In the past few years, people have been all about planks. They’re like the superheroes of core exercises, leaving crunches and sit-ups in the dust. But guess what? There’s a new hero in town, and it’s called the L-sit.

What is L-sit? An L-sit is a challenging bodyweight exercise that targets the core muscles, particularly the abs and hip flexors. In an L-sit, you sit on the ground or on parallel bars and lift your legs straight out in front of you, forming an “L” shape with your body. Your hands are usually placed by your hips for support. It requires significant strength and stability in the core, arms, and shoulders to maintain the position.

L-sits are commonly seen in gymnastics and calisthenics routines, as they are effective for developing core strength and overall body control. On the other hand, planks are also really great. They’re everywhere you look in the gym. You walk in, and there’s always someone grinding away, holding a plank and checking the time like their life depends on it.

But let’s talk about the L-sit. It’s like the hidden gem of core exercises. You don’t see it as often, mostly popping up in places like gymnastics gyms. But when you do spot it, you know it’s serious business.

Here’s the thing about L-sits—they’re tough. Like, really tough. But here’s the catch: if you’re serious about getting that core of steel, they’re a must-do exercise. So buckle up, because we’re about to dive into why L-sits are so awesome, how to do them right, and how to build up to them if you’re not quite there yet. Trust me, your core will thank you later.

Now, let’s really focus on this exercise. Right below, athletes and coaches are going to walk you through all the reasons why the L-sit is so awesome. They’ll also show you the right way to do it and how to build up to it step by step. Let’s face it, most folks won’t nail it the first time around, but that’s okay! We’ll guide you through it.

General things about L-sit

L-sit tutorial
L-sit tutorial

How to do L-sit?

Alright, if you’re using two boxes, benches, or parallettes for this exercise, here’s how to set them up: make sure they’re a bit closer together than your shoulders are wide.

  • Stand right between them and put your palms on each side, directly under your shoulders.
  • Keep your arms straight and lock your elbows in close to your sides. Pull your shoulder blades down and away from your ears, and really engage those muscles in your sides and back.
  • Then, push down into your palms, tighten up your core, and lift your legs off the ground. Make sure they’re straight and together, and try to get them parallel to the ground, or as close as you can.
  • Once you’re up there, hold that position! Keep your knees straight, squeeze your thigh muscles together tightly, point your toes, and look straight ahead to keep your neck in a neutral position.
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Try to hold the L-sit for a total of 30 seconds each set. If you need to take a break, that’s okay—rest for about 10 to 20 seconds whenever you need to. As you get stronger, you can gradually increase the time you hold the L-sit, aiming for 45 seconds, then 1 minute, and even longer as you progress.

L-sit muscles worked

The L-sit is different from a lot of other core exercises because it doesn’t just focus on one part of your body. Nope, it works a whole bunch of muscles all at once! It targets not only your abs and obliques (those side muscles), but also your hip flexors, quads (those big muscles in your thighs), triceps (the muscles on the back of your arms), shoulders, pecs (your chest muscles), and lats (the muscles on your sides and back).

That’s a whole lot of muscles getting a workout! And because the L-sit can tire out so many muscles in such a short amount of time, it’s like getting a big bonus from just one exercise. So, if you’re short on time but want a killer workout, the L-sit might just be your new best friend!

The key L-sit benefits

Provides functional support

One of the coolest things about the L-sit is how much it makes your core muscles work. And let me tell you, having a strong core is super important for more than just getting those six-pack abs. It helps you stand up straight, keeps your spine and pelvis steady, gives power to your arms and legs, and even shields you from potential injuries. Yep, having a rock-solid core comes with some serious perks.

Experts say that your core muscles are some of the most crucial ones in your whole body. You use them all the time, whether you’re picking up something from the ground, tying your shoes, hopping in and out of your car, or simply sitting down on the toilet. So, giving them a good workout with exercises like the L-sit is totally worth it.

Improves quality of other exercises

The L-sit isn’t just about giving your core a workout; it actually engages lots of different muscles all over your body. This means that when you practice L-sits, you’re not only strengthening your core but also improving your overall fitness. And here’s the cool part: this improvement can spill over into other exercises you’re already doing in your workout routine.

So, if you start adding L-sits to your routine, you might notice that you’re getting better at moves like handstand push-ups, regular push-ups, toes-to-bar, deadlifts, and barbell squats. It’s like a bonus boost for all those exercises you’re already doing!

Supports spine health

Doing L-sit supports spine health
Doing L-sit supports spine health

Working multiple muscle groups all at the same time is awesome, but what’s even cooler is how you’re working them. It’s called isometric exercise, which means you’re holding your muscles in one position without moving them.

Here’s the deal with isometric exercises: they recruit your muscles without making them longer (that’s called eccentric exercises) or shorter (that’s called concentric exercises). So, when you’re doing isometric exercises like the L-sit, you’re basically flexing your muscles without actually moving them.

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This kind of exercise is super helpful for building up strength and stability in the middle part of your body, which is really important for protecting your spine and making sure you can transfer power to your arms and legs when you need to. It’s like giving your body a solid foundation to work from.

How to add L-sits to your routine

General advice

If you’re planning a workout for conditioning, L-sits might not fit right in. See, they’re more about practicing a skill and building strength by holding a certain position.

  • Instead of throwing them into the middle of your circuit or WOD, try including them in a workout that’s all about working your core.
  • Or even add them to your warm-up or cool-down routines.
  • Once you’re done with your main workout, give L-sits a shot.
  • Try doing three sets of holding an L-sit position for as long as you can manage, with a 90-second break in between each set.
  • Don’t worry if you can’t hold it for as long in each set—L-sits are tough, and it’s normal for your endurance to decrease as you go on.

And guess what?

  • You don’t need any fancy equipment for L-sits.
  • You can even practice them at home, every morning when you wake up, and every evening before you hit the hay.

It’s a great way to keep working on your strength and skill, no matter where you are!

Choose suitable L-sit variations for you

Here are some ways to modify the L-sit depending on your fitness level

Chair L-sit
Chair L-sit

Beginners: Chair L-sit

If you’re just starting out, try this beginner-friendly version. Sit on a chair and place your hands right next to your hips. Make sure your arms are completely straight. Lift your butt off the chair so it’s just hovering above the seat. Now, extend one leg out in front of you and hold it there. It’s okay if your leg isn’t completely straight at first. Keep the other foot on the floor. Try to hold this position for about 30 seconds, then switch legs and do it again.

Intermediate-level exercisers: Tuck position

If you’ve already got some core strength under your belt, you can try the tuck position. Sit on the ground and lift your feet off the floor. Bend your knees and bring them in close to your chest. Keep your arms straight by your sides. This is the tuck position. Try to hold it for as long as you can. Once you’re comfortable here, you can work your way up to the full L-sit.

Advanced exercisers: Ring L-sit

If you’re feeling confident with the regular L-sit on stable surfaces like boxes or benches, it’s time to up the challenge. Try doing an L-sit on a pair of hanging rings. Because the rings can swing, your core and shoulders have to work even harder to keep you steady. And if that’s too easy for you, you can take it up a notch with an L-sit rope climb or an L-sit pull-up. These exercises will really put your strength and stability to the test!

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Do you know that L-sit is one of the best workouts for a perfect flare? Want to discover more? Check out this YOUTUBE video now!

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