How to do the Front Lever

I was at the gym recently performing a front lever, a brutally tough exercise that will give you razor sharp abs. It's much harder to do than hanging leg raises or dragon flags, and much more effective at strengthening the abs. A couple of people have approached in the gym asking me how to do the front lever, so I thought I'd shoot this tutorial.

By the way if you happen to see me in the gym and want to ask me a question about training, don't be shy.  I tend to look like a psychopath when I'm working out, but I'm just focused on my training.

Anyway, I want to disclose something here: I'm not a gymnast, but I was able to do the front lever the first time I tried it. I was a bit shaky on that first attempt, and I couldn't hold it for long. But I didn't have to go through all of these progressions that I show in the video.

I think the reason is that I was already strong on the subscapularis pull-up, which is a concentric pull-up followed by a slow negative lowering of the body into a front lever position.  So I never bothered doing the tucked lever, single leg lever or the straddle lever.

The three exercises that I feel really will built up my hanging strength and my ab strength are hanging leg raises, dragon flags and the subscapularis pull-up.  These are all exercises I feature in Strength and Physique: High Tension Exercises for Muscular Growth.  If you can do these 3 exercises, then the front lever should come easier to you.

When you do the front lever, try to tense your entire body and keep it rigid.  Tighten your abs, lock out your triceps, straighten your legs, flex your lats.  Extend your head back during the hold, since this will keep your body straight and completely parallel to floor.

It's a tough exercise, but the front lever is attainable for us non-gymnasts.


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