Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Workout of the Day
Skill Drills: Handstand, Forward Roll
This exercise is remarkable from several perspectives. It is isometric, functional, and highly effective. Relatively unknown outside of the gymnastics community this exercise may be the most effective abdominal exercise we know of!
The L-sit is performed by supporting the body entirely by the arms and holding the legs straight out in front. The body forms an “L” thus the name L-sit. The exercise (we can hardly call it a movement) is isometric, i.e., it involves no joint movement. Being isometric, we quantify its performance not in reps but by time.
We not only contend that the L-sit is functional but that it is the most functional of all abdominal exercises.
Our justification for this contention lies in our view that the dominant role of the abdominals is midline stabilization not trunk flexion. Though trunk flexion is certainly important, midline stabilization is more important both to everyday living and athletic movement. The leg’s posture in the L-sit places an enormous, if not unbearable, moment or torque about the hip that must be counteracted by the abdominals to keep both the legs up and the spine from hyperextending.
As for efficacy, the L-sit may have no peer among abdominal exercises. We make this claim not on the basis of our position on abdominal muscle functionality but on the simple observation that athletes who have developed their L-sit to the point where they can hold it for three minutes subsequently find all other ab work easy. The gymnasts’ unrivaled capacity at hip and trunk flexion is in large part due to their constant training and practice of this exercise.
Practice of the L-sit is for some very tough – they just can’t seem to find the muscles that raise and hold the legs. The key is to keep trying. Two successful approaches for working up to the L-sit include hanging from a pull-up bar and raising locked legs as far as possible and holding or working the L-sit by holding one leg at a time alternately in the L posture. … Measure your progress in the L-sit in 15-second increments. Give your self one point for every fifteen seconds you can hold the “L”. Twelve points is your goal and with regular training and practice you should be able to get to 12 points, or three minutes, within six months. During warm-up and cool-down is the natural place to play with this movement although the dedicated gymnast will find uncountable surfaces and opportunities to play with this superb exercise.
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