Learn The L-Sit To Make Your Whole Body Stronger (2023)

When it comes to fundamental bodyweight feats of strength, it’s hard to beat the L-Sit.

Learn The L-Sit To Make Your Whole Body Stronger (1)But even if you’re already quite strong, the L-Sit is really challenging because it’s not just about strength. Yes, you need strength throughout your body (basically from head to toe), but you also need a fair amount of flexibility and control to perform it well.

Don’t let that scare you off, though. The L-Sit is absolutely achievable if you follow the steps I’ll show you below. Plus, since it builds full-body strength and control it’s a great complement to whatever your primary training goals may be.

Learn The L-Sit To Make Your Whole Body Stronger (2)

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L-Sit Progressions: 6 Steps to Success

The biggest mistake people make with the L-Sit is they try to just jump right into it by throwing their legs out in front of them, only to find: L-Sits are a helluva lot harder than they look!

By breaking it down into manageable steps, though, you’ll make good progress.

Here are the progressions I’ve been teaching my students for years. They’ve helped a lot of people master the L-Sit when they didn’t think it was possible.

(Video) Why You Can’t L-Sit Hold (How To Step By Step)

Just a quick note: Although I demonstrate the progressions using parallettes in this video, you do not need p-bars to work on the L-Sit. As I’ll explain further in this article, you can use rings or the floor just as well.

Here are the progressions covered in this video:

1. Both Feet on the Ground

  • Keeping your feet on the ground, practice pushing your hands down, with your shoulders away from your ears.
  • Make sure to keep your butt directly beneath your shoulders.

This first progression is going to help you get the proper positioning in the upper body, which will help you with later progressions.

2. Bringing One Foot off the Ground

  • Start in the position you just worked on, with your feet on the ground.
  • Bring one foot off the ground at a time, maintaining the angle in your knee and pointing your toes. Just bring the foot up slightly.
  • Keep the chest up–don’t lean your chest forward to meet your knee.
  • Make sure to practice on both feet.

With this progression, you’ll start to get a feel for putting a bit more weight through your arms, and maintaining proper positioning with fewer points of support.

3. Tuck Position

  • The next step is the tuck.
  • Work on bringing both feet up at once. If you have trouble with this, first work on coming on to your toes and working on bringing one leg up at a time, until you can get into a full tuck position.

This progression is where you’ll really start to feel how your entire body is engaged in this skill (if you’re doing it right).

4. Slight Leg Extension

  • From the tuck position, work on extending one leg at a time.
  • The key here is not to try to fully extend your leg at first. Just widen the angle of your knee, and work on that over time.

Working on this progression will help you strengthen the positioning of the legs, getting you ready for the full L-Sit.

5. Single Leg Extension

  • Now, you’ll work on fully extending one leg at a time, slowly and with control.
  • Try to hold each side for at least 5 seconds.

This is the final progression before you reach the full L-Sit, and it’s an important step in the process. You’ll see how fully extending even one leg can throw off your balance, so be sure to move with control–don’t muscle through it!

6. Full L-Sit

  • You made it! You’re now ready to work on the full L-Sit, extending both legs at a time while keeping the rest of your body solidly in position.
  • Don’t worry if this position still takes some time to feel comfortable with. Just be patient with yourself and work through it slowly.

If you work through these progressions as recommended, you will make progress toward the L-Sit, but because the strength and positioning required for this skill is so different from what most people are used to, it can be helpful to work on some supplemental exercises.

In the following section, we’ll go over some additional exercises you can work on, depending on where you’re having the most trouble.

(Video) Best Exercises To Increase L-SIT HOLD

Supplemental Exercises to Ramp Up Your Progress

Learn The L-Sit To Make Your Whole Body Stronger (3)As you’ll discover when you start working on L-Sits, this is a skill that challenges pretty much every part of your body, from your shoulders to your toes.

Since we’re all coming from different backgrounds and abilities, you may struggle with one part of it more than another. For some people, the upper body strength and stability is the biggest challenge, while for others, the biggest struggle is keeping the legs elevated and locked out.

Whatever is most challenging for you, the following exercises should help you out.

Supplemental Upper Body Exercises

If you just can’t seem to get the hang of having your upper body support yourself in this way, the following exercises will help.

Top Position Hold• This can be performed on the rings or on dip bars
• Hold for up to 20 seconds, for a total of 3-5 holds
Dip Shrugs• Start at the top of the dip movement, and lower your body while keeping your elbows locked straight, then push up again to get your body up tall, and your shoulder blades pushed down. Note that this is not a full dip, but a shrugging of your shoulders up to your ears, then pressing down.
• Do 10-15 reps for 3-5 sets
Pulling Prep• Perform this move as shown in this video
• Do 10-15 reps for 3-5 sets
Dips• Perform these with a focus on straightening your arms at the top and keeping your chest tall.
• Do 10-12 reps for 3-5 sets

Supplemental Lower Body and Core Exercises

If the demand on the lower body and core strength are holding you back in your L-Sit progress, try adding in the following exercises.

Front Scale• This unique movement simulates the quad and hip flexor positioning of the L-Sit in a standing position.
• Perform holds of 5-10 seconds on each leg for 3-5 sets
Hanging Knee Raises• Using a pull-up bar or dip bars, lift both knees up to your chest and hold for 5 seconds
• Do 10-12 reps for 3-5 sets
• For extra work, maintain scapular depression by pushing hard through the dip bars, or keeping the pull-up prep position on the bar for the duration of the set.
Hanging Single Straight Leg Raise• Using a pull-up bar or dip bar, keep your knee locked out straight and raise it as high as possible while keeping the locked position, and hold for 5 seconds.
• Do 10-12 reps for 3-5 sets
Hanging Double Straight Leg Raise• This is the hardest variation of this exercise. Keep your knees locked out straight throughout the movement, and you’ll see how tough this exercise is, and how it can make your L-Sit very strong.
• Do 10-12 reps for 3-5 sets

Troubleshooting and Key Points for the L-Sit

As you work toward the full L-Sit, and really, no matter what level you’re starting from, keep in mind the following key ideas.

Positioning Cues for the L-Sit

Doing an exercise with proper form is not just for looking pretty–though that helps! The technical details below ensure your entire body is also aligned andworking as a unit.

There are a lot of details I could mention, but it ultimately comes down to the following key points:

Learn The L-Sit To Make Your Whole Body Stronger (4)

(Video) How to L-Sit to Handstand Press | EASY | All Progressions

We discuss the reasoning behind each of these points in this podcast, but if you follow the exercises and progressions listed above, it will be enough to keep these points in mind as you practice.

Practicing L-Sits on the Rings vs. Floor vs. Parallettes

As you’ve likely seen, you can perform the L-Sit either directly on the floor, or supported on parallettes or rings. Each has its own challenges and benefits, but which one is best to work with?

In this video, I’ll show you the differences between performing the L-Sit on the rings vs. the floor vs. the parallettes:

Bottom line: You can practice L-Sits on any of these surfaces and you’ll get all the benefits from training L-Sits.

With that said, many people do like starting their practice using parallettes, for two primary reasons:

  1. The parallettes relieve some of the pressure on the wrists.
  2. One of the common issues we hear is that people think their “arms are too short” to perform L-Sits. In most cases, it’s just an issue of not pressing hard enough. The parallettes make it easier to get the feel for the pressing motion necessary for this skill.

If, however, you don’t have parallettes available, by all means, practice on the ground. Just focus on pressing those shoulders down!

Flexibility Holding You Back?

If you work through the progressions and build the strength you need for the L-Sit, you may find you still have some flexibility restrictions holding you back. Here are the most common issues and how to address them:

  • Tight Hamstrings–This is definitely the most common issue, and it can prevent you from fully extending your legs. Click here to see how to fix your tight hamstrings.
  • Tight Shoulders–If you have trouble pressing your shoulders down due to limited mobility, work on our daily shoulder mobility routine to fix that issue.
  • Tight Back–As we’ve iterated throughout this tutorial, keeping the back straight is important for proper positioning in the L-Sit. If you can’t do that, spend some time on our spinal mobility routine to get your back moving the way it needs to.

Programming L-Sits into Your Routine

I recommend training the L-Sit at least three days a week, either before your regular training session as part of your warm-up, or on its own.

(Video) How to Master The L-Sit to Handstand | Tutorial

  • Start with stretching the areas that you need to (if flexibility is an issue for you).
  • Then practice the progressions in the L-Sit video above, up to the most difficult level you can do, for 3-5 sets of 5 seconds at that level.
  • Next, move on to the supplementary strength exercises. Pick two for the upper body and two for the core and lower body. Rotate through the exercises until you hit the ones that are the most difficult for you, then focus on those to make your L-sit as solid as possible.

Working through it in this manner will help you gain the strength and control for a perfect L-Sit.

Plus, you’ll gain a lot from practicing this skill in conjunction with your other training. You’ll improve your strength and control, which will only make you better at everything else you’re doing.

Get All the Benefits of the L-Sit

Learn The L-Sit To Make Your Whole Body Stronger (5) The L-Sit is a great example of a bodyweight exercise with a lot of benefits. All the little details of proper form and technique require good concentration and awareness of what’s going on with your body, so this position teaches you so much more than just going through the motions.

Our Integral Strength program will help you master the L-Sit and many other bodyweight strength skills in the context of a logical, well-designed program. You’ll build good pressing and straight arm strength, along with explosive strength and endurance. Plus, you’ll have a lot of fun in the process 🙂

Build Total Body Strength

Integral Strength will help you build the kind of strength that carries over into demanding physical skills and dynamic sports. All you need is a pull-up bar and a bit of floor.

Integral Strength Details


Do l sits make you stronger? ›

Muscles Worked By the L-sit

It won't take long to feel the burn when performing this exercise. The great thing about the L-sit is not only is it used to build strength and stability in your core, but it builds up your quads, hip flexors, triceps, and shoulders.

How do you build L-sit strength? ›

Keep the feet further forward in front of the body at the bottom and this is going to prevent any

Can I train L-sit everyday? ›

If looking to master the L-sit, like anything else, you need to practice it! I suggest practicing this maneuver three times per week, at every dryland. Begin at the easiest progression above and progress to the level you are unable to perform. At each level perform 3 sets of 5 seconds.

Is L-sit the best core exercise? ›

The L-sit is a very efficient exercise too, because holding it for just 10 seconds deliver big benefits. It's one of the best abs exercises. It's one of the best core exercises. It's one of the best exercises – period.

How long should I hold L-sit? ›

Final L Sit Progression: The Full L-Sit!

Hold for just a second or two, or longer if you feel comfortable, then draw them back in. Repeat this again and then hold for longer if you can. Don't push yourself too far here and risk injuring yourself! Just holding for a few seconds is a great achievement.

Why is L-sit so difficult? ›

The reason why it is so difficult to perform an exercise that looks easy as the l sit is because it requires a lot of strength and mobility on your entire body. Take a look at the muscles worked while you do this movement. From your back to your legs, passing through your chest, but focusing on your abs.

How do you do an L-sit for beginners? ›

Learn the L-SIT in 10 Minutes! (Beginner Tutorial) - YouTube

Are l-sit pull ups hard? ›

The L-Sit Pull-Up

This exercise is a very challenging movement, requiring core strength, flexibility, upper body strength, and shoulder/scapular mobility to be able to properly pull oneself up to the bar/rings.

What's harder front or back lever? ›

From their own grading scale, A to F, A is the easiest and F is the most difficult. Yes, front and back levers are all basic exercises and basic strength foundations in gymnastics.

How do you get the V sit? ›

The V-sit is achieved by maintaining a straight-arm support position with an elevated pike. This happens when straight-leg hip flexion is held in combination with scapular retraction and depression. Developing a stronger V-sit will: Assist with the ability to press out of seated or squatting positions.

What is a modified L-sit? ›

Modified L Sit Exercise | SPRI Cross Train Parallettes - YouTube

Is sitting the new smoking? ›

Research shows that you can reduce your chances of cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and back pain, all with one simple lifestyle change: reduce the time you spend sitting. "Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting.

Can l sit give you abs? ›

Why Everyone Should L-Sit - For Abs and Performance (Plus Variations)

Is L Sit impressive? ›

Ring L-Sits are great for training and are also a very impressive looking skill if you can get them solid.

Why do my legs hurt when I do l sit? ›

L-Sit Leg Cramps... here's why and what to do about it - YouTube

What is the world record L-sit? ›

The most consecutive L-sit straddle presses to handstands is 406, achieved by Stefanie Millinger (Austria), in Salzburg, Austria, on 8 June 2021. Stefanie, who has achieved multiple Guinness World Records titles, broke her own record of 402, achieved in September 2020.

How long does it take to learn full Planche? ›

How long will it take to get the planche? That depends on your desire to get it, how strong you already are, and how much time you are able to put into it. For some people it could take less than 6 months, while for others, it could take up to 2 years of continued training.

How do I keep my legs straight during L-sit? ›

Can't Do an L-Sit? | Watch This Video - YouTube

Is L-sit easy to learn? ›

Because an L-sit is so difficult, it's best to start with some progressions to get you to the point of being able to hold your body off the floor. According to Antranik Kizirian, a strength and flexibility expert, there are five progressions that can get you there.

Do l sits work lower abs? ›

short answer yes. When you do an L sit correctly (called advanced L sit in the book), the hips are held in flexion while the torso is held rigid. This requires contraction of the hip flexors to flex the hips, while the abdominals and obliques contract isometrically.

Is L-sit on rings hard? ›

The Ring L-Sit is a static strength hold performed on gymnastics rings that intensely trains the abs and core body.
Ring L-Sit.
Primary MuscleAbdominals
OptionalParallel Bars, Ankle Weights
4 more rows

What is the best exercise for core? ›

Most effective core exercises
  • Planks.
  • Leg lifts.
  • Reverse crunches.
  • Russian twists.
  • Bird-dog crunches.
21 May 2022

Does exercise make your skin better? ›

By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital. "Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin," says Marmur.

Why does l sit like that? ›

L replies saying he sits in this particular way to keep his mind sharp. "I don't sit like this because I want to," L said to Light. "I have to sit like this. You see, if I were to sit normally, my deductive skills would immediately be reduced by roughly 40 percent."

Are commando pullups hard? ›

Commando Pull Ups

Due to the smaller space between your hands, you'll have to fight rotational forces in order to stop your body twisting around. These are actually pretty tough and can be a lot more challenging than your standard pull or chin up.

How do you l-sit dip? ›

Dips To L-Sit Tutorial | From Aamir Khan's Dhoom 3 Workout - YouTube

How do you do l ups? ›

L-up. Lay on your back, flex feet, and bring legs up until they are 90 degrees from the floor. Keep core tight, squeeze glutes and thighs together as you lift legs straight up into the air and bring the lower back a few inches off the ground. Take your time and try not to rock!

How long does it take to learn the back lever? ›

Front/Back Levers

Assuming one has a good foundation within calisthenics, a back lever can be achieved within a year. The determining factors here will be the strength of your bicep tendons and the mobility/strength of your shoulders while in extension.

Does back lever build muscle? ›

You'll develop full body strength as you'll need to tighten every muscle you have in order to hold a solid back lever, while it provides especially awesome benefits to the lats, abdominals and lower back, it helps develop a great deal of shoulder extension mobility too.

Is back lever impressive? ›

The most impressive calisthenics skill for Beginners - The Back Lever. The back lever is a cool and beginner-friendly calisthenics movement. As well, it is a great bodyweight exercise for building strength and developing that gymnastic body (or calisthenics body if you will).

Is l-sit impressive? ›

Ring L-Sits are great for training and are also a very impressive looking skill if you can get them solid.

Are l sit pull ups good? ›

Increased Isometric Strength

Isometric trainining, such as l-sits and tempo work (easily combined with l-sit pull-ups) can increase strength and force production (at similar angles in which trained) in the core and lats, two very beneficial muscle groups for pulling, squatting, pressing, and moving more weight.

Do l-sits work lower abs? ›

short answer yes. When you do an L sit correctly (called advanced L sit in the book), the hips are held in flexion while the torso is held rigid. This requires contraction of the hip flexors to flex the hips, while the abdominals and obliques contract isometrically.

Do l-sits work chest? ›

Unlike many core exercises that just work the core, the L-sit works your abs, obliques, hip flexors, quads, triceps, shoulders, pecs, and lats, says Pearce. "It doesn't take long to fatigue a number of different muscles with this one, so you'll get a big bang for your buck with this exercise."

Is L-sit easy to learn? ›

Because an L-sit is so difficult, it's best to start with some progressions to get you to the point of being able to hold your body off the floor. According to Antranik Kizirian, a strength and flexibility expert, there are five progressions that can get you there.

Why do my legs hurt when I do L-sit? ›

L-Sit Leg Cramps... here's why and what to do about it - YouTube

How do you progress to L Hang? ›

Why You Can't L-Sit Hold (How To Step By Step) - YouTube

Are l-sit pull ups advanced? ›

Use the L-sit pull-up, an advanced compound bodyweight exercise, to build size and strength in your upper body and core. Keeping your hips flexed in the L-shape activates your hip flexors, which are exercised isometrically. It also forces increased isometric activation of your rectus abdominis and obliques.

What muscles do l pullups work? ›

The primary muscles used are your Traps, Lats, Abdominals, and the Obliques. Your Biceps and Forearms also get used when you are performing this lift.

What muscles do l-sit pullups work? ›

Muscles Worked
  • Abdominals.
  • Hip Flexors.
  • Latissimus Dorsi.
  • Rhomboids and Scapular Stabilizers.
  • Quadriceps.
  • Forearms.
25 Dec 2018

What's harder front or back lever? ›

From their own grading scale, A to F, A is the easiest and F is the most difficult. Yes, front and back levers are all basic exercises and basic strength foundations in gymnastics.

How do you do an L-sit for beginners? ›

L-Sit Tutorial: Step-by-Step Progressions - YouTube

What is a modified L-sit? ›

Modified L Sit Exercise | SPRI Cross Train Parallettes - YouTube

What muscles are needed for Planche? ›

The main muscle used in this exercise is the anterior deltoid, but the abdominals, chest, shoulders, upper back, lower back, and glutes also play important roles.

How do I keep my legs straight during l sit? ›

Can't Do an L-Sit? | Watch This Video - YouTube

How can I lift my body with my hands? ›

Lie on your stomach with your arms extended alongside your body and your palms facing down, hands by your hips. Rotate your wrists to turn your fingers to the side. Press into your hands to lift your body into a pushup position. Yield your weight forward into your chest and shoulders.


1. How To Improve L-Sit Mobility
(Andrew Alinda)
2. L Sit: Train Your Core!
(Hybrid Calisthenics)
3. How to start Calisthenics - L-Sit to a stronger body at home!
(BaoFit with Baovoke)
4. From ZERO to L-SIT in 8 Steps | L-Sit Exercises and Progression At Home
5. How I Learned The L-Sit in 68 Days
(Goal Guys)
6. L-Sit Tutorial: Step-by-Step Progressions
(GMB Fitness)
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