New Return of Kings Article: The Back Lever

More specifically, the first three steps of this difficult exercise. It’ll take a while to master this, so I’ll leave the proper back lever for later.

The novice often doesn’t know where exactly to start. From my experience, the easiest fundamental gymnastic static hold to master, and the one that has the most visible signs of progress, is the back body lever.

The back body lever is a static pose where your arms are held above your prone body as it hangs in mid air, with your head in front and the legs extending horizontally. Much like its easier forebear “skinning the cat” (discussed below), this one also develops the strength and dexterity of the shoulder rotator, as you are essentially hanging from this anatomical feature.

As you might expect, you won’t be able to go into the full body lever right from the beginning, you have to work up to it through a series of progressively more complex exercises, the same as any other type of calisthenic.

To begin with, start with the inverted tuck hang…

You achieve this hold by hanging from a bar, and then lifting your legs up and through the “Grapevine” you make with your arms, bringing your legs down until your knees are parallel to the floor. This motion is dubbed “skinning the cat”.

When done properly, you will feel muscular tension in your shoulders and in the muscles of the armpit. Keep the legs tucked tight, and just hold it for 10 seconds.

Once you’ve done that, you can attempt the straight back tuck hang.

It’s just like the inverted tuck hang, but you keep your back straight. I find that pushing down with my hands, combine with actively concentrating on straightening the back, will give you the proper pose.

Doing this pose will increase the involvement of the muscles of your lower back. You will noticeably feel a greater “burn”…

You can read this article right here, on Return of Kings