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Hanging Toes-To-Bar 101 Video Tutorial

Gym Advanced Variation Core Exercise


Hanging Toes-To-Bar
Hanging Toes-To-Bar

Exercise Synopsis

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Hanging Toes-To-Bar is a dynamic bodyweight exercise that primarily targets the abdominal muscles, specifically the rectus abdominis, while also engaging the secondary muscle group, the hip flexors. This exercise involves hanging from a bar with an overhand grip, then lifting the legs towards the bar in a controlled manner until the toes touch or nearly touch the bar. The movement requires significant core strength and stability to lift the legs while maintaining control and preventing swinging. By utilizing only body weight as resistance, Hanging Toes-To-Bar is an effective exercise for building abdominal strength and improving overall core stability.

How to Perform

  1. Master Basic Positions: Begin by mastering two foundational positions - the hollow body hold and the bow/superman hold. These positions are crucial for developing core strength and stability, which are essential for performing Hanging Toes-To-Bar effectively.

  2. Understand Muscle Engagement: Hanging Toes-To-Bar engages a variety of muscles, making it a comprehensive exercise for overall strength and stability. It targets the abdominals, obliques, and hip flexors primarily, while also recruiting muscles such as the serratus, lats, grip, and biceps to support the movement.

  3. Practice Hollow and Bow Positions: Start with the progression of the hollow and bow positions on the ground before transitioning to the bar. Focus on perfecting your form and maintaining proper positioning throughout the movement.

  4. Establish Hollow Body Position: Begin by ensuring your lower back, buttocks, and heels are in contact with the ground. Engage your core by pressing your belly button towards the floor and keep your legs straight and together with toes pointed upwards.

  5. Lift Head and Shoulders: While maintaining a tight core, lift your head and shoulders off the ground, raising your arms over your head and positioning your ears between your biceps. This position helps activate the muscles required for the Hanging Toes-To-Bar exercise and prepares you for the movement on the bar.

  6. Gradual Progression: As you become comfortable with the hollow and bow positions on the ground, gradually progress to performing Hanging Toes-To-Bar on the bar. Focus on maintaining control and proper form throughout each repetition to maximize the effectiveness of the exercise.


  1. Maintain Active Hang: Prioritize an active hang position when gripping the bar, ensuring space between your ears and shoulders. This stance maximizes tension throughout your body, granting full control over your swing during Hanging Toes-To-Bar and minimizing unnecessary strain.

  2. Start with Small Sets: Especially when learning the exercise, begin with smaller sets of Hanging Toes-To-Bar to focus on refining your form. Quality of movement is paramount over quantity, helping you avoid developing poor habits as the exercise becomes more challenging.

  3. Initiate Swing from Bar Mount: Begin each set of Hanging Toes-To-Bar by mounting the bar in a hollow body position. This elongated posture sets the stage for a smooth kipping swing, establishing an optimal rhythm from the start and preventing premature fatigue. This approach ensures a controlled and effective execution of the exercise, regardless of your current skill level.

How Not to Perform

  1. Avoid Passive Hang: Do not allow yourself to hang passively from the bar. Instead, actively engage your shoulder blades by retracting and depressing them to maintain stability and control throughout the exercise. This prevents unnecessary strain on the shoulders and maximizes engagement of the target muscles.

  2. Do Not Swing Uncontrollably: Refrain from swinging your body excessively during Hanging Toes-To-Bar. Uncontrolled swinging wastes energy and detracts from targeting the abs and hip flexors effectively. Focus on controlled movements, initiating each repetition with deliberate intent to engage the core muscles.

  3. Avoid Using Momentum: Do not rely solely on momentum to lift your legs towards the bar. Using momentum instead of muscle strength diminishes the effectiveness of the exercise and increases the risk of injury. Emphasize controlled movement, focusing on using the abdominals and hip flexors to lift the legs.

  4. Do Not Sacrifice Form for Repetitions: Resist the temptation to sacrifice form for the sake of completing more repetitions. Performing Hanging Toes-To-Bar with poor form not only reduces its effectiveness but also increases the likelihood of injury. Prioritize proper technique, even if it means performing fewer reps initially.

  5. Avoid Excessive Lower Back Arching: Do not arch your lower back excessively while lifting your legs. Overarching the lower back places undue stress on the lumbar spine and shifts the focus away from the abs and hip flexors. Maintain a neutral spine position throughout the exercise to target the intended muscle groups effectively.

  6. Do Not Neglect Control: Avoid swinging or kicking your legs wildly to try to touch the bar. Instead, focus on controlled and deliberate movements, lifting the legs with precision and control. This allows for better muscle engagement and prevents unnecessary strain on the joints.

  7. Do Not Rush Through the Exercise: Resist the urge to rush through Hanging Toes-To-Bar repetitions. Performing the exercise too quickly not only compromises form but also reduces the effectiveness of each repetition. Focus on executing each movement slowly and with control to maximize muscle engagement and minimize the risk of injury.


Variations of fitness exercises refer to different ways of performing a specific exercise or movement to target various muscle groups, intensities, or goals. These variations aim to challenge the body differently, prevent plateaus, and cater to individuals with varying fitness levels.


Alternative exercises in fitness refer to different movements or activities that target similar muscle groups or serve the same training purpose as the primary exercise. These alternative exercises can be used as substitutes when the original exercise is unavailable or challenging to perform due to various reasons such as equipment limitations, injuries, or personal preferences.