A Little Leverage

cropped-stretch_balance_1024You may be familiar with this image, which appears at the top of every page on this blog. It shows an example of ‘levers’ – they rarely appear in normal artistic or acrobatic gymnastics competitions but, for cabaret/circus, we love ’em!

This morning, at first light, I watched from our bedroom window as Ivo, the guy who introduced me to the Oak Ridge acro scene and partner of Dave’s brother Pete, cycled off, shirtless as usual, to do a shift in the warehouse before his later duties as a coach at the gymnastics centre: Ivo’s pony tail swaying across his powerful back…

Pete, at a loose end and horny, came in to Dave and I to ‘play’ for a while, but that is another story…

Ivo developed a hair-hanging routine – he’s the only one of us that has enough hair to do that! – and not only does he support his own weight, but that of a second guy, performing a series of ‘levers’ hanging from Ivo’s feet. That is usually Ethan or Jack as they are the lightest weight.

So today our pictures celebrate the art of the lever. This requires powerful shoulders, arms, upper chest and back muscles, combined with good ‘core strength’ (abdomen and lower back plus upper legs) – which enable you to hold your body out in a horizontal position and seemingly defy gravity. The Eastern European boys who do ‘street workouts’ on horizontal bars are the absolute masters of levers, and develop amazing bodies as a result. Levers can involve two or even more people.

So, here we go: above the bar first…


Off the end…


Who needs a bar at all?


Now let’s double up a different way, carefully balancing out the weight to keep both guys (nearly!) horizontal:


Two triples next:


Half levers here, but impressive:


Do make use of any available equipment to practice…



I particularly like this next one… need to be careful not to throttle your supporter, of course…


Another interesting example of a human support (I need the performer to get his legs together, though (coach speak again!):


Over the bar… and under…


A vertical hold, for  a change:


So there you are: a dozen assorted ‘levers’. Our own adventures into acrobatics are detailed in the following, along with a lot of gay stuff and some adventure as well.

Loving the Boy: ISBN 978-1-907732-30-0

The Power of Love: ISBN 978-1-907732-41-6

Against All Odds: ISBN 978-1-908645-35-7

To finish, an example where we DO use levers in gymnastics:


…and an extreme two-fingered gesture!

two fingers only

About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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