I remember seeing "Hannibal For King" around 2008, on YouTube.
He went from doing a dip to levitating, between two benches.
The man was floating.
It was beast mode and smooth at the same time.
I had never seen anything like that.
And it became my all time favorite calisthenics move.
For several reasons.
Yes there are other very cool moves in calisthenics.
But this one is unique.
Here are a few tips when you train your front lever:
Arean's back lever is not perfect yet, but he came a long way, from when he started!
It's a movement that is harder than it looks.
Not only because of the strength component but also the mobility requirements, because the bar is behind you.
This alters our perception and body mechanics (similar to a handstand, or just standing on leg with your eyes closed, for example).
That means the back lever requires extra focus on legs, hips, ribs and shoulder placement.
Here is how to practice the back lever with negatives, IF you can already do a good static tuck hold:
The Secret To Better Handstands?
The handstand is a journey!
No matter what your current level is, there is always something to learn and improve.
This video is great for handstand beginners and intermediate level.
Do the following exercises to improve your handstand:
- Shoulder mobility drills (overhead and lateral) x 1 min x 3 sets
- Tuck jumps x 5 x 3-5 sets
- Clean pike lean and hold x 10-15 sec x 3-5 sets
- Donkey kicks x 5 x 3-5 sets
Make sure to warm up your wrists thoroughly before each handstand session and do NOT over train it if you feel your wrists getting tender or sore.
Switch to another body part to finish your training session, rest your wrists for 1-2 days and go at it again!
It requires a very strong back and core, as well as good shoulder and hip mobility.
- One of the best way to train it is the advanced tuck hold.
Here are some pointers:
The goal is to hold that position for as long as you can and repeat for 5 sets.
- You can also combine the advanced tuck with full assisted holds using a resistance band. Wrap the band around the bar and place it around your feet and/or hips.
Go for 5-10 sets of max holds with the band.
- You can also practice negative front lever reps where you come from the top hold then descend and try to hold when your body becomes parallel to the ground.
Here again go for 5-10 negative repetitions.
- Lastly spend some time training your dragon flag as a great accessory...
I still do weekly.
But I HAD to scale back in order to shift my focus to shoulder and overall mobility for the last few years.
And it is paying off.
I am restarting moves like the handstand, muscle ups, playing tennis and paddle tennis without any pain, even minor, in my right shoulder.
Both shoulders feel more balanced, even if there is still a long way to go.
The point is that adaptation is key in training.
You always HAVE to adapt to the conditions you are in and find ways to improve and break plateaus.
Using a wall or bar is a great way to use support to train hip and shoulder extension.
Here are a few pointers:
Focus on “feeling” the alignment while holding. This will build body and spatial awareness as you practice.
Then use this feeling while...
A full flag requires strong anti-rotation strength, which signals deep rooted and stable core muscles.
It also builds great physical, mental strength (patience, dedication, consistency) and mobility as we practice it.
Like handstands and other isometric poses, there are countless little things to adjust in order to hold a "clean" version of the humanflag.
One of the most thing has to do with anti-rotation work during the hold, to prevent the hips and torso from pivoting upward.
This bias naturally occurs since it is an "easier" way to hold the pose.
Here is a very simple and good way to train for anti-rotation to activate obliques and other useful muscle parts.
It’s called the “side way deadhang” hold from a high bar.
You would start in a normal dead hang, shrugged up (aka lats engaged) and straight legs, toes pointing down.