EXERCISE BREAKDOWN: L-SIT (FROM CHAIR)
HOW TO DO IT
HAVE A NICE SIT DOWN – You can use an ordinary chair – if its stable enough, a plyometric box, a bench or anything chair like really. Sit down wroth your knees squeezed together, your spine long, your neck relaxed and your feet under your knees.
PLACE YOUR HANDS BY YOUR HIPS – hands pointing forwards if your wrists are OK here, or turned out if necessary.
PRESS DOWN HARD TO LIFT YOURSELF OFF – Keep your body tense, straighten your elbows and turn them into position, then press down hard through the heal of your hands to achieve lift off.
LOCK YOUR ARMS OUT – Keep pressing until you feel your elbows completely lock out and your shoulders squeezed down. Get as much space between your bum and the chair as you can.
HOLD! – Then hold the position for 1 second if you are doing reps, or for 10-20 if you are building time. Here we want to feel the neck long and relaxed, shoulder blades down and slightly protracted, elbows locked and abs working hard.
EXTEND YOUR LEGS – The next step is to extend your legs. Some will be better off working bent knee for a while, others will be fine starting here.
We want toes pointed, thighs squeezed together, and knees completely locked out. The better you are the higher your legs will be. At first, they may be just off the floor, when you get good they will be parallel to your hips – or even higher if you’re a special performer.
HOW IT GOES WRONG AND HOW TO FIX IT
ARMS NOT LOCKED – usually from a lack of strength, often from a lack of awareness but sometimes from a lack of mobility. Don’t build time in this position until you can get the perfect arm position – otherwise when you try to improve it can feel like going back to start all over again. To Fix it, practice a few reps of just setting up the arm position by rotating and straightening the elbows, then bend again, then set up again. Learn what it feels like, then learn to do the exercise without losing position.
CAN’T GET UP – This happens sometimes. Lean forwards slightly as you initiate the push. If you can’t do it, keep practicing and build some arm strength – Push Ups for starters.
CAN’T STRAIGHTEN LEGS – This is very common and is why this basic L-Sit position can be easier for beginners than the real thing. This is usually from a lack of strength in the Lower Ab, Hip flexor and even Quadriceps muscles. It is occasionally (gentlemen) because your Hamstrings are too tight and won’t relax enough to let you perform the move. Often, it can be just because you jump on too quickly and don’t realise your doing it wrong.
The Fix – Make sure your hamstrings are flexible enough, be mindful of what it should feel like, practice straightening your legs in an easier position (legs lower), then work on your Pretend V-Up, Dish and Hollow Body….these will help you build the desired strength and awareness. Also – use the ‘Cramp Quads’ cue below.
NO NECK – This is common on almost everything, but seems to happen a lot on these thus warrants a mention in my humble opinion. Its partly a natural way to go when it’s hard, its partly lack of awareness and focus. If you feel your shoulders hiked and neck tense and crowded, take a little step back, work on getting your shoulders down BEFORE you lift off. Then build strength in this position.
NO CONTROL – Your pumped up for your best effort, you want to master this, you set your arms, you set your posture, you lean forward and push off – then your hips are all over the place and you wobble around like a nutter. Happen to you? No?… good. Yes? – it will pass with practice and positional awareness. Make sure your body is tight, you lean forwards slightly and control the movement with the stomach. Can’t feel any stomach muscle? – You’re not in control.
PUSH THE CHAIR THROUGH THE FLOOR – Simple, but effective. Don’t try to lift your body. It all comes from pressing down hard.
STRETCH THE BICEP TENDON – It takes a while to get used to this gymnastic straight arm position, especially if you’ve wrongly been taught that you shouldn’t lock out your joints. If you are locked at the elbow and have the slight external rotation that we want, you should be able to feel a stretch in the Bicep Tendon (the distal bit – the bit over your elbow). Stretch it and hold it throughout the manoeuvre.
Knees Up, Chin Down – This is an abdominally focused thing. The abs flex the body. If we bring the knees up, and there chin down, it will encourage them to work as we want. It will also de-courage the forcing of the chin up which is all too common and all too bad for your neck.
Cramp the Quads! – When you do these for the first time, it’s quite the experience. Your Quads – not used to being in this position under load, feel like they are about to cramp. It can be excruciating, briefly. Then folks often let their legs bend very slightly. But we don’t want that, so remember this feeling and focus on encouraging it while straightening your legs on this. It’s never as bad as it is at first, but the thought can help you to improve your leg position.
Bring your legs higher
Do L-Sit on bars or from the floor
Bring your hips forward
Legs Hang Down
WHY DO IT
This is both a truly effective full body exercise that takes strength, mobility and skill, but it’s also completely scalable from that which a completely out of shape 60 plus year old beginner could do to that which could challenge some of the worlds finest human animals. Thus you could have a long and happy journey with these.
I particularly like these as they are no equipment/next to no equipment so you can do them anywhere.
You will feel your Triceps and Abs working overtime on these – both very important and very popular. They will also strengthen your shoulder blade area working muscles such as the Lower Traps to hold you in position, as well as require good range of motion in the Hamstrings – so it will give you reason to stretch.
So, they work loads of good stuff, will help you get ripped arms and Abdominals, plus they have loads of great gymnastic progressions that will inspire you to aspire to. Should be good enough to make you do it!
Plus, I’m telling you to do it.