Categorized as: TECHNIQUE

Easy Tips For Training the L-sit

By: Mario Ashley

We are so used to training the abdominals through repetitive spinal flexion and extension that when we incorporate an exercise that requires a static position we second guess its effects. That is until you try the L-sit. It is the easiest looking, least intimating core that I have known.  That is until you try it for yourself. I have seen younger women master this exercise while I have seen it make grown men cry.

As we know it, the L-sit place the spine in flexion. Although to a smaller degree it is evident when you focus your eyes on the athletes look back. You notice more of around than you do an arch. In gymnastics, we define this as a “hollow body” state. Its a rigid, stable, and entirely safe position for the spine.

The problem is that because this position is rarely ever trained holding this position for 60seconds at a time is impossible. That is where effective, yet challenging regressions are useful.

1.Parallettes (P.Bar) or Boxes?


The chief complaint comes from the difficulty of keeping the legs of the ground. On the P. Bar, the room for error is small. A lack of flexibility in the hamstring and mobility int he hip flexors are the leading cause of strain. For these athletes, the box modification is best suited for them so they can focus more on bracing the abs and legs time to pray your feet do not touch the ground.

2. Where to place your legs?

In a perfect world,  everyone can point their toes and fully extend the knees. This rarely happens. Adjusting the levers, based on where an athlete places their legs while in the static position is crucial because you want them to be able to find a version that challenges them yet allows them to stay up for 20-30 seconds at a time. The three options we use are: double knee touch, semi-truck (one knee tuck, one leg pointed), or both legs fully extended.

3. Applying Time Under Tension

Ultimately being able to fully extend the legs for a few seconds is pointless. There isn’t enough of a stimulus to affect positive change in strength and or stability. Finding the correct modification based on #1 and #2 is ultimately predicted by their ability to keep their feet off the floor for at least 20-30 seconds at a time.

4. Practice. Practice. Practice.

Very few people can set up on a parallette and hold 60 seconds or longer. It takes repetitious practice like any other skill. Mastering this will make situps feel like a big waste of time.

Physical Benefits of Dips Exercise

Dips are intense and effective isolation exercises that help develop powerful and defined triceps. They can be performed on a machine at the gym or at home on a step; both methods use your body weight as resistance Some towers used for dips come equipped with a pulley system and platform on which you stand or rest your legs. The system provides lift support if your own body weight is too much for you.

Muscle Engagement

Dips are a compound push exercise with a small range of motion that primarily works your triceps but also engages your forearms, shoulders, chest and lower back. These muscle groups are engaged from the moment you position yourself on a dip machine, as the muscles are needed to help stabilize and balance yourself on the arm handles. As you lower and raise your body, the muscles provide resistance to the gravitational pull on your body. The lack of momentum during the dip movement keeps the muscles contracted throughout, making it one of the most effective triceps exercises. Read More…


Quite a few folks following our Competition programming have been wondering whether kettlebell swings should be performed as American Swings, Russian Swings or a hybrid. I have procrastinated an answer for long enough, so here it comes . . .


(I know, the least satisfying answer ever . . . but almost always the most accurate and best.)

Let’s take a look at the traditional American and Russian swings first, and then talk about how to determine which of those is best for you, or if there is a hybrid option that might work better.

The Russian Swing
The Russian swing starts with the kettlebell just below the groin (above the knees) and is swung to chest level – approximately a 90-degree angle to the torso. The movement is short, brisk and compact. It is a hip-hinge movement, with roughly 20-degrees (or less) of flexion at the knee. The power of the swing is generated from the hips while the spine is held perfectly stable and neutral. At the apex of the swing, the bell is at chest level, and the athlete’s glutes are contracted, quads are engaged (pulling the knees up), belly is rock solid and braced for impact, and lats are actively pulling the shoulders away from the ears. Additionally, the Russian swing should be performed with rhythmic diaphragmatic breathing – filling the abdomen on the downswing and forcefully expelling through the teeth, while bracing the belly, at the top of the swing. Read More…

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