Because more and more gyms are offering adult gymnastics classes, children aren’t the only ones who get to have all the fun. You can also learn some of the basic skills on the vault, beam, floor exercise and uneven bars. One of the most common skills for beginners on the uneven bars is the pullover. This skill requires a surprising amount of strength, particularly if you aren’t a 5- or 6-year-old gymnast. While practicing it, you’ll strengthen your upper body and abdominal muscles.
Stand facing the bar and grasp it, with your hands shoulder-width apart.
Bend your knees slightly so you can hang from the bar.
Pull your chin toward the bar by bending your elbows, as if you were going to do a pullup.
Bring your hips to the bar and lift your legs over the bar. Straighten your legs as soon as they have cleared the floor. This is arguably the hardest part of the skill. If you think of pulling the bar toward your hips, your arms can help your abdominal muscles with some of the work.
Shift your hands so they are on top of the bar, and roll your hips around the bar. At the end of the movement, your shoulders should be directly over -- or a little in front of -- your hands, and your legs should hang down below the bar. Your hips touch the bar.
- If you’ve tried to do a pullover on bars and weren’t successful, there are a couple of drills that can help you progress to the skill. Place a box or an incline mat in front of the bar. Stand facing the bar and the mat. When you do the pullover, walk your feet up the obstacle to give you a bit of force and support. Once you’re comfortable with that, try a pullover with a leg swing. Stand facing the bar and grasp it with both hands. Back up both feet a couple of inches. Then, swing your stronger leg -- if you’re right handed, swing your right leg -- to start the pullover. This leg swing gives you some momentum at the start of the pullover.
- While you’re working on the skill, build your upper-body strength with some pullups and work on your abdominals with leg lifts. Both of these exercises will give you strength and replicate some of the movements you’ll have to perform in the pullover. For the leg lifts, lie on your back on the floor and extend your arms over your head as if there were an imaginary bar on the floor behind you. Lift both legs simultaneously and try to touch your toes to your hands. Repeat up to 15 times.
Kat Black is a professional writer currently completing her doctorate in musicology/ She has won several prestigious awards for her research, and has had extensive training in classical music and dance.