Elbow Levers

September 6, 2011 // Al Kavadlo

Al Kavadlo Elbow Lever
The elbow lever is a unique hand-balancing skill that will challenge your core strength as well as your coordination.

It’s a great skill to practice concurrently while learning the freestanding handstand, but it also looks pretty neat in its own right.

Before attempting an elbow lever, I recommend getting comfortable with the crow pose. Once you can hold a crow for 10 seconds or longer, you may be ready to move onto the elbow lever.

As the name implies, an elbow lever is performed by leveraging your bodyweight against one or both elbows while balancing on your hand(s) with your body stretched out in a horizontal position. Though it looks similar to a planche, the elbow lever is a less difficult skill due to the fact that your upper-body is resting on your arm(s).

Elbow Lever Technique
Make sure to keep your abs contracted and engage your lower back as you raise yourself off the ground. It is also important to pitch your upper-body forward in order to counterbalance the weight of your bottom half.

Though this move can be performed on a variety of surfaces, I recommend starting out by practicing on a bench, step or any other flat, raised object. This will allow you more room to lift your legs into position, as opposed to the limited amount of space when starting with your hands on the floor.

It may take some time to get used to the sensation of having your elbows jutting into your abdomen; beginners tend to find it especially unpleasant. With practice, however, you can eventually learn to make peace with it.

One Arm Elbow Lever
Though breakdancers and other skilled hand-balancers have a way of making this move seem effortless, the one arm elbow lever is a very challenging feat, so be patient if you endeavor to add this one to your arsenal.

Just like the two arm version, start out by simply trying to get your feet off the floor to get a feel for the balance before attempting to fully extend your body.

It may be helpful to spot yourself with your free hand in the beginning by reaching it to the side and resting one or several fingers on the surface upon which you are balancing.

Holding your body in a triangular formation with your legs in a straddle can make it a bit easier to find the balance with this exercise. With practice, you’ll improve to the point where you can work on bringing your body into a straight line.

Watch the video below for more: