New on Return of Kings: The Front Lever

In my new article for the venerable Return of Kings, I discuss how to begin training the front lever, another of the fundamental gymnastic static positions.

Today we’ll be learning the first few steps of another fundamental static position in gymnastics. That of the front lever, defined as an exercise in which the body is held stock straight and horizontal while hanging from a bar, in which the head looks up towards the ceiling and the feet extend forward.

As you might expect, the front lever fundamentally differs from the back lever in that it attacks different muscle groups. More specifically, it targets the powerful muscles of the front of the torso: the abdominals, the hip flexors, the shoulders, the forearms, and the chest. In addition to these, the lower back and latissimus dorsi muscles will flex tremendously to keep the straight body posture.

And, as with the back lever article, there are incremental steps to achieving the front body lever. And also as with the back lever, the key is to “lower” yourself into the pose, rather than “lift” yourself into the pose; the former is much easier.

So with all that being said…

The first step is the tuck lever, which is the simplest one to do. Just lift yourself up on the pull-up bar to the point where your torso is  horizontal and your knees are tucked hard into your chest. You back will be bent here, but don’t worry about that for now. When you can hold this pose for 10 seconds, move onto the next one…

…These 5 exercises will give you a great amount of core strength and flexibility, and its low impact nature makes it particularly invaluable to those injured in one way or another.  And you will find that training in one type of lever can only help the other. Also note that the vertical hold is used in both. But there’s more in the way of body levers to learn, and those will be another day

You can read the article here