Hello there, about two and a half years I began training calisthenics. The skills of calisthenics back then really caught my eye, and I decided to focus on them. I mainly concentrated front lever and the planche. Now two and a half years later, I think I can call myself pretty decent at the front lever. I made this post to give some tips and I will show you my front lever progression at the end! So use these tips to your own benefit, and progress faster!
Focus on basics as well in your front lever progression!
When I began training, I did nothing but completely focussing on the front lever. I fully neglected the basic exercises of calisthenics. The pull/chin-ups, push-ups, dips, etc. Don’t do this!
Before you focus on skills, concentrate on building a good foundation with basic exercises. Building this foundation is crucial in your starting years in calisthenics. You will regret it if you skip it.
You need a base strength for skills. This not only counts for the front lever but also for the planche.
Everybody knows that the main muscles used front lever are your lats.
The core, however, also plays a huge role in the front lever. In order to make a straight line, you are required to have solid core strength.
Another mistake many people make is thinking that training just abs will make your whole core stronger. This is not true, your core is much more than just your abdominal muscles. Doing only planks, leg raises, and hollow body holds will help you with the front lever, but not as much as you would think.
Your lower back, for example, also belongs to the core. And especially your lower back is crucial in the front lever. I did not really train this, and you could literally see it in my front lever.
My tip to you is to do core exercises but look at the bigger picture. Don’t think that just doing planks will get you there, don’t make the same mistake as I did…
Focus first on the correct form
This one is huge!
If you start training, don’t focus on a long hold, concentrate on good form first!
I made this mistake, my front lever looked so ugly, and I really thought I was making decent progress because I could hold it for a decent time. Fixing this costs a lot of valuable time. If you are currently starting with the front lever, use this tip! You will thank me later.
This is what the correct form front lever looks like:
- Arms are straight
- Legs are straight
- Toes pointed out
- Retracted scapula’s
Resistance bands are amazing!
Some piece of advice I would give to every beginner is to buy and use resistance bands. These can help you in so many ways when learning the front lever.
Resistance bands are useful for:
- Letting you do exercises that are still too hard. By using resistance bands, you can practice the full front lever without actually being able to do a full front lever. This allows your body to use those certain muscles and to create the mind-muscle connection.
- Helping you learn the correct form. Resistance bands also assist in learning the correct technique, which is so important in the early phases of your journey. This is easily practicable without too much effort, all because of resistance bands.
- Progressing is easier. If you have multiple resistance bands, it is possible to adjust the assistance you get from them. So if you feel like you are getting stronger, switch to a weaker band. Try again and feel what it is like. Comfortable? Keep using this one. It is easier to progress with resistance bands than with different variations as progressions, which is common in calisthenics.
More dynamic exercises
The front lever is a static skill, this means you need to hold a particular position as long as possible. Training for a static skill may sound like you have to do only static exercises. Although, this is not true.
Try to do a wide variety of exercises, I am talking about:
- Front lever raises
- Training with resistance bands
- Front lever negatives
- Tuck front lever pull-ups
And there are many more!
By doing more and different exercises your muscles will develop much better, which will help you progress much faster, obviously.
Last but not least
Never compare yourself to others, it won’t make you happy. Having an inspirator is good, but never really compare yourself to other people. Nobody is the same, and neither is your journey!
Keep this in mind!
My Front lever progression video
For the people who are interested, here is a link to a video of my front lever progression, I hope it can motivate some of you!