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Kevin Molloy

Does anyone else find front levers easier than back levers?

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Kevin Molloy

Hey so these past few months ive been training for both front and back levers. In the tucked position and advanced tucked position i can hold both for roughly the same amount of time , but when i go for the full extension i can hold front levers for a few seconds longer consistently   and they feel less stressful on my body .  Ive always heard people say back levers are  alot easier so could this potentially be exploiting  a weakness in my lower back and hips? 

i just trained both yesterday and im pretty sore but ill try to get a video up soon 

 

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Everett Carroll

Hey Kevin,

Videos would be very helpful for us as it may be your form that is making them easier rather than your physical strength being greater in one area. It is impossible to tell without footage. 

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Léo Aïtoulha

When doing GST, the first thing that you have to wonder is whether your connective tissue have been correctly prepared to be able to safely handle the exercise you are attempting to do.

The Back Lever (with a supinated grip) requires:

  • Strength in the shoulder flexors (anterior deltoid, pectoralis major, biceps brachii ) and the elbow flexors (brachialis, biceps brachii, brachoradialis)
    • The elbow flexors are resisting elbow hyperextension to protect the joint (especially the distal biceps tendon)
  • Shoulder extension mobility
    • Poor shoulder extension mobility will increase even more the pressure on the elbows
  • Posterior core strength: strength in the hip extensors (glutes, hamstrings) and thoraric/lumbar spine extensors (erector spinae)

For a children, the Back Lever should not be a problem.

For an adult? Considering that >95% of adults have...

  • Non-existent shoulder extension mobility
  • Non-existent straight-arm strength
  • Non-existent posterior core strength (caused by sitting all day)

... saying that the Back Lever is easier than the Front Lever is nonsense. The impact on connective tissue is not the same.

That is the reason why the Back Lever is not considered a basic anymore in GymnasticBodies training programs, while the Front Lever is still part of it.

I strongly recommend that you do not listen to the people telling you that a Back Lever is easier than a Front Lever. Either they are not concerned by the issues I mentioned above (I seriously doubt that) or they do not know anything about connective tissue conditioning.

Two of the various exercises covered by the Foundation Series will allow to safely train the Back Lever :

  • The Planche: it provides the required straight-arm strength (shoulder and elbow flexors) and posterior core strength (hip and thoraric/lumbar spine extensors)
  • The Manna: it provides an insane amount of shoulder extension mobility and some bicep strengthening (at the top)
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Jerry Teixeira

Agree with Leo, " strength" to do a back lever will likely come long before the needed mobility.  Before I found GB I could "do" a back lever, however it was a poor move on my part to do it because in all honesty I had a great deal of work to do to increase ROM in my shoulders to be able to truly do a back lever properly.

 

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Coach Sommer
On 8/23/2017 at 2:11 PM, Léo Aïtoulha said:

When doing GST, the first thing that you have to wonder is whether your connective tissue have been correctly prepared to be able to safely handle the exercise you are attempting to do.

The Back Lever (with a supinated grip) requires:

  • Strength in the shoulder flexors (anterior deltoid, pectoralis major, biceps brachii ) and the elbow flexors (brachialis, biceps brachii, brachoradialis)
    • The elbow flexors are resisting elbow hyperextension to protect the joint (especially the distal biceps tendon)
  • Shoulder extension mobility
    • Poor shoulder extension mobility will increase even more the pressure on the elbows
  • Posterior core strength: strength in the hip extensors (glutes, hamstrings) and thoraric/lumbar spine extensors (erector spinae)

For a children, the Back Lever should not be a problem.

For an adult? Considering that >95% of adults have...

  • Non-existent shoulder extension mobility
  • Non-existent straight-arm strength
  • Non-existent posterior core strength (caused by sitting all day)

... saying that the Back Lever is easier than the Front Lever is nonsense. The impact on connective tissue is not the same.

That is the reason why the Back Lever is not considered a basic anymore in GymnasticBodies training programs, while the Front Lever is still part of it.

I strongly recommend that you do not listen to the people telling you that a Back Lever is easier than a Front Lever. Either they are not concerned by the issues I mentioned above (I seriously doubt that) or they do not know anything about connective tissue conditioning.

Two of the various exercises covered by the Foundation Series will allow to safely train the Back Lever :

  • The Planche: it provides the required straight-arm strength (shoulder and elbow flexors) and posterior core strength (hip and thoraric/lumbar spine extensors)
  • The Manna: it provides an insane amount of shoulder extension mobility and some bicep strengthening (at the top)

Very well said, Léo.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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GoldenEagle

To actually answer the initial question...

Yes. The front lever is easier than the back lever. A locked straight arm push down is similar to the front lever. A locked straight arm pull down, behind your back, is similar to the back lever.

With further strength development over a number of years, front lever is similar to a rings apparatus "Victorian cross" and the back lever is similar to the "Maltese cross." 

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