The back lever is a beginner to intermediate hold which looks impressive and can either be performed on a bar or on rings.

Back Lever

You will begin by hanging from the bar (or rings) and raising your legs up so that your knees are tucked into your chest. But, instead of stopping here, you should continue to carefully place your legs through your arms so that your whole body rotates around. This is the ‘skin the cat’ position.

Once in this position, you will tighten the muscles in your arms, torso, core and legs, extending your legs and pointing your toes so that your whole body is held in a horizontal position while it faces the ground.

When learning the back lever it is a good idea to start on a lower bar for safety, as falling from the bar if you are not strong enough could cause a nasty injury. You should be confident that you can land on your feet when you have finished the move.

Tips/Progressions to achieve the back lever:

  • Practice core strength exercises on the floor; performing the plank and ‘dish’ hold will help to build strength in to get that horizontal position required for the back lever.
  • Practice the ‘skin the cat’ movement. This will give you the basic strength to get into position for the back lever.
  • Train the tucked back lever. That is, the back lever position without either leg extended but instead tucked into your chest.
  • Once you can hold the tucked back lever comfortably then you can move to performing it with just one leg extended. As your strength improves you can aim for the full back lever with both legs extended.