How To Do Elbow Lever: Easy Calisthenics Skill You Can Do In One Day

Did you know that there’s a calisthenics skill that you can learn in less than one day? This move looks more difficult than it actually is and it can be one of those impressive party tricks in your arsenal that will get everyone wowed up! 

The elbow lever is one of the three calisthenics skills beginners can learn at home. It is a skill that involves holding the body in a horizontal position above the ground by resting on the elbows. Think of it as a balance scale, your arms act as the stand while your upper and lower body acts as two load trays. Let’s look at how you’d get this move under your belt. 

Elbow Lever: Hand Position

Before you begin, make sure that you do a proper warm-up, especially your wrists as most of your body weight will be resting on them. Spend 5-10 minutes getting yourself prepped up and you should be ready to go.  

When doing an elbow lever, I highly recommend you to either face your fingers opposite to the side or backward towards your feet. This will allow a greater range of motion for you to be able to hold the position more comfortably. Personally, I prefer to have my hands facing the sides as it reduces compressive strains on the wrists while allowing me to correct with the thumbs if I fall forward. 

Your elbows should be positioned roughly at the level of the belly button and edge of the torso. If you find your elbows slipping out to the sides, try positioning the closer towards the midline  

Elbow Lever Progression

#1 – Tucked Elbow Lever

  1. Begin in a push up position with your fingers facing opposite each other and your legs straddled. 
  2. Bend your arms so you gently lower to let your elbows support some of your body weight. Your elbows are approximately at the level of the belly button.
  3. Bend your knees so they rest on the floor to shorten to lever, followed by lifting your knees off the floor. 
  4. Keep constant body tension and hold this progression for 5 seconds. 

#2 – Straddle Elbow Lever

If you can comfortably lift your legs off the floor with your knees bent, you can increase the difficulty by doing so with your legs straight in a straddle position. This requires more hip extension and core strength as the lever is longer. 

  1. Begin in a push up position with your fingers facing opposite each other and your legs straddled. 
  2. Bend your arms so you gently lower to let your elbows support some of your body weight. Your elbows are approximately at the level of the belly button.
  3. Shift your body weight forward until your feet lift off the ground. Squeeze your core and legs to keep body tension. 
  4. Hold this progression for 5 seconds. 

#3 – Elbow Lever

Finally, you can progress to the most difficult position by decreasing the leverage and bringing your legs together. In the full elbow lever, your body should form a straight line from head to feet. The body must lean more forward in order to maintain balance (think of a balancing scale!)

  1. Begin in a push up position with your fingers facing opposite each other and your feet are together. 
  2. Bend your arms so you gently lower to let your elbows support some of your body weight. Your elbows are approximately at the level of the belly button.
  3. Lean forward until your feet are elevated off the ground. Squeeze your core and legs.
  4. Hold this position for 5 seconds. 

The Takeaways: Long Lever Plank

So there you have it, three progressions you can practice anywhere and anytime to unlock the elbow lever. This process is not as long and grueling as you’d expect it to be, right? The appearance of this skill is eye-catching, unique, and it’s not something that people will see every day, so use it to your advantage! 

The elbow lever not only improves your balance but also develops full-body strength as you are required to keep constant body tension. If you want to learn exercises that are similar to this, then check out my previously written articles:

As always, thank you for reading, and don’t forget to follow and connect with me on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube to stay on top of my content. Big love and I’ll catch you next time!

Leave a Comment