all posts post new thread

Bodyweight L-sit (Regressions and Progressions)

SamTX

Level 5 Valued Member
My current programming has me attempting L-sits a few times a week. I am looking for any good resources on regressions progressions for this skill. Whatever combination of flexibility, strength, and neurological firing that is supposed to be going on ain't happening and I need help.

Also, has anyone made progress with a GTG approach to L-sits?
 

Boris Bachmann

Level 7 Valued Member
I'm sure resources would have other ideas, but here are a few: high knee marching, high kick marching, alternating knee-ups off end of bench, double knee ups off end of bench, alternating leg v-ups off end of bench, v-ups off end of bench, hanging knee ups, hanging leg raises, L-sits (one leg off ground alternating), L-sits w. feet starting on foam or w. feet assisted by bands
 

Stephen B.

Level 4 Valued Member
You can start doing L-sit holds or raises with your legs bent. The more bent they are, the easier the leverage is.

If you’ve been attempting L-sits on the floor, you can move two chairs together for makeshift paralell bars.

Flexibility could easily be your issue as well, it will probably take some experimentation to figure that out.
 

Lotto

Level 5 Valued Member
1. First try to perform a bent-knee sit, which is exactly what it sounds like. Practice on an elevated surface.
2. To progress, try extending one leg at a time, and eventually both.
3. When you are proficient in that, move to the ground and try to hold your L-Sit there.
 

klk

Level 1 Valued Member
these are much easier to learn on p-bars or dip bars or, as stephen b. says, chairs or something improvised. both legs bent is first position. when you can hold that for fifteen or twenty seconds, while speaking, then begin straightening one leg. repeat.

flexible hamstrings and hip flexors make these much easier. and these can be really hard on the hip flexors, esp the psoas. psoas releases b4 and after may be helpful.

remember to pack your shoulders and open your chest.
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
L-sit requires a few things:

-enough flexibility to get the legs to 90. If this is an issue, then I respectfully suggest you start stretching. If stretching doesn't help, then your issue is likely something a sports physio might be able to help with.

-core strength. This, imo, is the easiest part of the L-sit.

-the oft-overlooked tricep strength and the ability to generate depression of the scapulae. If you have dip bars, p-bars, two sturdy chairs, or anything that will support your weight, start doing top-supports. A top support is a gymnastics term for simply holding your body verticle by the arms only. It's like the top of a dip, but the elbows should be locked out and the shoulders pushed firmly down away from the ears (depression). One thing you can do here is start to do knee tucks and progress to straight legs.

remember to pack your shoulders and open your chest.
I'm not so sure about this. Most everything you would ever do in an L-sit requires protracted and depressed shoulders (pressing up to handstand or bent arm stand, etc). To get the hips flexed, the hips themselves will have to come slightly behind the line of the arms, putting the shoulders into a protracted position. If one wants to progress to manna (which like 1/10,000 people can do) then they would start opening the chest. The demands on the triceps, rear delts, and more for an open chest (retracted position) are probably exponentially higher than a plain old L-sit. I respectfully would not recommend an "open chest" for a beginner.

To train an L-sit, you can break it apart into pieces (top supprts and hanging leg raises, etc) or you can train easier variations and progress them over time. An easy progression scheme for the latter would be to find a variation that you can hold for around 10-20 seconds. Start with like three rounds, and gradually add rounds as you get stronger. You want to accumulate about 60 seconds total time. When you can do 2-3 rounds of 20-30 seconds, make the progression harder.

Hope it helps!

Edit: here's a simple demonstration of progressions:
 
Last edited:

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
An excellent choice that I am working on as well. The reason it is such a good choice and so difficult is the broad range of prerequisites required. Here is what I have found that you could look into.

1. Test how far you can raise your leg and hold from a standing position. Martial artists use this because flexibility and strength issues are sometimes confused in high kicks. You should have good motor control of the raised leg and enough strength to hold it. Often people can hold their bodyweight on a dip bar but can't hold up their legs straight. That beg's the question where the strength deficit is.

2. Hanging leg raise. Addresses core strength and hip flexor strength at the same time.
3. Do L-sit pullups. Just raise your leg as high as you can.
3. Dip bar holds. Simply raise yourself into the right position and engage the scapular and keep pushing so your shoulders do not shrug. Like the flexed arm hang, you might feel yourself start shaking. This seems to work the biceps really well as well. Any straight arm strength does.
4. Tricep isolation work. Make sure to fully lockout the triceps rather than keep the elbow bent.
5. Test your hamstring flexibility buy lying down and then seeing how high you can raise your leg. It is a basic part of the FMS screen. Yoga straps can help work this.

I suggest searching for "scapular strength" on youtube for workouts for gymnasts. This is a game changer. There are a lot of interesting exercises from gymnasts.

GTG.

1. Simply support your weight with parallettes or pushup handles. This could be a work break depending on your work environment.
2. Raise your leg straight from a sitting position and hold with your toes pointed. If this is harder than you thought then hip flexor, leg strength and mobility issues need to be addressed.


The best thing about this exercise is that it helps so many things even if like me you have not achieved one rep yet.

There are lots of sources of information online about progressions, but I find that in most cases, taking apart the movement and figuring out where the deficit is and addressing that and then rebuilding with the full progression to be a more effective strategy.

Good luck. I hope we can both achieve it one day.
 

ali

Level 6 Valued Member
Already mentioned, loads of progressions....general movement progressions or specific to you? ie your weak point.
Also, floor L sits, or bars or rings....above or below bar/rings ie hanging leg raise. Different name but same but different. Pavel has written a lot about hlrs so sure there will be reference on the forum/blog....bulletproof abs is the book I think.

A standing leg raise is a fantastic drill in its own right. Raise one leg to 90 and hold whilst standing. Can't get to 90, hold at height you can reach and work on some flexibility.
I dunno what a 'good' time would be that would give you an idea of suitable strength. I would think, sort of guess really that 30 seconds single leg hold with leg at 90 is perfectly adequate. Given that a lot of people couldn't balance for a minute on one leg, doing so with other leg at 90, tight yet relaxed breathing, isn't easy either. Tighten quads, point toes. Build into the height you can obtain and add holding time.
I do these regularly..for leg sprint strength and hold for 1 minute but dunno where a target time should be for l sit.

Yup single leg knee lifts too if elevated, move to extending leg as leverage increases....working on the straight leg strength is good prep for this.
Top position holds, bars or rings (on books/chair if using) and really focus on pushing down. More challenging on rings obvs. As mentioned already.


So.....
Straight arm holds (or hangs) with knee lifts.
Single leg strength whilst standing (for just hip flexor and leg strength).
Ab wheel or hollow body holds for direct ab.

Do that for a bit 3x week idea.
Once strong in each Combine and you'll have a L sit.

Or do progressions of the move in a oner.

No idea if one is better than the other.

Also...don't be put off if doing floor l sits and you need to raise your arms on blocks. Anatomical considerations...you may have short arms relative to torso! Or use fists or on fingers rather than palms.
 

SamTX

Level 5 Valued Member
flexible hamstrings and hip flexors make these much easier. and these can be really hard on the hip flexors, esp the psoas. psoas releases b4 and after may be helpful.
Sounds like I may need to swap my preferred cardio (running, biking) for something else if I want to keep my hip flexors from getting too tight. I've got to keep my cardio up (for mental, and cardiopulmonary reasons) so I will need think through this a bit....
 

Boris Bachmann

Level 7 Valued Member
Sounds like I may need to swap my preferred cardio (running, biking) for something else if I want to keep my hip flexors from getting too tight. I've got to keep my cardio up (for mental, and cardiopulmonary reasons) so I will need think through this a bit....
I don't think you'll have to give up those activities - just make sure to address the tightness issues. Most people have tight hamstrings anyway, and things like L-sits, pistols, etc really have a way of exposing that.
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
The long torso, short arm struggle is real.
I used to teach gymnastic strength training and handstands and stuff. Without seeing a picture of you trying it, I feel pretty confident saying that's much more in your head than you think. If you can sit on the floor and touch your palms to the floor next to you, you can train to do an L-sit.

Below is a video with an exercise that will help you with the L-sit, and an exercise that will work the opposite motion.

-Regarding the bodyweight reverse hypers: they touch on this, but I want to add something. You want the glutes and hamstrings to work before you feel anything in your low back. If you get a low back pump with this, you may be lifting the legs too high, too fast. The cue I would try is to think about reaching your toes as far back towards the wall behin you, making your legs as long as possible. Think "make the legs as long as possible," not "swing them up."

 

SamTX

Level 5 Valued Member
I used to teach gymnastic strength training and handstands and stuff. Without seeing a picture of you trying it, I feel pretty confident saying that's much more in your head than you think. If you can sit on the floor and touch your palms to the floor next to you, you can train to do an L-sit.

Below is a video with an exercise that will help you with the L-sit, and an exercise that will work the opposite motion.

-Regarding the bodyweight reverse hypers: they touch on this, but I want to add something. You want the glutes and hamstrings to work before you feel anything in your low back. If you get a low back pump with this, you may be lifting the legs too high, too fast. The cue I would try is to think about reaching your toes as far back towards the wall behin you, making your legs as long as possible. Think "make the legs as long as possible," not "swing them up."

I stumbled on this video a week back and incorporated some of the drills. Are these drills appropriate for GTG style training?
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
I stumbled on this video a week back and incorporated some of the drills. Are these drills appropriate for GTG style training?
I think so. I wouldn't put the L-sit in the "pure strength" category; it definitely has somewhat of a skill component to it. As such, practicing component exercises throughout the day should work. Just be sure to follow the GtG rules and stay feeling fresh with it. Also, it's been said a few times in this thread already, but be sure to get hip extension in some form too. Do your GtG set of L-sit exercise and then do a quick stretch or some kind of glute drill to open the hip back up.

As a sort of side note: From my observations, it doesn't seem like anterior pelvic tilt is really an issue among gymnasts and calisthenics athletes because many of the skills require posterior pelvic tilt (PPT)to be considered "clean form." That goes for any sort of pushup, front lever variation, planche, or handstand. Once again, though, just my own observations.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
My current programming has me attempting L-sits a few times a week. I am looking for any good resources on regressions progressions for this skill. Whatever combination of flexibility, strength, and neurological firing that is supposed to be going on ain't happening and I need help.
There are lots of things you can do.

I like standing toe touches to warmup/stretch.

Use aerobic steps or apple boxes. (bhphoto.com and search apple box if you don't know what they are and/or need to get.) If you're really new to these, use a couple of sturdy chairs. The idea here is to not have to raise your legs as much as if your hands were on the floor. Work up to something decent in terms of time of hold, reps, etc., then progress to using something lower.

At the bottom, doing them on your fists can be easier than fingertips which is easier than palms on the floor. As above, it has to do with you being lower to the ground making the movement harder.

HLR (hanging leg raise), bar or rings, can be a good assistance movement for L-sits. Pullups in a L-sit are a good variation.

Remember that the closer to 90 degrees you are, the more of your weight will be in front of you and your hips will need to be further back to keep your balance.

If GTG, be careful to choose a version that's not a limit effort, and then be careful to build up volume gradually.

Hope this is helpful.

-S-
 

Karen Smith

Level 6 Valued Member
Master Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Iron Maiden
My current programming has me attempting L-sits a few times a week. I am looking for any good resources on regressions progressions for this skill. Whatever combination of flexibility, strength, and neurological firing that is supposed to be going on ain't happening and I need help.

Also, has anyone made progress with a GTG approach to L-sits?
Would you happen to have a video to be assessed? Seeing what you are currently doing might help with recommendations on what is missing and what progressions and drills would be best and most beneficial for you. Please feel free to email me a video if you do not want to post one here for us to assess. :)
 
Top Bottom