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What do I need for strap bar work?

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Aero

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I want to get my girls started on strap bar drills for nice taps in both directions, kips, long hang pull overs, and eventually free hips and giants. However, my gym doesn't have the equipment for it. We do have a men's steel bar, but no gloves or straps or anything. What exactly do I need for a complete strap bar set up? Also, we only have one place to put the men's bar in, and that's over the pit. Any ideas for making good use of a single strap bar during practice? My training groups are usually six or seven girls large, so what's an effective way to keep them moving since I can only have one girl on at a time? This will be the first time they'll be using strap bar, any advice for some good beginner drills and challenges for them?
 

gymisforeveryone

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You only need straps and gloves. If you can use sewing machine you can do many straps by yourself. It's easy. You only need to buy some strap material, maybe someone who speaks better English could clarify. We buy that strap material from textile store. It's the same material you have in rucksack straps. Just make sure you sew it carefully and many many times so the sewing doesn't break off when they do giants etc.

Our girls all have their own pair of straps and cloves. It's easier that way because otherwise the straps would always be too big or too small.

We have two strap bars but sometimes we only use one and put a wooden bar in the place of the other one. When we do that there's only one strap bar so we put one girl on the straps at the time. Sometimes we give them an egg timer and set it up for example to ring after 5 minutes. So if the bar rotation is 30 minutes then 6 girls can go and have 5 minutes on it. But at the beginning the kids usually don't have the endurance to spend 5 minutes on it so I would but 2 girls at the same time so when the other is on the bar the other can have a quick rest.

Some gyms use a PVC pipe but I wouldn't recommend that. The girls don's learn wrist shift with the pipe.

I would start with tap swings with the beginners. When they develop good tap swings I would introduce kips and back hip circles. The free hips are a bit tricky on high bar. We set the bar very low when we work on those.
 
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marie83

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I'm sure someone in the US can point you in the direction of a supplier of straps. It might be useful for your club to buy a few different sizes then let the gymnasts try them on before each gymnast having their own.

They should be tight enough that the gymnast feels secure, but not so tight that they won't move around the bar.

We have our girls wear cotton gloves from a pharmacy.

As for sessions. What other equipment is available to you?

In the beginning of strap bar work at our gym, I usually split the gymnasts over 2 days. So on mon 4 of the girls have their turn and on thu the other 4 get their turn whichever group of girls isn't working strap bar work on the other set of A bars. On sat we work on the wooden bar skills they need support for.

I set up a circuit which focuses on the shapes the gymnasts require so that they are always working, not just stood in a line waiting.

What you choose to do will really depend on what other equipment you have available though!
 

Aussie_coach

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You just need to get straps and you can get the girls to get their own gloves from the local grocery store, or even old socks and cut out a hole for the thumb.

When you first introduce straps spend a lesson or two with all the girls at the bar and take the time to teach each girl how to select the correct size straps, how to get into the straps, things to check for for safety like no tears in the straps and no chalk on the bar and so on.

But once your kids are used to straps they can be a little Independent with them and you should be able to supervise the normal bars and keep an eye on them at the same time. But always check the straps and the bar first your self, don't trust the kids to make sure its safe.

At first just work swings, for a few months it's great to do a lot of swings in straps so they can get used to the feeling and get comfortable with the height. At first they won't swing very high but in time they will start to develop confidence and realise how freely they can swing and get height. Practising their base in bar skills like casts and back hip circles are also great to start because they get used to the close bar movement which will help when you want the to work bigger skills on the bar.
 
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BlairBob

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1. If you use your current's men's bar for strap bar, you are going to effectively polish it with the pvc and make it completely useless as a true men's bar if you have boys training in MAG. It's not gonna happen immediately but over time, that bar will be too slippery for MAG training.

2. If you have a swappable bar over pit, you could use the strap bar there. I think it would be better set up with two PVC pieces over ground so you can have two kids ready to swing and you can have blocks to spot on.

3. You can make your straps or go buy a set through Deary's Gymnastic Supply. I liked the one size fits all strap system they have and it was the same price. Straps get lost over time and you always have to go about finding them which is a pain. However, you can also use the straps for drills on rings and HangingLegLifts.
 

Gymsanity

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'This will be the first time they'll be using strap bar'

I'm not sure how familiar you yourself are to using a strap bar, but above and beyond all the good advice above, PLEASE make sure you understand to NEVER let the girls use dowel grips on it! When used properly, it's a great learning/teaching aid. Good luck. :)
 

Gymsanity

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'or even old socks and cut out a hole for the thumb.'

Do you have them wrap their thumbs around the bar?
 

Gymsanity

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Thanks for the reply CoachP. I have never used the above mentioned method, but I may give it a try. I always use the individual PVC (as opposed to the single piece). For that, it's thumbs around the bar. As they get better, one hand in straps and the other with a tape grip on the bar without thumbs.
I like the idea above, but I have to say even with a sock/glove, I'm still a little nervous about 'sock lock.' :) Also, probably have to tape their thumbs like front giants?
 

coachp

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i use pvc , and in the past used gloves etc.. i favor the pvc, its just easier to get in and out of.
 
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Gymsanity

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Thanks for the reply, my only thought was that it would give them a better feeling for the bar and shifting their wrists, and it seems like a good intermediate step for progression. I think I will have some of my more experienced girls give it a try this week and see what they say. They are never afraid to share their feelings on any of my new ideas or drills! ;)
 
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BlairBob

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Yes, this is why after you have mastered the skill in straps, you use a pair of work gloves still in straps.
 
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Aero

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So everyone suggests gloves. But what kind? Are there specific ones that are great for strap work, or maybe even some that are designed specifically for that purpose? Are there types to stay away from because they don't work or are unsafe? And how do I size the straps?
 
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BlairBob

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Size the straps? Trial and error till you find a set that fits right.

Gloves? Workgloves, like the kind used in the yard.
 

Pineapple_Lump

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Toe socks (and cut the tips off). I have used different gloves for the kids in the past, but it is hard to find small gloves made of appropriate fabric. Make sure whatever you use has no excess material sticking out. For the straps I have kids age 6-10 and they vary between 24 and 26.5cm straps. This is measured by pulling the strap tight (basically half the true length)
 

Aero

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Update: I bought the Ultimate Strap system from Tumbl Trak and I've been using that lately. A problem has presented itself, however: many of the girls seem to struggle with keeping a grip on the straps/PVC. I make sure they're strapped in very tight and have them wear extra wide wristbands underneath the leather straps that go around their wrists. I know for a fact that I have them strapped in correctly, so I'm confused as to why they are having difficulty holding on. What usually happens is as they're swinging they slowly start to slip from the PVC and after about eight swings they end up hanging from their wrists instead of from the bar and they have to stop. Perhaps I should have them try it without wearing their wristbands? Is anyone familiar with or have personal experience with the Ultimate Straps? Has anyone else had this problem? I decided to go with these because it's a one size fits all solution and seemed like a solid product. I feel like my strap bar progress is being halted for the moment because of this issue. Could it be that they just have to get used to it?
 

marie83

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I'm not familiar with the system, but are your gnasta wrapping their thumbs around the bar or are they on top? I always have my gymnasts wrap their thumbs on metal bar.

To me it sounds like they aren't strapped on tightly enough, but like I say, I'm not familiar with the system!
 
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BlairBob

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The Ultimate Strap system doesn't really work very well on tiny gymnasts. I had this problem with them and regular cloth straps work better in this case. Definitely use the wristbands and just make sure you try to tuck enough of the leather underneath before velcroing in.

It sounds like their grip is failing. I mean, 8 swings is a lot.

A lot of the time, I would have kids readjust their grip if they were doing say kips in between attempts.

I preferred them as an adult as did my buddies (who have my straps at CFMarin/TheCave).
 
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PalmTree

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Update: I bought the Ultimate Strap system from Tumbl Trak and I've been using that lately. A problem has presented itself, however: many of the girls seem to struggle with keeping a grip on the straps/PVC. I make sure they're strapped in very tight and have them wear extra wide wristbands underneath the leather straps that go around their wrists. I know for a fact that I have them strapped in correctly, so I'm confused as to why they are having difficulty holding on. What usually happens is as they're swinging they slowly start to slip from the PVC and after about eight swings they end up hanging from their wrists instead of from the bar and they have to stop. Perhaps I should have them try it without wearing their wristbands? Is anyone familiar with or have personal experience with the Ultimate Straps? Has anyone else had this problem? I decided to go with these because it's a one size fits all solution and seemed like a solid product. I feel like my strap bar progress is being halted for the moment because of this issue. Could it be that they just have to get used to it?
I've had the same issue and it's very annoying :( I was hoping that the Ultimate Strap system would solve my problems of it taking forever to help my gymnasts strap in. It didn't. I have one kid out of about 20 who likes to use them. The rest require different sizes of regular straps.

What I ended up doing was requiring them all to use the same wristbands (always left by the strap bar) and then we have three different sizes of straps. You either remember which size you are or you don't use straps. You also have to learn to strap yourself in. I can't tell you how much practice time I have wasted standing by the strap bar restrapping each kid in because one strap "didn't feel right" or they thought maybe they were a different size after they were all strapped in. They want to use strap bar so much that they figure it out on their own :) Good luck!!
 

Aero

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I suppose I'll have to invest in some of the normal, different sized straps soon, then. That's a bummer because I really thought the Ultimate Straps would be great. I just need to figure out where to buy the normal straps for a good price. I'm gonna try a few more things in the mean time. I'll keep having them try it, too. Maybe they'll get the hang of it.
 
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