L-Sit Progression Exercises

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L-Sit Progression Exercises

Rhys Morgan

There Are 3 Main Areas of the L-Sit that require attention to develop a strong L-Sit

Shoulder Mobility / Strength

Core Compression / Strength

Hip Positioning / Straight Legs

Each of these have different progression exercises that will help to develop these elements.

When you put them all together all you really need to work on is the time you can hold the L-Sit for. But before then, these progression exercises are what will get you there.

Shoulders

Shoulder strength and mobility is the foundation for your L-Sit. Forget about your core, if your shoulders aren't able to lift you off the ground then you can’t do an L-Sit, it's just that simple.

Use these progression exercises to get your shoulders in shape for the L-Sit.

Straight Arm Support

Sat on the floor in a pike, thats legs straight and together, lift your bum up off the ground by pushing into the ground with your hands.

Here you are going to have your arms straight and so you will be pushing with your shoulders, depressing your scapula.

This is an important exercise to do because you want to be able to test this shoulder depression as you train and progress your L-Sit.

Scapula Dips

Scapula Dips are a shoulder stability exercise that help develop shoulder depression. This is when you push your shoulders down.

This is important because the strength and mobility aspects of this movement are key for lifting your body off the ground in an L-Sit.

On Dipping bars you are going to allow your body to sink in your shoulders, bringing your delts right up into your ears, keeping your arms straight. Then push up as high as possible pushing your shoulders as low as you can.

Repeat for reps.

Seated Scapula Dips

Seated Scapula Dips are similar to normal ones, but you will do them on the floor. You can also use parallettes or a bench / chair in a similar way to bench dips.

Seated on the floor in a pike position as if you were going to do an LSit, push your shoulders down to lift your bum up off the ground. Hold for a few seconds before lowering yourself back to the ground.

Remember to keep your arms straight throughout the exercise so you are isolating your shoulders.

Core Compression

Core compression is the ability to compress your core and lift your legs up towards your head. This is active mobility, not how flexible you are.

Although they are obviously linked, just being flexible does not necessarily mean you have good active mobility.

These progression exercises are going to build strong core compression that will help you master the L-Sit.

Seated Leg Lifts

Seated leg lifts are a great starting core compression drill. Start sitting in a pike position, and place your hands on the ground next to your knees.

Individually lift one leg at a time, bringing your leg as high up towards your face as possible. As you do this make sure you are leaning forward slightly, not leaning backwards.

Seated Pike Lifts

Seated pike lifts are similar to the leg lifts, but you are going to lit both legs together.

Sat in your pike position with your hands by or in front of your knees, lift both legs together as high as you can for reps. One thing you should try to do is to keep your feet from touching the ground for the whole set.

So as you bring your feet back down, stop just shy of the floor and then lift them back up again.

Supported Leg Lifts

Supported Leg Lifts are done on parallettes or yoga blocks. Here you will be actively lifting your trunk off the ground with your shoulders which will also help to develop your L-Sit faster.

When you do supported leg lifts, you will sit with your hips slightly further forwards so your hands will sit by your hips rather than your knees.

This helps you learn to really compress through the upper range of motion, but also teaches you to push your hips forward and through your arms when doing the L-Sit.

Straddle Circles

Straddle Circles are not a direct progression for L-Sits, although they are going to help develop your compression a lot and will improve hip mobility too.

Start sat on the ground in a straddle (legs spread as wide as possible).

Place your hands on the ground in between your legs and lift your feet off the ground.

Make little circles in the air with your feet for reps before resting your legs back on the ground.

Straddle Single Leg Circles

Single legs circles are similar to the ones above, but you do one leg at a time.

Sat in your straddle, turn to one leg and place your hands either side of one leg.

Lift that leg off the ground and just do circles with the single leg.

Straddle Leg Lifts

Similar to the leg lifts above, here you will do a single leg lift in a straddle sit.

Place your hands either side of one leg in your straddle and then lift for reps.

Hip Positioning

The last thing to tackle with your L-Sit is hip positioning. This is really about getting up into a sit and learning to maintain the position by progressively straightening your legs at intervals, just like normal lever progressions.

Some people, especially when they first learn to L-Sit, do so by leaning forward and sticking their bum out behind them. This means they rely purely on core compression instead of strength and stability in the shoulders. This is not really an L-Sit, in an L-Sit you sit upright not leant forwards over your legs.

Isometric L Sit Progression Exercises

Progression 1 - Single Leg Support

The Single Leg Support is one of the best direct progression exercises once you can lift your hips off the floor.

Get into your support and then lift one leg up as if you were doing an L-Sit with one side.

Leave the opposite heel on the ground for a little support, then lean back slightly, bringing your hips back over your hands and taking as much weight as possible onto your hands and shoulders.

Progression 2 - Tuck LSit

Tuck L-Sits are designed to get you up off the ground without needing to straighten your legs and are the first real progression in an L-Sit. Doing a tuck will shorten the length of the lever (hips to toes).

Push up off the ground and bring your knees tight into your chest. You will need to push your hips slightly further through your arms here if you are on the ground, which is actually a great way to increase your stability and hip control in the L-Sit.

Progression 3 - Advanced Tuck LSit

For the advanced tuck L-Sit simply push your legs out a little further, creating a sort of A shape with your legs.

This is going to put more stress on your core and shoulders because it increases the length of the lever slightly.

Progression 4 - Single Leg LSit

The Single leg is the next step in the progression, it is going to help you develop a straight leg in your L-Sit. One of the biggest problems people have with their L-Sit is straightening their legs (particularly guys).

Start in a Tuck L-Sit and then straighten out one leg, squeezing your quads and pointing your toes to work on a nice straight leg.

Progression 5 - Advanced Single Leg Sit

Advanced single legs are where you don't tuck your knee right into your chest, instead your tucked leg will be inline with your straight leg, and your lower part of the leg will hang vertical under your knee.

This is really the last step on the progression scale and will need to be done either hanging or on dipping bars because on the floor or parallettes you will have your foot on the floor.

Progression 6 - LSit Below 90

One of the main advantages of progressing your L-Sit on dipping bars is being able to hold below horizontal.

Holding the L slightly low will help you train everything needed to hold it in the right position.

Training a slightly low L-Sit for time will help build the strength to hold for time, when you manage to get your legs horizontal with the other progression exercises.

Progression 7 - Full LSit

The last step of the progression is to put your feet together and do that full L-Sit.

Isometric Exercises are one thing but you also want to bridge the gap between them and really condition your LSit with dynamic exercises rather than just holds.

Dynamic L Sit Progression Exercises

Dynamic Progressions are exercises where you move through a range rather than hold a single position.

This is going to help you build strength beyond what the Isometric hold will allow though obviously the L-Sit is held at the most difficult position, not at the easiest.

Dynamic Progressions will help you train the hold whilst also making strength gains that would otherwise not be made, and will make the whole development towards the L-Sit a lot faster.

Training these exercises on regular strength days and strength workouts will not help just balance your body but it will enable you to continue progressing our skill even when that isn't the exact goal of the particular workout.

Progression 1 - Tuck Raises

Tuck Raises are a low level core exercise that will help you build a solid core and develop the strength to tackle full straight leg raises.

They make a good progression for the L-Sit too because you are building strength through the full range of movement rather than strength in a single position

On dipping bars, lift your knees right up into your chin and push your hips through your arms to get as high up as possible.

Progression 4 - Leg Raises

Supported leg raises are basically just the straight leg variation of tuck raises.

Similar to hanging Leg Raises, you are going to lift your legs as high as possible, using strength not swinging your body.

Doing this in support is going to train the harder L-Sit variations rather than training it hanging which will mostly just help hanging L-Sits

Progression 5 - Tuck Twists

Tuck Twists are a great tuck L-Sit variation that will build core strength and help teach you to really push your hips through your arms.

Get into your tuck LSit, when you are stable, rotate your hips to one side, moving your knees as far over as possible, before rotating back the other way as far as you can.

Be careful with this exercise as it can encourage you to bend your arms, which you want to avoid

Progression 6 - LSit Bicycle Kicks

Bicycle Kicks are another exercise that are technically a variation, but they are really useful for developing the strength to hold the L-Sit for longer.

Get into a Single Leg L-Sit, when you are stable, switch legs so the opposite leg is now straight.

Switch back to the first leg, and then again to the second and continue for reps.

Aim for 10-20 reps of switches or bicycle kicks.

Isometric Exercises are one thing but you also want to bridge the gap between them and really condition your LSit with dynamic exercises rather than just holds.

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Rhys Morgan

Hey, I'm Rhys and I'm the Coach at MoreThanLifting I am a Personal Trainer, Gymnast & Calisthenics Coach from London. I help people get into great shape with bodyweight strength and skill training.

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