Straight Arm Strength
This week let’s discuss straight arm strength. Straight-arm work is more unique to gymnastics and calisthenics and is trained much less frequently, if at all. For this week, we are going to work on the L-sit and L-sit progressions. Most think of the L-sit as core exercise, which is true, but it’s so much more than that. To properly perform an L-sit you need strength and flexibility in your arms, shoulders, abs, back, and legs. The benefits of becoming proficient in an L-sit are many. Along with the obvious core and shoulder strength, this will help develop strong hip flexors which can carry over to squats and deadlifts.
Body Position Cues – Parallettes
- Set the parallettes shoulder width apart
- Pressing down on the parallettes, lift your body off the ground with straight-arms
- Shoulders should be depressed and retracted (shoulder blades together and shoulders away from ears)
- Keep your chest up and out. Your shoulders, hips, and hands shoulder be closely aligned
- Keep your knees locked out with straight legs and toes pointed.
If you can’t straighten your legs, no problem. Here are a few progressions. If you can hold any of these progressions for 15+ seconds move on the next progression
- Tuck – with one foot on the ground (think tip toe)
- Full tuck – bring knees to chest
- Tuck with single leg straight (alternate legs)
- Low L-sit – Feet slightly off the floor
If you want to train the L-sit, I would accumulate 60 seconds in a L-sit / L-sit progression hold. This can be broken up into sets 6x10s, 4x15s, 3x20s, etc… Work this into your warm up or accessory work during the week.