SLIPS Series: What Are L-Sits In CrossFit?

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

L-sits are becoming a staple of CrossFit warm-ups and workouts across the globe, as a great exercise for core and ab strength and stability as well as testing balance too.


CrossFit.com programming has been introducing SLIPS or Scales, L-sits, Inversion, Planks and Stretching into the WODs.

Aa part of a new series of blogs from AMRAP ANTICS, we will be taking a deeper dive into SLIPS, how to perform each movement and why you should use SLIPS in your workout regime.


In this blog we break down the second part of SLIPS, L-Sits.


What are L-Sits in CrossFit?


Although looking a simple movement, the L-Sit is very demanding. Strength in the core, chest, arms, shoulders, and hip flexors as well as flexibility to hold the L position is required to perform the L-Sit correctly.


Variations of the L-Sit include using no equipment, parallettes, benches, boxes or rings, but this gymnastic movement involves holding your legs horizontal off of the floor by holding your arms straight below you (on either the floor or your equipment) with core engaged, creating an L shape with your body.


The L-Sit is an incredibly demanding exercise, so be sure to use cation when performing for the first time, many can only hold for a few seconds so it is definitely something to work up to.


How to do an L-Sit in CrossFit


To do an L-Sit for CrossFit Workouts, follow these steps:


A. When using two boxes, benches, or parallettes, set them up so that they are just narrower than shoulder width apart. Stand in between the equipment and place your palms on each side so that they're under shoulders.


B. Straighten out your arms, lock your elbows at sides, pull your shoulder blades down and away from ears, and engage your lats. Then, as you are pushing down into your palms, engage your core and lift your legs (straight and together) off the floor until they are parallel with (or close to parallel with) the floor.


C. Hold the position here, keeping your knees straight, squeezing your quads together tightly, pointing toes, and looking straight ahead to keep a neutral neck.


Aim to accumulate a total of 30 seconds of an L-sit hold per set, resting 10 to 20 seconds each time you drop. As you build strength, increase time to 45 seconds, and then 1 minute or more.


[Looking for paralletes to do L-Sits on? Check out our recommendations for top picks.]


What are the benefits of L-Sits in CrossFit?

Integrating L-Sits into your CrossFit Workouts, you can not only increase your core strength but also your shoulder stability too.


The upsides of strengthening your core go beyond sculpting abs: From keeping you upright, stabilizing your spine and pelvis, transferring strength to your limbs, and protecting you from potential injury, a strong core has some serious benefits.


Unlike many core exercises that just work the core, the L-sit works your abs, obliques, hip flexors, quads, triceps, shoulders, pecs, and lats.


While working all of these muscle-groups is great, the best part is that you're working them isometrically—aka holding them in one position for a period of time.


What are the variations of an L-Sit in CrossFit?


There are a wide range of variations you can do to perform an L-Sit to get all of the great benefits outlined above.


For the different variations we can change a few different elements of the L-Sit for different scaling. The first being changing the surface/object we're holding.


Parallettes are the primary piece of equipment we see L-Sits performed with but we are able to L-Sit with two boxes or benches placed about shoulder width apart. Not only does this provide a slightly different activation in the shoulders/arms but also allows the athlete to lower/hold their legs at a below horizontal angle. This may help beginners who don't quite have the horizontal L-Sit yet.


In addition to this, we can also look at the position, angle and movement in the legs. For those who want to improve their L-Sit or those who are looking to hold their first 15 seconds, we can use the movements of thhe legs to train the L-Sit.


L-Sit Workouts in Crossfit


Whilst in a parallette L-Sit you can flutter kick your legs if you want to train the movement and stability ( 3 sets of 45 seconds should do it). Whereas if you haven't quite got your L-Sit yet, you can hold yourself with the parallettes with your feet resting on the floor in front of you and raise each leg alternatively (3 Sets of 20 raises on each leg) should help train your L-Sit for your CrossFit workouts.


Alternatively you can also hold your L-Sit either in Parallettes or on the ground and put a water bottle or foam roller directly in front of you. Lift your legs from one side of the bottle/roller to the other and you should feel the burn in no time! 3 sets of 16 side to side should be enough for anyone.


To learn more about what SLIPS means in CrossFit and how to perform SLIPS visit our series here.

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