How to do front lever pull ups

In this article you will learn what front lever pull ups are, how to perform them, prerequisites and progressions

What are front lever pull ups?

The front lever pull up is a pull up variation in which the body is raised and lowered in the horizontal, facing upwards position.

The front lever itself is very hard, but pull ups in that position are something unattainable without dedicated long-time training. It can take years to master front lever pull ups from.


As said above, front lever pull ups are advanced calisthenics skill. These are the minimum requirements that I would suggest before starting training them.

The base position for front lever pull up is front lever hold, so good form 10 seconds front lever hold is necessary.

Another requirement is pulling strength. I’d say you need ORM (One Rep Max) pull up with 70-80% of your body weight.

What’s interesting, weighted pull ups are not only good for front lever pull ups, but also for the front lever itself. According to this video, where the survey was conducted, 60% of people (24 out of 41) with ORM 65-80% bodyweight can hold the full front lever, and it’s 80% (15 out of 19) of people with ORM more than 90%.

Muscles worked during the front lever pull ups

The front lever pull up works most of the major muscles in the upper body

The primary muscles worked in front lever pull ups are:

  • latissimus dorsi
  • biceps brachii
  • Core

Additional secondary muscles worked include:

  • forearms
  • rhomboids
  • trapezius

How to perform front lever pull ups

Step-by-step guide on how to do front lever pull ups

  1. Hang on the bar with shoulder width grip (use a false grip to make exercise easier)
  2. Raise your body, so that you’re in a horizontal, facing upwards position (front lever)
  3. From that position, pull yourself up to touch the bar with your hips
  4. Slowly lower yourself down
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions


Find variation you can do at least 5 reps, and train like that, or do negatives and band assisted pull ups with harder variation (also at least 5 reps)


The variations are the same as in the front lever:

  • Tuck front lever
  • Advanced tuck front lever
  • One leg front lever
  • Straddle front lever
  • Full front lever

Negative front lever pull ups

Negatives are the downward half of the pull up, where you lower yourself from the bar. Start in the muscle up / dip position and slowly get into touch front lever, next lower yourself down with the slow and controlled movement

Assisted front lever pull ups

Start with the front lever position with a resistance band placed on your feet. Fold the band in half, grab one end in the left hand and the other end in the right hand, grab the bar with the band in both hands, put your feet inside and do the front lever. With the assistance of the resistance band, exercise requires significantly less strength.

False grip

The false grip consists of wrapping your hands around the bar, which shortens the lever and ROM (Range Of Motion). That makes the exercise much easier and it will be essential if you’re just starting with front lever pull ups.

Even if you don’t plan to learn front lever pull ups, the false grip can increase the time you can hold the front lever and is useful in many other calisthenics exercises. You should try it.

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