Build Gymnast-Caliber Core Strength With the Front Lever

Once you master these moves, you will be blowing people away with your display of strength.

You see gymnasts throwing themselves around the parallel and uneven bars, making it look easy. Well, they all had to start somewhere and each one had to master the Front Lever to get where they are at now.

A Front Lever is where you hold a pull-up bar and position your body parallel to the ground. It's an incredibly challenging full-body move that targets the core, upper body and grip.

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The Front Lever builds serious strength and stability on the bar, and it's a great stepping stone to getting into complicated calisthenic movements. On top of that, it is a cool party trick that is sure to turn heads.

Here are the five exercises you need to master to perform the Front Lever.

1. Hollow Body Hold

Hollow Body Hold

Lie on your back with your arms straight and elbows in line with your ears. Raise your shoulders and legs off the ground simultaneously. Actively try to keep your lower back firmly pressed against the ground. This is a simple but very intense move.

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2. Strict Toes to Bar

Strict Toes to Bar

This is a strict movement, meaning no swinging! Keep your legs as straight as possible and raise them up until your toes make contact with the bar. Maintain control on the way up and down.

3. Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown

Straight Arm Lat Pulldown

This can be done with bands or cables. Start by gripping the band (or bar) slightly over your head with your hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing the ground. Keep your arms straight and pull them down until you make contact with your legs.

4. Bent-Leg Front Lever

Bent-Leg Front Lever

Hang from the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. Pull your knees up to chest level, and in the same motion as the Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown, push the bar away until you are in the front lever position with your knees bent. Over time you can increase the difficulty by having your legs straighter and parallel to the ground (eventually in full front lever).

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5. Ice Cream Makers

Ice Cream Makers

Start in a pull-up position with your chin over the bar. Keeping your core braced and legs straight, press your arms into the bar until your arms are straight and your body is horizontal to the ground (full front lever). Pull your chin back to the bar and repeat. Increase the difficulty by increasing the length of time paused in the lever position.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: CORE | PULL-UP