Front lever progression

Front lever progression

The front lever is an upper body progression which starts off with some relatively easy exercises before moving on to the ultimate step. The Front Lever is a fairly dynamic exercise made up of many different static motions as you build up through the progression. By the end your control of your own body weight will be an impressive feat and the muscular shape of your upper body will definitely improve.

front lever

front lever

Step 1 – Vertical Rows

For this exercise you should use a low bar where your feet can touch the ground. Alternatively you can use a high pull-up bar with a raised flat surface to rest your feet on. Put your feet flat on the floor or surface and grip the bar with your knees bent. Pull yourself up until your chest is near the bar and control back down.

Step 2 – Horizontal Rows

The added difficulty in this step involves moving more of your body weight with your arms. Instead of putting your feet on the floor, straighten your legs and rest your heels on the floor. This time you will be pulling some of your leg weight as well as the weight of your upper body.

Step 3 – Wide Bar Rows

This step is very similar to the previous step except for the hand position. In order to increase the difficulty to work up to a front lever position, you must make the exercise more difficult on your arms by spreading your hand position much wider than shoulder width apart. If you can manage it, try to double the distance your hands have been apart in the previous two steps and pull up.

Step 4 – Archer Rows

The purpose of this exercise is to bring strength to your core in preparation for the front lever step. It is not a full-proof way of being able to prepare you for the final step as it is not a similar exercise, so you may wish to consult some exercises in the leg raise progression for full preparation. Use two small dumbbells (3-8kg) and hand them in your hands while adopting a push-up position. You should concentrate on pulling up with your arms alternatively so your opposite side is facing the ground. This exercise will give further strength to your arms while engaging your core and obliques which are also key for the final exercise.

Step 5 – Front Lever Rows

Back to the bar position, place your heels on the floor. This time when you pull up focus on bringing your knees in towards your chest while pulling your chest towards the bar, hold this position shortly before controlling back to the starting position. To progress from this, you can balace with your body parallel to the ground with your feet unsupported then pull up and bring your knees to your chest.

There are other Front Lever variations you can try:

By the end of this progression your upper body will be strong and stable. See what else you can use this new found strength for with some of our other progressions.


Check those additional resources for the levers:

L-Sit, V-Sit and Hamstring Mobility

Fundamentals of Straight Arm Strength Training

3 Reasons Why You Must Practice Levers

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