One of the differences we have noticed in gymnastics programs is the use and/or extent of use of strap bars. Too many gym programs do not have or use strap bars at all and many do not use them extensively in their bar training programs.
Strap Bar Training Works
While we know that it is not impossible to create great bar workers without the use of strap bars, we do believe that most high successful level gymnastics use strap bar training extensively in teaching the entire gamut of circling skills.
Why Not Use Them?
We are not sure what the reason for lack of use of strap bars is. Perhaps in a system of coach training where coaches coach like they were taught themselves or how the other coaches in their gym coach, the lack of use is simply being transferred to newer less experienced coaches.
Strap Bars are Space and Cost Efficient
We do know what reasons are not stopping the use of strap bars – availability of space and cost. Strap bars are one of the most efficient training tools, both in terms of space and cost. There are almost no other training tools that fit into less area that standard equipment takes.
Half the Square Footage of Regulation Bars
Strap bars do not need dismount space and can use space saver cabling systems to save square footage, so a set of strap bars can require less than 200 square feet. This is less than half the square footage of a regulation set of bars. This means that you could put two sets of strap bars (one high and one low) in the same space you can put only one regulation bar set-up.
Half the Cost of Regulation Bars
Strap bars also cost less than half of the cost of a regulation set-up even when you factor in the cost of space savers (Don’t forget to factor in the difference in mat costs). This means that you could have or replace one bar training station with two bar training stations. This we highly recommend.
Use Multiple Sets of Straps per Bar
In order to keep down time to a minimum, we recommend having multiple sets of bar straps and stacked mats for high bars, so one gymnast can be strapping up while the other works, even if they use the same size straps.
Use High and Low Strap Bars
High strap bars are, of course, used for working front and back giants, stalder to handstands, kips and swing techniques, etc. Low strap bars are used for seat circles, free hips, front and back stalder circles and sole circles, etc. Low bar strap bars are somewhat easier and quicker to strap into and perhaps a less intimidating height. We believe that at least one of each should be a requirement for any serious training facility and we really like to have multiple sets of both for larger training programs.
Don’t Have Strap Bars, Get Them
If you don’t have strap bars in your gym, find the money and a place to put them in. In terms of learning skills, strap bars are a very time, space and cost efficient training system. Circling skills and proper circling skill technique are so key to successful bars that acquiring strap bars should be on a level with equipping your gym with pits, trampolines and tumble tramps.