How to do an l sit: benefits, progressions and variations

l sit

The L-sit is a bodyweight movement. L-sits are tough, but if you want to improve your core strength and stability, you should try it out.

But even if you are already very strong, L-Sit is a real challenge because it is not just about strength. Yes, you need strength all over your body (basically from head to toe), but you also need the right amount of flexibility and control to do it right.

At first glance, L Sit may seem impossible to beginners, don’t let that scare you – L-Sit can be fully achieved if you follow the steps, I will show you below. In this guide, we will take you through a series of L sit progressions. With practice and less time than you think, you will be able to do L Sit freely.

L-Sit Benefits of Exercise

Once in the air, it doesn’t get very easy, but we do promise that the benefits are worth the challenge.

This is a full body exercise, the specific muscles targeted are the abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, quads, triceps, forearms, scapular muscles, pecs, deltoids and the lats.

Maintaining the L-shape while holding your body up engages all muscles in your body, with your abs, spine and hip flexors being particularly worked hard. Also, you will look like a perfect stud in the gym, l-sit progression strengthens these muscles, which in turn strengthen the spine.

The best part is that you are working them isometrically holding them in one place for a while. Basically, it flexes the muscles without actually moving them.” This exercise improves strength and stability, which protects your spine.

L-Sit progressions

L-sits can be done on the floor without using equipment or using a set of parallette (sometimes called dip bars), hanging rings, or two boxes or benches of the same length. Because the L-sit is so hard, it is best to start with some progressions to get you to the point where you can hold your body off the floor on your own. There are six progressions that can get you there. Once you hold the first progression for one minute without interruption, you can move on to the next.

  1. Both Feet on the floor
  • Keep your feet on the floor, practice pushing your hands down, your shoulders back and down away from your ears.
  • Be sure to keep your hips directly under your shoulders.

This progression will help you get the right form in the upper body, which will help you progress overtime.

  1. Bringing one foot off the ground
  • Start in the position you just worked on, with your feet on the ground.
  • Take one foot off the ground at a time, maintaining an angle on your knee and pointing your toes. Just bring your foot up slightly.
  • Keep your chest up – do not let your chest forward to meet your knee.
  • Make sure you practice both feet.

With this exercise, you will begin to feel more weight in your hands, and maintain proper posture with a few points of support.

  1. Tuck Position
  • The next step is to tuck.
  • Work on both feet at the same time. If you have a problem with this, start by working up to your toes and work on bringing one leg up at a time, until you can get into a full position.

This progression is where you will really start to feel how your whole body is engaged (if you do it right).

  1. Slight Leg Extension
  • From a standing position, work to extend one leg at a time.
  • The key here is not to fully extend your leg fully at first. As you progress overtime you can then extend fully.

Working on this routine will help you strengthen your legs, preparing you for a perfect L-Sit.

  1. One Leg Extension
  • Now, you will work on fully extending one leg at a time, slow and controlled.
  • Try to hold each side for at least five seconds.

This is the final process before reaching the full L-Sit, and is an important step in this process. You will see how fully extending one leg can make you lose your balance, so make sure you to move with control.

  1. Full l sit with your palms down on the floor by your sides.

Point your fingers forward and spread it out as if trying to hold the ground. Brace your abs and tighten your glutes and lift yourself off the floor. Leaning on your chest a little forward will help with your balance, but there is nothing we can do with the screaming muscles in your abs and hip flexors. Then hold that position. Don’t worry if you can’t stay longer than ten seconds – with time you will.

Variations of L-Sit
  • Gymnastic rings l sit

“L-Sit… Sjuuuuuukt jobbig! #ringar #träning #träningsvärkimorgon” by svenfelt is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

L-sit works very well for those who works using exercise rings. It works your arms, shoulders and spine more effectively than the standard L-sit because it supports your body in rings, rather than on the ground, so your muscles have to work harder to hold the position.

Begin by getting into a dip position, supporting your body with your arms straight and at your sides. Your legs should be extended out with your feet together. Lift your legs up until they are parallel to the ground.

You can lift one leg at a time or bend your knee for an easier version of this exercise.

  • Hanging knee raise

This variation does not work the arms and shoulders in the same way as the classic L-sit because you hang from a bar rather than holding yourself up from the floor, but it will help you strengthen your core and help you build on the L-sit or hanging knee raise.

Use an overhand grip when hanging from the bar. Bend your knees and raise your legs until your thighs are level with the ground, hold for a moment, then lower them slightly.

  • Elevated l sit

l sit

“Annie Thorisdottir does an l-sit” by Anthony Topper is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Doing an L-sit on a gymnastic ring or dips bar – also known as the hanging leg raise – is easier than doing them on the floor, so it can help you build up to the right L-sit. To do the l-sits on the bars or rings, first lift your body, then bring your legs straight in front of you.

  • V-hold

This exercise is a great way to strengthen your abs to prepare you for an L-sit. Sit down, then lean back slightly and lift your legs straight so that your body forms a V.

  • Tuck sit

The tuck sit is another useful step on the road to the perfect L-sit. The Exercise is almost the same, but you bend your legs and bring your knees to your chest, making your position more stable so that the lifting part is easier.