Front Lever Progressions

best ab and back exercise

6 Pack Abs With The Front Lever

Bodyweight exercises are fantastic for building strength and getting in shape.

Front levers are one of those incredible body weight exercises that build up a tremendous amount of back strength along with getting killer abs.


Front Lever

You can do this exercise on rings or a pull up bar. Doesn’t really matter. The objective is to hold your body in a horizontal plank position with your body parallel to the floor.

May sound easy on paper. But the amount of strength required is incredible. The Front Lever hits more than just the core. Your back will get an unbelievable workout as well. A tremendous amount of isometric strength is required.

Just Do It

Think all those sit ups and crunches did a good job. Ready to tackle front levers? Here’s how to do it…


Firmly grip rings or bar and push to the floor.


Choose a width that allows arms to stay at shoulder width,


Keep it flexed at all times.  Shoulder blades don’t have to be retracted, though this may help.

Rest of Body

Think straight and tight. Squeeze glutes and legs. Making sure everything is in a straight line. Toes pointed forward.

Baby Steps

This may be the mac daddy of bodyweight exercises so a sensible progression is necessary. Depending on where you’re starting from, planks, followed by L-sits may be better starting options. Jumping to progressions listed below may be too much to start out with.

Beyond basic core exercises a strong back is needed too. Plenty of pull ups and inverted rows are necessary before considering moving on.

Once those exercises have been mastered it’s time to move onto lever progressions.

Tucked Front Lever

Get ready to be inverted.

At this stage of the progression you’ll be hanging from a bar or rings. Grip and back strength come into play.


In this most basic version of levers form can break down.

Hips may be low

Back may be rounded

Knees may be touching your chin


  1. Knees close to chin
  2. Move knees out, away from chin
  3. Knee to chin, other lex extended

As progressions get harder make sure form tightens up. Doesn’t make much sense to move forward if basics aren’t in place.

Great Front Lever Tutorial


4 Week Front Lever Training Routine


This program only requires you to work your lever once a week.

  • Do all 5 exercises
  • 10 - 20 sets per exercise
  • Each set is max effort

1. Static Hold

In a knee tuck lever position...

  • hold for 5 seconds
  • pull yourself to the bar and hold 5 seconds
  • Lower yourself back down and hold for 5 seconds
  • Repeat until you can't do any more

2. Inverted L Pull Ups

  • 5 L Pull Ups
  • on #5 hold at top for 5 seconds
  • Lower yourself back down and more 5 L Pull Ups
  • Repeat until you can't do any more

3. Body Raise

  • Raise your body as you would for a lever
  • Lower slowly
  • Keep arms straight
  • Make an effort not to swing
  • Repeat until you can't do any more

4. Reverse Lever

  • Hang upside-down feet pointed up and lower slowly
  • Repeat until you can't do any more


5. Single Leg Lever

In a knee tuck lever position...

  • Straighten one leg
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds
  • Switch legs
  • Repeat until you can't do any more

Inverted Hang Position


Lever Exercise Variations

Body weight exercises are becoming a staple in my workout programs. They’ve always been in those of my clients. But I tended to move away from them as I got stronger.

Front levers are a great way to bring them back into the fold.

If inverted rows have become easy, think about doing lever style rows.  Or inverted L pull ups.


Front Lever Rows

You’ll see Jen doing her lever rows with a tight tuck. As your strength increases move your knees further away from your chin.

To make it even better perform them on a set of rings. Much greater range of motion.




Jason, CSCS




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