How To Do L Sit Holds (And Why They Are Potent For Your Abs)

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If you’d love to carve out a strong impressive core section and nail your L sit holds with the ease and grace of an Olympic gymnast, then you’re in the right place.

That’s because…

L sit holds are a super-effective exercise for building powerful strength in your core section and they’ll help you get a set of head-turning abs.

Sound good to you?

Great, because here’s why L sit holds are a potent core movement…

The L sit hold is an isometric exercise. During isometric exercises, the muscle doesn’t noticeably change length, and the affected joint doesn’t move.

What this means is your tensing your muscles without expanding or contracting them. The L-Sit-Hold requires more control than power.

If you’ve never done and L sits and your thinking it might be too hard, relax. When I first started I was rubbish at them, with a bit of persistence and practice you’ll get there.

Is L sit Holds A Good Exercise?

They sure are and here’s why…

  • You’ll build a dangerously strong core and upper body
  • You’ll strengthen your triceps muscles which helps you with other exercises like dips, pull-ups, diamond push-ups.
  • You’re using more than one muscle group at a time. (Your entire body benefits)
  • L sit holds are challenging, which means you get results and greater core strength
  • L sit holds are great for your abs and safer for your back (If you have any back issues many ab exercises you do on the ground may make your back even worse.)

What Muscles Does An L Sit Work?

Most core exercises just work the core however, the L-sit works your abs, obliques, hip flexors, quads, triceps, shoulders, pecs, and lats which makes it a superior core exercise for your body.

Is L Sit Easy?

When you’re first starting out the L sit hold isn’t an easy movement. You’ll need to make sure you follow progressions so you can build up strength in your body. Holding yourself up with your legs out straight may not be possible for you when first starting out.

Thing is, when you work on your L sits you’ll begin to build the upper body strength you need to hold the L sit position for longer periods.

After a while holding your legs out straight won’t be a problem for you. The L sit is a challenge and you’re up for it.

How Long Does It Take To Learn The l Sit?

Who knows… it takes a long as it takes you to get there. Are you in a hurry to get somewhere?

When you’re starting out you could break L holds up like this.

You might hold for 1 second because that’s all you can do. Then you build up to 2 seconds, then 3 seconds, then 4 seconds. Once you can hold for 4-5 seconds, you might break it into 5 sets x 4 second holds.

Hold, then rest, hold, rest, hold, rest. Over time your strength builds and you can hold for longer periods of time.

Just use an l sit hold progression.

What Are L Sits Good For?

  • Make your core powerful and stronger
  • Build abs
  • Make you a better human being (Okay I made that one up, they might)
  • The strength you build in your core helps you master other gymnastic ring exercises faster
  • l sit muscles worked, abs and legs l-sit muscles worked

Are L Sits Good For Abs?

Check this out…

The transversus abdominis is the deepest layer of muscle in your belly, running horizontally around your midsection like a Playtex girdle. When you L sit and tense your abs, the transversus abdominis is activated.

Do This…

Wrap your hands around the sides of your abdomen. Now cough. Feel those muscles griping? These are your transversus at work. If your transversus abdominis muscles are weak, you’ll have a potbelly. You can ab crunch the rest of your life and it won’t make a difference.

Enter the L sit holds, now you can target, strengthen and build your transversus abdominis.

How To Do L Hold Sits

You can do L hold sits, on the floor, however, most beginners find this position impossible because of the shape of their body, strength levels, and flexibility.

It’s easier starting out with parallettes or a dip bar.

How To Do Them:

  • With straight arms, place your hands on the dip bars
  • Then, lift up your legs while keeping them straight until they are parallel to the floor so your body makes an “L” shape
  • If legs straight are impossible for you to do right now here’s some progressions
  • You can bend your legs and bring your thighs up so they are parallel and hold
  • You can do one leg at a time
  • For some just holding their own weight on the bars is difficult, that’s okay. If this is you, just practice holding yourself on the bars for as long as you can.

You’ve got to build your strength up so you can hold on the bars, then, the next phase is bring your thighs up to parallel with bent knees.


If you can hold yourself up, and you can bring your thighs up to parallel, but you can’t get your legs straight out in front of you. Try an L-sit-kick.

What you do is:

  • Hold yourself on the bars
  • Bring your knees up then kick your legs out in front of you

Challenges You’ll Encounter With Your L Hold Sits And How To Get Stronger

Problem: Can’t hold your body up off the floor or hold onto the bars for very long.

Reason: Not strong enough at the moment.

Solution: Get stronger, if you’re carrying unwanted weight lose it. Do shoulders and triceps exercises so you build strength.

Problem: Can only hold your legs out straight for a few seconds or not at all.

Reason: Core and other muscles are not strong enough yet.

Solution: Use progressions. Bend your knees and bring your thighs up to parallel. Do L-sit-kicks. Hold yourself up and bring your knees up towards your chest. Do one leg at a time. Hanging off a chin-up bar and bring your knees up to your chest.

More Exercises To Strengthen Your Core Muscles

Here’s few simple exercises you can do so you activate your core. And, if you’ve got any back issues it’s a safer way to strengthen your core.

Lunges With A Weight In One Hand Only:
There’s plenty of great things happening for you with this exercise. The fact that the weights in one hand means your core must work hard to stabilize your body, otherwise you’d fall over.

One Arm Dumbbell Or Kettlebell Bench Or Floor Press:
Because all the weight is on one side, your core works hard to keep your body level.

Here’s the great thing about these two exercises…

Instead of targeting one muscle group, you’re targeting many muscle groups at a time. Which makes them perfect for busy people with no time.

Even a simple exercise like tensing your abs helps you build a stronger core. You could even practice this when you’re walking or sitting down in a chair.

Push-Up Walk Outs

  • You get into a push-up position so you’re at the top Then you walk your hands out in front of you as far as you can
  • Keep your back straight
  • Don’t let your hips sag down towards the ground

Laying on the ground for ab exercises is not the best use of your time

If you’re busy and you want to get the most bang for your exercise, then laying on the floor kicking and squirming around like a swordfish caught on a hook isn’t the best use of your time.

I just gave you 3 exercises right above, you can build great abs and a strong core with these as well.

Wall walks:

  • Chin-ups with your knees bent and your thighs parallel
  • Turkish get-ups
  • Ball slams
  • Strength training with weights

If You Have Any Lower Back Issues

L sit for strength in your core

If you have any lower back issues understand that ab exercises may hurt your back or aggravate it further. Exercises, where you tense your abs, are safer for backs. You have to test what keeps your back safe.

I’ve had a few back issues from years of sitting all day working in front of a screen and working out. I’m not a back expert, however Stuart McGill, PHD is. I own a couple of Stuarts books and following his expert advice, I’ve dramatically improved my back and core strength.

Stuarts studies and lifetime of work shows most ab exercises are not the solution to fixing a bad back. Stuart has helped many elite athletes with back issues get back to peak performance.

I mention back issues because a lot of people suffer from them. I’ve paid physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractor’s and massage therapists a fortune to fix my back and none did.

Reading and applying what I learned in Stuart’s books dramatically improved my back.

Is L Sit A Good Exercise?

If you’ve read this far and you’re still questioning if L sits are good for you or not. It’s time to stop reading and go do some L Sits.

Just before you do…

Ab Exercises Don’t Burn Fat Of Your Stomach

There’s a myth or total misunderstanding that ab exercises burn fat from your belly

If you’re carrying extra weight on your belly, yes, core exercises are great for you because you need a strong core. However, core exercises won’t burn fat off your belly.

If you want to see your abs you’ve got to lose weight. To effective things I know of are eating healthy and strength training.

When you eat healthily, strength train, and lose fat from your belly you’ll feel and look years younger.

Start Carving Out Your Stronger Powerful Core Today

You can work L-Sits into your upper body training days, or do them a couple of days a week. You’ll know what level you’re out once you get started. If legs out straight isn’t possible right now. That’s okay, make sure you use progressions.

Nailing the movement takes time and that’s okay. Holding for 20 seconds isn’t possible for most at the start.

Thing is, you’re at your level and others are at their level. All that matters is your progress. Isometric movements like this take control. You need strong shoulders and arms to hold you up. You need a strong core.

You’ll get there, just progress and work on it.

And look after your knees.

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