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Coach Sommer

Body Levers - A Simultaneous Abdominal & Lower Back Work

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Kiyoshi

When performing the body lever, going down to supine is that all the way down where your just laying on your back or where youre just holding your body an inch above the ground?

Like Candlestick negative to supine, are you just going to lay down or try holding your self horizontal an inch above the ground?

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Cole Dano

Basically you go down as low as you can keeping the hollow, feet won't touch the floor and the back won't arch, or even leave the hollow shape.

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Alexander Moreen

If you do them flat on the floor your back is likely rolling down a bit making the exercise much easier, as well as the floor itself limiting your range of motion from actually hitting horizontal. If you have a text book or something to put under your upper back to get you an inch or so off the ground you can really increase the difficulty and effectiveness of this exercise

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Sven Ravnstag

A couple of questions:

If I'm doing these at home, would an acceptable substitute for the power rack be to place my hands/fingers underneath a sturdy door, or would this put too much pressure on my hands/wrists?

Also, what is the proper name for the crescent wedge underneath the athlete in the video? I'd like to get one for my training but can't find what it's called. Has anyone found a cheap substitute for this (since gymnastic equipment is often so expensive)?

Thank you!

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Coach Sommer

That piece of equipment is called an EGE trainer available from Norbert Athletics; however anything that allows you to elevate the shoulders in a secure manner would be fine.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Joshua Naterman
That piece of equipment is called an EGE trainer available from Norbert Athletics; however anything that allows you to elevate the shoulders in a secure manner would be fine.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

Indeed... I just use my weight bench and my stall bars. If I am hanging off the edge of a free bench, I find that 100-120 lbs of weight plates or dumbbells is enough to keep the bench from flipping over or moving around. Rock solid and easy to set up!

At the gym I just put my shoulders on the bench attached to the cable machine, that thing isn't going anywhere and I don't have to stack plates on it to keep it secured.

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RatioFitness

I place a heavy bag on the floor in front of my stall bars.

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Joshua Naterman
I place a heavy bag on the floor in front of my stall bars.

Nice :)

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dacicsak

I was able to do a lot today. But something wrong, it is just too easy for me, so i think i did it bad. Should i suck in my belly during this? or simply flex hard my abs and glutes? I did it with almost just abdominal strength with no bend at the hips and a little help came from my lats too of course... oh and i dont feel my lower back burning anytime...so whats the problem maybe am i simple good at it?

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Joshua Naterman

You shouldn't feel any lower back in a proper body lever if you have good core strength.

If you are training properly you will find that your single set work capacity is far beyond what you train at, there is no need to push super hard on your sets.

The entire core will be flexed, there's no point in visibly sucking in the abs because that de-activates the larger ab muscles. Just maintaining the hollow body will take care of all the muscle activation. What you don't want to be doing is pushing out, you just want to sort of flex everything and lock into the hollow position, then use your abs to raise your body.

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dacicsak
You shouldn't feel any lower back in a proper body lever if you have good core strength.

If you are training properly you will find that your single set work capacity is far beyond what you train at, there is no need to push super hard on your sets.

The entire core will be flexed, there's no point in visibly sucking in the abs because that de-activates the larger ab muscles. Just maintaining the hollow body will take care of all the muscle activation. What you don't want to be doing is pushing out, you just want to sort of flex everything and lock into the hollow position, then use your abs to raise your body.

Thanks for your detailed answer Slizz!

one more questin: could you tell me please how it is a lower back and abdominal exercise? In this position when my abdominals are at the maximum flexing, why is the body levers strengthens the lower back? sorry i cant understand this...doesnt the lower back works when you are arching or hyperextending? so everything that is pulling back... like the deadlift... :?

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Joshua Naterman

Body levers don't strengthen the lower back, they strengthen all core muscles that perform abdominal flexion, whether forward or lateral. These are the muscles that help support and stabilize the entire body, and when they are strong they help distribute forces so that the lower back doesn't get injured. You still need to be doing arch ups, arch holds, RLL etc for lower back specifically.

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mikelmarion

Coach, where would one buy that pad the gymnast in this video is using? What is that type of pad called?

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Brian Li
Body levers don't strengthen the lower back, they strengthen all core muscles that perform abdominal flexion, whether forward or lateral. These are the muscles that help support and stabilize the entire body, and when they are strong they help distribute forces so that the lower back doesn't get injured. You still need to be doing arch ups, arch holds, RLL etc for lower back specifically.

I agree that the lower back isn't supposed to be working in the body levers, but I don't know why Coach Sommer says it works the lower back as well. I believe the lower back exercise counterpart of the body levers are reverse body levers or called the locust pose in yoga (?), but strangely I do feel a little bit of the lower back working even though I'm not arching when I'm doing the body levers, it only happens during the eccentric portion and when I'm holding it at or near horizontal. So can anyone elaborate on how the lower back is working in body levers?

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Blairbob
Coach, where would one buy that pad the gymnast in this video is using? What is that type of pad called?

Mike, that pad is called an EGE pommel horse trainer for practicing circles on. Kind of expensive and hard to get these days because of available stock. Look up Deary's Gymnastic Supply for them, I think, or someone like them.

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Cole Dano

I don't think it would be that hard to make one, if you knew the basic dimensions.

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mikelmarion
Basically you go down as low as you can keeping the hollow, feet won't touch the floor and the back won't arch, or even leave the hollow shape.

Cole what is the hollow shape? like this ) or just flat?seminars.jpg

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Joshua Naterman

Most of them have the wrong shape in the head and neck, and a really perfect hollow looks almost flat but is not. Don't let the head go forward or the chin stick out. Chin in, neck back is what you are looking for. This is very hard and forces you to use your abs MUCH more, which makes the hollow hold both more difficult and more effective.

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mikelmarion
Most of them have the wrong shape in the head and neck, and a really perfect hollow looks almost flat but is not. Don't let the head go forward or the chin stick out. Chin in, neck back is what you are looking for. This is very hard and forces you to use your abs MUCH more, which makes the hollow hold both more difficult and more effective.

I was thinking that slizz. could i post a video of me doing it for you to critique? I usaually ask all of my questions in you're thread cause i know you will respond there, lol.

But not not clutter up you're Thread i Think I should start my own lol.

I would like to know if i am doing them right. Have to tried the banded leg lifts yet?

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Joshua Naterman

Post it up in a new Digital Coaching thread!

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Brian Li

Could Coach or anyone who knows explain how the lower back is being worked in body levers? Thanks!

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Joshua Naterman

It has to work isometrically to maintain the position of the vertebrae. The smaller intrinsic muscles are going to be working harder than the large erectors. Also, psoas is technically a lower back muscle since it attaches to the lumbar spine. I'm pretty sure I don't need to explain why THAT is working hahaha!

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mikelmarion

Does anyone have a picture or video or the perfect hollow position?

Like this?

The first thing you have to do is build a strong body shape for the skills you are intending to learn. A PROPER plank, reverse plank, hollow hold and arch hold are the beginning. Along with that you will need to be able to hold a proper hollow position in a dead hang with a pronated, neutral, and supinated grip. Obviously this can't happen until you have a solid hollow. A solid hollow includes having the chin tucked and neck retracted simultaneously. This is very hard at first, even when the core part of the hollow hold is somewhat strong. The full proper shape is everything, because it will teach your body the right place to start movement from and how to use your muscles for maximum effectiveness. As your body shape improves, you can start working on push ups, rows, pull ups and dips while holding the right shape. There is no purpose in building strength with a bad shape. I have learned this the hard way.

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Blairbob

Go look under media for some pictures of a hollow body in the May 2011 seminar. They are too big too fit in a forum post and properly see the hollow position.

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Brian Li
It has to work isometrically to maintain the position of the vertebrae. The smaller intrinsic muscles are going to be working harder than the large erectors. Also, psoas is technically a lower back muscle since it attaches to the lumbar spine. I'm pretty sure I don't need to explain why THAT is working hahaha!

Thanks slizzardman! So body levers will strengthen the lower back like back hyperextensions, arch ups, rack pulls, etc.? In other words, lower back strength gained from body levers transfer to other lower back exercises right? I'm asking because my lower back seems to be weaker than my abs and I'm trying to make them equal in strength.

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