Breaking down the Front Lever Technique
A full Front Lever is a skill that requires time and patience to unlock. Even if you don’t achieve the full position, your strength will benefit from including some of the progressions into your training routine. The Front Lever can be performed on the rings or a bar.
Illustration Left: Front Lever on Rings // Illustration Right: Front Lever on a Bar
The position of your scapula should be depressed and in neutral position. To prevent them from protracting you will need to aim for shoulder retraction. This active position is essential to keep shoulders safe from injury, allowing better leverage, and keeping the body aligned properly.
The muscle responsible to keep your elbows straight. Gravity is more forgiving on your elbows joints in this position compared with other skills like planche or back lever, but it is still essential to strengthen your triceps in order to keep your elbows locked.
Lower Back and Core: Squeeze all core muscles, glutes and legs to generate tension throughout the lower body. This helps maintain a strong line.
Let's go over some progressions that you can include in your training routine. The first variation is the Tuck Front Lever. Avoid rounding your upper back by keeping your shoulders depressed and in neutral position.
Illustration Left: Tuck Front Lever // Illustration Right: Rounded Back Tuck Front Lever
Advanced Tuck Front Lever
As you start feeling comfortable in the tuck position, you can slowly move your knees further away from your chest until your knees align with your hips and your feet extend to create a 90 degree angle. This position will allow for more core engagement than the tuck lever.
One-Leg-Out Front Lever
The one leg out progression moves your center of mass farther
from your chest as you move your knee away from your chest. As
you work on this move, you can measure your progression by
slowly moving your bent knee away from your chest. Once your
knees pass the hips line, you will need to focus on engaging your
core to avoid rounding your lower back.
Straddle Front Lever
Straddling your legs is another technique that you can use to further shift the center of mass away from your chest and increase the difficulty of this move. If you are not familiar with straddle positions, you may experience cramping around your hip region. Compression work and straddle L-Sits can strengthen the muscles
around your hips and help with the straddle front lever.
Don’t be afraid of using bands to assist you during any of the progressions mentioned above. Bands can help remove some of the weight on your arms and core, but still forces you to focus on keeping good shoulder position and core engagement. The primary goal of using bands is to stimulate the muscle tissue accordingly to your level of strength and create neurological adaptations in these positions.