If your ab training still consists of chasing some arbitrary number—like the old-school idea of 100- or 200-plus daily reps of various exercises—then the time has come for you to rethink that approach. Volume alone won’t carve out your abs. And even if you’re not stuck in an outdated mindset, you can still reap the benefts of adding toes to bar to your workouts.

If you’ve ever stopped for a few minutes to watch the CrossFit Games on ESPN, then you’ve probably seen it: an athlete hanging straight down from a pull-up bar and swinging his feet up to touch the bar for multiple reps. Calling this move “dynamic” sells it short—it not only places incredible demands on your core muscles, it also builds your grip, arm, and shoulder strength. The move is trickier than it looks, though, so be sure to follow these tips for proper setup and execution.

Toes to Bar in 5 Steps


Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width, wrapping your thumbs for a secure grip—when you kick your feet up, you don’t want to kick your hands.


Squeeze both your butt and abs, creating a “hollow-body” position where your feet are slightly in front of your torso. With these muscles flexed, your body’s ready to swing.


Kipping generates momentum, taking your body from the hollow position to an arc or superman position. Open your shoulders, squeeze your butt, then drive with your hips.


To transition from backswing to upswing, simply drive your knees toward your elbows, then extend your legs, kicking your feet toward the bar as they rise.


As soon as your momentum toward the bar ends, pull back into an arc and squeeze your butt to load your hips for the next rep.