20 Calisthenics Exercises To Get Better At Front Lever!

front lever skills Dec 05, 2023

20 Calisthenics Exercises To Get Better At Front Lever!

If you want to build the strongest abs and back you've ever had, the front lever is for you!

It requires a lot of work and practice to build up to the full front lever hold itself.

So here are 20 calisthenics exercises that will help you start and/or improve your front lever:

  •  Tuck front lever
  •  Advanced tuck/lay front lever 
  •  Banded front lever (band under the hips and band under your feet. Decrease  the size of the band to increase difficulty over time).
  •  Full Negative front levers (top -> down)
  •  Full Front lever raises (down -> up)
  •  Straddle Negative front levers (top -> down)
  •  Straddle Front lever raises (down -> up)
  •  Full to straddle high holds
  •  Full to straddle low holds
  •  Dragon Flags
  •  Deadhangs
  •  Toes to bar
  •  Hollow body holds
  •  Pull ups
  •  High pull ups
  •  L-sit
  •  Reverse L-sit
  •  Reverse L-sit rows
  • ...
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My Favorite Calisthenics Move

front lever skills Nov 17, 2023

My Favorite Calisthenics Move

I remember seeing "Hannibal For King" around 2008, on YouTube.

He went from doing a dip to levitating, between two benches.

That was a Front Lever.

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.

Because it is:

  • The simplest of all "hard" moves
  • Deceivingly easy looking
  • Extremely hard to hold
  • Very minimalistic
  • Joints and shoulders friendly
  • Gives you bulletproof abs
  • Carries on to other movements
  • A mindset challenge

Here are a few tips when you train your front lever:

  • Always start practicing the hardest version that you can hold.
  • Then add easier variations to your sets to extend your time under tension.
  • If you are advanced you can use the variation I use in the video.
  • If you are starting your front lever journey, use the simple tuck hold to...
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Calisthenics Back Lever Progression!

back lever skills Oct 27, 2023

Calisthenics Back Lever Progression!

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:

  • Starting in tuck.
  • Extend in an upward, 45 degree angle, back lever (feet pointing to the sky behind you).
  • Perform the negative phase until your body is parallel to the ground (this is where tension in the chest, core, glutes, and legs is maximum).
  • Here are pointers to focus on during the negative phase and the hold: 
    • Squeeze your chest
    • Keep your ribs low and in
    • Keep...
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The Secret Workout For Better Handstands!

handstand skills Oct 10, 2023

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!

Here are more handstand exercises you can do to take your hand balance to the next level!

Get ALL my calisthenics workout programs and personal coaching here for more guidance!

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How To Improve Your Front Lever

core front lever skills Sep 22, 2023

How To Improve Your Front Lever

The Front lever is one of the hardest move in calisthenics. 

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:

  • Squeeze your knees together
  • Point your toes
  • Don't let your hips fall
  • "Push" the bar away from you to keep it at your hip level
  • Breathe slow and steady

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...

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I Don’t Handstand As Much These Days

handstand skills Aug 24, 2023

I don’t handstand as much these days. 

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.

I worked on my shoulders, my mid back, and my hips.

My workouts include 80% of compound movements and 20% of accessories and skills training.

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.

Get ALL my calisthenics training programs and coaching here if you are new!

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How To Know if Your Handstand is Straight

handstand skills Jul 26, 2023

How To Know if Your Handstand is Straight?

It is sometimes tricky to know if we are straight when being upside down.

Using a wall or bar is a great way to use support to train hip and shoulder extension. 

Here are a few pointers:

  • Sit against the wall and check where your feet are. This is where you will place your hands for the exercise. 
  • Face and "walk" the wall until your legs are parallel to the floor.
  • Extend rib cage through an external shoulder rotation and bring one leg up while pressing the other to the wall.
  • It should feel as if the rib cage is extending (use the full serratus muscle group, anterior and posterior) while the pelvis is tucked back and hips are "pulling" the legs up with pointed toes.
  • Aim for a 90 degree angle between both legs and try to hold for 5-10 sec each leg. Repeat cycle 3 to 5 times.

Focus on “feeling” the alignment while holding. This will build body and spatial awareness as you practice.

Then use this feeling while...

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Defy Physics: The Human Flag and its Ab-Sculpting Benefits

core human flag skills Jul 23, 2023

Defy Physics: The Human Flag and its Ab-Sculpting Benefits!

The Human Flag is a challenging calisthenics hold.

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.

Hold the...

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Back Lever, 6 Months Client's Progress!

Back Lever, 6 Months Client's Progress!

David is a great example to follow.

He's strong, humble, and puts the work in, CONSISTENTLY.

He moved to L.A to learn calisthenics in December 2021.

Here is 6 months of back lever progress.

He's been training with me and following the Online Calisthenics course DAILY.

Click here to watch the video!


PS: If you are not able to do a full back lever yet, sign up for your Online Calisthenics trial here!

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3 Calisthenics Exercises To Get Better At Front Lever

3 Calisthenics Exercises To Get Better At Front Lever!

Static holds are some of the hardest things to achieve in calisthenics.

They are very different from the classic repetitions we do with regular movements such as pull ups or push ups. The obvious difference is that one is an isometric exercise while repetitions are dynamic exercises.

But there is much more to it.

There are 2 main reasons why static holds are more demanding than traditional movements:

They challenge your nervous system.

Your body needs to learn how to cope with a continuous, strenuous effort. Indeed, when doing reps, your body is used to taking partial "breaks" between your repetitions, even if it does not feel like rest! So the key is to calm your nerves down and learn to breathe optimally through the static hold.

It addresses your weak links.

Static holds will automatically highlight any weakness in your body very quickly. When doing reps there is always a slight compensation or swing in one way or another...

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