practicing my swinging and also my overall stamina to continue on what is a physically demanding piece of apparatus!
I haven’t yet conquered the mental challenges with some of the other skills and this is possibly made harder by not being able to have a coach to spot you due to the measures around Covid-19 – although maybe that’s good for me!
One of these goals is working on a straddle and a squat on to the low bar. I can now climb on which is progress for me, but the straddle on still needs work and this is completely psychological.
The other mental block – which seems to be consistent on floor too – is going backwards. I can’t yet do a forward hip circle, but that is largely due to getting the technique right however, the backward hip circle is definitely in the mind which is weird because essentially I’ve just done the same thing with a circle up. Oh dear! Still – I’m confident I will have some kind of bars routine together for when competitions start again, hopefully sometime next year.
The moves that I’ve described are all acceptable for the novice level in Women’s Artistic competitions, so it will be a case of making sure everything is clean and minimises the chances of getting deductions on execution and that is a case of PRACTICE!