Kip Development

I am truly amazed at how many gymnasts cannot perform a glide kip very well.  The net result is that a poor kip leads to difficulty transitioning into the next skill.  Usually, the next skill is a cast or cast to handstand.  Furthermore, I’m amazed even more at how many gymnasts cannot perform a good glide swing.  In my opinion (as well as others), the days of “pike” glides are over.  Gymnasts should strive to tuck the hips under (posterior pelvic tilt) and maintain more of a hollow glide shape.

Furthermore, the gymnast must understand how to jump and elevate the hips while also maintaining a hollow chest on the back side of the glide.  As they swing through the bottom, the feet will remain near the ground with the hips tucked under and the chest hollow.  On the front side of the glide, the gymnast should strive to swing as high as possible (as near to bar height as possible) with the hips extended (gluteal contraction) and the chest pulled in.

Many gymnasts are unable to maintain a hollow chest and lack the gluteal and abdominal strength to tuck the hips under.  Here’s a video from YouTube on how I think that coaches ought to be training the glide kip.  Of course, doing a lot of isolated glides by themselves should be done for many months or longer before worrying about the kip.

Now, while this video depicts my approach to training kips, I don’t like the pike that occurs initially off of the block.  I usually have gymnasts stand with the bottom of their feet on the very edge and get them to sort of slide off of the block as opposed to jumping.  Because of that pike, the gymnast is unable to swing close to bar height (straight out from the bar).  One thing that I do like where the coach is stopping the feet at the end of the kip.  Notice the deep pike.  That allows the gymnast to learn where the feet need to be so that she is in a position to cast afterwards.  Furthermore, notice that the chest is pretty hollow at the end with the head/eyes focused down.  Many gymnasts do not maintain a hollow as they pull the bar down their legs into front support.  Additionally, many lay the head back or look up at the finish and this causes the chest to arch.

I’d highly recommend taking this approach to training kips.  Will it take longer?  Yes.  But, will you get a better result?  Absolutely.  Personally, I’d rather spend the extra months or longer to develop a stronger kip.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Training, Uneven Bars

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