The Front Lever is a pretty hard element to perform without any special training for it, don’t think that over night you’re going to do it.The front lever takes a lot of exercise and good technique in order to learn to do it without injuring yourself or doing it wrong.
Front Lever is pretty popular among the Street Workout culture and it’s considered a superb move to do and get good at since the variations of the Front Lever are much more spectacular in the Calisthenics world.
Originally, this element is, of course, performed by the Gymnasts on the rings which takes a lot more strength than on the bars.Gymnasts consider Front Lever as a “A Element” which is among the basics element one gymnast should know.In other words, Front Lever is a basic and beginner exercise for them.
Before you’re getting into this exercise you need to make sure you at least have some basic strength.I really recommend that you first make sure you can do all the prerequisites for the Front Lever.Don’t rush it, take your time because if you’re not careful, you could injure yourself pretty badly.I’m not talking about falling off the bar, I’m talking about the strain that the Front Lever puts on you when you train it.Be careful and try to at least limit your risk of injuries by mastering the following prerequisites:
10-15 Leg Raises on the bar
Leg raises could be a little difficult at the beginning but make sure you’re doing them in a controlled motion and again, don’t rush it.
15 Pull Ups
Pull ups is a basic exercise that needs to be mastered.You need to get at least 15 pull ups before moving to the Front Lever Training.Pull Ups will give you the strength in your biceps and lats that are really needed when performing a front lever.
15 Seconds L Sit
This exercise will help you build the required strength in your core muscles, the abdominal muscles.Keep in mind that this exercise requires a huge amount of abdominal strength, so if you want to get the Front Lever as soon as possible, you should train your abs as much as you can by doing more static exercises.
If you’re looking for more exercises that you can do before you start the Front Lever training then you should visit our previous blog post on: Top 5 Exercises to get the Front Lever
The technique on this exercise is very important because if you’re training the move with bad form then you are never going to learn how to do it.A lot of guys make the mistake of forcing the progressions on the front lever without caring about the form.Knowing the technique helps you improve your progression by a lot.
The scapula position !
This is the most important aspect of the technique, the position of the scapula.When performing the Front lever the scapula should be Retracted and Depressed.
The second image is how your scapula should look like when performing the front lever.
The second most important aspect is keeping your hands perfectly straight.Doing the front lever with the hands bent is a lot more easier because a lot of the strain is going towards the biceps muscles.You should only bend your arms while doing the front lever when you actually want to train Front Lever pull ups but not when training it statically.
Pointed Toes / Neutral Head Position
These are just two tips in order to make the Front Lever look more cleaner.It is a good thing to get used to it while you start early.
Until you reach the full front lever you must go through the progressions of the exercise.Without properly training each progression you can get stuck and not progress to the full front lever at all, so be patient with each progression !
Retracted & Depressed Scapula on the bar
This exercise is the base of the front lever so take your time and master this static hold on the bar.This exercise should be performed on a pull up bar while you are in the dead hang you then pull your scapula down and retract it until it looks like the following picture:
Before moving on to the next progression make sure you can do at least 3 sets of 15-20 seconds of this exercise.
Tucked Front Lever
This is the first exercise that is a direct progression of the actual front lever so before trying it make sure you got your prerequisites and the above progression.As you’ve learned with the previous exercise, while hanging on the bar: Pull yourself up in the following position and stay there.
Before moving on to the next exercise for the front lever make sure you can do at least 20-30 seconds of the tucked front lever in 3 consecutive sets.
Advanced Tucked Front Lever
The advanced tucked front lever consists in you extending your legs like you see in the image below.Keep in mind that you need to take your time while progressing through those exercises because this exercise puts a great amount of strain on your muscles and tendons.
You should get to the point where you can stay at least 15 seconds on this position.Keep on practicing and don’t lose faith !
One Legged Front Lever
This exercise can be done while you are training the advanced tucked front lever since the difficulty of this exercise is pretty similar.The one legged front lever should be done with one leg fully straight and the other one tucked to the chest.Make sure you practice both legs !
And again, 15 seconds is recommended before moving to the straddle front lever !
Straddle Front Lever
When you get to this point you can congratulate yourself because not many can get here and you are just one step away of getting the full front lever! Get to the point where you do at least 10-15 seconds on 3 consecutive sets before trying the Full Front Lever.
Full Front Lever
When you get to the point where you can hold a front lever don’t stop training ! Use your previous front lever progressions as a warm up before doing the Full Front Lever and keep on progressing until you reach at least 10 seconds of it.This is how a full front lever should look like:
Now that you know how it should look like you should also know how it Shouldn’t
You can clearly notice in the image above that his hips are lower than his legs and chest, basically he is not in a perfect straight line.This can be caused by not going through the progressions step by step, this is what rushing the front lever looks like.Also you can see that his arms are bent which is totally wrong if you’re trying to achieve a perfect front lever.Dont do this!
And another image to suggest how you shouldn’t do it with the hips lower than the rest of the body looking like a banana on the rings.
Here I’m going to show you a few other exercises you can do while training for the Front lever and that will definitely help you achieve it faster.
Adding pulls after doing the normal isometric ( static ) front lever progressions will definitely help you improve your front lever and also build muscle.In the specific front lever progresion, after you’re finished with your normal sets do at least 3 sets of 5-10 repetitions of the current progression of front lever pulls.For example if you’re at the Straddle Front Lever then you should aim to do at least 5-10 repetitions of straddle front lever pulls like in the following images:
Just like doing pull ups but you are doing the pulls while holding the current front lever progression.
Other exercises and tips
Any exercise that focuses on your back or abdominal muscles will help you achieve the front lever faster.Keep your focus and don’t be sad if you’re not progressing how fast you wanted, this is very normal.Everyone of us is different and we achieve things faster or slower, but we all can achieve the front lever.
Thanks for reading this article ! If you think its helpful, please share it to other people too !
Special thanks to Littlebeastm, most of the pictures are from his video.