“This is the about the simplest, most bastardized way I can teach you this movement,” Jeff Tucker says of his scaled version of the back lever. On a visit to CrossFit Santa Cruz Central, Jeff gives athletes a taste of the back lever when they hold on to the gymnastics rings in the tuck position. They don’t have a full load because they are not fully extended.
But it’s still important that everything be active and tight. Legs should be engaged and pointed to the sky. That’s because athletes are upside down and under a big load. “We want to control that load. We want to baby step into this,” Jeff says. There should be double spotters and athletes should “absolutely” ask for help. Mental preparation is also important.
Among the cues Jeff uses are: “Over the hips,” “stay tucked,” “commit to the movement,” “look at the horizon,” “look at your stomach,” and “chin on your chest.” Near the end of the movement, the quads should pull away from the chest. The athlete should look up and the back angle should change.
Better known simply as “Tucker”, Jeff Tucker operates GSX Athletics in Fort Worth, Texas. He was head coach and director of Texas Christian University's gymnastics/cheerleading programs from 2001 to 2006 and now conducts CrossFit’s gymnastics certifications.