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Beginner – Advanced


To master the elbow lever

            About this Progression

This progression is not aimed at a novice trainer. It is another one of the gymnastics-based progressions from bodyweight training and takes much strength, stability and balance. Have the illusion of floating in mid-air!

Before attempting this, it would be a good idea to work through our planche progression which is similar to this type of exercise. It has similar body alignment, essential to executing the perfect form of the exercise.

A way of building to the elbow lever position is given by Al Kavadlo

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Elbow Lever Progression Exercises List

Step 1: 2 Arm Elbow Lever

Despite being step 1, you will need a good bit of strength and balance to achieve this exercise. Balance in the planche position (hands on the ground, body suspended straight and parallel to the ground), but turn your hands downwards with your fingers pointing towards your feet. This will put more strain on your upper arms and elbows to hold the position. Place the elbow just around your middle abs for balance.

Step 2: 2 Arm Ring Elbow Lever

For this position you will require gymnastics rings. Perform the same position as step 1, but use the gymnastics rings which will add difficulty. The position has to be balanced and supported from an unstable base. The easier aspect of this progression is that it puts less strain on your wrists because of the neutral hold on the rings.

Step 3: 1 Arm Straddle Lever 

This part of the lever progression requires you to balance on 1 arm. Do this from the position of step 1 but allow your legs to separate to assist with the balancing process, making it easier on your one arm as you work towards the final step.

Step 4: 1 Arm Straight Lever

This part of the elbow lever progression is a replication of step 1 but with 1 arm. You will have to display inhuman strength and balance to hold this position, and we salute you if you are able to reach this final step. It’s also a great idea if you could do it with either hand! No dominant, or non-dominant hand. Just dominate the exercise!

If you want to learn another exercise similar to this one, try planche progressions. You’ve trained a good form and body line with the elbow lever. You will have to apply it on planche, as well as adding a straight arm factor to the equation, multiplying the difficulty of the move.


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