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Alan O'Donnell
10-27-2008, 11:39 AM
Hey everyone, first post, really excited to join the forums :)

I've been trying to work on L-pullups recently, and it's not going that well. I can do about 10-12 strict pullups depending on the grip, and I can hold an l-sit with my fists on the ground (not flexible enough to use my palms yet) for about 20 seconds.

But if I'm hanging from a bar, I cannot for the life of me get out of the dead hang when I'm in the L. Something about the orientation of my shoulders/upper back makes it so that I'm pulling with just my biceps - I can't activate my back at all.

So my question is: is something off w my technique (e.g. if I stop juuuust short of a dead hang I can do l-pullups just fine), or do I just need stronger biceps?

Sorry about my anatomical ignorance, but what seems to be happening is that when I do a regular strict pullup, I arch my back a bit at the bottom of the hang (angling my chest towards the bar). Getting into the L forces me to round my back a bit (I lose the lumbar curve anyway), ergo no pulling strength. So I suppose another problem is that I have tight hamstrings?

Jesse Woody
10-27-2008, 12:10 PM
The L-position increases the leverage on the shoulders as well, essentially making it a heavier pull-up. It's definitely harder than a strict pull-up and an L-sit put together. Start working negatives in L-position, really striving to slow-down the last 1/4 of the movement and you'll be able to work your way up to it relatively quickly, and an added benefit is that your regular pull-ups will probably improve too! Good luck!

Garrett Smith
10-27-2008, 01:59 PM
Realize that your upper body will be further away from the bar at the top of an L-pullup (counterbalance requires it) than a normal pull-up.

Also, getting your feet slightly *above* parallel may make things a lot easier on you.

Pull your body back and up, not just up.

More straight leg raises from a pullup bar. This will help your strength at the start of the movement--do them deadhang, no swing.

And what Jesse said.

Steven Low
10-27-2008, 06:38 PM
Think of it kind of like a mini-front lever.

Push the bar forward while you're trying to pull straight up. Or like Garrett said pull back and up. It's hard but not significantly harder.


And there's nothing wrong with a rounded back in an L-sit. Only when there's a load on the spine do you need to have the lumbar arch. Most of the bodyweight moves you want to be straight or slightly hollow/rounded such as handstands, L-sits, pushups, front lever, back lever, cross, etc.

Still you should stretch your hammies and work on your active flexibility. Anyone can always use more.

Alan O'Donnell
10-27-2008, 08:23 PM
Ah, interesting, pushing away on the bar helps a lot. I've found I can also do a few with an underhand grip, but they make my shoulders pop like crazy. Thanks for the help!

Blair Lowe
10-28-2008, 02:11 AM
How tight is your upper back, scapula, and thoracic spine?