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How to L Sit

The L Sit is a great entry level calisthenics move that requires skill, strength and mobility. It is highly scalable, a great goal for anyone getting started and an absolute must for athletes trying to dive deeper in their calisthenics journey.

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How to
L Sit

The L Sit is a great entry level calisthenics move that requires skill, strength and mobility. It is highly scalable, a great goal for anyone getting started and an absolute must for athletes trying to dive deeper in their calisthenics journey.

How to L Sit

An L Sit is a gymnastics skill where the athlete supports its own body weight upright on the hands with the legs parallel to the floor.
The athlete should be looking straight in front, showing a long neck, have straight legs, pointed feet and locked elbows.
The L sit is commonly performed on the floor, rings and parallettes. Whilst the L sit can be used as a beginner calisthenics goal it is primarily used as an entry position before pressing up into a handstand.

on the body

The L sit is not super complex which is why it is such a great beginner skill. Yet it has a shopping list of requirements long enough to inspire you to train and to make lasting changes to your body.

Upper body strength

The most obvious requirement is upper body strength. The arms have to support the entire body after all. You will need triceps strength to lock out your elbows and shoulder strength to keep your shoulders down and stable. Triceps dips, overhead triceps extensions and all arm balance work with straight arms such as handstands will help you get stronger here.


Get a free workout to improve your L-Sit specific strength, coordination, and hamstring flexibility.

Core strength

The core is what connects your shoulders with the rest of your body. Your arms connect via hands to the floor which means your core is getting almost your entire body weight as well.

In the example of the L Sit the core is responsible for stabilizing your hips and legs. If your core gives way it becomes impossible to lift the legs or to place your hips where you need them to be.

Simply having a 6 pack or doing a bunch of crunches won’t do you much good here. You need to invest in gymnastics style stability core exercises such as forearm plank walk ups, chair on back and rocking boat abs.

Leg strength

This one is often forgotten when it comes to handstands or calisthenics training but your legs have to do quite a bit of work! First of all, keeping them stable requires full engagement of the quads and calves. If you are not used to that chances are high that you will cramp up!

Additionally, and arguably this could be part of core strength, your hip flexors have to fire up quite a lot. You have to hold your legs parallel to the floor which means you have to create a 90 degree angle at the hips.

Instead of doing the traditional squat lunge deadlift combo to train your legs the best exercises to develop specific L sit leg strength are hanging and sitting leg lifts and ballet style exercises such as battements and rondes des jambes a Terre and en l’aire.

Hamstring mobility

By no means do you have to be a front folding contortionist to do an L Sit but you always have to keep on mind:

To lift the legs you have to fight gravity additionally to the resistance of your own body.

Fighting gravity gets easier when we get stronger.
Fighting the resistance within your own body gets easier by getting more mobile.
You can do a little test. Sit with your back against the wall. Bring your glutes all the way to touch the wall and fully straighten your back. Now lock your knees out sliding the heels away from the wall on the floor. Do you feel a stretch in your hamstrings? If your answer is yes then you will have to stretch more in order to make the L Sit easier. If you do not feel any discomfort in this position then hamstring mobility is not holding you back. Yet, I would still recommend stretching in preparation for future goals such as V-sits and pike presses.

Best L Sit

For most athletes the road to the L Sit is not very long and it can be achieved fairly quickly within a couple workouts. Knowing the appropriate progressions can still be very helpful in scaling your workouts and especially these progressions can be used to burn whatever energy is left at the end of the training.

Elevated Hands

What makes L Sits harder is lifting the legs. So logically giving the legs more room will make the exercise easier. The higher you elevate your hands the easier the L sit will be.

Start with your hands on parallettes. If you do not have parallettes you could use chairs or something similar.

From there move to less high parallettes or yoga blocks before finally graduating to the floor.

Partial L Sits

Think L Sit but with your feet on the floor. This can be done with elevated hands or not. You can hold here, perform push ups with a dead stop at the bottom or even incorporate single leg lifts.

These are all great progressions to approach your first L Sit and powerful drills when incorporated in conditioning circuits.

Isolation work

An incredible way of approaching a new skill especially when gymnastic strength based is to isolate each working part of the body during the movement and to work on each component separately before putting everything together for the final result.

Valid ways of isolation work for the L Sit are hip flexor exercises such as hanging and sitting leg lifts, elbow extension exercises such as triceps bench dips, or regular push ups and of course scapula stability drills such as upper supports on p bars and rings or scapula push ups.

Choosing the right training cloths

As a last yet vital tip that I want to give you along the way is choosing the right pants and footwear. If you are training at the office between clients or during your lunch break I strongly recommend changing out of your jeans and taking your shoes off.

If you ever had to rearrange an overweight suitcase at the airport then you surely know how heavy clothes really are.

You are challenging yourself to learn something new. This is amazing! Learning something new is never easy! Don’t make it even harder than it needs to be! Take off your shoes!

How to incorporate
L Sits into my training routine

As a general rule of thumb since L sits are primarily strength based we never want to train L sits every day. Our muscles need time to recover so you want to get about 48h of rest between L Sit workouts. Depending on your current routine there are different ways to add L sits to your routine.

Weightlifting / gym / bodybuilding

If you are currently on a weightlifting split you want to do your L sit work on upper body push days. Train for your L sits after your general warm up before your heavy lifts as you will be physically and mentally too fatigued to train for your L Sit after weightlifting.


Right after your yoga class or even during class is the perfect time to train for your L Sits. You are nice and warm, your muscles and mind are activated and ready to go plus you are at the studio with access to yoga blocks to elevate your hands.


Depending on your dance style and intensity of class I would recommend to train L Sits before your actual dance class as most dance classes are rather high intensity workouts and your body will be too tired and shaky to work on arm balances after.

Home Workouts

For your home workouts you can basically combine all the advice from above and make your own plan. Train your L Sits on the push heavy days, train your L sits before your hardest exercises but after your warm up and make sure you do not do any pushing or handstand work the day before.

comes next?

For most, just learning the L Sit is not enough. There is always more. And there is so much more after the L Sit.

There are immediate next level progressions such as L Sit dips, tuck v sits and small tuck planche lifts.

Long term follow up goals include Pike Presses to Handstand, L Sit Muscle Ups on rings and L Sit to Planche lifts.

L Sits are possibly the ultimate beginner calisthenics skill. Scalable and achievable for almost everyone yet something to train and perfect for years to come. Allow yourself the time you need to get your first L Sit, take it one step at the time and always remind yourself: We are all on our own journey with our personal starting points and destinations.

Work hard, stay healthy and stay hungry!

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