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Gymnastics/stalder as a circling skill


QUESTION: Dear Mark,

I really REALLY hope you can help me!!!!

I have my kip cast handstand perfectly as well as my sole circle, giants and flyaway.

So basically, my routine is :

Kip - Cast Handstand - Toe Drop - Sole Circle - Jump to High Bar - Kip - Cast Handstand - Giant Giant - Flyaway

I am not competing or anything, but I would love to have one circling skill in my routine, just for fun! Of course I can do a back and front hip circle, but I would love something more "advanced".

So I think my options are either a free hip or stalder!
I was not introduced to anything like that, yet. So I am basically starting from scratch with the circling skills.

I know that a clear hip that just goes to horizontal is a lot easier than one that goes to handstand.
I don't like the way free hips look, so I would really prefer doing a stalder instead! But many people say that a stalder to handstand is a very hard skill. So I thought about maybe doing just a stalder circle not ending in handstand?
Like enter the stalder, going around the bar and then staying compressed rather than opening up and shoot to handstand.
So is this a lot easier than a full stalder? I think so, because I don't need the right timing but just need to stay compressed. But I am not sure! But I would LOVE to learn that skill, even if it is not to handstand!
I would like to learn it in about 6-8 months!

Also, do I need to be able to do a clear hip or free hip to learn a stalder? I have a back extension roll of course, I can do several press handstands in a row and I am very flexible in my pancake stretch!

I hope you can help me!!!!


Doing a Stalter skill requires flexibility and timing on the technique. This skill is similar to a free hip circle. Coming into the circle and out if it are very much the same. Learning both is a good idea. You can work on doing a roll to Endo/Stalter press on the floor. This will help you do the same thing on the bars. This will work for the Endo direction or Stalter. You can do back extention roll to the Stalter direction.

It is easier to just come out at horizontal but making the skill look good generally means doing it to the handstand.

Many people learn it with a strap bar. Not sure you have that but it helps with getting a lot of turns in while not making your hands too hot.

Good luck with the process. Hopefully you have someone to help video and coach you toward the correct techniques.

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QUESTION: Thank you very much for your response!

Yes, I know a stalder requires a lot of flexibility and strength, but I am sure I have the flexibility and strength because I can do several press handstands in a row!

Ok, so not making it to handstand is easier? Is it a lot easier?
I do think that it is looking better if it is to handstand, but I would guess that getting the timing right must be soo hard. To open up in the right time to not be too early or late but if I just have to stay compressed and wait to get around it is easier, isn't it?
Of course I would prefer it to handstand, but I would be happy with just one circle to horizontal!

Do you think I can learn just the circle around in about 10 months? If I train 6 days a week for about 20 minutes each day?
Or how long would you guess does it take?

I think you could have results even before 10 months. It would be hard for me to know, however, without seeing your gymnastics. Start by trying to keep your legs in the straddle and circling the bar. As you begin to understand the skill, you can add more swing to the drop and have more energy to work with on the second half of the skill. When you get the timing right, you should be able to increase the angle of the final position.

Good luck with your training.


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Mark Williams


My expertise is primarily with men`s gymnastics at all levels. General questions about gymnastics and Olympic and World Championship competitions are also areas which I have knowledge.


Head Coach at the University of Oklahoma, 1996 Assistant Olympic Coach for US Men''s Team, 1999 Head Coach of Pan American Games US Men''s Team

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