How To L-Sit: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

The L Sit is a pretty impressive skill. To support your whole body on your hands is no mean feat, and it takes a lot of strength and coordination to sit strong in shape.

L Sits are a challenging but attainable skill that will unlock many more exercises for you to progress further. They will shred your core and shoulders; and they will help you learn isometric breathing early on.

Unlike a lot of common isometric exercises link the plank, you will need a lot of energy to train these at first, you are going to be tightening up your entire body.

After trying this exercise you will quickly realize the power that isometric exercises have and the potential they have to build superhuman strength.

How To L Sit

Learn To L Sit In 5 Simple Steps

When you look at an Lsit, it doesn’t really look like much is going on. You’re basically just sitting down and lifting your feet off the floor, right?

There is actually a lot going on and although you can lean it really quick, it does take some work.

Step 1 – Seated Pike

To do an L Sit you need to start in a piked (legs straight out in front of you) seated position on the floor.

Step 2 – Hand Placement

Place your hands on the floor by your hips and straighten your arms – It’s important to keep them locked out.

Step 3 – Engage Your Shoulders, Lift Your Bum

Keeping your arms locked, lift your bum off the floor with your shoulders by driving your hands into the floor.

Step 4 – Bring Your Legs Up

With your shoulders supporting your torso, tighten your core to lift your feet up off the ground. Keep your legs straight and point your toes to tighten up your legs.

Step 5 – Hip Positioning

When you are up, try to bring your hips through your arms, slightly in front of your hands, to keep your feet up off the ground.

Like I said, there is a surprising amount of things going on in the L Sit. Although it is quite a simple skill, it may a lot of work going into training it, if you haven’t set yourself up right to start off.

But don’t worry, I am going to walk you through all of that now . . .

The Anatomy Of The L Sit

The 3 Key Elements To L Sit Success

There are 3 elements to the L Sit that you will need to train to master this awesome isometric skill.

  • Shoulder Mobility
  • Core Hip Flexion
  • Back Stability

Shoulder Mobility

You need to be able to move your shoulders down to lift your body off the ground, without that amount of shoulder mobility you will not be able to get off in the first place.

This will come in the form of Scapula Dips and other shoulder stability exercises.

Core Hip Flexion

You need a strong core and hip flexors so you can tighten up your body and lift your legs off the ground. This is the main focus of the L Sit, and you will find your core gets a lot stronger as you develop the hold – but I’m not just talking about your Abs mate.

You may find that your hip flexors start to cramp up when you start doing L Sits, this is because they are probably overactive and so when you tighten them up intentionally the go bloody crazy and start spazzing out.

So Good Quad an Hip Flexor Stretches will make big changes to your L Sit fast.

Back Stability

A solid back will provide the counter stability to maintain balance. This is the last element of the L Sit you will develop, because it takes the other two above to get to this part of the movement.

Pushing your hips forward in the L will begin to develop mobility and strength that will be needed for things like V Sits and L Sit Flutter Kicks.

Don’t worry if you don’t have this level of stability and mobility yet – I started at NOTHING!

When I first tried an Lsit it seemed absolutely impossible, it only took a few focused training sessions to get up into position, but there was a good few weeks of training before I could say I have mastered it.

L Sit Progression Exercises

Get Your L Sit Up To Scratch With These Simple Progression Exercises

To develop your L Sit, you need to work the movement. But there are plenty of exercises you can do that will stimulate the required muscle patterns.

Scapula Dips

Scapula Dips are going to build strong, stable shoulders and help to increase the Range Of Motion to lift you high off the ground.

Either on the floor, chair or dipping bars, get into the supported position. With your arms straight, relax your shoulders so they come right up to your ears.

At the lowest point, keep your arms locked and push as high as you can – don’t jump off though keep your hands firmly planted!

Floor Supported Leg Lifts

These leg lifts can be done at home really easily, and will do wonders for your L Sit development.

Seated on the floor, Engage your shoulders and lift your bum off the floor.

Then, one at a time, lift each leg as high as possible and return to the floor. Repeat for reps slowly and with control.

This is going to build each side of your body into the L Sit position, and will also build your shoulders with the added Isometric hold.

Hanging/Supported Tuck Raises

Tuck Raises, hanging from the bar or supported on parallels, are the initial progressions for Hanging Leg Raises.

These are super powerful core exercises that will also build massive shoulder strength.

In the position engage your shoulders and bring your knees right into your chin. Return to the bottom slowly and finally relax your shoulders. The biggest struggle you have is stopping your body swinging around, but you will find you get better very quickly when you do reps.

Once you master this exercise you are ready to take on the next challenge…

Hanging/Supported Leg Raises

Level 2 of the Tuck Raise is full Straight Leg Raises! This is a Fundamental Exercise for all of your bodyweight training and will develop a solid foundation in your core and shoulders to prepare for the Levers and other Skills.

Just like the tuck, engage your shoulders but bring your legs up straight (point those toes ;)). Get your feet up as high as possible without swinging. Tapping the bar or kneeing yourself in the face is ideal.

Then with the negative, come down slowly and feel your core burn up.

This is an awesome compound exercise and when you first start doing these, your wrists will probably give before anything else.

Tuck Sit

To do the Tuck sit, start as if to try an L sit but bring your heels up into your bum and really tuck your legs up.

The idea is to reduce the lever as much as possible so you can concentrate on supporting your bodyweight rather than having to battle with leverage as well.

L Sits

The final step is to lift and hold instead of doing raises. Get your legs up and tighten everything, point and stay strong to hold the L position!

You’ve done it mate, well done! A fucking strong L Sit!

Once you can hold on dipping bars try it on the floor.

This will be more challenging because you are popping up into the position from rest, rather than hinging into it on the bars. But don’t let that turn you off. 

If you can get it on the bars, you can get it on the floor!

L Sit Variations

Take Your L Sit To The Next Level With These L Sit Variations

In the L Sit you can kick your legs, cycle them or split them (straddle) for reps to work your core even more than a static hold.

Moving in a static hold like this will build strength super fast because your muscles are doing multiple roles at the same time. Holding, moving, and counterbalancing together does wonders to develop the control and cognitive capacity to progress to the serious skills like the planche.

Single Leg L Sit

If you are still struggling to get that L Sit for time, try it with just one leg extended and the other tucked.

This is a common progression variation in all of the advanced skills and levers and can be applied to the L Sit in the same way.

The side with the leg extended will have to work harder, so make sure you do both sides (or you’ll end up walking in circles).

Straddle Sit

Most of the time Straddle support means having your legs outside your arms supporting on them. In this case I mean through your legs.

Start in the L sit position and then spread your legs as far apart as possible, using your shoulders and back to push through with your hips.

L Sit Bicycle Kicks

Bicycle Kicks refer to a pedalling motion you make with your legs as you switch sides between single leg extensions.

Start in the Lsit position and tuck one knee in. Then extend it back out and bring the other knee in (kinda like mountain climbers).

L Sit Flutter Kicks

With flutter kicks, instead of tucking with each leg you are keeping them straight and kicking them up and down as if you were swimming.

Both L Sit flutter kicks and bicycle kicks are a simple way to make your L Sits a lot more challenging.

L Sit Pulls

A solid back will provide the counter stability to maintain balance. This is the last element of the L Sit you will develop, because it takes the other two above to get to this part of the movement.

Pushing your hips forward in the L will begin to develop mobility and strength that will be needed for things like V Sits and L Sit Flutter Kicks.

Holding the L Sit during other movements will increase the stress on your core and often your shoulders, because it changes the shape of your trunk.

L Sit Pulls and hanging holds are great examples of how it changes the shape of the shoulders. Fully straightening your arm in L Sit pulls will be difficult because the Pull movement requires different shoulder positioning to the Hanging position.

L Sit Training Tips

Tips & Techniques To Improve Your L Sit

When training the L Sit there are a few little tips and techniques to apply to improve progression and master this isometric skill.

I am going to take you through some simple tweaks you can make to your exercises that will massively improve your L Sit.

Grip The Ground

Don’t just support yourself on your arms, actively grip the ground with your hands.

This will help you to activate your forearms properly and keep those arms straight and stable.

If you have parallettes or try on dipping bars, you will quickly realize how much easier the L Sit is when you are actively holding on to the bars. This is exactly the same for the floor, only there is less to actually grip with you hands.

Point Those Toes

Pointing your toes isn’t just going to make the L Sit look better than the next guy’s. It will help keep your legs straight, instead of bending slightly.

It will also help you to activate your core properly and really make the most of this skill.

If you aren’t pointing your toes, it is likely your legs are also bent slightly. and although you may think ‘oh well that makes it easier’ the truth is that is is harder to keep your feet of the floor and it isn’t as effective.

If you are pointing your toes,if you are keeping those legs straight, you are going to improve your posture and strength a lost faster, making the move up to V Sits or Russian Levers a lot faster.

Isometric Breathing

Don’t hold your breath! A lot of people I meet who are struggling with the L Sit are really having problems breathing during the hold.

If you are holding your breath you are limiting the duration of your L Sit and limiting the amount of movement you can produce in that position.

The Isometric Breathing technique I teach is a simple way of training yourself to breathe under that stress, when your whole body is squeezed tight, enabling you to go from a 10 second L Sit to a 1 minute L Sit (with flutter kicks maybe ;)).

To learn about the isometric breathing technique, check out my article on it here.

L Sit Transitions

You Can L Sit, Now What? Challenge Your Body In New Ways With These L Sit Transitions

L Sits are more than just a stand alone exercise. Once you have the L Sit in your arsenal, you can mix it into other exercises to increase the difficulty and bring your whole trunk into the movement.

Transitions into and out of the L Sit are fun to learn but very tough. They require a lot of strength and coordination. They will test your patience as much as they will train your body.

L Sit to Handstand

If you can already handstand, you will be able to train that transition. It is definitely easier to come down from a handstand than to get up into one from the L Sit, but both are achievable.

I would recommend doing them on parallettes though because flexibility will often present an issue when trying them on the floor – you would literally need to fold in half, which is a lot harder than just touching your toes!

Dip to L Sit

Dip to L Sits are great because they will help you work your core to the max during a movement exercise.

Joining exercises like this are an easy way to step up your training and the Dip to L Sit is no exception.

Do your Dip, then when you come back up lift straight into an L Sit hold. You don’t need to do it for a long time, I recommend 3 seconds or so.

Then you lower your legs and do another dip. Rinse and repeat for reps.

FREE L Sit Training Workout

Get Your Hands On My Home Core Workout To Master The L Sit

I have put together a great L Sit workout that will help you apply everything on this page, it includes progression exercises and simple rep based work you can do to massively improve the strength of your core and build that strength for the L Sit.

So don’t just leave the page now, pop your email in and get the workout and build that L Sit Today!