Midline Work to Better Your Toes to Bar
Written by Lindsey Johnson
Let’s face the music, folks – if your midline isn’t strong enough to pull your feet toward the bar, you are going to have trouble with the toes to bar movement. Here is some supplemental work to assist you in your quest to perfect your toes to bar. (Click the underline headers for video examples.)
Chinese Planks – Perform these with two benches or boxes set up perpendicular to one another. In a prone position, place your shoulders on one bench and your toes on the other. Hold for 45-60 seconds. These can also be performed in the supine position with your shoulders on one bench and your heels on the other. Try three sets of this in each direction holding for 45-60 seconds each time.
Weighted Planks – This is a plank on the ground in the prone position where someone places a weight on your back. Hold this position for 60 seconds for three sets.
Weighted Plank with Dip Belt – Instead of placing a weight on your back, you can also perform a weighted plank by suspending weight from your midline using a dip belt. To set this up, position different boxes next to each other with a space in between for the hanging weight. Place your arms in the extended position on one box and your feet on the other – no planking on the elbows here. Hold this position for 60 seconds for three sets.
Hollow Rock to Superman on the Floor – Remember the bow-hollow position from the first blog post in this series? This is an exercise in performing this same position on the floor. Starting on your back in the hollow position roll to your stomach and land in the superman position without using your arms or legs. Try to get 8-10 of these.
L-Sits – This movement can be done on a set of parallettes, rings or boxes. Find the hollow body position and keeping your legs straight, bring them up so that they are parallel or above the hands. Attempt to hold for 30-60 seconds. If you cannot make the full 30 seconds, accumulate time by performing the movement for a few seconds, resting, and then getting back on it.
V-Ups – Start by lying on the floor face up with your legs and arms extended in a straight line. At the same time, bring your hands and feet towards each other into a “V” position. Return to the supine position and repeat. Perform three sets of 8-10 reps.
Strict Toes to Bar @ 3011 Tempo – Hanging from a pull-up bar, bring your toes to the bar without kipping and bring them back down to under the bar using a three second descent. This one can be very challenging. If you can perform this at the strict tempo, you are well on your way to connecting those toes to bar.
Pallof Press – Standing perpendicular to a post attach a band about elbow height. With a nice strong midline and feet about hip distance apart, start by holding the band with both hands at the center of your chest. With tension on the band, push your hands away from your chest, straight ahead. Resist the urge to let the band twist you toward the post. As your hands get further away from your body the difficulty will increase. Repeat 10 times facing each direction.
Dragon Flags – Start lying on the floor with your head close to a post on the pull up rig. Holding the post with your hands over your head, bring your legs up to the post and find the hollow body position. KEEPING that hollow body position, try to lower your body with your legs straight coming all the way to the floor. Repeat 3-5 times.
Add two or three of these movements to the beginning or end of your workouts and you’ll begin to see improvements in your ability to string together toes to bar in no time.