Since I’ve gotten so many questions about advanced calisthenics moves, especially the back lever, I created a tutorial to get you through all the steps to master this move. You can find it under the #leverfever hashtag on Instagram.
The back lever is performed by lowering from an inverted hang until your body is parallel to the ground! It builds total body strength, plus it just looks cool ;)!
If you see this move the first time, it might seem quite impossible to ever be able to do this, but there are simple steps to build up the necessary strength, and I’ll show you every step!
Lesson 1: Skinning the cat!
The first step to learning the back lever is “Skinning the cat” aka German Hang! Some pretty weird names for a simple trick pretty much every kid does when playing on the monkey bars.
How to do it: Hang from the bar and raise your legs with the knees bent. Try to rotate your body completely keeping your knees to your chest so that your feet don’t hit the bar.
Once you rotated try to extend your body almost trying to reach the floor with your feet. Don’t overstretch at the first attempts, slowly work your way into this position. In the picture I’m not fully extended, as this is a position easily attainable after a few tries.
If you feel comfortable, try to extend further. The deeper you go the more you will stretch your shoulders.
When you got the grasp of this move, just hanging there will provide a great stretch in your upper body! Hold the position briefly, then reverse the movement until you’re back in the starting position.
Even though this really is a kids move, many people fail at the first attempts because growing up they stopped playing and now lack the proper core strength relative to their body weight.
If you can easily get in and out of this position in a controlled way for at least 3 times you’re ready for lesson 2!