L Sit: How To Progress, Benefits, and Workouts

The L Sit is one of the most complete core exercises.

The l sit is an isometric move that will fire up your entire body with a focus on your core. Although not impressive to look at, it is certainly not easy to do it.

Learn how to progress until you are able to perform the l-sit, which muscles the exercise work, what are the benefits of the l sit and check out some workouts too.

How to Do an L Sit

The l sit is a callisthenics exercise, a bodyweight exercise in fancier wording, that will challenge your stability, strength and flexibility.

You can do the exercise with parallel bars, dip station, on the floor or even with rings. Below you will find out how to perform the exercise on parallettes.

  • Position the parallettes bar shoulder width on the floor.
  • Position yourself between the parallettes, sit on the floor and place your hands on each of the parallettes.
  • Engage your shoulders, extend your arms to lock position and lift your bum from the floor.
  • Lift your legs, but keep them straight. Your body and your legs should be at a 90-degree angle, forming an L shape.
  • Maintain the position for the required amount of time.

Mistakes to Avoid

Although it looks simple on the outside, there are plenty of mistakes one person can make while trying to do the l sit.

The first mistake to avoid is bending your knees. If you cannot keep your legs straight, it means you do not have the strength or flexibility required for the movement and should work on progressions. Your main issue is probably tight hamstrings.

Curving your spine should also be avoided. Your chest must be up and out, otherwise, you risk back injury. Work on your spinal mobility to improve that.

If you keep shoulders close to your ears you are doing l sit wrong. Your shoulders should be pressed down throughout the exercise.

Muscles Worked

The reason why it is so difficult to perform an exercise that looks easy as the l sit is because it requires a lot of strength and mobility on your entire body. Take a look at the muscles worked while you do this movement.

  • Rectus abdominis – your core
  • Hip flexors
  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Triceps
  • Scapular
  • Pecs
  • Lats
  • Delts

From your back to your legs, passing through your chest, but focusing on your abs. This exercise forces your fitness level to be above average.

L sit WODs by female athleteSource: CrossFit Rouen

Exercises to Help You Get Strong Enough for the L Sit

As a rule of thumb, you can utilise gym equipment or any exercise to strengthen the muscles worked you saw above.

You can do dip shrugs, pull-ups, or dips to strengthen your upper body. Also try hanging drills such as hanging knee raises or hanging leg raises to improve your core stability, strength, and flexibility.

How to Progress to L Sit

While you are strengthening your body with specific exercises, you may also try different progression movements to get closer to doing l sits.

The first step to achieving proper form on the l sit is to mimic the exercise, but with some form of support. Try with both legs touching the ground and lifting only your upper body, then slowly attempt with only one foot touching the ground as well.

You may try to do the full lift of the body but with knees tucked in. It is easier than having your legs straight out in front of you, but it will get you accustomed to the stabilisation of the movement.


As an advanced exercise, this bodyweight movement will increase your overall strength without the need to use gym equipment.

You will feel the burn on your core and should be able to get closer to seeing a six-pack if you can’t already. This, in turn, will improve your posture and allow you to lift heavier weights on deadlifts and front squats, for example.

The stabilisation and strength your shoulders need to pull off the l sit will enhance your upper body overall strength. It will also help you will handstand walk and handstand push-ups.

A stronger core will prevent back injuries in the long run.

L Sit Workouts

1. Antipolis Home WOD

Four Tabatas in 19 minutes

  • Tabata Ground-to-Overheads (2×50/35 lb)
  • Rest 1 minute
  • Tabata Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts (2×50/35 lb)
  • Rest 1 minute
  • Tabata L-Sits
  • Rest 1 minute
  • Tabata Jumping Lunges

On a 19-minute clock, complete 4 rounds of Tabatas with the prescribed movements. Tabata is 8 rounds of 20 second work and 10 second rest. Rest 1 minute after each Tabata.

Score is the total number of repetitions completed before the 19-minute clock stops.

2. Midline Active Shoulder

3 Rounds for Time

  • 1 Barbell Complex*
  • 10 second L-Sit
  • 2 Barbell Complexes*
  • 20 second L-Sit
  • 3 Barbell Complexes*
  • 30 second L-Sit

*1 Barbell Complex consists of: 1 Snatch Deadlift + 1 Hang Snatch + 1 Overhead Squat + 1 Snatch Push Press

Round 1: 135/85 lb

Round 2: 155/105 lb

Round 3: 185/125 lb

This workout can be done at a slow and steady pace. It can be done as a warm-up or accessory workout in order to address weaknesses or instability.

This workout can be scored by total weight, time or not at all depending on the intent.

3. Break Up/Make Up

Two Parts (with a Partner)

Part A: “The Break Up”

EMOM for As Long As Possible:

  • 1st minute: 1 Push Press (125/85 lb) + 1 Burpee
  • 2nd minute: 2 Push Presses (125/85 lb) + 2 Burpees
  • 3rd minute: 3 Push Presses (125/85 lb) + 3 Burpees
  • etc…

10 minute Rest

Part B: “The Make Up”

  • 6 Rounds (alternating*) for Time of:
  • 5 Squat Cleans (125/85 lb)
  • 10 Pull-Ups
  • 200 metre Row

*One partner completes a round while the other performs a Max L-Sit, then rests.

Complete part A together, rest exactly 10 minutes, then start Part B together. Score each part separately.

For Part A, each minute on the minute (EMOM) both partners attempt the sequence of Push Press and Power Clean (“Death By” style), adding one rep per movement per minute…until one partner is unable to complete a round. Score is the lower of the two partners’ number of rounds and reps completed.

For Part B, partners alternate rounds (eg. one completes a round while other attempts a max duration L-sit then rest).

Resting partner will have one attempt to max L-sit (for time) at any point during their rest period. L-sit must be done by placing both hands on 45-lb bumper plates and lifting both feet off the floor with straight legs.

Cumulative l-sit time (for both partners – all six rounds) is deducted from the overall time of Part B to determine score.

Read More: 15 Abs Exercises You Can do At Home

Image Sources

  • L-Sit-WODs: CrossFit Rouen
  • pedro-araujo-S6zR6btkG-M-unsplash (1): Unsplash

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