How to L-Sit – The Beginners guide

The L sit is a Calisthenics body position, in which all body weight rests on the hands, with the torso held in a slightly forward-leaning orientation, with legs held horizontally so that each leg forms a nominal right-angle with the torso. The right-angle causes the body to have a notable “L” shape, hence the name “L-sit”.

The L-sit is a fundamental core exercise and requires significant abdominal strength. You can incorporate it into your workouts, in order to train your hips and abs, as you practice for harder exercises like the handstandplanchefront leverback lever and dragon flag

It is a straight arm skill, which can be performed almost everywhere. You can be in an L sit position whether you’re hanging from your pull-up bar, supporting yourself on parallel bars and gymnastic rings, or even on the floor (which is the hardest variation).


In order to perform the L-sit, you need to have a decent amount of passive and active flexibility.

Your legs need to be straight during the hold, so you need to work your passive flexibility in the pike position. Also, in order to actively hold the L-sit, you need active pike flexibility (strength within the range of motion).

Use the exercises bellow, to improve both passive and active flexibility:

1. Jefferson curl

The Jefferson curl is one of the best exercises you can use to increase your passive pike flexibility.

It is performed with a barbell from an elevated surface. Start from the very top and just curl all the way down down as far as we can go. When you reach the lowest position, move upwards and reverse that curl.

Make sure your keeping your knees straight and send your hips back during the curl.

Do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

2. seated pike liftS

The Seated pike lifts is a compression exercise, that you can use to improve our active pike flexibility and gain more strength within the passive range of motion.

Start sitting on the ground and lift your legs as high up towards your chest as possible, without bending them.

The further away you put your hands the more difficult the exercise will be. It can, also, be regressed by performing the exercise with a single leg, so you will lift each leg individually.

Do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

shoulder position

People attempting the L-sit for the first time, tend to have the wrong shoulder position. Since it feels easier to hold it that way, they elevate their shoulders, ending up in an unsafe and unstable position.

Instead, you should depress your shoulders by pushing them down, engaging your lats at the same time. This is going to create a more stable and safe position.

I the video bellow you can see an exercise that you can use to learn how to depress your shoulders :

Perform the drill by pushing your shoulders down and, then, up again.

You’re going to feel a huge difference in muscle activation and this will make you understand how the correct position is supposed to feel like.


Now, lets see some basic exercises you can use to learn the L-sit fast:


The first progression is the Hanging Leg Raises. This will help you develop active pike flexibility, as well as core strength which is essential for learning this skill.

Hold onto a pull-up bar and lift your legs as high as you can without bending your knees or using any momentum.

Then slowly lower them back down. Perform the lowering in a controlled way.

You must try to keep your legs as straight as possible and your glutes tight.

You need to be able to do at least 10-15 reps in one set, before moving to the next progression.

2. FOOT supportED l-sit position

The Foot supported L-sit position in the l-sit this can be done on the ground or parallel bars. If your hands are elevated it’s going to be easier, so the ground in this case will be the most difficult.

Start with hands shoulder-width apart. Put your feet in front of you and get into a support position with locked arms. Then you want to depress your shoulders (as demonstrated above) and open up your chest.

From this position, you can lift your legs individually, in order to make the exercise harder.

You need to be able to hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds before moving to the next progression.

3. tuck l-sit

The Tuck L-sit mimics the full L-SIT, except the legs are tucked up to the chest.

For this progression you need, to focus on keeping your shoulders depressed, as always, and the hips horizontal during the hold. Also, your must keep your hands close to your hips and your back straight.

You need to be able to hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds before moving to the next progression.

4. l-sit single leg extensions

The next step would be to individually straighten each leg, while being in the Tuck L-sit position.

Make sure that your legs remain horizontal and your shoulders depressed, as always. If you feel that your legs are dropping, then you might want to consider going back a progression.

You need to be able to do at least 10-15 reps in one set, before moving to the next progression.


The next progression would be to straighten both legs at the same time.

You, still, need to keep your hips horizontal and your shoulders depressed.

As this exercise becomes easier, you want to slowly try to hold the l-sit a little bit longer for each rep.

You need to be able to do at least 10-15 reps in one set, before moving to the next progression.

6. L-SIT

l-sit on rings

If you still can’t keep your legs completely horizontal, start by doing the low L-sit variation. This is when you hold the L-sit, but below the horizontal level.

Once you start to feel more confident, start to gradually raise your legs higher, until you are at the full L-sit!


These were the main progressions you need to use in order to learn the L-sit.

But most of all, you will need to be patient and consistent. This is not a skill you will learn in one day, it takes consistency, commitment and practice.

Start by practising as often as possible, but don’t forget to rest in between sessions too! As we mentioned before, rest plays a vital role in your progress.

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