Master The V-Sit Easier Togther With A Professional Calisthenics Athlete
How To Learn V-sit

Written by Malin Malle

June 20, 2024

Are you looking to master the V-Sit? The V-Sit is one of the most challenging and highly regarded movements in calisthenics. It requires a great level of strength, mobility, and control. Achieving and maintaining the V-Sit demonstrates an athlete’s ability to control and balance their body in a static position, which is a key component of calisthenics.

In this guide, I will break down the strength and mobility exercises you can complete or incorporate into your workout to nail that V-Sit. I will also go through how to complete the V-Sit while giving you tips and tricks.

Follow this step-by-step guide created by me, calisthenics coach and world champion Malin Malle, to master your V-Sit.

Equipment Needed

Strength Needed to Master the V-Sit

The V-Sit is one of the most difficult and challenging Calisthenic movements, requiring high levels of strength. The V-Sit demands strength from multiple areas in your body. Mastering the V-Sit requires mastering key areas of strength…

  1. Compression Strength: Allows you to pull your legs towards your torso, creating the tight V shape.
  2. Hip Flexor Strength: Essential for lifting and holding your legs in the air
  3. Tricep Strength: Helps support your body weight throughout the V-Sit
  4. Scapula Depression: Stabilizes your shoulders and keeps your upper body engaged
  5. Forearm Strength: Needed for gripping the parallettes and maintaining balance. 

4 Exercises to Improve Your V-Sit

We will delve into four specific exercises designed to target these essential areas of strength. By incorporating these exercises into your training routine, you can build the necessary foundation to master the V-Sit and enhance your overall fitness. Whether you’re a beginner looking to improve your core strength or an experienced athlete aiming to perfect your form, these exercises will help you achieve your goals.

1. L-Sit to Tuck V-Sit to Negative V-Sit

Equipment Required: Parallettes. This exercise can also be done on Yoga Blocks or the floor.

The L-Sit to Tuck V-Sit to Negative V-Sit is an advanced Calisthenics movement that requires strength, control and coordination. This exercise targets key muscle groups that are required to perform the V-Sit, such as the hip flexors and core. Mastering this movement sequence is crucial to master the full V-Sit position. 

A. Start Position (L-Sit)

  • Start by sitting between the parallettes with your hands firmly gripping the bars beside your hips. 
  • Press down though your palms to lift your body off the ground, straightening your arms completely.
  • Fully extend your legs forward, keep them together and parallel to the ground, forming an “L” shape with your body. Make sure to engage your core!
Malin Malle in L-Sit on Gornation parallettes.

B. Transition to Tuck V-Sit

  • From the L-Sit position, lift your legs towards your chest. Make sure to keep your core muscles engaged for stability and support. 
  • Bend your knees and pull them in towards your torso, transitioning from the L-Sit into a tucked position. Your body should form a “V” shape. If you can not lift your legs to your chest, lift them as high and slowly as you can.
  • Try to bring your knees as close as possible to your chest while maintaining control on the parallettes.
Malin Malle in Tuck V-Sit on Gornation Parallettes.

C. Return to Start Position (Negative)

  • To complete the movement, transition by bending your knees back into the Tuck V-Sit position. 
  • From the Tuck-Vist position extend your legs back out into the L-Sit position, lifting your body off the ground with straight arms. 

2. Seated Pike Compressions Lifts + Hold

No equipment is required. Exercise is to be done on the floor.

The Seated Pike Compressions’ primary focus is to improve hip flexor strength. This exercise targets the hip flexor muscles, which allow you to effectively lift your legs and maintain proper posture. The V-Sit requires significant hip flexor strength to lift the legs and hold them parallel to the ground while seated. By using this exercise, you can enhance your ability to perform the V-Sit with control and stability.

A. Starting Position

  • Sit on the ground with legs extended straight out in front and hands roughly behind your sides. Keep back straight with a slight protraction (rounding of upper back) Engage your core muscles by pulling your belly button towards your spine.
Malin Malle in starting position of seated pike compressions
Malin Malle in seated pike hold to improve her V-Sit.

B. Compression Lifts & Holds

  • Engage core muscles and lift legs off the ground, do not move your upper body and maintain slight protraction. Focus on engaging the hip flexors to lift the legs and maintain stability.
  • Hold the lifted position for a few seconds, focus on maintaining stability and control. Feel the engagement in the hip flexors as you hold the position. 

C. Lowering Phase

  • Slowly lower your legs back down to the starting position while maintaining control. 
  • Focus on engaging the hip flexors to control the descent and maintain stability.
  • If this is too hard, move your hands further back! The further back your hands are the easier the lift will be.

3. Core Compression Slides

Equipment Needed: Paralletes, Yoga Blocks. You can complete this exercise on the floor but it will increase the difficulty. The lower this exercise is performed the harder it is! Performing this on a slick floor or with socks is preferred as it will allow your feet to slide easier.

Core Compression slides offer numerous benefits, focusing on improving core strength, mobility and overall body control. This exercise targets your core, one of the most important muscle groups that is engaged in the V-Sit. Core compression slides also improve your compression strength which will allow you to bring your legs as close as you can to your chest. These areas of focus are crucial for maintaining proper posture and executing advanced Calisthenics movements like the V-Sit.

A. Starting Position

  • Place the parallettes shoulder-width apart on the ground.
  • Begin in a seated position on the floor with your legs extended straight out in front of you. 
  • Lift yourself on the parallettes, ensuring your arms are straight and shoulders directly above your wrists.
  • Engage your core muscles by pulling your belly button towards your spine.
Malin Malle in compression slide start position

B. Compression Slide

  • Lift your legs off the ground while keeping your heels grazing the floor. 
  • Use your core to slide your heels towards your chest, compressing your body as tightly as possible. 
  • Focus on maintaining stable shoulders while sliding up. While completing the slide, think of bringing your quads to your stomach and your knees to your chest.

4. High Knee Raises

Equipment Needed: Parallettes

This exercise targets the core muscles which are essential for supporting your torso and lifting your legs into the V-Sit position. High Knee raises also improve hip flexor strength which is necessary to keep your legs elevated and straight during the V-Sit making this exercise a perfect movement to master your V-Sit. If you can not complete this exercise, you can modify it by completing it on higher boxers to use momentum to raise your knees.

A. Starting Position

  • Place the parallettes shoulder-width apart on the ground.
  • Begin in a seated position on the floor with your legs extended straight out in front of you. 
  • Lift yourself on the parallettes, ensuring your arms are straight and shoulders directly above your wrists.
Malin Malle on bars in starting position of high knee raises
Malin Malle completing high knee raises.

B. Knee Raise

  • From the starting position, lift your knees towards your chest, keeping your back straight and using your core strength to initiate the movement. 
  • Continue lifting until your knees touch your chest. Aim to get your things as close to your torso as possible.

Set Plan

  • Choose 2-3 exercises from this list.
  • Complete these exercises 3-4 times per week.
  • Complete 3-4 sets each within the 6-12 rep range. Make sure to rest for 1-2 minutes between each exercise.

Mobility Exercises to Master the V-Sit

Mobility is a critical component in mastering the V-Sit, a challenging calisthenics movement that demands strength, control, and flexibility. Achieving the V-Sit requires more than just raw strength; it also necessitates adequate mobility in key areas of the body. From flexible hips and hamstrings to a mobile thoracic spine and shoulders, each aspect of mobility plays a vital role in performing the V-Sit with proper form and stability. Without sufficient mobility, individuals may struggle to attain the necessary positions and maintain balance throughout the movement. The following two exercises will improve your mobility and help you master the V-Sit.

1. Seated Pike Stretch

This exercise targets the core muscles which are essential for supporting your torso and lifting your legs into the V-Sit position. High Knee raises also improve hip flexor strength which is necessary to keep your legs elevated and straight during the V-Sit making this exercise a perfect movement to master your V-Sit. If you can not complete this exercise, you can modify it by completing it on higher boxers to use momentum to raise your knees.

A. Starting Position

  • Sit on the ground with your legs extended straight in front of you. Make sure you keep you back straight as well!
  • Keep your back tall and your feet flexed, toes pointing towards the ceiling.

B. Knee Raise

  • Inhale deeply, then exhale as you gently lean forward from your hips, reaching your hands towards your feet. Maintain a straight spine and avoid rounding your back! 
  • Hold the stretch for 15 seconds, feeling a gentle stretch along the back of your legs (hamstrings) and lower back.
  • After 15 seconds, if comfortable, try to deepen the stretch by reaching further forward or lowering your chest closer to your thighs.
  • Continue to breathe deeply and relax into the stretch.
  • Aim to hold the stretch at a depth where you feel a moderate stretch but can still maintain proper form for up to 60 seconds.

2. Pike Stretch on Wall

Pike strength on the wall directly targets the hamstrings, hips, spine, shoulders, and core essential areas for V-Sit mobility. Stretching the hamstrings and promoting hip flexibility, it aids in achieving the straight-legged position crucial for the V-Sit. This exercise also enhances spinal mobility and shoulder stability, vital for maintaining proper posture during the V-Sit. 

A. Starting Position

  • Sit facing a wall as close as possible, ensuring you have enough space to extend your legs fully. 
  • Place your hands behind you fully extended behind as close to your body as you can.

B. Execution

  • Inhale deeply, then exhale as you push your head to touch your knees. 
  • Keep your legs straight and as close to the wall as possible, feeling a deep stretch in your hamstrings in calves.
  • Hold the position for 15 seconds, focusing on maintaining a strong and stable core.
  • If comfortable, gradually increase the duration of the hold, aiming to maintain the position for up to 60 seconds.
  • To release, slowly walk your hands away from the wall and return to the starting position.

Set Plan

  • Complete all exercises from this list.
  • Complete these exercises three times per week.
  • Start with a 15 second Pre-Stretch and progress into a 60 second progressed stretch.
  • Complete three sets with a one minute rest in between.

How do I complete a V-Sit?

To complete a V-Sit, start by sitting on the ground with your legs extended. Lift both legs and torso simultaneously, balancing on your sitting bones to form a “V” shape with your body. Keep your arms extended parallel to the ground for stability. Focus on maintaining balance, stability, and a straight spine throughout the movement. For insider tips and tricks, watch my detailed breakdown video.

Conclusion

In conclusion, mastering the V-Sit is a challenging yet rewarding journey in Calisthenics. By focusing on strength, flexibility, and control, you can progress towards mastering the V-Sit. Incorporating the mobility and strength exercises will help you master the areas of strength needed to complete the V-Sit. Remember, the V-Sit is an advanced Calisthenics movement, it will require consistency and patience to nail the V-Sit. Whether you are used to working out but new to calisthenics or just a beginner in your fitness journey, Start with our Calisthenics workout programs to connect with like-minded individuals committed to their health and fitness. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to leave a comment sharing your thoughts and any questions you may have.

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