Front Lever vs Back Lever Exercises

Front Lever vs Back Lever Exercises

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athlete – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

Some exercise routines appear seemingly easy. You are so motivated to just do it at the start, but when you’re two minutes soaking sweat into the routine, you find yourself sighing in defeat. Your struggling muscles and aching body are screaming “too much struggle!” and they make you want to quit.

Front and back lever exercises are good examples. Sure, trained gymnasts can do it with their eyes shut. But a regular person? Nah. You better hustle and train hard if you want to achieve those movements and reap the benefits.

Also, these “easy” but “difficult” exercises are not only good for you but they also have some insane benefits. But first, research time! Read on to find out more about the front and back lever exercises!

Getting strong lats or latissimus dorsi (a.k.a. the largest muscles in the upper body) and phenomenal core strength is no easy task. You’d have to take on the immense and the grueling challenge to train, and dedicate precious time really working to enhance your skills.

What is the best way to achieve it, you say? Simply incorporate front and back lever exercises in your Calisthenics trainings!

Here is a simple table to help you visualize the important muscles being activated for front and back lever:

Front and Back Lever Exercises: A Fundamental Gymnastics Strength

The interesting thing about front and back lever exercises is that these are rated A in the Gymnastic Code of Points. That’s right, A. If you’re not familiar with Gymnastics, their scale goes from A to Fwith A being the easiest and F being the most difficult. Simply put, they consider it as a basic strength which just shows how difficult the sport really is. It’s not just prancing around or twirling elegantly in the air. The proof of superhuman strength is the training and the gymnast’s skills.

In fact, there’s a meaningful reason behind having this as their basic exercise. Instead of lifting weights, gymnasts work through progressions where they manipulate the leverage, range of motion and momentum.

But of course, you need to be equipped with the right knowledge to do the proper forms.


What is front lever exercises? 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again! These “easy” but “difficult” exercises have some insane benefits.

A front lever exercise is a kind of Calisthenics movement that probably looks like an easy resting position, but is actually designed to build and develop your core strength. With the help of your back muscles, such as the lats, rhomboids, and spinal erectors, as well as your abdomen, you can maintain the proper posture during the movement.

However, make no mistake. A front lever is both difficult and cool-looking. It’s a common gymnastic move wherein a static hold is performed on still rings or a pull-bar, and the person is lowering his or her body from an inverted hang until the body is completely straight and horizontal. With this position, it seems like the person is floating on air, or is in a rigid plank.

Training for the front lever is considerably safer for your joints than learning some of the other high-level strength skills because you don’t have to work on locked elbow joints.

However, the front lever exercise is easier said (and seen) than done. It requires a high degree of back and core strength before you can do it. If you think it’s something you can achieve, then stay with us, and we’ll show you the proper progressive steps in attaining this exercise!

Perfecting the Front Lever

The front lever exercise is simple, but requires personal commitment, dedication, and focus to master. The steps to complete the exercise are done in a progressive manner to build the necessary strength to advance and to avoid unnecessary confusion from complicated and ineffective shortcuts.

Here’s how you can perfect the front lever:

TUCK FRONT LEVER

This will be the first or the basic position as you advance in the training. To do this posture, grasp the bar within overhand grip. Pull your legs and hips up while you are leaning back. Your back should be rounded and your body tucked up like a ball. Try to keep your back approximately parallel to the ground.

ADVANCED TUCK FRONT LEVER

Begin with the tuck front lever position. Once your body is up, straighten your back (instead of a rounded one) and see that it forms a line parallel to the ground. At the same time, pull your shoulder blades back in retraction. You may open your legs slightly so that your thighs are perpendicular to the body.

ONE BENT LEG FRONT LEVER

From your tuck front lever, extend your bent leg out so that it seems like it’s floating in the air. The lower leg will be perpendicular to the ground with your hip opened up completely. If your leg feels wobbly or tired, don’t worry. You may alternate legs between practice.

ONE LEG FRONT LEVER

A more advanced technique than the bent leg is this one! Front the first position, while extend one leg out completely straight. That means your back, hips, and extended leg all make a horizontal line, parallel to the ground. The other leg, whichever side it is, will be tucked in hard to the chest.

ADVANCED ONE LEG FRONT LEVER

From the tuck front lever, extend one leg completely straight, and the other partially untucked and away from the chest. The foot of the untucked leg will be in line with the knee of the extended leg. Keep your back and straight leg parallel to the ground! This “halfway open” form is designed to increase the leverage dramatically. Alternate legs.

FRONT LEVER

Starting from the tuck lever position, keeping both legs together, gradually extend them out at the hips and knees, until they are completely straight. Your entire body should be a one straight line that is parallel to the ground. Pull down hard with the hands and the lats, as well as working the pulling-apart action to assist in stabilization.

“With the progression of holds, you can definitely achieve this!

What is back lever exercises?

Now let’s move on to the counterpart of front lever- the back lever exercise, which is on another level of awesome!

This whole-body exercise places an emphasis on your back and core. It also requires strength and flexibility in the shoulders and arms in a typically untrained position. It would be good to have a spotter (just ask a friend to help you out) who can assist you in case you fall.

The back lever can be an awkward position, and because you are somewhat inverted, you may feel like you don’t quite know where your body is in space. Have your spotter friend also point out if you’re doing the correct form or not! You don’t want any injuries.

How to do the back lever? 

Before you even try doing this exercise, you must first skin the cat

Don’t worry! We don’t mean it literally. The Skin the Cat is a preparatory exercise you should do to get your muscles warmed up. It mostly focuses on the shoulders, so that it builds flexibility, as you use it for a full extension later on.

To do Skin the Cat: Raise your legs up from a hanging position. Now, thread your feet under the bar, and lower down as far as you can behind you. Reverse the movement to come back up, and practice several times. Slowly but surely.

Now that you’re done with your preparatory exercise, here are the steps on how to do a back lever:

TUCK BACK LEVER

First, start by grabbing the bar in an overhand grip, jumping, and then tucking yourself into a ball into a Skin The Cat manner. After that, lower yourself (slowly) until your back is parallel to the ground. You can stay tucked up tightly, with a rounded back. Or you can slightly open your legs.

ADVANCED TUCK BACK LEVER

Start from the first form. From there, straighten your back instead of having it rounded up. By doing this, your hips are opened, increasing the leverage of the exercise. To ensure that your back is really straight, ask your trusty pal spotter to check on you.

LEGS BENT STRADDLE BACK LEVER

Begin by doing the tuck back lever. As you complete that form, pull yourself up until your head is directly facing the ground, and your legs overhead. Next, Straighten out your hips, but bend your knees. Spread the legs at the knees as wide as you can. If you feel like it’ll cause you to lose balance or grip, then just spread it a little. Keep this alignment lower until you are parallel with the ground. Practice this patiently because it will help you lower into the back lever easily than extending into it once you’re horizontal. It’s all about the progression.

LEGS BENT BACK LEVER

Next, pull yourself up until your head is facing the ground and your legs are overhead. Straighten the hips out, but keep the knees bent. This time, keep the knees together. Hold this position.

STRADDLE BACK LEVER

You need to pull yourself up until your head is facing the ground with your legs overhead. Straighten your legs at the knees and hips and spread your legs wide into a straddle position. Stay low while holding this form. The tip in here is to widen the straddle so it’s easier.

BACK LEVER

Again, pull yourself up until your head is facing the ground with your legs overhead. Straighten out the legs at the knees and hips, and make sure to keep the legs together. Your body must form a one straight line through your legs. Keep this alignment lower until you are parallel with the ground, and hold.

Don’t think I can do it, should I stop?

Remember, you can’t build your strength overnight. In the same way, you can’t practice all the steps right away just because you want to. The simple progression may take months, depending on how you train your body; hence, you have to be patient. Work through the steps and you’ll get there. Practice your willpower, so you can overcome this physical challenge.


Unparalleled foundation

Mastering the front and back lever exercises are a great way to build a foundation for Calisthenics trainings. Why?

1. These are essential calisthenic strength movements that will provide incredible stimulation for total body strength. You can’t get that from any ordinary exercise.

2. Training with these bodyweight exercises will motivate you to train harder and achieve more advanced skills.

3. These exercises already provide you with the basics. When you advance in your Calisthenics training, you can always return to these fundamental concepts to attain other progressions.

If you want to get started but don’t know how to work with the progressions, you can check out Calisthenics Academy and do their free assessment to gauge where your skill levels at. Once you know your calisthenics fitness level, you can slowly develop your strength to do front and back lever and other crazy calisthenics movement with the in-depth training progressions from Calisthenics Academy.

Don’t hesitate to work more and be more! These front lever and back lever exercises are the keys to training Calisthenics easily.

You still want that powerful and toned body, don’t you?

READY TO GET ON TEH JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME?

See what our users are saying:

“Would you rather have the ability to boast of bench pressing 300 pounds or to do a one-arm pull-up? To me, pulling my entire body up with one arm is much more impressive. – Michael – Calisthenics Academy User”

“Calisthenics Academy is not the kind of program that demands you to be this physically fit to be able to perform. Instead, it caters to your own strengths and capabilities and keeps track of your progress.”

“Stick with it! It is hard at first, especially if you are stuck on a lower-level, high rep exercise. But persevering is worth it! Finally reaching each goal is so exciting.”

GET A LIFETIME ACCESS TO THE CURRENT CALISTHENICS ACADEMY AND NEW MOBILE APP

(+ all the future updates and help us build the product you will love)

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Learning calisthenics skills for maximum results, holistic health and fun.

calisthenics training program

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athletes – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to gain strength, lose fat, build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives.

Hey tribe! As you know the Team at Calisthenics Academy has been hard at work to bring together a brand new app – a gamified platform for skill-based training that will not only bring fun and a new dimension of motivation to your training – but all the more will take you on the journey to be healthier, stronger, leaner and more mobile with our calisthenics training program.

 

As we are getting ready to launch the app publicly, we are starting a blog series showcasing some of the features, answering all your questions and showing you why this new training is unlike anything else.

Today we want to talk about what moves you will be learning inside the app and how are they structured.

 

Note that the way training works is that you are working towards certain skills and they represent a specific level of strength, mobility and flexibility you achieve. But at the end, it’s just a more effective way to reach your goals of losing fat, building muscles and getting insanely strong.

And we have over 100 new moves you will be learning with the app all organised on a big map of movements. 

Before we go into that though – we just wanted to remind you that there is still time to snap a lifetime access deal. If you are interested in joining us in building an amazing product and have a lifetime access to current (over 100 moves) and ALL the future updates – check it out. If you buy today you will get access to beta and you will be considered a part of our team forever. 

Back to the moves!

“If you want to live a good life in your older years, start training now.”

Deconstructing the moves

As you know, we approach the movement from a very scientific point of view. Our team of coaches and physios deconstruct each move understanding what goes into it – what muscles, flexibility, mobility, strength, skill and then create a step by step path that can take anyone from zero to performing that move (we will talk about deconstruction in next blog post). 

We think about our physical potential as a journey- you start with simple moves, build the foundation, learn the basics, make sure your joints, your muscles and your tendons are ready to handle higher loads and more complex moves and once they are we lead you towards the harder and harder moves. 

Turning movement training into a game you can’t lose

Think about it as a map of treasures and quests – just this time the moves are the quests. The system carefully guides you through all those little important things through a personalised training plan. Step by step helping you unlock harder and harder moves.

Note that we are just getting started and even though we have over 100 new moves in the app the library will be growing as we go along as well as offered assessment and complexity of the app. 

Taking you safely from zero to advanced moves

 

So how do you safely take someone from zero to planche? muscle up? front levers? backflips? You lead them, constantly assessing where they are on those different attributes and adjusting training daily making sure that the progress is effective and safe. 

With our team, we created a whole map of moves – all interconnected where we map exactly what you need to develop to safely move forward. 

We also categorized the moves based on complexity ensuring that we keep the playfulness, feeling of constant progress and holistic approach to overall body development. 

Below is an outline of how the moves are divided and what moves you can expect to learn in current app. 

100 calisthenics moves you can start today

 

The moves you will be learning are divided into different categories.Just like in the game we have:

MAIN MISSIONS

“Main Missions are the main moves in gymnastic and calisthenics. They require lots of preparation and progressions and usually take a ong time to achieve

Main missions are divided into fundamentals and advanced. They are very important as a make a base for all the advanced moves.

Once you achieve the  fundamental moves you unlock harder & harder moves – so

Back Fundamental unlocks Back Lever and Bridges Progression,

Wall Handstand unlocks – Handstand Pushup and Free Standing HAndstand and so on…

The way system is structured is that not only it makes sure that you develop all the attributes that are prerequisites for a given move – keeping you safe. But also that every single day you are making effective progress towards your goal.  Once done with fundamentals that are obligatory you are able to choose what you want to be working on.

Some of the advanced moves that you will see in the app are

– Human Flag

– Back Lever

– Front Lever

– Handstand Walk

– Handstand Push-Up

-Handstand Press

– Bridge

– Sitting Press

– Planche

– Muscle Ups

– Ring Dips

… and more.

SIDE QUESTS

“Side quests are additional moves that still require progressions but they are not a core of your program. They are usually small and fun moves that help you develop strenght and skill”

Just like any move in our program – these moves also have prerequisties and are unlock as you go along.

Some of the side quests in our new app are:

– Cartwheel

– Backwards Roll

– Butterfly

– Elevated Bridge

– Headstand

-Freestanding Handstand Pushup

SINGLE MOVES (VARIATIONS + TRANSITIONS)

“Single moves don’t have progessions. They include everything from one off moves eg a corow, variations of particular exercises, to connecting two different exercises (transitions) to connecting multiple exercises – what we call flow”

Some of the single skills that you will be learning inside the app:

 

VARIATIONS

-Pushup Variations eg. Aztec Pushup, X Pushup, Superman Pushup, Decline One Arm Pushup,

– Cartwheel Variations 

– Pull Up Variations 

– Handstand Variations

 

TRANSITIONS: 

– Forward Roll to Handstand, Front Lever to Back Lever, Handstand to Planche, Handstand to Bridge etc

 

FLOW 

– Combining Handstand to Bridge to Walk Over etc

ONE OFF MOVES

– eg Crow, Knee Scale, Grapevine, Bear Walk, Pike Jump

We are opening moves library to experienced trainers to create a filled with creativity library of different moves you can be learning

As you can see, the structure is there to keep fun and light approach while helping you safely push boundaries, stay playful but at the same time effective in your training. 

READY TO GET ON TEH JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME?

See what our users are saying:

“Would you rather have the ability to boast of bench pressing 300 pounds or to do a one-arm pull-up? To me, pulling my entire body up with one arm is much more impressive. – Michael – Calisthenics Academy User”

“Calisthenics Academy is not the kind of program that demands you to be this physically fit to be able to perform. Instead, it caters to your own strengths and capabilities and keeps track of your progress.”

“Stick with it! It is hard at first, especially if you are stuck on a lower-level, high rep exercise. But persevering is worth it! Finally reaching each goal is so exciting.”

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GET A LIFETIME ACCESS TO THE CURRENT CALISTHENICS ACADEMY AND NEW MOBILE APP

(+ all the future updates and help us build the product you will love)

TODAY $97 ($399 AFTER)

Beyond Pistol Squat with Momir Iseni

Beyond Pistol Squat with Momir Iseni

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics AthletePeople just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

While pistol squat performed in sets of 10+ repetitions is an impressive achievement in its own right, it is far from limits of what can be achieved with one-legged squats.

In my leg training, I’m using nine different variations of one-legged squats, each one more progressive than previous. These variations not only make training more fun and interesting but, as the movements become more complex, they require control and development of ever more muscle segments and groups.

Steps For Your Pistol Squat Variations

SHORT BARREL PISTOL

The first step towards advanced one-legged squats is simply bringing hands closer to the body. The easiest way to do this is by bending your arms, crossing them in front of you and touching your shoulders with fingers of the opposite hands. Because the arms are bent, I call this version the short-barrel pistols.

Though this adjustment is almost insignificant you will, as you start performing your one-legged squat this way, immediately feel new kinds of forces challenging you. First thing that you’ll notice is the need to bend to the front, due to the new, added challenge to your core. The way to fight and eventually overcome this need is to additionally tighten your core muscles – the degree of contraction required for basic pistol squats will no longer be enough.

In order to extract the maximum of this movement adjustment, strive to focus on few key things:

– Keep your chest high – that will automatically bring your shoulders back and your spine straight.

– Try to keep your upper arms parallel to the floor. Actively strive to keep your elbows from falling below parallel. Keeping your arm muscles (and especially triceps) tight, will be of great help.

As I’ve already said, the need for embracing your core muscles wil be greater here than with pistols. The key muscles here are side abdominals and spinal erectors. I have found that contracting the upper back and rear delts adds stability to your posture.

The rest of the important things (looking slightly down, keeping legs close together, actively pressing the ground through the foot of the working leg, breathing pattern, etc.) are already covered in previous article about basic pistol squats.

Do not feel discouraged by the fact that you are unable to do as many of these squats .as you do pistols. Be patient and work diligently. Focus on quality repetitions – if that means just two or three before you start bending over and losing control, so be it. Don’t exhaust yourself, but enjoy the process of mastering this new movement. Work slowly towards more and more reps.

Than, when you are able to perform more than, say, ten reps with full control, you may move to the next step

PRISONER ONE-LEGGED SQUATS

While the previous version was, in comparison to pistol squat, slightly more challenging, the prisoner one-legged squat is a lot more serious movement that will noticeably raise the degree of difficulty.

To perform a prisoner one-legged squat you need to, as in the basic prisoner squat, descend with your hands clasped behind the back of your head – but while squatting on only one leg.

This movement will, because your hands and elbows are now behind your head, be a lot more challenging to master and perform fluidly. Because of the lack of balance offered by arms extended in front of you, you will need to engage your core, back, shoulder and arm muscles a lot more than in the previous steps. All this means that your concentration and focus will need to strengthen accordingly which, of course, is a great thing.

To perform the prisoner one-legged squat, stand with your hands on the back of your head, with your fingers interlocked. Before your first repetition, make sure that:

– Your forearms are thoroughly squeezed, and your fingers tightly interlocked.

– The muscles of your upper arms are tight, as well as your whole shoulder girdle, especially rear deltoid and trapezius muscles.

– The whole upper back, including lats, is squeezed and completely under control, and core muscles – front and (especially) side abdominals and lower back muscles – are fully engaged.

Although this seems like a lot of things to focus on, in time you’ll be able to almost instantly reach that state. Don’t be dispirited if you cannot reach it immediately – work patiently and with awareness, and step by step you’ll get there, all the while adding repetitions to your sets.

As you start to descend under full control, apply all the steps you already new from earlier forms of one-legged squats, with few additional points:

While descending on your working leg, don’t allow your shoulders to roll forward and your elbows to move to the front of the plane that goes vertically sideways through the middle of your ears. Your body instinctively tries to get into an easier position by rolling the shoulders – don’t allow it to succeed. Actively maintain tight squeeze in your arms, shoulders and upper back. Workout by workout, week by week, you’ll gain control and add rep by rep. Don’t be fooled into a blind rep game – look for quality and the feeling of full muscle engagement.

Make sure to lower all the way down to the deepest position. Start your descending from the hip and move back, while simultaneously lowering yourself down. Descend in a slow, controlled fashion, and make sure to stop for a moment at the bottom point. While there, and still tight, asses your position in space – try to gather all the spatial information and feedback possible. Then, thinking about pushing the ground away from you, start moving up. In time you’ll be able to completely feel the engaged chain of muscles, starting from glutes, through hamstrings, to thighs.

If your leg workouts were until now entirely based on pistol squats, now you have more options. If still unable to do many reps of these new versions of one-legged squats, I advise that, after warming up with a set or two of about ten slow narrow two-legged squats, you do acclimatization set of only 3 pistol squats on each leg. Then, do 2-3 sets of one of these more difficult versions. If you can only do a couple of correct reps, do 3 sets of 2, then, in time, 2 sets of 3, 2 sets of four, etc.

In the beginning, while still learning to do the movement properly, do not exhaust yourself. Do your sets of slow reps and then finish your leg training with few sets of classic pistol squats in more repetitions.

In the next article, we’ll continue our progress toward more engaging versions of one-legged squats. Until then, feel free to ask questions and offer your suggestions and, as they say, always keep your squats low and your standards high.

READY TO GET ON THE JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME?

See what our users are saying:

“Would you rather have the ability to boast of bench pressing 300 pounds or to do a one-arm pull-up? To me, pulling my entire body up with one arm is much more impressive. – Michael – Calisthenics Academy User”

“Calisthenics Academy is not the kind of program that demands you to be this physically fit to be able to perform. Instead, it caters to your own strengths and capabilities and keeps track of your progress.”

“Stick with it! It is hard at first, especially if you are stuck on a lower-level, high rep exercise. But persevering is worth it! Finally reaching each goal is so exciting.”

GET A LIFETIME ACCESS TO THE CURRENT CALISTHENICS ACADEMY AND NEW MOBILE APP

(+ all the future updates and help us build the product you will love)

TODAY $97 ($399 AFTER)

Insane Strength Benefits of Front Levers

Insane Strength Benefits of Front Levers

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athlete – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

Hey, you! Have you been doing bodyweight exercises?

Well, we’re sure that by now, you’ve already memorized all there is to know about Calisthenics.

But let’s be real, knowing doesn’t mean doing (all). And we’re guessing you’re skipping such an essential training because you either think you don’t need it at all, or you just prefer not to because it looks tough! Are you thinking what we’re thinking?

That’s right! We’re talking about front levers! It’s one of the fundamental Calistenics movements you should devote time to practicing. While it looks difficult (of course, there are PLENTY of exercises that are hard and require just as much attention), we guarantee that YOU CAN kill it!

Stop skipping the front lever and start working on it! Don’t let any fear or doubt keep you from achieving your dream body. In fact, read on and learn about its significant benefits! Gotta gear up, ain’t that right, soldier?

What is a front lever?

The front lever is a movement that helps develop an individual’s core and upper-body muscles. This position lets you lower yourself from an inverted hang, keeping the body straight and horizontal, and the front of your body facing upwards.  

For a regular person, this movement  may look pretty intimidating. But as you go through the progression exercises, you’d find it’s kinda cool, and doable!

Don’t believe anyone who will tell you that you can’t do it! It is NOT only for gymnasts!

How To Do The Front Lever?

Doing this exercise isn’t like powerlifting or weightlifting where you can quickly grab the weights, lift it off the ground, and be done. Learning the front lever means you need to learn how to build up to the hold. To do this, you need to follow these six steps:

TUCK FRONT LEVER

To do this, grab the bar with an overhand grip. Pull your legs and hips up, at the same time leaning back. You should round your back, and your body tucked up like a ball. Keep your back approximately parallel to the ground.

ADVANCED TUCK FRONT LEVER

This is the second step of progression. Begin with the tuck front lever position; Afterward, instead of rounding your back, straighten it, so it forms a line parallel to the ground. Pull your shoulder blades back in retraction, and just open your legs slightly, keeping your thighs perpendicular to your body.

ONE BENT LEG FRONT LEVER

From your tuck front lever, extend your bent leg out, keeping it above your abs. The lower leg will be perpendicular to the ground, with your hip opened up completely. Make sure to alternate legs between your sets.

ONE LEG FRONT LEVER

Start from the first position. Extend one leg out completely straight. That means your back, hips, and extended leg all make a horizontal line, parallel to the ground. The other leg, whichever side it is, will be tucked in hard to the chest. Like the previous step, make sure to alternate legs between sets.

ADVANCED ONE LEG FRONT LEVER

Begin with the tuck from the lever, then slowly extend one leg completely straight, and another leg partially untucked. This formation is designed to increase the leverage, and push you to your limits.

FRONT LEVER

Starting from the tuck lever position, keep both legs together while gradually extending them out at the hips and knees. Your entire body should form a straight horizontal line parallel to the ground. Hold the position and find your balance before pulling down hard with the hands and lats.

This Calisthenic Exercise Gives Awesome Body Benefits!

Don’t believe us? Head over to Calisthenics Academy, and see the benefits for yourself! Working on a front lever DOES have amazing benefits

BACK, ABS, AND CORE STRENGTH

By doing the front lever, your entire torso functions collectively, rather than twisting and collapsing under pressure. You also build exceptional strength in the back muscles, such as the lats, rhomboids, and spinal erectors. The abs benefit from this too! In fact, it’s one of the most effective ab workouts! If you’re planning to get on with an ab training to be all hot for summer, this is the right exercise.

IMPROVED BODY CONTROL

Holding a static position requires more body control compared to other popular exercises. In doing so, you need to pay close attention to your body position in space. Body and mind coordination is key to perfecting the skill! Only through practice with this front lever Calisthenics exercise will you become the strongest you can be!

IDEAL TRICEP EXERCISE

A Front Lever is always a good tricep exercise that works the long head isometrically without putting a significant amount of stress on the elbows. Remember, if your triceps are failing, it’s probably because its long head lacks sufficient strength.

IMPROVED ENDURANCE

As it is static, the front lever requires a planned progression that starts from a manageable position; then moves to a more difficult one, improving your muscle endurance. You see, it’s all about the leverage here! Calisthenics has a way of mainly decreasing the hold over time.


Can Doing A Front Lever Improve My Strength?

It’s one of the top bodyweight exercises for a good reason! It’s the ultimate display of straight-arm pulling prowess, challenging your body to such an extreme skill!

Holding your entire body face up, straight, and outstretched gives you all the strength you need for your lats, arms, delts, chest and abs


Should I Include Front Levers In My Strength Training?

At the end of the day, it’s up to you! But we’re not gonna pass up this chance and not tell you that the front lever is a GOLD STANDARD in total body strength development. We already mentioned that the front lever is one of most effective bodyweight exercises. Also, the gains too useful to be ignored, especially if you’re one to build strength and power!

Done correctly, it can be a powerful training movement with multiple benefits that go beyond just muscular endurance. Pretty cool, right?

Conclusion: Overall, the front lever is impressive because:

  • YOU ARE IMPROVING YOUR UPPER BODY’S PULLING POWER.
  • YOU ARE DEVELOPING CORE STRENGTH AND CONTROL.
  • YOU ARE PRACTICING THE ABILITY TO SUBJUGATE THE PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF THE UNIVERSE WITH YOUR FORCE OF WILL.
  • YOU ARE UNLEASHING YOUR INNER GYMNAST WITH YOUR EFFORT FROM YOUR LATS, ABDOMINALS, HIP FLEXORS, AND SCAPULAR STABILIZERS.
  • YOU ARE FLOATING ON AIR, AND IT MAKES YOU LOOK PRETTY BADASS. (Of course, you can also impress your family, friends, and partner)

What are you waiting for? Visit Calisthenics Academy and take the free assessment to see how you’ll hold up to the front lever!

See what we did there? Hold up?

READY TO GET ON THE JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME?

See what our users are saying:

“Would you rather have the ability to boast of bench pressing 300 pounds or to do a one-arm pull-up? To me, pulling my entire body up with one arm is much more impressive. – Michael – Calisthenics Academy User”

“Calisthenics Academy is not the kind of program that demands you to be this physically fit to be able to perform. Instead, it caters to your own strengths and capabilities and keeps track of your progress.”

“Stick with it! It is hard at first, especially if you are stuck on a lower-level, high rep exercise. But persevering is worth it! Finally reaching each goal is so exciting.”

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10 Pro Tips to Improve Your Back Lever

10 Pro Tips to Improve Your Back Lever

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athlete – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

Angelo Gala, a fitness professional from Boston, had a few things to say in his article “My Journey to the Back Lever.” Posted in August of 2013 on the Progressive Calisthenics Certification blog, he shared, “Very rarely do people care about the benefits provided, they’re simply romanced by the “fun factor.” Demonstrate to the same person a back lever and you may see a pair of glazed eyes appreciating the skill, but not quite aware of the work required to get there.”  h

He wanted to emphasize how much hard work goes into achieving the back lever, and that calisthenics is not simply fun and flashy moves. Check out how he detailed the progressions that worked best for him, but at the end of the day, constant improvement is key for anyone.

There are many sources of information and tutorials on how exactly to do the back lever, but we’re here to give you ten very simple and expert tips on how to improve back lever, as well as making it a little bit easier to achieve.

how to improve back lever

How to Improve Back Lever

 

There are many sources of information and tutorials on how exactly to do the back lever, but we’re here to give you ten very simple and expert tips on how to improve back lever, as well as making it a little bit easier to achieve.

HAND CLOSE TOGETHER

One expert tip that people tend to take for granted is that when using a bar, putting your hands as close together as you can helps you carry your weight better. It’s quite similar to what is taught when learning moves in yoga that require you to balance on your hands and arms.

PRACTICE THE "SKIN THE CAT"

The “Skin the Cat” move is one important way to practice getting into the right rhythm of the back lever, among other things. It causes you to carry yourself and be able to make repetitions of the move, relying on your arm muscles and taking control of your core.

how to improve back lever

START OUT WITH A ONE-LEGGED BACK LEVER

The one-legged back lever is probably the closest progression to doing the full back lever. It makes it easier because the one leg puts some of your weight closer to your center of gravity, making it easier to control your entire body as a whole.

One legged back lever

SQUEEZE

Might be an obvious tip, but it surely makes all the difference. Coaches say squeeze with all your might, almost feeling like you can’t breathe (but of course, you need to breathe!), to let your mind know you’re in control of your body as well.

BAR OR RINGS

Something that is not the same for everyone is if using a bar or rings makes it easier when asking how to improve the back lever. The Skin the Cat move, for example, requires you to simulate a backflip by flinging your legs up and over your head. This can be done with ease if using rings but requires you to bend your legs when using a bar. Our tip is to see what works best for you in terms of form and balance.

rings or bars how to improve back lever

KEEP YOUR BACK FLAT

Now, moving on to more form-related tips, the first is to keep your back flat. It’s a general tip for everyone doing exercises because it helps you engage your core better, the number one factor in achieving the back lever. Keeping your back at its flattest and most parallel to the ground also protects you from straining it.

KEEP YOUR ARMS STRAIGHT

The next three are closely related to keeping your back flat. Keeping your arms straight gives you good balance, and allows you to maximize the arm muscles you need to hoist yourself above the ground. It also ensures that you are at the optimal horizontal position to engage your core.

LOOK AHEAD

Looking ahead, or keeping your head up, helps you feel more in tune with your body. It engages the right muscles to help you maintain the horizontal posture. It’s also familiar to us how looking straight down or letting your head fall makes the blood rush to our head, and that’s also what we want to avoid. Getting dizzy or feeling nauseous will surely prevent you from maintaining the back lever.

POINT YOUR TOES

Earlier, we gave the tip that squeezing your body makes things easier for you. When it comes to the placement of your feet, however, we understand it’s quite unclear how to squeeze your feet. The recommended position for your feet is that you point your toes. Again, it lengthens the body for the perfect horizontal posture and also helps keep you in control.

HAVE A SPOTTER

Lastly, if you aren’t part of a class or don’t have a personal trainer, we highly recommend you train on how to improve back lever with a friend or two. This person will serve as your spotter, to help identify the mistakes in your form, or to remind you of the tips we’ve reminded you of above.

These are the 10 pro tips you need to know on how to improve backlever

hand spotter on back lever

Verdict

Overall, doing the back lever improves the coordination of the different muscle groups in your body such as lats, pectorals, biceps, triceps, low back, and abdominal which do not usually jive with one another to perform other actions. Nonetheless, you can learn how to totally maximize all these muscle groups to hold a solid position in the back lever.

back lever


If you’re just starting out or would like to know more, 
Calisthenics Academy provides a free assessment which is surely worth your while.

There are many people who started from just wondering “how to improve back lever” and turned into great success stories. Always keep yourself updated and informed about the back lever, and all the exercises you want to try out. We can’t wait to see you on that list of success stories!

 

READY TO GET ON TEH JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME?

See what our users are saying:

 

“Would you rather have the ability to boast of bench pressing 300 pounds or to do a one-arm pull-up? To me, pulling my entire body up with one arm is much more impressive. – Michael – Calisthenics Academy User”

“Calisthenics Academy is not the kind of program that demands you to be this physically fit to be able to perform. Instead, it caters to your own strengths and capabilities and keeps track of your progress.”

“Stick with it! It is hard at first, especially if you are stuck on a lower-level, high rep exercise. But persevering is worth it! Finally reaching each goal is so exciting.”

 

GET A LIFETIME ACCESS TO THE CURRENT CALISTHENICS ACADEMY AND NEW MOBILE APP

(+ all the future updates and help us build the product you will love)

 

TODAY $97 ($399 AFTER)

The Lean and Mean Calisthenics Diet – 4 Minimalistic Principles to Get You Started!

The Lean and Mean Calisthenics Diet – 4 Minimalistic Principles to Get You Started!

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athlete – People just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

The Lean and Mean Calisthenics Diet

One thing that attracts people to bodyweight training is its simplistic nature.

There’s no need for a gym membership, and you don’t need any special equipment. All you need is your body and your mind. Put those two things together and you can hammer out some of the most intense muscle and strength-building workouts based on calisthenics.

Commit to the Calisthenics Workout Diet To Achieve the Calisthenics Body You Want

If you’re ready to follow the calisthenics diet and want to maximize your workout efforts, commit yourself to eat right and declare war on junk food. That’s a good place to start.

Once you’ve got your mind right about eating healthily, the rest is easy. It’s like bodyweight training in some ways; there are hundreds of ways to eat healthily, with lots of foods to choose from, just like the many bodyweight exercises you can make use of for your personal workout.

4 Principles for Calisthenics Diet

The calisthenics diet isn’t anything complicated.

There’s no complex system to follow, no pills or supplements to take, and no expensive pre-packaged food you need to buy. Here’s the strategy for success with this diet:

THE WAR ON JUNK FOOD - EAT AS NATURAL AS POSSIBLE

You don’t get to be lean and mean by rolling through the drive-thru, ordering a hamburger, soft drink, and bucket of fries. And that ripped look isn’t made from chocolate bars, energy drinks, and pastries. If you’re serious about following the calisthenics diet, you’ve got to declare war on junk food.

An estimated 70 percent of all adults in the United States are overweight or obese, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. About 26 million people have diabetes, and another 79 million are prediabetic, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Controversies may well always abound over whether artificial ingredients, food additives, and pesticides are healthy or unhealthy.

Some argue that it depends on the TYPE of chemical you’re considering, as well as the AMOUNT of said chemical you’re ingesting.

Me? I’ll let scientists continue their seemingly never-ending debates about which ingredients are OK to consume and which are not, but I’ll follow the safe route and avoid them all as much as possible in favor of eating REAL FOOD. The stuff that grows on the ground, on a tree, or comes from an animal. The stuff that only lists one ingredient on the package. The stuff we humans have been eating for tens of thousands of years.

How many times have food manufacturers promoted alternatives – mostly aimed at the weight loss market – that promise to be healthy substitutes for things like fat and sugar? As recently as 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – the agency in charge of telling Americans which drugs and foods are safe to consume – allowed for the fat substitute Olestra to be used in place of oils in things like chips. Soon, people discovered it “negated the body’s ability to absorb essential vitamins” and gave side effects including “cramps, gas and loose bowels.”  Despite this, the ingredient is still legal in the USA. In 2010, Time Magazine called it one of the world’s 50 worst inventions of all time, yet it’s still included in a variety of processed foods.

While this is perhaps one of the more extreme examples of an undesirable food additive, I’ll play it safe and stick with nature-made foods. Yes, you’ll hear about the occasional e.coli-infected spinach or beef recall, but even these are the result of contamination with man-made industrial pollutants and dirty water sources (e.g. sewage), not a problem with the food itself.

And that’s because too many people gobble up burgers, fries, soft drinks, and sugary snacks every day like it’s going to be their last meal. Obesity and diabetes are both diseases that can lead to serious health problems, including death. And no matter how hard you workout, you’ll never achieve your ideal body if you’re eating junk.

The takeaway point:

Read the labels on everything you plan to buy. Go for foods that contain as few ingredients as possible (I personally shoot for five or less). Keep the words of fitness legend and bodyweight calisthenics master, Jack LaLanne, in mind:  “If Man makes it, don’t eat it.

EAT PRODUCE, ORGANIC WHEN POSSIBLE

When was the last time you ever heard about someone overdosing on celery or dying of eating too many raspberries? These stories aren’t exactly making headline news! We evolved to eat fruits and veggies in abundance. These foods are absolutely loaded with all sorts of essential vitamins and minerals your body needs, not only to build quality muscle but also to regulate its every function. Small wonder every medical agency routinely talks about the anti-disease and general health-promoting benefits of nature’s wonder drugs.

So we know fruits and veggies are good, but let’s go one step further. Whenever possible, eat organic produce.

Quite simply, these are foods that have been grown (or raised) on farmlands and pastures free of synthetic chemical pesticides, food additives, or antibiotic agents for at least three years. You can read more about what being organic means here. Again, there is debate as to how healthy/unhealthy pesticides and other man-made chemicals are, but why not play it safe and avoid them altogether if you can?

Challenges to buying organic produce

1. I know that there are a few challenges to consuming only organic food, the first of which is cost. Typically, organic produce will run you about twice as much as its conventionally-grown cousins. The best way to cut down on cost is to buy it in bulk.

In the last two years or so, bulk retailers like Costco have increased their selection of organic produce tremendously. I can now buy a 1.5-pound bag of organic baby kale for just over what it would cost me to buy two bunches (1/4 pound each) of conventionally grown kale. I buy 90% of my organic produce at Costco, as they carry reasonably-priced organic beets, apples, bananas, carrots, celery, spinach, kale, and several other items.

2. The second challenge is availability. Maybe you don’t live near a store that has access to many varieties of organic produce. If this is you, buy what you can organically, and stick to conventional produce otherwise.

As the University of Illinois reports here, it’s still far better to eat (well-washed) produce containing pesticides than to forego them altogether. Try buying organic varieties of things that you have to eat the skin on (such as apples, peaches, lettuce leaves, etc.), and buy conventional varieties of things that you’ll throw away the skin/peel (melons, bananas). You can also check out the Environmental Working Group’s list of the top best/worst produce items in terms of pesticide residues.

In fact, I’d encourage you to check them out, either way, their website being an amazing resource for all information pertaining to the consumption of organic produce.

The takeaway point:

Eat organic produce when possible, especially when you have to eat the skin/peel of the item. If you can’t buy organic, eat conventional produce. Just be sure to wash and scrub it well.

GET YOU PROTETIN IN!: EAT MEAT, ORGANIC, WILD, AND GRASS FED

It makes sense that if humans should eat and do what they evolved to eat and do, the same should be said about the animals we eat!

Sadly (from a nutritional and ethical perspective), this is not often the case. For example, cattle in commercial feedlots are often bulked up on a diet of grain (which they don’t naturally eat – cows eat grass). They’re given growth hormones to further fatten them up. Finally, given their unhealthy diet and the crowded facilities they live in, they’re pumped full of antibiotics.

Sound appetizing? It will sound even less so when you look at this sometimes funny, often very scary video of inhumane, filthy feedlot conditions.

Unsurprisingly, animals not exposed to this sort of treatment seem to be nutritionally more beneficial for the humans who eat them. As explained in this CNN article, grass-fed beef may contain more beneficial fats and vitamins than grain-fed beef.

Fish, too, aren’t immune to the effects of man-made pollutants and practices. You may have heard how our oceans contain toxins and waste, perhaps most famously mercury, which find their way into the fish we eat. Nevertheless, it seems as if eating wild-caught fish (fish caught directly from the ocean) instead of farmed fish (fish raised in sometimes crowded and unhealthy “fish farms” similar to feedlots) may be healthier. Wild-caught fish tend to be higher in Omega 3 fatty acids and proteins, both of which are key ingredients to building muscle mass.

Your muscles need protein to repair the damage done during a tough bodyweight workout. Pull-ups, squats, lunges, push-ups and other exercises can challenge your muscles. And that’s what you want from a workout. But you need to feed your muscles after a workout with the essential amino acids found in protein.

The International Society for Sports Nutrition suggests that athletes consume about 0.64 to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. That means a 150-pound person should get between 96 and 150 grams of protein per day. And it’s doable on the calisthenics diet. Foods high in protein include eggs, dairy and soy products, nuts, fish, lean meats, and poultry like chicken and turkey.

So instead of de-beaked chicken, artificially fat cows, and commercially-raised fish, stick to eating animals that have been living the way nature intended: feeding on grass (cows), roaming (chickens), or swimming free (fish). As with organic produce, eating these kinds of meat will be more expensive.

So, once again, stick to buying in bulk when possible (Costco has a great selection of organic/natural meats). Or substitute some animal-based proteins for plant-based ones, such as beans, almond butter, hemp, and chia seeds.

You don’t need to ingest huge amounts of protein to build muscle and be healthy….even if lots of fitness magazines and supplement companies try to scare you into believing so for the sake of making a profit.

The takeaway point:

Eat animals that have lived the way nature intended. To cut down on costs, buy high-quality animal meat in bulk and eat more plant-based protein.

GRAINS AND DAIRY

Recently, things like gluten sensitivity and lactose intolerance have received a lot of media attention. Some people promote whole grains (including the gluten protein they contain) and milk (with its lactose sugar) as nutritional powerhouses, while others claim they are bad for your health and promote inflammation. The naysayers’ arguments make some sense based on evolutionary logic. After all, we weren’t consuming cows’ milk or grains until the Agricultural Revolution some 10,000 – 12,000 years ago, so maybe our bodies never evolved to handle these types of food well.

To the question of whether gluten and dairy are friends or foes, I have no definitive answer. I personally eat both bread and milk regularly and have zero problems with them, but I know several others who must steer clear of such foods or else suffer bloating, pain, and lack of energy.

According to this Harvard research, you need to eat more whole-food to be able to get the ripped and toned body you want.

Here’s the beauty of the calisthenics diet. You can eat a ton of food, as long as it’s healthy. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains are healthy. They contain essential vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants your body needs to repair cell damage and build muscle after a tough workout. Whole foods are also low in calories, fat, and cholesterol, compared to the kind of food you’ll find at a typical fast food joint.

Creating a diet based on whole foods will help you lose body fat. That’s what you need to show off your toned muscles and all your hard work.

Follow Coach Paul Wade’s advice from the legendary “Convict Conditioning”, repeatedly echoed throughout both of his books: Be your Own Coach. Although he advises this as it relates to designing your own workout programs, I extend his advice into the world of diet.

Try cutting gluten-rich grains (products containing wheat, barley, and rye) and dairy out of your diet for 30 days, to see if you feel better than before. The bottom line is you can still get all your carbs, proteins, fats, and vitamins from non-gluten, non-dairy sources – such as meat, veggies, potatoes, and rice – so cutting out grains and dairy from your diet will not have a detrimental effect on your training or your health.

BONUS TIP: Keep a Food Diary

Science Daily clearly shows that having a food diary can really help you achieve those goals.

Get a notebook and record everything you eat. You can do this even without committing to the calisthenics diet. It’s a great way to see what you’re eating, count your calories, and see what you’re doing right and what you need to change.

If you’re record-keeping-challenged, try logging your food intake online, or use a smartphone app to keep track of everything you’re munching on. And be honest.

Record everything you eat, EVERYTHING. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning snacks, afternoon snacks, and even late-night munchies.

Documenting at least a complete week of your eating habits will help you get a clear picture of what you’re tossing down your pie-hole. For many people, it’s an act of self-discovery that can reveal why you’re not getting the gains you want or expect from your workouts. If you’re eating too much junk and too many empty calories, you’ll never get the body you want. And this may be all you need to do to match your eating habits with the guidelines for the calisthenics diet.

In a recent study of 1,700 overweight people, researchers found that dieters who kept a food diary lost twice as much weight as dieters who didn’t. Keeping a food diary can help you keep your calories in check and eat less fat. It’s the kind of visual aid some people need to get their diet straight.

Stick to the Plan

You can get lean and mean on the calisthenics diet. And it’s really not that hard. You’ve got to make up your mind to follow a clean eating plan, and the results will follow.

There will likely always be some controversy surrounding what ingredients, types of meats, and synthetic chemicals pose a danger to human health. It can drive someone absolutely crazy to worry about every point health article X raises, let alone how health article Y (released only one week later) contradicts the claims made by X! That’s why I try to keep things simple and eat mainly foods produced as nature designed them.

Eat fresh, eat natural, eat whole, and you’re bound to see impressive results in your fitness and all-around health.

READY TO TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL?

If you’re looking for a complete resource that will guide you through each step on the journey. I have something very special for you.

Renegade Diet is one of the best diets and used by a lot of calisthenics athletes to bring incredible results in a short period of time.

Check it out – it works magic:

Diet is absolutely critical in your fitness success. Do you have questions about the diet or how to fit it into your workout schedule? Post a comment, send us an email or reach out through our Facebook Group and we’ll get back to you shortly. 

Stay Strong.

READY TO GET ON TEH JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME?

See what our users are saying:

“Would you rather have the ability to boast of bench pressing 300 pounds or to do a one-arm pull-up? To me, pulling my entire body up with one arm is much more impressive. – Michael – Calisthenics Academy User”
“Calisthenics Academy is not the kind of program that demands you to be this physically fit to be able to perform. Instead, it caters to your own strengths and capabilities and keeps track of your progress.”
“Stick with it! It is hard at first, especially if you are stuck on a lower-level, high rep exercise. But persevering is worth it! Finally reaching each goal is so exciting.”

GET A LIFETIME ACCESS TO THE CURRENT CALISTHENICS ACADEMY AND NEW MOBILE APP

(+ all the future updates and help us build the product you will love)

TODAY $97 ($399 AFTER)