Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athletes – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!
🤔🤔Are you looking to master the back lever? You’re certainly not alone — this unique bodyweight exercise requires strength, control, and dedication. But in order to get the most out of your training and avoid injuries, it’s important that you be mindful of some key safety tips.
In this article, we’ll discuss exactly what those are so that when you take on the challenge of mastering the back lever, you can do so in a smart and safe way.
🤕How You Can Get Injured
The back lever is a technical and demanding calisthenics/demanding STRENGTH-BASED skill. So on top of the obvious mobility demand, you need a high level of strength in a peculiar position. And because this position isn’t usually trained, you can easily get injured if you jump into a back lever without proper preparation.
Although quite demanding, the back lever is still a relatively safe exercise to train. You just got to be humble and train smartly. Rushing through the progression and the exercises is an easy way to get injured.
⏰Take your time to learn the basics of the moves.
Here are 5 tips you need to know to stay safe when training for the back lever:👇👇
✨Tip 1: Do Proper Warm-up
The number one on our list is the number one you need to do before you begin the back lever workout: warm-up. We need to get warm, before we can going. If your body is still cold, it’s going to prone to injury, especially if you’re going to perform a demanding move such as a back lever.
Yes, do a warm-up. And not just any warm-up like doing 10 minutes of cardio. You warm-up should be specific enough for the back lever.
Specificity is the key in your workouts and in your warm-up. There will be some general warm-up protocols to increase bloodflow and heart rate, but the bulk of warm-up exercises should include movements that prepare you for the back lever. Exercises should target the wrists, biceps, chests, shoulders, and lats, that’s specific to the back lever movement.
In the other side of the spectrum, there’s also a case of people doing too much in the back lever. ☝️Remember that the warm-up is not your main workout. It should be just enough to get your blood going. A good guideline is around 10-20 minutes of warm-up for your back lever workout.
Doing a proper warm-up not only enhances your performance in your training, it also “wakes up” your muscles, passive structures, and the mind for your training. The more prepared you are, the less the chances of injuries.
Check out a warm-up sample here:👇👇
✨Tip 2: Learn How to Bail Safely
In the back lever, you’re hanging in an unusual position. It’s easy to get injured if you don’t know how to bail out of your back lever attempts. You can easily pull a muscle or tear a tendon.
It’s crucial to have an exit strategy even before attempting a back lever. So here are two options.
The first one is to set the rings low enough so you can immediately plant your feet on the floor. But with this option, you should be able to have sufficient shoulder mobility to maintain shoulder extension.
The second one is learning to left go of your anchor point. If you have a high bar or a ring that’s pretty high from the floor, you immediately remove your grip to dismount.
Both options are actually identical. You need to be able to shift your weight to your legs and remove the loading from your shoulder to safely exit the back lever attempt.
✨Tip3: Pronated vs Supinated Grip
This topic has been covered in previous back lever sections, but it’s crucial to reiterate. The supinated grip or when your palms are facing backward puts a lot more strain on your biceps. Compared to the pronated grip or when your palms are facing you, the strain is more on the front shoulders.
While it’s also good to develop bicep strength through this approach, most of time, the demands are just too high for those who are just starting with their back lever journey. Since the shoulders are a larger muscle group, it can accommodate more loading compared to the biceps.
The supinated grip isn’t inherently dangerous, but it does poses a higher risk because of unusual loading. You can work on this grip as a beginner, but expect slow progress in contrast to working with a pronated grip.
With this, we recommend starting with the pronated grip to minimize the risk of injuries.
✨Tip4: Lower Down Slowly
Dropping down into a back lever too fast is a recipe for disaster if you’re just starting out. This movement exposes your joints and muscles to a dynamic tension in their end range. You can easily stretch the shoulders or biceps too far due to the sudden force applied to these muscles and its joints.
Instead, you would want to lower down into the back lever and even out of the back lever. This ensures that you have control and helps build muscle and strength in the movement.
If you find yourself dropping down too fast, then you might not be ready for that particular progression. It could be that the body position is still too heavy for your skill level. If this happens to you, drop your ego and move to an easier progression.
Entering the back lever dynamically isn’t wrong IF you are prepared for the movement. If you want to drop fast or enter fast into the back lever, be sure you have complete mastery of the skill and have trained the dynamic entry progressively. High level gymnasts and calisthenics athletes performs this movement with complete control even with momentum.
✨Tip 5: Strengthen Your Biceps
The bicep is an overlooked muscle when training for the back lever. However, the exercise actually plays an important role in stabilizing you in the back lever position especially if you’re working with a supinated grip.
The dumbbell bicep curls or ring bodyweight bicep curls with a 12 – 20 rep range is sufficient in building muscle and conditioning the elbow joints. Just use a moderate intensity and don’t go too heavy in this isolation exercise.
Quick tip for injury prevention: strengthen your biceps and prepare them for upcoming loading.
🤕Injuries are never fun. However, they are part of life and training. You can always minimize the risk of injuries if you train smart. Don’t get overzelous and rush the process. Learning the back lever takes time so build strength gradually.
Here are some additional tips you might want to check if you want to progress faster in your back lever training:👇👇
GET A FREE CUSTOMIZED TRAINING PLAN!
Start your life-changing journey with calisthenics and get lean, strong and mobile while unlocking and mastering over 100 new gymnastics & calisthenics skills.
It only takes 5 minutes, and no credit card is required!