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At home ab strength exercises for L-hold

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Megley

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My son is 8 and in preteam at the only gym locally that has a boys' program. His flexibility is excellent - he is down in left leg and straddle splits and nearly down in right leg splits - but his strength is lacking, particularly the abdominal strength needed for L-seats. His coaches have asked us to have him do some strength work at home. What are some good abdominal exercises we can do at home that will help his L-seats? Currently, he cannot get his feet off the floor when trying to do an L on the parallettes (we have a set at home) so I'm not sure whether trying these is helpful. So far, I have v-ups, crunches, hollow rocks. Is there anything else I can have him do? Also, what is the best hand placement for an L on the parallel bars. He wants to put his hands by his hips but I think he'd have better success if he moved them forward a bit.

Thanks in advance.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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If I am understanding your question correctly, he should indeed have his hands by his hips -- if he has them further forward, he will either have an L that leans to the front (ie it will look like a < instead of an L), or he will have to lift his legs even higher to compensate for the tilt.

As far as what strength excercises he should do, you've already mentioned most of the best ones, though I would also like to mention one of my favorites that doesn't seem to be on your list:

Have him lie on his back with his butt against a wall, so his legs are straight up above him against the wall. He then reaches for his toes, lifting his shoulders and upper back off the floor. If I haven't explained it well enough, lemme know and I'll see if I can clarify.
 
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gracefulone

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Do you have a pullup bar? Well, if you do, leg lifts are great. Make sure you stnad behind him though, to prevent him form swinging and using the motion instead of his abs. I got my pullup bar at sports authority for a/b $14. I've ahd it for 6 years. It was a steal as far as I'm considered. It has two sets of anchors, one for pullups, etc., the other a very little off the ground for situps, elevated pushups, and such. If not, there's a variation of push-ups designed to target abs. It's called a superman pushup. Instead of keeping your arms under your shoulders, you reach them out in front as far as you can while doing the move. A perfect one would be completely looking like superman, before you even go down.
 
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Megley

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Thanks to both of you for these tips. I think I do understand what you are talking about Geoffrey and we will add those to his routine. Gracefulone, we do have a pullup bar and I think leg lifts are an excellent idea. I doubt he has the upper body strength to do superman pushups. Thanks to both of you for your responses!
 

JBS

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Don't forget about the arms

An "L" that is tilted forward is very common for beginning level boys. The hands will correct themselves as he gets stronger.

Don't forget to work arm strength....especially triceps. As he is holding an "L" support that is horizontal to the ground (or even a bit higer), he will not only be using his abs. If he is only using his abs (or if his upper arms are too weak), the "L" will be slanted forward. His upper arms (shoulder area) need to be strong enough to rotated the entire body up into the correct position.

How many dips can he do? That would be a great exercise to improve strength in that area. Also, tricep dips (see picture below).
 

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Megley

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JBS, thanks so much for this info! I wouldn't even have thought of tricep strength. I'm not sure he can do any dips or at least not any all the way down. Unfortunately, he's got very poor upper body strength. We are doing the tricep dips you show in the picture - two sets of ten. So far we have added only one additional strength day at home (Sundays) into the mix as he's already getting strength on Tuesdays and Thursdays at gym. The boys preteam works out only 3 hours a week though, as compared to 9 hours for the girls so perhaps another day would be useful. He wants to compete Level 4 next year and strength is really the thing holding him back right now.

Thanks again,

Meg
 
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