Time for our Workout Of The Month. Each month we take a look at a different exercise and break it down by movement, how to do it, and discuss some of the positive versus negative impact that it can have to you and your level of fitness. Some workout’s of the month breakdown how to do a common exercise, others feature a specific exercise This month we’ll be breaking down how to do the toes to bar exercise. Unless you do Cross fit you might not have any idea what a toes do bar is. In essence, it’s a modified version of the hanging leg raise which you can view here The main difference with this is that the movement is continued by contracting your abdomen to bring your toes to touch the bar. First, let’s explore what muscles the toes to bar movement actually works.
What Muscles Does The Toes To Bar Exercise Workout?
The toes to bar is a great exercise because it builds strength and endurance into one exercise. My favorite part about this movement is that it’s the perfect exercise to throw into a circuit. My other favorite thing about this exercise is that it is a great way to build bigger and stronger forearms by the way the exercise requires one to hold their body weight up on a bar for a prolonged period of time.
Primary Muscles Worked:
The main focus of this exercise is to contract your rectus abdominus (your “six pack” muscles) and your ilio psoas to help bring your legs up to the bar. Meanwhile, your forearms get a good workout as you use them to grip the bar.
Your hip flexors (the muscles are in the upper leg part of your quadracept that help bring your knees closer to your face).
Your Hip Adductors (the muscles that help bring your knees in to the middle of your body).
-Your core (the muscles that keep the center of your body stabilized from front to back)
-Your chest muscles (a href=:http://www.exrx.net/Muscles/PectoralisMinor.html”>Pectoralis minor and major (both parts – yeah you have two parts)
-Your shoulders (including your rotator cuff and deltoid)
-Your lats and other muscles of your back
As you can see from the list above there’s literally too many muscles to list out but it’s a creat compound movement that involves many different exercises.
How To The Do Toes To Bar Exercise
There are esssentially two ways to do the exersize. An easy way and a hard way.
The Easy Way:
The easy way involves a gymnastic move called kipping. Kipping is a way of swinging your body to use the weight of your body to gain momentum to do the exercise. While the “easy” way isn’t necessarily easy, you can make it challenging by using this method to add a lot more reps to a workout than you would the harder version.
The Hard Way:
The harder version of the exercise is the one I prefer. This way is called the “strict” way and it doesn’t include the kipping method. This way recruits more muscles to help stabilize your body as well as hold yourself up. The “hard” way is probably the better way to gain strength.
Please note: The only way to ensure that your abdominal muscles are getting proper contraction is to make sure your actual waist contracts. Without full abdominal contraction those muscles won’t be getting a full beneficial workout.
The following video gives an excellent breakdown of how to do both the strict and kipping version of the toe to bar exercise:
Using the strict form is a great way to superset any back or bicep exersie (a superset is when two exercises are performed back to back without stopping). For example, you could do eight reps of barbell rows followed by max reps of strict toes to bar. Or barbell curls (or any other back or bicep exercise followed by max reps of strict toes to bar.
The kipping form is a great way to add to a circuit of exercises. For example, you could perform 20 burpees, 20 box jumps, and 20 kipping toes to bar.
You could also incoporate the toes to bar movements into a pyramid exercise where you could do 1 pushup then 1 strict toes to bar. Followed by 2 pushups to 2 strict toes to bar and so on and so forth until you get to ten. As you can see, it’s a great exercise to throw into your workouts. The idea here is to get creative and mix up your workouts. Check out the video, hit the gym, and work on your movements. Until next month!
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