Get Your First Ever Toes To Bar! (Beginner Secrets)

Written By Charleh Knighton  |  Toes To Bar 

Toes To Bar (TTB) can sometimes feel super daunting, but once you get your first one, it's the most incredible feeling. In this article, I will teach you how to do your first ever toes to bar. So if you're someone who wants to be able to do that and finally get those toes to touch that stinking steel bar, then this is for you. 

If you are just starting out on your CrossFit journey and you're trying to land your first toes to bar - this is perfect for you. Toes to bar will always come up in competitions, qualifiers (CrossFit Open), and basically, any standardised event where you have to get your toes to touch the bar EVERY TIME; then I'm going to run through a couple of quick hacks and shortcuts. They're not a long-term solution by any means, but it's certainly a starting point to get you on your way. 

Ideally, we want to ensure that you eventually follow a full progression on how to do unbroken TTB and string them together.

Let's talk about the standards

If we're finally doing our first RX toes to bar, we better know the standards; I need to make sure that I hit my feet (it doesn't have to be the toes specifically). It just has to be some part of my foot that needs to hit in between my hands, simultaneously on the bar.

As long as my ankles all the way to my toes, some part of that at the same time on each foot hits the bar in between my hands, you're good to go.

Next, another thing that's important to notice, we need to make sure that our feet pass behind the vertical plane of the bar. You have to ensure that your feet come all the way back, past behind you and then go back up. 

How do we get toes to the bar?

Well, really simple, we're going to start with the non-kipping version. Often, when people can't get their toes to the bar, it's because of a few simple problems that they're making.

Look Up

Firstly, a lot of the time, when people are trying to get their toes to bar, they keep their head down. So, they'll grab the bar, they'll look down, and be like, "I can't get it, I can't do it". 

That's because their head is looking in the wrong spot. So, the easiest tip I can give anyone is to just look up and at your target. If you're trying to get your toes between the bar, just look up at it when you try to lift your feet.

This tip is one little tiny cue that might just be the thing you need to unlock your toes to bar. Rather than looking down at the ground, just look up at the bar, and then try lifting your feet to touch the bar. That one tip could do it for you.

If not, then we have a couple other things to add. So once we look at the bar, the next thing to do is to unlock your knees .

toes to bar flick and tuck

Unlock Your Knees

It's easy to fall into the trap of watching gymnasts (or former gymnasts), keep their knees perfectly locked out and try to keep their legs completely straight.

Doing this approach is really (really) hard to have enough hamstring flexibility to get your toes all the way to the bar while keeping perfectly straight legs.

If you can't do that, just do the tuck and flick. It's okay. You're allowed to do it. In fact, some of the highest level Games athletes still do the tuck and flick. Watch Matt Fraser in the 2020 CrossFit Games: he was tucking flicking and looking at the bar the whole time.

What does it tuck and flick look like?

So imagine looking at the bar, and rather than trying to keep my knees perfectly locked down (which is really hard), all I want you to do is kind of relax your legs, tuck your knees to your chest, and then flick your toes to the bar or to one more time.

I'm going to tuck my knees to my chest, and then I'm just going to flick toes to the bar, tuck and flick. It's a really easy way to get your legs lifted up higher, you're not dealing with the difficulty of trying to maintain like a perfect l sit position throughout the entire movement.

Oh, that's great for all the gymnasts out there, but if you're trying to get your first rep highly recommend the tuck and flick.

So again, look up at the bar, tuck your knees to your chest and flick them up towards the bar. You might be amazed that one two punch can help you get your first toes the bar and you don't even have to do anything crazy. There's no kipping. 

Those are all really good tips, especially if you don't have any concept or understanding of kipping. 

Making Your Toes To Bar Consistent

You're able to get your toes in the bar, or maybe you still can't; we're going to add a little bit more to the equation and generate a stronger kip, which will make this even easier.

ttb box method progression

Practice the box drop-in technique

I want you to take a bench or box, put it underneath the bar. This is so you can get to the side of it and still be able to swing your feet freely, climb up, and grab the bar.

Then from here, all I want you to do is to jump up and into a hollow body position. A hollow body position means my shoulders are back, my feet are forward. So I'm jumping up and into the hollow position.

Once you get good at jumping up into the hollow position, you'll notice you have a lot of momentum there. Then we're going to combine the exact same steps that we learned in the non-kipping version.

We're looking at the bar, tucking our knees or flicking, and we do that all during the forward momentum. So with the box, I'm going to jump into a hollow position, jump in, look at the bar, tuck flick, boom, let's try one more time. Jump up, hollow swing, boom. 

If we don't want to utilise the box, the box gives us a tonne of momentum; here's the next step in the right direction being able to do toes to bar consistently. 

Instead of using the box to jump us into a hollow body position, I'm actually just going to jump into it myself. So if you remember, when I was using the box, we jumped, and I said shoulders back, feet forward. Well, that's all I'm going to do now. I'm just standing under the bar, jump, shoulders back, feet forward. 

I can do the exact same movement and might not feel like you have as much momentum. Because most people, when they use the box, can generate a lot of momentum because it just makes your jump higher.

But if you can jump into this hollow position, again, shoulders back, feet forward, let yourself fall into that nice kip position. Then as soon as you kip, boom, head up, tuck flick, and you'll get your toes a bar.

I know there are a lot of moving pieces that we've added layers of complexity. But if you can understand the hollow and arch position, we can eventually roll up and make it into an unbroken toes to bar. 

So we've talked about how to do non-kipping toes to bar and get a rep. Then we've also added a little bit more complexity; we talked about how to get your first rep with a true kip. So that's hollow/arch, and then look tuck flick. Now let's talk about how to potentially string multiples together without dropping from the bar. 

Stringing Multiple Toes To Bar Together

What you need to do is first get that first kipping rep. Then as soon as your toes touch the bar, I want you to aggressively charge yourself back into the arch position.

So all I'm doing is as soon as my toes touch, I'm actively pulling, not just letting them fall. I'm pulling my feet back behind my body, driving my head through the window to get into that arch position.

Then your habits, routines, and what we practice today should take over.

>>>Click here to continue learning about toes to bar progressions<<<

So I know there's been a lot of information, but I'll send you a free toes to bar training programme, and I can guarantee to transform your TTB in just 8 weeks (or your money back!).

Leave a comment below, and let me know one thing that you've learnt from this article.

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