There are a lot of front lever progression exercises and in this article I will talk about only the ones that I’ve tried and helped me towards the full front lever.
Looks so simple. Why aren’t everyone doing front levers?
The answer is simple because it takes too much time to achieve full front lever. For me, it took me about 8 months from inverted L-sit pull-up bar hold(see below for more info on the exercises) to a 1-second full front lever hold(I’m 1.89m/75kg). And for some people may be easier and for some it will take even longer.
Fundamental front lever progression exercises:
- Tucked front lever(FL)
- Advanced tucked front lever
- One-legged front lever
- Straddle front lever
In my training towards FL I did a lot of other exercises that helped me build the strength in my core and back muscles:
- Front lever pull-ups(concentric and/or eccentric)
- Dragon flag
- Pull up bar deadlift
- Leg lifts
- Active hangs
Tucked Front Lever
One of the first exercises you should start with is tuck FL. Try and hold it as much as you can if you can hold it for 20-30+ seconds you should start training the next exercise. Here is how to do it:
- Grab the bar shoulder width apart
- Lift your legs tucked between you and the bar.
- Hold your body parallel to the ground in this position as long as you can.
- Keep your shoulder blades back, just like in the active hang.
You can add this exercise and leg lifts or pull up bar deadlifts to your workout to increase the intensity of your workout and help you increase the strength in your core muscles because half of the work is done by your core muscles.
Advanced Tucked Front Lever
After a solid 20 seconds hold, you should be able to move to advanced tuck front lever. The main goal here is to keep your torso straight.
This is the hardest part of the step because, after the tucked exercise(where your torso is kinda rounded from your tucked legs) here you have to keep a straight line from your neck to your butt.
As you see in the picture the one thing to remember is to keep your shoulder blade back(don’t worry I will repeat that on every front lever progression exercise).
Here is a small step for those of you who are sick and tired of tucked front lever progression exercise.
You can start holding an inverted L-sit with your legs close to the bar. It is a middle step between two exercises.
One Legged Front Lever
I remember seize every front lever progression exercise from the guide and I really liked achieving the one legged FL. And the one thing you should remember when you obtain it, is that, no matter how close you seem to be to the full front lever, there is much more work to be done to achieve it.
At first you will not be capable of forming a straight line with your body, that is okay. In order to change it, you can film yourself and correct your post. You should try for a straddle front lever when you can hold the one-legged for a solid 10-15 seconds.
Straddle Front Lever
You are almost there!
Same as above, try to correct your pose with the help of a friend or by filming yourself. There is nothing special. Advance to the full front lever, when you can hold it for a solid 10-15 seconds(I did 1-second hold when I was able to hold 5 seconds straddle).
Test from time to time to see if you can jump to the next exercise. But if you can hold it for a second is not worth it.
Even though I was able to hold it for a second that day, I did two more tries and continued with my straddle FL exercises until I was able to hold the full front lever for 3 seconds.
Additional progression exercises
You can add some of those exercises as your primary front lever progression exercise or just to spice your workout with some fresh exercises.
Front lever pull-ups, dragon flags and pull up bar deadlifts are the exercises that will help you most during this journey.
Pull up bar deadlifts
This is the exercise that will help you at the beginning of this long training trip. Perform it with your body straight: back straight, legs straight, everything!
Front lever pull-ups
You can perform an exercise similar to leg lifts, but the only difference is that you try to keep your lower back static through this movement, compared to the leg lifts, where your lower back is your main moving part.
You can transform all of the front lever progression exercises to a pull-up as long as you keep your body straight. I started doing it with my legs tucked below me(advanced tucked).
The variation from the picture is the negative part of the pull-up. I bring my legs up and lower them as slow as I can. Try different progressions. I started with the one leg first.
In my opinion, this exercise is very similar to pull over and pull down, but harder.
Experiment with it.
You can check this simple guide about dragon flags for some more information about it.
But to keep it short you can use the same progressions here too.
Again, keep your body straight.
Doorway Pull up Bar
To keep my workouts consistent, I bought a doorway pull-up bar, so I can train whenever I want to and without rain pouring over me. I’ve collected the best doorway pull up bars on the market check them out.
If you are doing the same exercise for too long, tell me what you do(in the comments) and I will help you.