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Gymnastics with Coach Shaun

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

  1. Set the parallettes shoulder width apart
  1. Pressing down on the parallettes, lift your body off the ground with straight-arms
  1. Shoulders should be depressed and retracted (shoulder blades together and shoulders away from ears)
  1. Keep your chest up and out. Your shoulders, hips, and hands shoulder be closely aligned
  1. 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

  1. Tuck – with one foot on the ground (think tip toe)
  2. Full tuck – bring knees to chest
  3. Tuck with single leg straight (alternate legs)
  4. 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.


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