Elbow Lever Anatomy

Elbow Lever Anatomy is done by holding your body weight against the elbows meanwhile balancing on the hands with the body outstretched.

This pose is traditionally known to strengthen the abdominal organs. Anatomically, it develops wrist strength and awareness to the surrounding. It is also beneficial for developing strength of spinal extensors.

Along with strength, flexibility is also very important for the execution of this pose. Many people master this pose just by developing flexibility in shoulders, wrists and elbows without additional gains in the strength.

For a proper Elbow Lever progression, you need to know the muscles involved in its execution. This article is all about that. So let’s start with the anatomy behind Elbow Lever.

Muscles Lengthening


Elbow Lever Anatomy

Trapezius rotates, elevates and retracts the scapula. In Elbow Lever, the scapula needs to protract so, Trapezius has to be stretched.


Elbow Lever Anatomy

Rhomboids also assist in retraction of the scapula and bringing the scapulae together but totally opposite happens during the Elbow Lever. Thus Rhomboids also get lengthened.

Muscles Lengthening while Contracting

Flexors of the wrist:

Elbow Lever Anatomy

Flexors of the Wrist contract while lengthening to avoid the wrist from being extended further back so that injury doesn’t occur.

Muscles Contracting

Rectus Abdominis:

Elbow Lever Anatomy

Rectus Abdominis supports the abdominal organs during the Elbow Lever by contracting.

Psoas Minor:

Elbow Lever Anatomy

Psoas Minor is a feel flexor of the trunk. It contracts during this pose.

Psoas Major:

Elbow Lever Anatomy

It is a flexor of the thigh and contracts during the execution of Elbow Lever.


Elbow Lever Anatomy

Diaphragm is the muscle of respiration. It contracts so that person can expire during this tiring activity. It also exerts pressure on abdominal organs.

Spinal Extensors (Lumbar):

Spinal Extensors

The Spinal Extensors of the lumbar region will contract to straighten the lumbar spine so that the body can be in a proper horizontal position.

Gluteus Maximus:


Gluteus Maximus acts as an extensor of the hip to hold it in horizontal position against the gravity.

Adductor Magnus (Ischial Fibers):

Adductor Magnus

The ischial fibers of Adductor Magnus act as an extensor of the leg at hip joint and help in holding the horizontal position of the leg.



Hamstrings are the prime extensors of the leg at hip joint. They will also help to keep the leg straight.

Gluteus Medius (Posterior Fibers):

The posterior fibers of Gluteus Medius also act as an extensor of the thigh and function the same as the other extensors in straightening the leg.

Intrinsic Hand Muscles:

Intrinsic muscles of the hand will act to flex the fingers to make more contact with the ground so that balance can be maintained during the Lever.

Anterior Deltoid:

Anterior Deltoid

Anterior Deltoid helps in flexion of arm at shoulder joint and it’s an important movement for Elbow Lever.

Pectoralis Minor:

Pectoralis Minor does the opposite of Trapezius and that is protraction of the scapula that assists a ton in Elbow Joint.

Pectoralis Major:

Just as Pectoralis Minor, its bigger brother also does the same function as protraction of the scapula specifically during the elbow lever.

Serratus Anterior:

Another protractor of the scapula that contracts during Elbow Lever.

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Subscapularis is one of the rotator cuff muscles and contract to support the shoulder joint to withstand all the weight of the body.

Coracobrachialis Elbow Lever Anatomy:

This muscle flexes the arm at shoulder joint that is important in for executing a perfect Elbow Lever.

Triceps Elbow Lever Anatomy:

Triceps contract so that the arm doesn’t get fully flexed at the elbow joint during Elbow Lever.

Elbow Flexors Elbow Lever Anatomy:

Elbow Flexors like Biceps flex the elbow when the angle at the elbow is 90°.

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