Build a ripped athletic body without any equipment here…
The front lever is one of the most powerful bodyweight exercises that can build a big upper body and strong abs. The problem is, most people don’t know how to properly perform this body weight movement. In this video, I show you a step by step tutorial for mastering the front lever so that you can start seeing the benefits that this great exercise holds for you.
To begin with, you must understand what muscles actually power this exercise. Mostly you are going to want to get strong in your lats and your abs. The move uses your lats but not at all like you would use them in a traditional pullup. In order to do this exercise right, you want to envision that you are doing a straight arm pushdown while suspended from the bar.
The arms should perform a pullover movement or as I said, a straight arm pushdown. This will pull your body and torso back behind the bar which will counterbalance the weight of your legs as you rise up to the bar. This is important because failing to do so will make it hard for you to overcome the force of gravity and get yourself up. Of course, you want to be able to contract your abs and core the entire time, as well as your quads, to keep your body rigid as you rise up.
You can start to groove this movement pattern for the front lever by performing the broken down pieces on a bar set in a squat rack. You are much lower to the ground in this set up and have more control of your lower body since you can rest your feet and legs on a bench set up in front of you. Learn the pushdown movement by putting your feet on the bench and then simply initiating the lift of your butt off the ground by using your lats.
Once you can achieve this, take it another step further by adding a pullup or inverted row to the top of the movement. Use the straight arm pushdown to have the lats pull you off the ground and then add some more back strength by completing the inverted row. Attempt to pull up so that the bar crosses somewhere near the mid to low chest. You do this since you want to simulate the position behind the bar that you will need to have to perform the front lever eventually.
Next, move onto the static hold progression that I show you in the video. First, decrease the length of the moment by keeping your body rolled up tightly into a ball in the reverse tuck position. When you can hang here with ease, allow the thighs to drift away from the body a bit to a point that they are perpendicular to the ground. Next, extend one leg out to make the challenge even harder. When able to do one, extend the other out as well for a real challenge.
You are now ready to do the front lever while hanging from a bar. Start by using a resistance band for assistance to unweight some of your bodyweight and groove the movement. Next, go through the same 6 step progression and the next thing you know, you’ll be banging out rep after rep of this killer bodyweight exercise.
For a complete bodyweight only program, head to and get the ATHLEAN XERO program. No bands, no benches, no bars needed at all to do this equipment free workout program.
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