We’re going to talk bodyweight movements today. Gymnastics stuff, to be precise.

For a long time, I’ve been in awe of the front and back levers.

I’m not sure if the pure strength, the body control or the shoulder mobility impressed me most.

Does it really matter though?

I mean, ONE move can build strength in the upper body, develop a core stronger than steel, teach body control and awareness, and improve shoulder mobility. Oh yeah, and it helps teach, create, and reinforce total body tension – a REQUIREMENT for moving heavy weight and being explosive!

Sign me up!

The Moves

The front lever and back lever are gymnastics moves that can be performed on rings or pullup bars. I prefer rings as they allow freedom of movement for your wrist, elbow and shoulder joints.

That’s a front lever on the left and a back lever on the right.

The Progression

As I’m new to these moves (and you most likely are too) we need to work our way up to these holds.

For the front lever, I like the following progression.

  • Tightly balled hold
  • Tucked hold
  • Tucked Rows
  • 1-leg hold
  • Full hold

The full hold and all the variations of the front lever really build lat strength and pulling power. Once you master the tucked hold, try performing bodyweight rows for 3-4 sets of 6-10…AWESOME rowing movement!

For the back lever, I like this progression.

  • Inverted Hold
  • Shoulder Stretch
[media url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dix_kkT1pI4″ width=”600″ height=”400″]
  • Tucked Skin The Cats
[media url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDR8dhJSQiw” width=”600″ height=”400″]
  • Skin The Cats
  • Wide (Planche) Back Lever Hold
  • Back Lever

Whatever your pursuit – fat loss, muscle gain, athletic performance, pure strength – lever holds can and will deliver benefits that you need. Give these a try and understand very quickly why those Olympic gymnasts are so JACKED!!

[heading style=”1″]UPDATE 10/19/12[/heading]

[media url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKtGiCElEJ0″ width=”600″ height=”400″]

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