28 Oct The Amazing Benefits of Calisthenics: The Back Lever
As discussed in my previous blog on “the amazing benefits of calisthenics: Handstands”, body weight training and in particular calisthenics is once again becoming much more popular within the fitness industry. I say this because calisthenics/gymnastics is not a new phenomenon but has actually been practiced for many years, long before the weight lifting and bodybuilding boom!!
Calisthenics has now grown in popularity off the back of the “functional training” era, which made exercise fun & interesting again. People started to become more aware of the importance of using their body as “one functional unit” to perform effective exercise, as apposed to separating and isolating body parts which stems from bodybuilding. This is one of the main reasons why calisthenics/gymnastic training has become more widely used over the last few years.
Another reason for its rise is that calisthenics provides the body with multiple benefits that other types of exercise cannot give. These include but are not limited to; improved body awareness, increased muscle tone, reduced body fat levels, enhanced full body core strength, improved balance, improved joint stability & reduced injury occurrence.
The exercise that we are going to focus on here is “The back lever”, which is one of the most popular, yet challenging callisthenic movements, requiring exceptional core and back strength within an isolated position.
Here is a shot of a full back lever performed within our studio.
As you can see to be able to hold this position requires a lot of shoulder mobility/stability, lower back & gluteal (bum) strength and deep abdominal bracing. The idea is to be able to hold your body in a straight line in mid-air, keeping your legs straight, arms locked out and torso level. It is great for improving full body static core, grip strength, gluteal activation and lower back strength.
To regress the back lever is easy, you can bend your knees, keep your legs up at an angle, split your legs wide or bend your arms slightly. These modifications will make the exercise easier and allow you to perform the full back lever more effectively with better technique in the future. It is important not to rush through these regressions, as injury is likely to occur if you do. It is also advisable to have a training partner with you as you practice the technique to keep you safe.
Overall the back lever is a fantastic calisthenics movement that is impressive, can be performed without any equipment other than a bar or rings, provides multiple benefits to the muscular system and most importantly is a fun challenge.
Have fun trying,
Until next time,