L pull ups, also known as L-sit pull ups, are an advanced pull up-sit up hybrid exercise that requires a great deal of core strength, upper body strength and flexibility to pull off.
Like other bodyweight exercises, it requires little else apart from your own bodyweight which you use to concentrate tension in the target muscles. That and, of course, a pull-up bar.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Begin by standing in front of the pull-up bar. If you can’t reach it you can stand on a box to get to it.
- Grasp the bar, with your palms facing forward, and hang on it. Use a wide grip that will enable you to properly engage your lats.
- Then, keeping your legs pressed together, raise them until they are parallel to the floor such that your body forms an “L” shape.
- Pull your chest up towards the bar, keeping the rest of your body upright and exhaling through the movement. Make sure your elbows are pointing towards your sides as you pull up.
- Pause for a few seconds while engaging your lats and core.
- Slowly, lower your body, letting your arms come to full extension as you inhale. This completes one rep
- Repeat as many times as you desire, making sure to lower your body from the “L” position every time you complete a set.
WHAT MUSCLES DO L PULL UPS WORK?
L pull ups are a compound exercise which work a variety of muscles both in your upper and lower body.
Although they are primarily meant for the latissimus dorsi on your back and the abdominals in your core, they also work your biceps, forearms, hip flexors, rhomboids, quadriceps and the scapular stabilizers around your shoulder blades.
BENEFITS OF L PULL UPS
INCREASED CORE STABILITY AND STRENGTH
The l-sit up is a powerful core movement that requires strength and stability from your oblique muscles and abdominals.
When combined with such a power pulling exercise as the pull up, you must brace your core tight to stabilize your lower back and spine, and also maintain your upper body in an isometric position.
MORE TIME UNDER TENSION
Time under tension refers to the amount of time that a muscle unit takes to generate force during an exercise.
The more force the muscle unit produces, the more likely it is to increase in size through hypertrophy.
For athletes and lifters who rely on force to develop the core and lats by putting them through prolonged periods of tension, l pull ups could be a great option for developing muscle strength.
INCREASED ISOMETRIC STRENGTH
Most popular strength training exercises, such as those involving pulling and squatting, fail to develop isometric strength.
L pull ups specifically focus on the qualities of isometric strength training, which increases force and strength production in the lats and core.
ALTERNATIVES TO L PULL UPS
COMMANDO PULL UPS
This pull up variation widens your lats, strengthens your core and improves your grip strength.
Here’s how to do it:
- Stand sideways to a pull-up bar.
- Grab the bar with one hand in front of the other.
- Lower your body until your elbows are fully extended and then pull your body up so that your head moves to one side of the bar.
- Lower back down and move your head to the opposite side.
- Keep alternating sides with every rep.
- Repeat as many times as you desire, making sure you engage your core and lats during the “hang.”
OVERHEAD DUMBBELL PRESS
For the overhead dumbbell press, you need two dumbbells or in the alternative, a barbell.
- Sit on a workout bench.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms to your right and left.
- Bend both elbows to a 90-degree angle, making sure your palms are facing your body. This is the starting position.
- Then, raise the weights as high as you can so your arms are extended in the air and the dumbbells are overhead.
- Hold this position for a few seconds while engaging your lats and core.
- Bring the dumbbells down to complete one rep.
During this movement, your shoulders should be positioned in front of your body and not retracted to be at the same level with your chest.
The kettlebell swing targets multiple muscle groups using momentum gained from the swinging motion you make during the exercise.
How it is done:
- Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and one kettlebell placed on the floor between your legs.
- Hinge at the hips to bend your knees so that you can pick the kettlebell off the floor with both hands.
- Pull the weight behind your body through your legs to give the motion some momentum.
- Then, swing it up and out until it gets to shoulder height and your arms are extended.
- Allow the kettlebell to drop down through your legs.
- Repeat these steps as many times as you desire.
L PULL UPS MISTAKES TO AVOID
Using a grip that is too narrow shifts the focus of the exercise from your midback and lats to the brachioradialis in your forearms.
To recruit the target muscles of the pull up, you should use a grip that is just a bit wider than shoulder width.
Another common mistake is placing the elbows in same plane as the torso.
You should shift them forward slightly to make the lats stretch more. Putting them in front of your body will also enable you to recruit them at the bottom of the rep, where you need them the most.
As earlier mentioned, this exercise is pretty advanced, since it involves a lot of core strength, grip strength and overall upper body strength.
If you aren’t strong enough for it, stay away from it until you are, otherwise you risk injuring your muscles.
For otherwise strong lifters, L pull ups are a great way to work your lats and core as well as other muscles both in your upper and lower body.