Step 4: Knees to Chest
Now it’s time to actually get those knees all the up to your chest, and past your belly button. Fluidity is going to be key once again. While moving into this step of the progression, think about aiming for your elbows, while kipping harder than in the previous steps. Kipping with more force will make sure that are able to get your torso out of the way as you past under the bar, so that your knees can then touch your chest.
Remember: Active both your shoulders and lats to achieve a strong kip.
The timing of your kip will also change at this point, as bringing your knees up higher is going to take longer. Focus on staying balanced and controlled: just because your kip is changing, doesn’t mean you should be adding any extra movement to the movement such as swings between reps, etc.
Sidenote: This is sometimes a point of contention, and you may be coached differently in your gym… but I personally have no issue with bending your knees during this step. In the long run, it’s going to help you cycle through the movement easier.
Source: RX´d Photography
Step 5: Toes to bar
It’s time to Rx TTB! Keeping everything in mind from the previous four steps, the only thing that is going to change is finally getting your toes up to that bar.
Try not to overthink it; a good cue to keep in mind is ‘flicking’ your feet up towards the bar. Don’t lose your strong, engaged kip, and from knees to chest, flick up both of your feet (at the same time) to touch the bar.
Something worth mentioning about this final step is that once again, the timing of your kip will change as you add more movement. Keep this in mind, and if necessary tweak your timing. This is going to be achieved through simply practicing the movement.
Let’s take a quick look at the different cues we’ve mentioned for learning TTB.
- Arch to hollow kip
- Pull down on bar & get shoulders up, tuck Knees high
- At the apex, flick toes to the bar
If you’re looking for a visual recap, here’s a video walking through the exact same TTB progression:
Kipping Toes to Bar: The Missing Piece
More often than not, if I’m working with an athlete who can’t seem to get it to ‘click’ when stringing together toes to bar, it’s because they’re missing a crucial part of the movement:
Pulling through the bar.
This cue is absolutely crucial when entering the arch position of toes to bar (explained in step one). As your body moves back under the pull-up bar to begin another rep, think about pulling your head and torso through (almost as if your arms are creating a window). Simultaneously, your feet should pushed back behind your body. This will help to build for a strong arch, setting yourself up beautifully for the next rep.
By the way, pulling through the bar into a strong arch is a movement that’s important for a bunch of CrossFit® gymnastics movements, including pull-ups and bar muscle ups. So next time you find yourself struggling to string together reps, and nare losing your kip, keep this cute in mind:
Toes to Bar Progression: Conclusion
If you’re working on toes to bar and find yourself with extra time before or after your next WOD, try working through the toes to bar progression laid out above. It might help you find what that missing piece of the movement is, and before you know it, you might just be stringing together toes to bar with ease!
Looking for even more toes to bar help? Check out our free toes to bar guide here!