The L-sit is a static hold e or body position executed by placing or resting all of the body’s weight on your hands only. You perform this with the torso kept in a slight forward-leaning position; the legs held out horizontally so that both legs form a 90-degree angle with the torso.
This right angle at the hip causes the body to shape like the letter L, hence giving this exercise the name L-sit. While this exercise requires significant shoulder and upper arm strength, it also involves considerable core strength as you need the abdomen muscles to lift the legs and hold them there.
The L-sit is a popular gymnastic maneuver, and it has been for many years. This exercise can be performed using different apparatus. Rings, parallel bars, or even the hands of a supporting adagio partner can serve as supports for this exercise. But for this tutorial, we will be referring to the floor as the support.
First steps to the L-sit
If this is your first time performing the static hold do not jump directly into the exercise but follow these following progressions first. L-sits are far harder to perform than they look. A series of a series of preliminary exercises will help to prepare your muscles to perform this exercise. I will break down this preparatory exercises into six steps. After this steps, you should be well on your way to achieving this exercise quickly.
Start with your feet placed on the ground in a sitting position place hands beside your hips and practice pushing upwards with your arms to lift your butt off the floor. Hold this position for five seconds and repeat making sure that you push with your shoulders facing away from your ears.
Avoid leaning forward or backward at this stage and ensure that your butt remains directly below your shoulders. Repeat until you can easily perform this step.
Beginning in the position described in progression one above, lift one leg off the floor at a time and hold it there for 5 seconds. Ensure to keep your knee at an angle. And avoid leaving forward to meet your knee with your chest. Repeat until you can easily perform this step.
For this next step, practice bringing both legs up to your chest at once. If you encounter some difficulty with this step, simplify it by first coming onto your toes and from that position bringing up one leg after the other until you can easily lift both legs off the ground at the same time.
From the position described in progression three, practice extending one leg at a time. Avoid trying to extend your leg at this point entirely. Instead, slightly increase the angle at your knee, increasing the extension over time. Practice this step until you can reasonably extend your legs.
Don’t forget to alternate between legs,t his will avoid any imbalance.
Now, practice fully extending one leg at a time, and hold this position for five seconds. Alternate legs and do the same on the other leg for the same amount of time. Practice until you can easily perform this step.
At this point, you are ready to attempt a full L-sit. Extend both legs while keeping the rest of your body in place. Be sure to go over every preceding step before this one to avoid injury as this is a challenging position.
If you follow these progressions, you will eventually make enough progress to performing the L-sit. However, as this is a very unnatural position and requires muscular strength that most are not used to, it will be of benefit to work on some exercises to supplement your L-sit progress.
Since this exercise challenges the entire body and works out almost all muscles from your shoulders to your toes, and because the abilities of each varies, you should consider supplementary exercises that will aid your progress with all the steps to perform the L-sit, so as to help you with any of the steps you are finding difficult.
Upper body supplementary exercises:
For these exercises, you will require parallel bars or rings.
- Practice holding your entire body weight on just your hands and holding for 20 seconds. Avoid shrugging your shoulders or bringing your shoulders to your ears. Repeat for 3-5 holds of 20 seconds.
- Now, from the position described above, lower your body at your shoulders while keeping your elbows locked, and then return to the top hold position. Avoid bending your elbows at any point as this exercise requires only the shrugging of the shoulders. Repeat 10-15 times for 3-5 sets
- For this exercise, fully lower your body by bending your elbows and then return to the top hold position. Repeat 10-12 times for 3-5 sets
Lower body supplementary exercises:
Scales: These mimic the strain on the leg muscles caused by the L-sit, but in a standing position. With your hands pointed out at the sides, lift one leg off the floor until it forms a right angle with your body.
Hanging leg or knee raises: With rings or parallel bars, practice lifting your knees to your chest. When you can efficiently perform this, practice lifting your extended legs one at a time until you are comfortable enough to raise both at the same time
Muscles used in L-sit exercise:
As mentioned earlier, this exercise works out almost all muscles of the body and requires significant control and strength. However here is a list of some muscles significantly exercised in this position.
- Hip flexors
- Latissimus Dorsi
- Rhomboids and scapular stabilizers.
The L-sit is one of the most physically challenging positions, but with training and patience, you can progress to performing it with relative ease.
Follow the steps taken to train your muscles for the exercise and also work on the supplementary exercises to aid your progress. In time and with practice, you will be able to perform this maneuver and also benefit from this muscle strengthening exercise.
The L-sit is one of the first static holds you should master before moving on to more challenging holds. Are you able to perform a perfect L-sit already? Let us know in the comments below.