handstand crash on Parallel Bars

Learning handstand on Parallel Bars can be dangerous. Especially falling over on to the bars.

Typically it happens as in this video posted by the gymnast’s Mom.

… Nothing but bruises and damaged pride. Took me a couple of minutes to get my heart started again, but I survived, too. 5 minutes later he tried again, without mishap.

Mom – Chalk Bucket

It does seem most boys crash once or twice before finally learning how to save the handstand by pirouetting out.

We train handstands on the end of the parallel bars, finishing with a handspring. Safety on that skill is our highest priority with beginners. (Boys and girls train swing and press handstand.)


Published by

coach Rick

Career gymnastics coach from Calgary, Canada.

4 thoughts on “handstand crash on Parallel Bars”

  1. Hmm, I totally forgot about swinging at the end and handspring off or pirouetting off. It’s been awhile.

    I used to teach the boys how to do shoulder roll on PB starting with P blocks. They enjoyed this a lot from a shoulderstand or handstand. Too much, really.

    Currently, we swing to HS with me on top of a block next to the PB to spot and they shift a hand to the next rail and push to land. Eventually though, they will have to swing it by themselves though a few are hitting it in their routines ( nominally ).

    I need to take these new guys and teach shoulder roll out and pirouette pronto come Wed. Not sure about the pirouette since I haven’t gone over that on floor since their HS still are poor.

  2. I remember when I was learning HS swings on PB, I developed a much more confident swing once I’d learned how to ‘save’ myself when I fell through the HS. The same goes for a lot of other skills too btw. I think teaching kids the safe way out of a skill gone wrong is very important, and not just because this results in less accidents.

  3. I have the boys stand on the bars, kick to handstand and practice falling off the end. Then I teach them how to shoulder-roll out from the middle of the bars.

    That kid in the video definitely could have used a better spot.

  4. The thing that kills me about this is that you see this same type of thing happening at compulsory meets all the time. You’ve got coaches that are pushing the kids to swing to handstand for bonus in their Level 4/5 routines that can’t even do a straight body swing. Where do you think they’re going to end up when they drive their heels, arch their backs, and bend their arms to get to a handstand? I know this is where the requirement for the coach to stand right next to P-Bars during routines comes from and I think it’s ridiculous. We should be doing more to hold the coaches/clubs accountable for making sure the kids are safe. I’m not talking about the one crazy turn that happens and a kid falls…we all know that happens and can’t always be predicted. But when you watch 5 kids from a team of 6 fall on their handstands during warmup and then repeat in competition, that’s not a one-time issue..that’s just poor coaching.

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