THE L-SIT PULSES...

L-Sits are back this month, but now it's time for pulsing reps. This allows us to really test our best positions for short holds, before easing back into an easier position. It may take a couple of goes to get the right difficulty when you lay out your programme, but they work wonders when you get it right.

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HOW TO DO L-SIT PULSES:

This month we practice L-Sits again. The mechanics are exactly the same as laid out in Month 1, but instead of static holds, we do Pulsing Reps.

WHAT’S A PULSING REP???

A pulsing rep is when you move between two different progressions of the same exercises.

One you find quite easy, and one you can just about hold for a few seconds.

It keeps you patient, it stops you from getting sloppy and it helps you break through strength plateaus and mental blocks.

FIRST: PICK A VERSION YOU CAN HOLD FOR 20 SECONDS (or longer if you are working on your strength endurance)— that’s your ‘easy’ progression.

THEN: PICK A VERSION YOU CAN JUST ABOUT HOLD FOR 3 SECONDS — that’s your hard progression.

TO DO A SET:

HOLD THE EASY PROGRESSION FOR 3 SECONDS.

THEN EDGE INTO THE DIFFICULT POSITION FOR JUST ONE SECOND.

THAT’S ONE REP.

NOW DO MORE…

STRENGTH ENDURANCE MONTH – Do 8 reps per set.

MID-STRENGTH MONTH – Do 5 reps per set.

STRENGTH MONTH – Do 3 reps per set.

HOW YOU PEOPLE MESS IT UP...

YOU GO FOR TOO MUCH -- on all these pulsing moves, especially at the strength endurance level, people tend to pick progressions that are too difficult. Do a few and you'll probably see what I mean. Test a few sets before you define your official goals for the month.

YOU LOSE CONTROL -- when switching between progressions on the L-Sit, be careful not to lose control and end up rocking back and forwards. Use strength to ease into the hard positions. No swinging!

Plus, all the classic mistakes from the L-Sit Holds in month 1 apply, that's all these:

YOU GOT NO NECK – i.e. you fail to hold your shoulders down. As strength runs out, or you get sloppy, you get sloppy and ‘sink down’ so that it looks like you have no neck! Naughty.

The Fix: Push down harder on the bars, fight to keep your shoulders down. If you can’t hold them there, stop the set and build up strength over time. This is one of those happy moments where the fix is super simple (albeit not easy). All I gotta tell you is: try harder, get stronger and reduce the challenge a bit in the meantime.

YOU CAN’T HOLD LOCKED ARMS – Mostly, as above. If you’re not used to gymnastic endevours, this arm position can be tough to hold. If you’re very tight (particularly through your massive biceps boys), then this may be very tricky at first. If you’re very weak, then of course your arms will want to bend as soon as you take these on and you’ll have to work consistently to get the strength required to hold the pose.

The Fix: pay more attention, build the strength carefully, and try not to get too greedy too soon. You’ll build the strength required to hold good positions soon enough. A bit of bicep stretching should help with the tightness issue.

YOU FALL OFF BACKWARDS – ah the old floor flaw. Common in the over-enthusiastic, under-experienced gentlemen: you come off too early, and not at all how you intended. This tends to happen when you try and do too much work with your arms (by pushing your pelvis forward) and your abs and hip-flexors struggle to lift your legs and tuck your pelvis back.

The Fix: curb your ambition – just temporarily – and focus on making sure the majority of the leg lifting is coming from your abs and hip flexors. If your abs are way behind your upper body, add some extra sets of Hollow Extensions and Gymnastic Style Leg Raises to help them get closer to your amazing upper body strength.

YOU CAN’T STRAIGHTEN YOUR LEGS – common if we don’t have enough strength, if we aren’t used to gymnastic drills that require the knees to be locked out, or if we don’t have enough hamstring flexibility. Beginners often succumb to a bent-legged fate. Although dominating the tucked position, many find they can’t get their legs locked as they try to extend them. This is often coupled with that ridiculously painful quad-cramp feeling.

The fix: in the short-term, either do it one leg at a time, or concentrate on getting locked legs, but on an easier angle, (with your feet closer to the floor). Longterm: Get Stronger! Practice this drill itself, and work on your Hollow Extensions and Gymnastic Style Leg Raises.

YOU GOT NO CONTROL – You’re 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...but 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. Control your core, control the move.

WICKED CUES!

PUSH DOWN TWICE AS HARD AS YOU MOVE INTO THE MORE DIFFICULT PROGRESSION -- that always seems to help me. Folks tend to sink in the shoulders as they get more ambitious.

PUSH THE BARS THROUGH THE FLOOR – just a mental prompt that you need to actively push down through the arms, especially if you have ‘no neck’ as discussed above.

TILT PELVIS BACK – that’s how we work the lower abs and bring the knees higher.

REACH LEGS OUT – many enthusiastic punters, in an unwise attempt to impress onlookers, try to lift their legs as high as they can during their L-Sit before they are ready. Sadly, this often ends up with an unimpressive, droopy-leggy looking thing. We must first encourage a reaching out of the legs until we can get a strong lockout. Then and only then do we try to hold the legs at more impressive angles. Lockout first; legs higher second.

SUCK ABS IN – Which will help make room and encourage a lifting and posterior tilting of your pelvis.

CHIN DOWN, KNEES UP – You can look straight ahead on these, but for beginners, we encourage a tuck so that we can concentrate on bringing the knees close to the chin (to activate the abs). This also prevents beginners from looking around the room like a confused maniac, when they should be conmcentrating on what they’re doing.

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. We don’t want that, so remember this crampy feeling and focus on encouraging it while straightening your legs on whenever you L-Sit.

WHY DO IT TO YOURSELF?!

THIS IS L-SIT PRACTICE, SO... we are working triceps, abs, upper back and hip flexors in a cool move that has loads of progressions.

PATIENCE — With some people, and gymnastics moves, there’s this thing: they just won’t stop trying the harder stuff, even if they know they can’t do it. It’s lovely to have ambition, but sometimes it’s detrimental (when unrealistic). To make real progress at this stuff, you have to spend enough time-under-tension…in a perfect position. You need to build real strength; you can’t just fluke it! Since I’ve incorporated pulsing reps into my coaching, I’ve had a lot more success getting people to stay patient as you get a taste of the next level, but you still have to put in the hard yards on the basics.

STRENGTH PLATEAUS — just sampling a new position, just feeling the tension and the angles that they have to deal with can be enough to help you smash through plateaus you have been stuck at for a while.

MENTAL BARRIERS – it’s easy to get stuck on one progression, without really believing you can push past it. Doing pulsing reps is a great way to test yourself in a more advanced position without having to stay there very long. With practice and familiarity, comes belief.

VARIETY – The ideal programme is one where we practice the same stuff frequently enough to master it, but have enough variety and novelty to stimulate new gains and keep you interested. Having Pulsing Reps some months and traditional holds in other months helps with this.

ALTERNATIVES...

If you can't do L-Sit Pulses or even L-Sits, I'd substitute with any of these...

TUCK PLANCHE or HANDSTAND STRENGTH MOVES if you want to practice your straight-arm strength work.

or

PUSH-UPS, HANGING KNEE RAISE or GYMNASTIC-STYLE LEG-RAISE --  if you want different movements that work related things

or

SIMPLY FOCUS MORE ON OTHER PARTS OF THIS MONTH -- which is never a bad choice. This programme isn't about being perfect, it's about mastering stuff and being an effective minimalist.

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