Back Lever Tutorial – Two Reasons You Can’t Master It!

Back Lever Tutorial – Two Reasons You Can’t Master It!  Today, I will teach you how to do a Calisthenics move:  Back Lever



Back Lever involves a lot of muscle,  including: Chest, Front Deltoid, Back, Biceps, Abs and Lower Back.    The steps to learn this move is similar to Front Lever, including:

  1. Tuck Hold
  2. Advanced Tuck Hold
  3. Single Leg
  4. 45° Straddle Leg
  5. Straddle Leg
  6. Straight Leg


Skin The Cat

Before you learn this move,  you must learn “Skin To Cat”, which is what I am demonstrating.  Tuck Raise and turn your whole body around, then back to original position.  This is “Skin To Cat”.  This is the position to hold the starting position of Back Lever, aka you tuck your legs to your chest (Tuck Hold).  Make sure keep your waist steady at horizontal level without lifting too high/low.  When you can maintain 10s+, you can move on to next progression.


You legs will be stretch out more within progressions.  The more your leg stretched out,  the more tensions will be exerted to your Biceps and Front Deltoid,  Especially the progression on/after Single Leg.  Huge tension will be exerted to your biceps, elbow, front shoulder.  If you don’t know the trick, you will get injured easily.  What is the trick here? Let’s take a look: 1. Execution Detail. 2. Training Planning.


Execution Details

Many guys don’t know the execution detail of this move.  We NEED to protract our shoulders and exert maximum forces with the Lats.  This can reduce the risks of injuring yourself on the shoulder joint.  When we in starting position, the first step is to protract and contract the lats.  Of course, depression is also needed.  Shoulder Depression & Retraction.  Squeezing your lats.  Then you can move your legs out.



When you reached progressions like Single Leg.  Huge tensions must be placed to the biceps/elbow.  To handle this, we need a longer rest time between sets.  2-3mins is required.  Within a session, don’t do too much.  Within training days, plan more rest days to let them heal.  In short, if you are a beginner to this exercise, you may probably train it one time per week with 6-8 training sets per session.  You can more more like 2 times/week or more volume after your joint/tension/ligament are strengthened.


The reasons why most people struggle to make progress are either

  1. Don’t know how to protract the shoulder and squeeze the lats, making your shoulder joint painful or simply lack of strength.
  2. Train too much and can’t recover properly.  This will hinder the result as well.  In general, you need to let the muscles and joints to recover before you can train again.


When you start to getting familiar with this exercise, all you need to do is follow the progressions,  No particular difficulties.  When you reached Progressions like Single Leg, It is hard to see the form by yourself, like the position of the core and leg.  You may need to film yourself and spotted by friends.  Practice and re-adjust continuously, you will one day learn this move.

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