Achieving Toes-to-Bar


Toes-to-Bar is a core-strengthening exercise where the athlete hangs from the bar and raises the toes up until they touch the bar. This movement is the last in a series of movement progressions once the athlete has proper upper body and core stability and strength to effectively complete the movement. A standard progression for athletes would start with hanging knee raises, knees-to-chest, and then toes-to-bar. All of these movements will work the shoulders and core muscles as the athlete tries to maintain a steady position while raising and lowering the legs.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.



  1. Hands Just Outside Shoulders: As you jump up on the bar, it may seem logical to place hands directly above your head; however, this position can prevent you from correctly keeping your shoulders engaged throughout the movement. Instead, place your hands slightly outside your shoulder line. This will better engage your back, which is one the strongest muscle groups in your body, and help you keep your shoulders active.
  2. Keep Shoulders Engaged: As you hang from the bar, keep your shoulders actively engaged by focusing on pulling downward with your lat muscles, located in your back. Another way to visualize keeping an active shoulder is to try to close your arm pits. You will notice your shoulders drop correctly and your head and neck rise up appropriately.
  3. Complete Basic Knee Raise: To complete basic knee raises, the second progression in the series of movements toward completing toes to bar, keep your core tight as you hang from the bar and simply raise knees to just above hip height. Lower your legs back down nice and straight and try to prevent a swinging motion or kip as you do so.
  4. Perform Knees-to-Chest: The next progression is to achieve knees-to-chest. This requires a kipping motion that starts from the shoulders, not the legs, and enables more momentum for the athlete to appropriately raise knees above hip height until they reach chest height. Often athletes will try to create a kipping movement with their legs, but this will throw the athlete into an inefficient swing. Instead, just as with other gymnastic movements where you are hanging from the bar, focus on engaging the shoulders to activate the kip.
  5. Achieve Toes-to-Bar: The final progression is to perform toes-to-bar where you will complete the same movement as you did with knees-to-chest, but as your knees reach chest height, simply extend your legs up to touch your toes to the bar. Your kip should be the same as it is with knees-to-chest, but to efficiently touch the toes to the bar, try and focus on flicking your legs up quickly. This last flick of the legs should enable you to reach the bar with your feet while maintaining the proper shoulder engagement and kip motion.

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency.


Fierce Play’s Hanging Gymnastics Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.