To properly perform the advanced moves of the L-sit, you must develop your upper-body and core strength. As the name suggests, you hinge your body into an L, typically on the gymnastics still rings, and hold the position for several seconds with good form. To learn how to do the perfect L-sit, you must engage in core-strengthening exercises and a slow progression of training exercises specific to the L-sit.
Strengthening Your Core
Before you attempt still rings L-sits, it's crucial to build your core strength. One way to do this is with pullup and dip bar exercises. Stand beneath a pullup bar, jump up and grasp the bar with an overhand grip, shoulder-width apart, and hang a few seconds with your legs together. Bend your knees and draw them up toward your chest. Hold as long as you can and return to the hanging position. Perform three sets of 12 reps. Once this is no longer challenging, perform vertical leg raises. Hang with your legs together and straight and then raise them until your feet touch the bar. Pause, reverse your movement and repeat as many times as you can. If you have access to a gym, perform knee tucks on dip bars and gradually work toward raising your legs straight to a horizontal position.
Training for Beginners
Learning the L-sit is easier if you train with parallettes -- low-to-the-floor, small parallel bars -- and follow a progression of exercises over several weeks. During the first week, sit between the parallettes with your legs straight, grab the bars, keep your heels on the floor and simultaneously push down into the bars and lift your butt. Hold your position, relax and repeat. During the next week lift one leg at a time. From the straight-leg-butt-off-the-floor position, lift your left leg until it is horizontal, hold, lower your leg and repeat with your right leg. Continue to alternate between legs. In the next two weeks, bend both legs, lift your feet off the floor, draw your knees into your chest, hold, relax and repeat.
During the next few weeks, work on a relaxed-tuck position -- legs slightly bent and halfway extended. Work toward a straight-leg position in the next several weeks. Make the hold times five to 10 seconds and the relax times 45 to 60 seconds. Perform three sets of 12 reps with each step.
Once you've mastered the parallettes L-sit exercises, train without them. Without parallettes you'll be closer to the floor, which makes the training more difficult. Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight. Place your hands on the floor directly below your shoulders with your palms down and fingers pointing forward. Follow the same parallettes training progression of steps. If you can't get enough floor clearance, your arms may not be long enough. To help, spread your fingers and support yourself on your fingertips, not your palms.
Prepare your body before each training session with a 10-minute warm-up consisting of light cardio activities. Follow with five minutes of dynamic stretches such as lunges, arm circles and high-knee marching. To improve your technique and work up to the still rings L-sit, train three to four days each week with a day of rest between sessions. Keys to good form include keeping your head up, back and arms straight, your butt directly under your shoulders and toes pointed. Avoid shrugging your shoulders.
- Photo Credit tankist276/iStock/Getty Images
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