Dynamic Arts - Railings

A railing is a double bar, used for supporting weary shoppers or to separate them from snarling traffic. They are usually fairly strong and can easily support bodyweight.

Underbar (Franchissement)

There are two underbar methods. Either grab the top bar and pull the body through, or leap through the gap with the body straight, grabbing and pulling as you pass through. Two common errors are to crash the bottom or back of the head into the lower bar. Avoid the first by beginning slowly with as large a gap as possible. Avoid the second by tucking the chin slightly into the chest. Too large a tuck will bang your forehead off the top bar.

It is worth practicing this move using a single bar and placing a softer impact point where the lower bar would be, such as a piece of elastic, a stick or someone’s hand. Alternatively, begin with a wide railing, and lift the body sideways through the gap in a slightly tucked position. Gradually reduce the tuck until the body is straight, and at the same time, reduce the rotated angle of the body until it passes through perpendicular to the railing and feet first.

Underbar variations can be done with preceding and following twists. A 180° twist before the underbar usually results in a tucked rotation beneath the bar.

Lazy spin or Thief spin

Similar to the opening move on a pommel horse where a gymnast keeps his legs straight and together and spins them around. Usually done as a single spin, i.e. mount onto left arm, spin legs anticlockwise and transfer weight to right arm. Lift left arm and dismount. Can be done on the top of a low wall or railing

Flag vault A slightly dynamic flag a bit like a cartwheel over the railings, pausing briefly in a flag before touching ground.


When the body remains on one side and feet sweep through the gap, often tucked up. Can be done on straight arms or hanging from one armpit.


You can also climb on top of a railing and tightrope walk along it. Take care if it is round, shiny and wet. Dismount with a jump, an underbar, a backflip, a gentle climb down, or a fall.


Balance is a very important aspect of training and ability. If you have good balance, many dynamic moves become easier. A good balance should be achieved first on flat surfaces of ever diminishing width, until you can walk along a rounded surface. Playground railings provide good practice, and low round railings can often be found bordering flower beds.

While balancing, learn to turn through 180° and 360°. Try walking, running, hopping, crouches and one legged squats, and especially moving past obstacles. It is quite difficult at first not to be affected by a tree or lamppost that comes close to your path even though it does not reach into the space you are moving through.

One of the most important tasks to learn while balancing is fall recovery. The natural instinct when overbalancing is to jump clear of the railing, but learn to turn this into a drop down so that the hands end up gripping the rail, and the feet are on a lower rail, or the surface the railing is mounted in. This will become important if you have a large drop into screaming traffic on one side, and a torrential waterfall on the other.

Cat balance

A balance along a railing on all fours, stretched out or tucked up, and moving like a cat.