THE L-SIT PROGRESSION LADDER

This is one of my favourite progression ladders. We can build this move all the way from an extremely basic bit of arm and abdominal strength to a hyper-adnvanced gymnastic manouvre. Get to the end of this ladder and you'll be the proud owner of tremendous triceps and sculpted abdominals of titanium. 

LET'S TALK ABOUT IT...

If you want to build a strong body and get away from classic bodybuilding moves, the L-Sit is a nice way to start. It's one of the first moves we do when we start playing with gymnastic strength drills.

YOU CAN DO IT ANYWHERE -- If you're strong enough you can do it on the floor, if not you can do it on parrallel bars like you'll see me doing below. Not got those? You can do it on dip bars in the gym. Still no good? No worries! You can do them on a chair. Don't try telling me you haven't got a chair!

HOW TO TRAIN TO MASTER THE L-SIT PROGRESSION LADDER -- We train the L-Sit two months out of four in The Strength Sessions Programme, but loads of the other drills we do will also have direct carry-over to help you master the L-Sit itself: all the Push-Ups, all the abdominal moves and all the straight-arm gymnastic drills will help you take your L-Sits to the next level.

PROGRESSION 1: FRONT SUPPORT. FEET DOWN. PERFECT ARM AND SHOULDER POSITION

CRITERIA: 

–> Elbow pits facing forward
–> Shoulders down
–> Arms straight and giving the impression of control

NOTES:

Hopefully a fairly easy start for most folks, but if you’re particularly heavy, weak, tight-of-bicep or sensitive-of-wrist, don’t shy away from a spending time here with your feet down and letting your joints acclimatise to the locked & loaded position. Even if you’re strong, this can take a little getting used to. If you need to keep your feet on the floor for a while at first, that's fine, but only have just enough weight on your feet that you need to -- then keep testing until you're ready to lift the feet off the floor.

PROGRESSION 2: BENT KNEE L-SIT. LOW.

THESE ARE THE CRITERIA:

–> Knees together
–> Feet off floor
–> Shoulders stay down, arms locked
–> No shaking, no wobbling, no crying

As soon as we’ve got through the shock factor, we should be able to hold a calm, static position, with the feet off the floor and arm/shoulder ‘integrity’ remaining intact. Moderate tricep, scapular depression and abdominal strength is required.

PROGRESSION 3: BENT KNEE L-SIT. 90 DEGREES.

CRITERIA:

–> Knees together
–> Thighs parallel to the floor
–> Shoulders stay down, arms locked
–> No shaking, no wobbling, no whining

NOTES:

Now it looks like the actual exercise! (well done). All we gotta do over time is extend the legs and lose the bars, oh, and stay there for ages. The increased knee height takes more ab and tricep strength. In fact, every rung on this ladder takes more stability from the upper body to give you a foundation, then more strength from the ab and hip flexor areas to lift those big ol’ legs of yours.

PROGRESSION 4: BENT KNEE L-SIT. HIGH.

THESE ARE THE CRITERIA:

–> Thighs above parallel
–> You must stay dead still for allotted time
–> Shoulders stay down, arms locked
–> No shaking, no wobbling, and you must be respectably dressed

Before we straighten the legs, we have to build the strength to elevate the knees above parallel. Get that down and you’re ready for the real thing.

PROGRESSION 5: L-SIT. STRAIGHT LEG. LOW.

CRITERIA:

–> The knees must be locked out, with the feet off the floor
–> You must stay dead still for allotted time
–> Shoulders stay down, arms locked
–> No shaking, no wobbling, pure static control.

NOTES:

When we start going to straight legs, you may struggle to keep your knee height. That's fine -- for now, but first things first: your legs must be completely locked-out -- PENCIL STRAIGHT. If not, practice that before you are allowed to progress up the ladder.

 

PROGRESSION 6: L-SIT. STRAIGHT LEG. NEARLY PARRALLEL.

THESE ARE THE CRITERIA:

–> The knees must be locked out, thighs almost parallel to the floor
–> Dead still for allotted time
–> Shoulders stay down, arms locked
–> No shaking, no wobbling, and no debating the judges decisions

If you get anywhere near parallel with locked-out legs and you’re getting towards respectability. Although it will feel bloody hard at this point, you should be able to glance at the upper echelons of his ladder and whisper — with serious intent — “I’m coming for you”. Now is the time to believe.

PROGRESSION 7: L-SIT. STRAIGHT LEG. PARRALLEL.

CRITERIA:

–> The knees must be locked out, thighs parallel to the floor
–> Dead still for allotted time
–> Shoulders stay down, arms locked
–> No shaking, no wobbling, no talking.

NOTES:

This is the first point where you can proudly claim that you can actually do an L-Sit. Now we have to build towards doing it on the floor.

 

PROGRESSION 8: L-SIT. BENT KNEE. HIPS PAST HANDS.

THESE ARE THE CRITERIA:

–> Arm integrity must be splendid, locked out and elbows pointed backwards
–> Shoulders must stay down
–> Pelvis must be held forwards past the hands
–> Position must be held dead still for allotted time

Before you move to the high straight leg L-Sit, I find it’s good to boost your arm strength by mastering the extra-high-knee-hold with hips pushed past the hands. For most, this needs to be solid before you can hold a straight leg L-SIT above parallel.

PROGRESSION 9: FULL HIGH L-SIT.

CRITERIA:

–> The knees must be locked out, thighs above parallel to the floor
–> Dead still for allotted time
–> Shoulders stay down, arms locked
–> No shaking, no wobbling, and no debating the judges decisions

NOTES:

Once you can do this…and that does take quite a lot of practice for many, but once you have got this, well, there’s no need for the bars anymore is there?

PROGRESSION 10: SCOOPS!

THESE ARE THE CRITERIA:

–> Arms must hit lock-out at the top of each rep
–> Arse leaves floor for a full second
–> shoulders get depressed during air-time
–> One second static pause in the top position

I don’t recommend these as your primary mode of transport, it takes too long and it’s hard to eat at the same time. That said, I do recommend these as the starting point for your floor L-Sit. Even with all the prior rungs in the ladder under your belt, these can take a while. It’s a fundamental change, you're announcing “I’m serious, I can do these babies on the floor”. Oh, and before you ask: Yes. Yes your arms are long enough.

PROGRESSION 11: L-SIT. FLOOR. BENT LEGS.

CRITERIA:

–> Arms locked
–> Shoulders down
–> Buttocks–obviously–off the floor
–> Feet–obviously–not on the floor
–> Hold dead still for time

NOTES:

Once you can scoop, the logical next step is just to draw it out a little. This is definitely harder than holding high knees on the bars as you have a little less room for error here. But just tell yourself it isn’t — that might help. Then embrace the searing pain you get in your tricep bits.

PROGRESSION 12: FULL L-SIT. FLOOR.

THESE ARE THE CRITERIA:

–> Knees locked, toes pointed
–> Arms locked
–> Shoulders down
–> Buttocks–obviously–off the floor
–> Feet–obviously–not on the floor
–> Hold dead still for time

This is the landmark moment. We’ve got one more rung on the ladder, just for show-offs really, but once you can do this, then you can L-Sit and you are awesome. Go tell your friends.

PROGRESSION 13: HIGH L-SIT. FLOOR.

CRITERIA:

–> Knees locked, toes pointed, thighs above parallel to the floor
–> Arms locked
–> Shoulders down
–> Buttocks–obviously–off the floor
–> Feet–obviously–not on the floor
–> Hold dead still for time

Congratulations. You’ve mastered the ladder. Send us a clip of you doing this, in sunglasses, then we’ll know you are seriously cool.

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