Hanging Leg Raises: What They Are, and Why You Should Be Doing Them
If you're looking for a way to kick your abs routine into high gear, take a look at hanging leg raises! These simple movements will help tone your abs, improve balance and stability, and build upper body strength.
Read on to learn how to perform hanging leg raises properly—and why they should be an essential part of your weekly workout routine!
What Are Hanging Leg Raises?
Hanging leg raises is a core strength exercise that you can do anywhere, anytime. Your goal, while doing this move, should be to hold your body off the ground with straight arms and raise your legs until they're parallel to the ground.
It's easy to get into position, but it's also important to keep your arms straight, shoulders down, and core tight while doing them. This will help prevent injuries and make sure you get the most out of the exercise.
Once in position, you'll need to lift one foot up so that it's pointing directly ahead of you (or slightly outward if preferred). Next, slowly lower that foot back down while raising the other foot up towards its starting point in front of your body until both legs are parallel with one another at hip height or higher.
Lowering each leg back down as far as possible before repeating will ensure full engagement of all muscles involved in holding yourself up during this movement.
Benefits of Hanging Leg Raises
The benefits of hanging leg raises include:
#1 Building core strength: The hanging leg raise is a highly effective exercise for building endurance and strength in your core muscles, primarily the obliques, transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis. In addition to strengthening these muscles, this exercise also improves hip mobility and balance by engaging them dynamically during the movement.
#2 Improving flexibility in the hips and lower back: Because you're holding yourself up by your arms throughout this exercise, it's easy for your body to make contact with the floor between repetitions if you let go too early or fail to keep proper form during each repetition.
The constant feedback from hitting the floor encourages proper form from start to finish for every rep, which helps maintain alignment throughout each range of motion (ROM). Hence, you can safely increase ROM over time without risking an injury that could occur from overextending into any one ROM before having sufficient strength there first (such as bending forward too far when doing crunches).
How to Perform With Proper Form
Hanging leg raises are a great exercise for developing lower abs and hip flexors. These muscles are necessary for everyday movements like bending over or picking up something from the floor. If you want to be able to perform these tasks without straining your back, make sure that you're doing hanging leg raises with proper form.
Begin by facing away from the barbell (or other hanging apparatus). Your feet should be slightly wider than the hip-width apart, with your knees bent at about 90 degrees. Keep your legs straight as you lift them up to hip height. This is where they'll remain throughout the entire movement.
Make sure that you keep your back straight and shoulders pulled back while performing this movement so as not to strain them unnecessarily while working out.
Now pump those legs up and down as fast as possible while holding onto that bar!
- Keep your back straight and core engaged. Your body should be as straight and upright as possible.
- Lift your legs to their full range of motion. This means that you should be lifting your legs as high as possible, rather than allowing them to drop or lower once they reach a certain point (which would indicate that you are holding back some energy).
- Keep your toes pointed towards the ceiling and legs straight. If you can't do this without letting go of the bar, then it's too high for you and/or it's not set at an appropriate height for your level of fitness; try lowering the bar until you can perform the exercise correctly with no modifications necessary!
- Don't let your hips sink toward the floor—they should stay aligned with yours throughout each rep!
Best Abs Workouts - Hanging Leg Raise Modifications
If you can't do hanging leg raises, try one of these alternatives:
- Use a chair. Sit in an upright chair with your feet on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest and slowly lift your thighs until they're parallel to the floor, then lower them back down to their starting position. Repeat as many times as necessary (10-15 reps).
- Use a bench. Find an exercise bench that's approximately knee height, put your toes under it and rest on both forearms while keeping shoulders off the bench at all times during this exercise; then raise your legs up until they're parallel to the ground and bring them back down again in controlled movements for 10-15 reps or until failure is reached.
Hanging leg raises is a great way to build core strength and work your hip flexors. When done correctly, they’re also a fantastic exercise for strengthening your abs.
In addition to the obvious benefits of hanging leg raises, they have a surprising amount of versatility. With just a few simple modifications, you can make them easier or harder depending on your fitness level, and even add in some cardio by performing them quickly between sets at the gym (this technique is known as “dynamic hanging leg raises”).