Front Lever 8 Tips To (Finally) Get It!
Hi everyone, and welcome to this new article! 😄
After having written an article on : How to succeed in holding in Handstand ? We will approach another emblematic figure of the Street Workout: the Front Lever.
The Front Lever, a figure that has made so many bodyweight enthusiasts dream, whose dream is easily entertained when you try it for the first time and realize how impossible it seems. At least, that's what happened for me. It was long and painful to get to where I am today. And so I am making this article with my best advice in the hope that it can save you some time.
But without further ado, let's get to the 8 tips 💪 :
Tip 1: The correct hand and shoulder position for the Front Lever
For the hands and to hold a static position, I recommend using what is called a "strong grip". This consists of keeping your wrists at about bar height, as well as choosing the width of grip that seems easiest to you and that will often be a little tighter than shoulder width.
Two more important points: you're going to want to squeeze the bar as tight as you can and pull it as far as you can. Be careful, you don't want to pull it straight down; rather, you want to pull it down and out at the same time, as if you were trying to tear the bar apart. Go for it! The bar is safe. This last point will allow you to activate your back even more and use all the strength you are capable of. This is one of the same principles that explains why you will lift more weight with the barbell bench press than with the dumbbells, because you can push the bar outward while the dumbbells only upward.
Let's move on to your shoulders. Having them too loose and too far forward is a bad idea, because it prevents you from contracting your back enough. Plus, it doesn't look good. On the contrary, pulling your shoulders too far back will require much more strength and is really not necessary to learn the Front Lever. A neutral or slightly forward position that allows you to contract and lower the shoulder blades is the best and the one where you will feel the strongest, because it maximizes the activation of the back muscles that will support a good part of the load while keeping a rather aesthetic line.
You can of course film yourself to get a better idea; if you have trouble keeping your shoulders from going too far forward, you probably still lack some strength.
Tip 2: Use isometric progressions
I show you here the list of my favorites in increasing order of difficulty. You will find an indication of how long I advise you to hold before moving on to the next one.
You get it, so I don't recommend it. But if you feel like you're stuck on the Advanced Tuck, that you're already holding for a long time, but you don't have the strength to hold the Straddle or the semi yet front lever, then you can try to fill the gap between the two by opening your hips even more on your Advanced or by mixing the Straddle and the semi in order to find an intermediate progression that you can already hold for a while.
These are the most important classic progressions, but there are other important and effective exercises that we will see right after 🔥
Tip 3: Work more on your back or your abs?
So far, I've mostly talked about your back and tip number 3 is related to a little debate that sometimes revolves around the Front lever. Does it work your back more or your abs?
keep your body straight. But clearly, it's the back that takes the majority of the work and will almost always limit you. So, as an accessory exercise for this pattern, obviously mastering hanging leg raises will be necessary; but anything that is pulling for the back, like pull-ups, of course, will certainly be even more effective. Someone who handles heavy weighted pull-ups or even one-armed pull-ups very well will usually already be able to hold a more or less Front Lever full body thanks to this.
Where these people will have more problems though, which was the case for me; is that they will often have trouble not bending their arms too much.
Tip 4: Work on pull-ups and negative pull-ups
And as luck would have it, I'm going to show you some ways to correct that in my fourth tip, which is to vary the types of exercises you train. We've seen isometric progressions, but adding others, like deadlifts and pull-ups from front lever, as well as negative reps, will go a long way in strengthening your weak points and avoiding stagnation. And as always in Street Workout, you will be able to choose the progression and body position adapted to your level.
For the pull-ups, you will start by doing them in Tuck, then you can add a new progression before the Advanced Tuck if you want with the pull-ups in reverse L-Sit. Regarding your hand position, you can keep it the same if you want; but it will be easier if you use a false grip, as well as using an even tighter grip. To train these pull-ups, I suggest you choose a progression where you can do sets of at least 5 reps
Let's move on to the negatives, which I think will be more interesting once you can start unfolding your legs. The principle is simple, but the exercise is hard. You start at the vertical, then go down to the horizontal, controlling the descent as slowly as possible.
This exercise hits the body and brain hard, so I recommend limiting yourself to sets of 1 to 3 reps. We finish with the relevés of Front Lever Instead of doing them from a suspension to the horizontal position, I ended up switching to the horizontal to inverted position, which I find more effective, especially allowing to better engage the muscles used in the front.
On the other hand, here, there is no swing possible, which makes it much more difficult and will surely require a less advanced progression to be able to do sets of 3 or 4 reps at least, as I would advise. As an added note for the deadlifts, I've personally had quite a bit of success using an elastic band, which will allow you to more quickly become familiar with the final position of the Front Lever while offering more assistance in the most difficult position, i.e. horizontal.
to learn the Front Lever
Tip #5: Use elastic bands to get his Front Lever
Tip #6: Correct mobility & flexibility issues
And speaking of curved backs, some curvature problems could stem from a lack of mobility, which is the focus of this 6th tip. When you have a tendency to bend at the hips or legs, which is what you'll often see first in the straddle and semi positions, it can come from a lack of mobility in the hips, glutes and ischios.
To solve this little problem, here are some good exercises I recommend that can help you get back on track:
Tip 7: Use the GTG method
You can do these small exercises regularly, a little bit when you want and without too much effort. Here is the seventh tip.
What I mean by this is that you can apply the GTG method which consists in a nutshell of doing a few low intensity sets, one at a time throughout your day, with plenty of rest in between. Of course, this will often involve having a bar or something on hand at home. If you don't have one, I feel compelled to point out the one I finished designing myself; after many prototypes. It's wide, stable and adjusts to four different heights for a really impressive amount of versatility and exercise options. It can support up to 120 kg of load without losing stability. I am very proud of it. In any case, and if it tempts you, it is available at this link by click here.
Tip #8: Create your routine Front Lever
We move on to the 8th tip which is to make and follow a routine for the Front Lever. I would recommend you to put at least 2 or 3 exercises directly related to this figure by picking from the different categories we have seen, that is to say the isometric exercises, the pull-ups, the lifts and the negatives.
Of course, the idea is to repeat this routine; to measure progress and evolve it as your times and reps improve. It would obviously be best to fit it all in during a back and abs style workout like this; you could also incorporate some accessory exercises, such as pull-up variations or leg raises. Of course, the more the Front Lever is a priority for you and the more predominant and regular it is in your sessions and weeks, the faster you'll get it, of course. But nothing prevents you from not giving it as much space if you have other objectives in parallel
Finally, to add a little variety to your routines, here is another small selection of additional exercises. From what I've heard, not everyone consistently credits the same exercises as the ones that have been most effective for them, so maybe one or two of these will give you the little click that will be key for you.
To conclude, I'll give you two more mini tips that won't really help you get stronger, but will make you better immediately!
Having heavy legs will complicate the process, of course, as will doing your Front Lever only on a high bar, so if you want to test yourself on a position and maximize your score, take off your shoes and do it on a low bar, you can probably save a few seconds and that, clearly, is not unpleasant.
Anyway, I wish you all the best with this. I hope you found something useful in this article, to see the video just click here.
Take care of yourself! ✌️