forward hip circle on bars a waste of time?

Another valuable article from Tulsa World of Gymnastics on the neglected, if not forgotten, forward hip circle on bars.

A waste of time? Or a valuable progression for kip?

fronthip1.gif… Now, the crucial part: timing. To correctly do a front hip circle, you need to keep your body extended as you lean forward until you are about to reach horizontal. Now is the time to put your stomach muscles in action. As quickly as you can, snap your body from the extended position to a pike. (Many beginning gymnasts exaggerate this extended-to-pike snap — and this is okay — but as you become more comfortable with the skill, you can start from a hollow body position and go to the pike.)

Be sure that you think about bringing your chest to your legs, rather than letting your legs drop as you bend your body. Making this mistake will result in a decrease in how much power you get going around the bar. …

See the rest of the article – Tulsa World of Gymnastics


More articles like this in their Gymnastics Tips for Gymnasts and Coaches section.

Personally, I like forward hip circles. They are not super important progressions. (Most boys would do very few.) But it’s a good challenge and supplement for girls learning kip. If you have them in compulsory routines in your region, count yourself lucky.

NCAA champion Taqiy Abdullah-Simmons

ncaa_abdullah_200.jpgOn April 13, 2007 last season, University of Oklahoma’s Abdullah-Simmons became the first black gymnast to win the NCAA all-around national title.

It was an unexpected and great achievement for Taqiy. (I wasn’t even following him for the All-around.)

ESPN’s Jay Weiner posted a feature profile on him. One point of interest was contested by USA’s Ron Galimore:

In gymnastics circles, some say the unspoken bias was that African-American gymnasts weren’t good all-around, that they excelled on the floor exercise or vault, Amin said, but not other events.

Galimore, now a USA Gymnastics vice president and an international judge, disagreed that such a myth exists.

“I would beg to differ,” Galimore said. “Mike Carter. Jair Lynch. Chainey Umphrey would beg to differ. No. No.”

At any rate, the Abdullah-Simmons family didn’t let it stop them.

“I never paid any attention to that,” Taqiy’s father said of the undertones. “I always told our kids to do all six (events). You’ve got to have a six-shooter. You’ve got to be fully loaded.”

“I definitely heard that, that African-American gymnasts were only good in power events, the floor and vault and, occasionally, rings,” Taqiy said. “It makes it a lot better to know that I was able to be considered a good all-around gymnast and not just, you know, status quo.” …

read the entire article – ESPN

World silver medalist on Horizontal Bar in 1987 Curtis Hibbert from Canada would disagree, as well.

best athlete blog – Kyle Shewfelt

I track many personal athlete blogs, rarely linking to them on this site. Many, especially the NCAA gymnast blogs, are little more than rah rah promotional tools.

Only one athlete blog is consistently interesting. Even fascinating.

That’s Kyle Shewfelt, reigning Olympic champion on Floor. (I may be biased since I edit his official website. You need to check for yourself.)

As a sample, here’s Kyle’s feature on his “Guardian Angel”, his physiotherapist, Susan Massitti, someone who has been there for him throughout his recovery from injury at World’s last year:



Guardian Angel – Kyle Shewfelt

Browse down the list of posts from the home page. You’ll see the highs and lows of an elite athlete in “rehab”. Honest and compelling.

Thanks Kyle.

Aussie gymnastics vids available from GymSmarts

by Rick McCharles

Charles Minster is the best editor of gymnastics coaching videos in Australia. He’s a legend Down Under.

GREAT NEWS. His work, previously only easily available only in Australia and the U.K., is now being distributed by GymSmarts, the #1 producer of Gymnastics Educational and Training Videos and DVDs in the world.

The first three video sets — all featuring coaches from the U.K. — are recent releases:


I have all three and can strongly recommend them:

1) Dance for Gymnastics with Daniela Nanova (2 DVDs $75) – my review

2) Gymnastics Skills with Christine Still
(2 DVDs $75)

3) Key Skills in Advanced Gymnastics for girls & boys by Paul Hall (2 DVDs $75)

The three are complimentary. Obviously the first set is specifically for coaches of dance, artistic preparation and choreography.

British coach Christine Still covers basic skills for the beginner and intermediate women’s artistic gymnastics coach.

But the best of the three sets, for me, is Paul Hall from England. This is the best video I saw in 2007. He’s a brilliant and original coach. The drills interesting and unusual. The video content is valuable for Men’s coaches as well as Women’s. (Read my review of this DVD set from last September.)

All three have sample video clips — check those out — linked from the GymSmarts home page.

gymnastics camp in Saskatchewan, Canada

My buddy Randy McMullen is again running Emma Lake summer camp for girls.

This is a wilderness environment north of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada. A facility maintained beautifully — indoors and out — by the University of Saskatchewan.

I have attended for 10 summers or more in the past. And hope to get back in 2008.

Early Registration deadline is March 1, 2008 (CAD $350).

The cost goes up after that if any of the 60 spaces for campers are still available.


Best way to get more information is by phone: 1-306-922-4812

Send me your camp information by email (top right hand corner of each page) if you want it promoted on this site.

Stanford gymnast Allyse Ishino Floor Exercise

High praise from one not easily impressed:

This is the coolest routine in NCAA this year thus far. …


Click PLAY or watch Allyse on YouTube.

Allyse and teammate Tabitha Yim have more dance elements in their routines than you see in an FIG competition, all routines combined.

Too much?

I don’t think so. This is pizazz. Crowd appeal. This is why people watch NCAA gymnastics.

I heard coach Mike Lorenzen say he doesn’t feel Stanford has really “hit” Floor yet this season. But they already have people paying attention to their routines.

I’ll be sitting close to videotape their competition this weekend — Chicago Style: Stanford University, UCLA, Illinois and Washington. This blogger is getting a media credential.

(via Difficulty Plus Execution)

sponsor gymnasts Paul and Morgan Hamm?

Winter Cup is ON this weekend in Vegas.

ALL the media coverage will focus on the return of Olympic gymnastics champion Paul Hamm. (Morgan is still injured.) And corporations love media attention.

… So far, Hamm is representing Visa, as one of the corporation’s select few Summer Olympic athletes, and he and Morgan are endorsing Adidas, Hilton Hotels and Johnson & Johnson (through the cable TV and online docudrama “Family Room,” emphasizing family relationships on their journey to make the Beijing Olympic team). They recently shot a ‘Got Milk!’ ad. And there are plenty more deals in the works.

“It’s their biggest and busiest Olympics ever,” says their agent Sheryl Shade. “This is the first Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta Games with so many individual athlete endorsement opportunities. Corporations are interested in getting a foothold in China, so they’re going all out. Paul and Morgan are getting lots of calls. Theirs is a unique story. Twins. Coming out of retirement for a third Olympics.”

Hamm’s competition schedule will be relentless. After Las Vegas, he’ll compete in the Tyson American Cup on March 1, the Pacific Alliance in March, then head to Europe for a competition to get acclimated to traveling, time zone changes and the equipment that will be used in Beijing. Then it’s onto the U.S. men’s championships May 22-24 and the Olympic trials June 19-22.


Hamm back in routine to defend gold medal – USA Today

I thought corporations might be reluctant after the scandal of how Paul won in Athens. Seems I am wrong.

Stanford Mens Gymnastics – how good are they?

I had the privilege of watching two training sessions of the Stanford Men’s Gymnastics Team last week in California.

How good are they?

Good. Very good. And deep. With great freshmen. High level difficulty. A great work ethic in the gym.

Two serious contenders for the Olympic Team: David Sender and Sho Nakamori.

Sho – BBC photo

They’ve come a long way since the hugely popular (almost half a million views) YouTube video: Stanford Gymnastics – Strength Comes in the Struggle was posted by Jason Shen in 2006. It documents their struggles up to that point.

Assistant coach J.D. Reive told me everything came together for this team, this season. They couldn’t be more excited to vie for the Championships at home April 17-19th.

Ranked #1 in the preseason coaches poll. Stanford is the team to beat.

training gym

Related post: confirmed – Stanford University