For Coaches L4 Bars - Undershoot Dismount

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Coach/Proud Parent
May 14, 2007
I'm looking for some pointers/thoughts/drills that may help our girls with their undershoot dismounts. Is this [what I guess is common] problem of dropping their hips after the BHC point to a particular strength issue? Or is more body awareness? A few habitual offenders have long since mastered what I've found to be more challenging skills to overcome...this one has me stumped.

Spotting to any degree isn't an issue, I'm open to all suggestions.

Thanks in advance...


Gold Membership
Feb 26, 2007
Hey long time no see, hope all is well with you.

Have you tried them doing two BHC in a row, that would remind them to keep their hips on the bar throughout.
May 14, 2008
Okay, my fours, fives, and sixes have been doing horrible underswings this season. we increased strength, which helped, but I attribute most of their sudden improvement to this drill:

We put a Level 4 vault resi mat by the low bar with a squishy cheese on top, the tall end close to the bar. I have the girls push down on the bar in a tight hollow so that the bar is resting on the bar. I then have them do an underswing, leaning back and shooting their toes up and out so that they land on top of the cheese mat. We did those for about a week and all of a sudden they got it! Well, most of them.

I started the first day spotting them, letting the ones who could do it alone. Then the rest of the days it was a do-it-alone station.
Sep 19, 2008
It sounds like Gymnicetics and I do a similar drill, my wedge faces the other way though! I build a matstack, typically a block + wedge on top of a 4inch squishy mat, but more/less mats if I have to. I make sure the gymnast can clear it (back hip circle) with a few inches to spare, I don't want lots of bad form wiggle room. It's generally placed about halfway beneath the low bar. Aside from dropping hips, it also addresses not agressively 'throwing the bar' over their head for that nice stretched out in the air portion of the dismount.

I do have to spot it, but man they will toss that bar with the 'threat' of a big squishy wedge beneath them :p Generally it takes 2-3 workouts of spotting (1 hand between shoulder blades, the other on the lower back) before they are good to go on their own. That varies by induvidual of course.

The general idea, busting out my mspaint skillz:

Black/Grey = bars
Red= wedge
Blue= block


Jun 24, 2008
One of the main problems is that kids often stop their swing after they complete one BHC and don't understand that they have to maintain that speed until they are all the way upside down. For problems with dropping the hips, I like doing two BHC in a row, like bog suggested, making sure that they are hollow in both circles. After they can do that, I also really like doing 1 1/2 BHC and stopping in a held lever (thighs on the bar)-- this obviously has to be spotted for control. Once they can do that, you could stop them in that lever, rock several times, and help them shoot up and out onto the wedge (must be a common drill; we do that too!). You can eliminate the mini-swings in the lever as they get more comfortable. My gym really doesn't connect the BHC to undershoot for several months.


Coach/Proud Parent
May 14, 2007
Thank you all very much. Bonus points for the paintbrush artistry! ;)

I have tried a similar drill with a block between the bars - but for them already in a reverse hollow, simply attempting to 'pull' the undershoot from that position to the block. I like the idea of moving it out some...bring in at least the start from a front support.

I'll try it tonight!

(bogwoppit - Hi to you too, and thanks. Day job has been a bear. Glad to have one still though! My daughter retired from competition this summer. So my booster club/parenting days are behind me, but I really enjoy getting down there with the kids still. I'll keep going as long as my body allows me ;) )

Geoffrey Taucer

Staff member
Gold Membership
Jan 21, 2007
Baltimore, MD
The main thing I do for undershoots is consecutive backhip circles. I teach them two backhip circles, then tell them to "fake me out;" that is, do one and a half backhip circles, then instead of finishing the second one, throw the bar out and dismount.

I also spot them a lot by hand, often in slow-mo to make sure they understand the positions.


It's been so long since I posted. Make sure they really understand the straight arm pushing action required for both BHC and the undershoot. Straight-pushing arms are a must to hold the shape needed without dropping the hips. I've found most of my gymnasts understand the concept for the BHC now, but have to drill repeatedly to understand the two skills hold the same shape throughout. Watch their head too, again I find most of my hip droppers try to anticipate the arm throw and big stretch to the landing by letting their head whip back.

Good luck.
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