The Best Exercise You’re Not Doing But Probably Should: L-Sit Chin Ups

I’m not typically a big fan of combination exercises because I feel like you tend to shortchange one in order to challenge the other. For example, if you combine a lunge and a curl, you’re probably not challenging the lunge very much, unless you’re built like a typical frat bro who’s got gargantuan biceps and no wheels.

This chin up variation is a little different than that. Core strength is absolutely pivotal to chin up strength, as you need to keep the pelvis and rib cage lined up like a cylinder in order to for your shoulder blades to move optimally. If your break at your abdominals, then your ribs flare up, your back arches like a B team stripper, and your shoulder mechanics, thus your pulling strength goes out the window.

By holding an L sit, you force your core musculature to do extra work without taking away from the challenge posed by the chin up. What I really love about it, though, is that the core gets challenged more at the bottom of the chin up as the arms are further overhead, and the lats get challenged more towards the top of the movement.

As with any chin up variation, I like to rotate the grips periodically to try to reduce the risk of elbows and shoulders getting cranky. Try these with palms up, neutral, palms away, or on rings, with each giving a slightly different effect.

Try plugging these in next time you plan to hit some chin ups to get some additional ab work. I like to do 3-5 sets of 5-8 on these for the most part, but there’s plenty of wiggle room on how to fit them into your program.

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