What is Back Lever

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Before we get started with the main back lever workout, we NEED to perform a proper warm-up.🎯

Not all warm-ups work well. Sometimes, you can do too much that it feels like you’re doing the main workout. Most of the time, you might just go through the motions and fail to activate your muscles and prepare your joints for your workout. And sometimes, you might be performing exercises that don’t really help you in your main workout.

🤜In this section, we’ll be covering the proper way to prepare your body and mind for the back lever workout in only 12 minutes.

Ready to get started? Then keep on reading!👇

Here’s also a Sample warm-up video you can follow for your back lever workout: The Best Back Lever Workout Exercises for a Strong and Safe Back Lever Training [Warm-up]

🤔Why do a warm-up

Let’s keep it simple, warm-ups, based on the word itself, warms up your BODY and MIND for the upcoming workout. This does two things:

  • 1st🥇 – It literally warms up your body for movement. Your heart rate goes up. Your joints become lubricated. Blood flows to your muscles. All of these prepare your body so it can move efficiently to avoid injuries.
  • 2nd🥇 – Because your body’s warm, you will be able to perform optimally in your workout. The harder you can perform in your training, the better results you can get.

👊So don’t skip the warm-up and do them well.

✨Warm-up Guide

This warm-up is a rough guide. You can also change some of the exercise or even add a few exercises depending on your skill level and capacity. 

Warm-ups should roughly be 10-20 minutes. Anything more than that can negatively affect your workout performance.

☑️Roll Out for the Shoulders and Biceps

Goal: Around 1 minute per side 

We’ll first start off with the roll-out exercise, which is basically a myofascial release technique. We can use a foam roller, lacrosse ball, tennis ball, golf ball, or small exercise ball for the exercise. Myofascial release is performed to desensitize the muscle and joints to increase the range of motion. The pressure also helps improve blood flow to the specific region to prepare for the workout.

In the rollout, we’re only going to focus first on the front of the shoulders, biceps, and the outside of the pec muscles. 

☝️How to Perform:

  1. Lie on the floor in a prone position.
  2. Insert the ball in between the front of your shoulder and the floor.
  3. Roll it across the shoulder and add pressure.
  4. Move to your upper chest area close to your shoulders.
  5. Move to your biceps.
  6. Repeat on the other side.

🎯Coaching Pointers:

  • You can choose to perform this standing by pinning the ball between you and a wall
  • Take deep breaths
  • Aim for slight discomfort and not pain
  • Linger around sensitive areas
  • Apply different pressure depending on your preference
  • You can also roll the ball across your arm such as your triceps and forearms

☑️Single-Arm Circles in Supinated Position

Goal: Around 10 reps per side 

The next exercise focuses on getting your blood pump towards your shoulders again while waking up your mobility that’s specific to the front lever. We will focus on one arm at a time to get slow and controlled movements to ensure you’re activating your muscles. The shoulder movement also prepares the same muscles for the scapula needed for the back lever.

☝️How to Perform:

  1. Begin by standing with a good posture.
  2. Supinate the hand by facing the palm upward. 
  3. Move your arm upward, creating a big circle.
  4. Repeat for reps.
  5. Reverse the circular motion and turn your palm facing downward.
  6. Switch arms and repeat.

🎯Coaching Pointers:

  • Push your arm as far as you can throughout the movement
  • Let your scapula naturally move into protraction, elevation, retraction, and depression by pushing your arm far from the body
  • Take deep breaths
  • Maintain a rigid body
  • Move with control
  • Aim to move your arms in a single plane. Avoid moving it diagonally as much as possible

☑️Jumping Jacks

Goal: 10 reps minimum.

On top of specific shoulder preparation, increasing the blood flow and heart rate through a short cardiovascular exercise such as jumping jacks can help warm up the body. We opted for the jumping jacks because it requires minimal space but gets the job done. Feel free to substitute this for any cardio activity that you enjoy.

Jumping jacks are easy to do, but please exert the effort in producing force in energy in this exercise to maximize the benefits. This is a classic gym exercise known by everyone, so it’s easy to move mindlessly in the exercise

☝️How to Perform:

  1. From a standing position, jump up and open your legs into a slight straddle.
  2. Simultaneously swing your arms outwards and up to an overhead position.
  3. Quickly jump and return to starting position.
  4. Repeat for reps.

🎯Coaching Pointers:

  • Energetic movement
  • Breathe normally

☑️Fast Arm Swings

Goal: 10 reps minimum.

The next exercise follows a similar movement to the arm circles but with more power and momentum. In contrast to the prior exercise, arm swings also target the range of motion in different planes. Here, we’re not just moving in a single plane. We’re swinging in multiple directions to prepare the whole arm for the upcoming intensive exercise.

☝️How to Perform:

  1. Begin in a standing position.
  2. Swing your arms in a circular motion with power clockwise.
  3. Repeat for reps.
  4. Reverse the motion.
  5. Swing the arms sideways, upwards, downwards, and diagonally in different planes.

🎯Coaching Pointers:

  • Even with momentum, engage your arms to prevent injuries
  • Engage your core for stability
  • Move through your capable range of motion
  • Do reps until arms feel loose and ready

☑️Arm Pulses

Goal: 10 reps minimum

Arm pulses are similar to arm swings but with repetitive movement at the end range, pushing your muscles to “wake” them up in preparation for movement.

☝️How to Perform:

  1. From a standing position, raise one arm overhead into flexion and the other one into arm extension by moving it downwards and back. 
  2. Once you reach the end range, pulse back and forth at the end range of motion for reps.
  3. Switch position with the other arm and repeat.
  4. Move your arms sidewards and repeat the pulsing motion. 

🎯Coaching Pointers:

  • Core engagement
  • Control your arm movement
  • Don’t push through painful ranges
  • Do reps until arms feel loose and ready

☑️Overhead Arm Circles

Goal: 10 reps minimum.

This exercise is a continuation of the circular movements with slow and control movements, but this time, we’re going to focus on circles with your arms sustained in an overhead position. Doing so prepares the shoulders, lats, traps, and rotator cuff muscles for movements. 

How to Perform:

  1. Begin in a standing position with good posture.
  2. Move your arms in the overhead position while maintaining good posture.
  3. Create circular motions above in a clockwise fashion for reps.
  4. Reverse counterclockwise for reps.

🎯Coaching Pointers:

  • Maintain upright posture
  • Move arms with control
  • Move through your capable range
  • Perform desired reps until your muscles feel warm

☑️Stationary Inch Worm

Goal: 5 reps minimum

This exercise serves multiple purposes, but the main purpose of the exercise is to engage and prime the core muscles and upper body for loading. From the starting high plank position, you’ll move into an extended plank where the leverage decreases. Doing so increases demands on the anterior core muscles. Reversing the motion until the pike position provides a stretch on the hamstrings. The upper body is loaded during the walk in and out of the positions.

☝️How to Perform:

  1. Start in a high plank position.
  2. Walk your hands forward to an extended plank where your hands are almost overhead.
  3. Hold the end range briefly.
  4. Walk your arms backward into a folded pike position to your capable range of motion.
  5. Repeat the process for reps

🎯Coaching Pointers:

  • Maintain full body tension
  • Keep your shoulders depressed 
  • Engaged core
  • Move through your capable range of motion
  • Go as far as you can with your extended plank without breaking form
  • Maintain straight legs
  • You can gradually increase range of motion as your body warms up

☑️Table Top Walks

Goal: 5 reps minimum

This time, we’re going to prepare the posterior chain or the back portion of the muscles. This exercise is also a shoulder mobility move due to the extended shoulder position. The exercise is a crab position. It’s basically a back plank that targets the glutes and back muscles as compared to the prone plank that targets the front muscles, such as the chest and abs.

 ☝️How to Perform:

  1. Begin in a sitting position on the floor.
  2. Place your hands behind you.
  3. Plant your feet on the floor.
  4. Push your hips upward.
  5. Push down with your arms and legs.
  6. Walk your legs and hands forward and backward for reps.

🎯Coaching Pointers:

  • Keep your hips high and level with your shoulders
  • Arms straight and lockout
  • Full body tension
  • Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to activate the lower body
  • Shoulders depressed
  • Scapula retracted

☑️Hollow Rocks

Goal:  15 Reps and hold for 5 seconds at the last rep

This time, we’re going to focus on warming up the front core muscles, and to some extent the quads, for this exercise. The hollow rock is a staple gymnastics and calisthenics exercise for the core. For those who are just starting out, the hollow rock is great for core development. The hollow rock is a great core warm-up for more advanced athletes who are heading towards calisthenics skills. It trains the core in anti-extension, meaning resisting the tendency to extend the spine while in motion.

 ☝️How to Perform:

  1. Begin by lying on the floor with your back flat.
  2. Engage your core by tilting your hips forward so that your lower back is flat on the floor.
  3. Extend your arms overhead.
  4. Straighten your legs.
  5. Lift your arms and legs off the floor so that the middle back is the contact point on the floor.
  6. Rock your body forward and backward for reps.
  7. Hold for a time the last rep in the hollow hold position.

🎯Coaching Pointers:

  • Full body tension
  • Toes pointed for added leg tension
  • Lower back flat on the floor.
  • Roll smoothly across your back while maintaining a hollow position.
  • Breath during the exercise

☑️Superman Rocks 

Goal:  15 Reps and hold for 5 seconds at the last rep

The Superman rock is the counterpart of the hollow rock. This exercise targets the posterior chain, which includes the glutes, hamstrings, lats, traps, rhomboids, and rear delts, just to name a few.

 ☝️How to Perform:

  1. Begin lying with the belly facing the floor.
  2. Place your arms overhead.
  3. Extend your legs and squeeze them together.
  4. Lift your arms and legs off the floor while keeping in contact with your belly on the floor.
  5. Shift your weight forward and backward to create a rocking motion.
  6. Repeat the rocking motion for reps.
  7. Hold the arch rock for 5 seconds after the last rep.

🎯Coaching Pointers:

  • Full body tension
  • Toes pointed for added leg tension
  • Lower back flat on the floor.
  • Roll smoothly across your back while maintaining an arched position.
  • Breath during the exercise


Goal:  10 Reps

The next exercise focuses on engaging the chest and shoulders. This is the classic regular push-up. When starting the back lever journey, it’s expected that you should already have good-quality push-ups under your belt. Push-up prepares the upper body muscles for the pushing component of the back lever. In addition, the exercise places a nice stretch in the chest and shoulder muscles at the bottom position of the push-ups.

 ☝️How to Perform:

  1. Begin in a high plank position.
  2. Slowly lower your body until your chest touches the floor lightly.
  3. Explosively push back up to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for reps.

🎯Coaching Pointers:

  • Posterior pelvic tilt
  • Full body tension
  • Full range of motion locking at the top position and lowering until the chest grazes the floor
  • Elbows tuck close to the body
  • Hands at a comfortable width

☑️Prone Support with Supination 

Goal:  20 – 30 seconds

This exercise focuses primarily the forearm muscles thanks to the supinated hand position. Fingers are placed facing backward to get a nice stretch in your forearms which helps prepare your grip and biceps for the back lever.

You also get to train a strong straight-arm lockout with protracted and depressed scapulas and a good bodyline posture.

How to Perform:

  1. Begin in a high plank position.
  2. Twist your arm outward into a supinated position so that your fingers are facing backward.
  3. Rock back and forth, sidewards, or in a circular motion to prepare your forearms and wrists.

🎯Coaching Pointers:

  • Protracted and depressed scapula
  • Lockout arms
  • Posterior pelvic tilt
  • Full body tension
  • Move through your capable range of motion
  • Linger in tight spots to improve mobility

☑️Banded Forward Fold 5 reps

Goal:  5  reps

The next exercise prepares the body for skin the cat. Actually, it’s basically a skin the cat but with a lesser load on your shoulders. The forward hold also stretches the hamstrings and glutes, which can improve mobility for certain back lever progressions.

 ☝️How to Perform:

  1. Begin in a standing position.
  2. Hold a band behind your body with straight arms.
  3. Lift your arms backward into extension.
  4. Maintain the position, then bend your hips forward.
  5. Pause at the bottom position.
  6. Return to the upright position with the extended shoulders.
  7. Repeat the motion for reps.

🎯Coaching Pointers:

  • Straight legs
  • Straight arms
  • Full body tension
  • You can use a stick instead of a band 
  • Hands ideally close to shoulder-width
  • Move through your capable range of motion

☑️Band Lever Pulls

Goal:  10 reps

Continuing to more specific exercise for the back lever, the band lever pulls trains what you need to do to hold the back lever. You must push down into flexion from an extended shoulder position to sustain the body position in the back lever. 

This exercise simulates this movement requirement with a much easier intensity and is more scalable. While improving your shoulder mobility and strength, you can also prime the muscle groups needed for the back lever motion.

 ☝️How to Perform:

  1. Anchor the band on a high enough surface that’s relatively close to your hand’s level.
  2. Stand far enough from the anchor point to get enough resistance from the band.
  3. Face forward with your back facing the band.
  4. Pull the band towards your body into flexion.
  5. Return with control.
  6. Repeat for reps.

🎯Coaching Pointers:

  • Choose a resistance band appropriate for your level. Keep it light
  • Depress and protract your scapula
  • Straight bodyline
  • Lockout arms

☑️Skin the Cat 

Goal:  5  reps

To top off our warm-up routine, we’re going to perform some skin the cat progressions that are appropriate for your skill level. The skin the cat follows a similar motion to that of the back lever but lessens the degree of hip and thoracic extension. This means the body is shorter, which decreases the difficulty of the exercise. The skin the cat, also known as the German hang, is more concerned with improving shoulder mobility, which translates to better and safer back lever gains.

There are multiple variations you can get into the skin the cat. Beginners can enter by using low rings. Just grab onto the rings and move your arms outwards into extension, then find the proper difficulty by increasing or reducing assistance from your legs.

In the steps to perform below, we’re going to explain the harder variant, which is a full skin the cat. 

 ☝️How to Perform:

  1. Begin by hanging on the bar from a dead hang.
  2. Depress and retract your shoulders.
  3. Tuck your knees towards your chest.
  4. Pull your weight backward to an inverted hang.
  5. Continue pulling to go over so that your arms are behind your body.
  6. Extend your legs downward.
  7. Hold the bottom position for time.

🎯Coaching Pointers:

  • Maintain full body tension
  • Hold the end range that’s comfortable for your skill level
  • Progress gradually
  • Feel the stretch on your shoulders.


Warm-ups are highly overlooked in a workout, but the benefits of performing a smart, and effective workout couldn’t be pushed to the side.

✊Warm-ups aren’t only for a safe workout and reducing the risks of injuries. It’s also used to maximize performance to gain the most from your workout. On top of that, a specific warm-up such as the one we shared with you will help you prime your body and mind for the demanding workout for the back lever.

❌Don’t skip the warm-up, but also don’t do too much. 10 – 15 minutes should be enough to get you going for your workout.

If you’re ready for the actual workout, check out the next article:👇

Back Lever Workout Beginner to Advanced – How to Master the Back Lever


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