Muscle group:   The abdominal muscles, the leg muscles, complex exercises

Trained muscle:   All parts of the abdominal muscles, thigh front

Focused muscle:   Rectus abdominis (straight abdominal muscle), Oblique abdominals

Fitness level:   Experienced

Type of training:   Own body weight exercises


 

Hanging leg raises represent one of the most effective exercises for the abdominal muscles. It can be performed on the wall bars or pull-up bars. A variation would be on the bars with our forearms supporting.

Hanging leg raises

Hanging leg raises are most effective when performed with longest lever. This can be realized by stretching the legs horizontally. This version is quite difficult and requires a well pronounced musculature. Easier variations would be practised with bent legs or by raising the legs not as high (shorter lever). Shorter levers can also be applied toward the end of the set when a complete repetition with long lever no longer is possible. This would exhaust the muscle in an optimal way.

Hanging leg raises with a free back are more intense than with your back resting on a wall. Leg lifts in lying or sitting position are far less intense in comparison with the hanging version. This is due to the large amount of stabilization work our muscles have to perform in hanging position to keep the pelvis erected.

Hanging leg raises – execution

Get in a hanging position, tense the abdominal muscles, and erect the pelvis. Raise your stretched legs without momentum in a controlled and smooth movement to the horizontal line. Hold this position as long as possible. With the increasing exhaustion you can start to bend your legs. Please abort the exercise when you are no longer able to keep the pelvis erected. At the end of the set please lower your legs smoothly. Too much momentum can harm the lower back.

You could also work out dynamically lowering and raising your legs in small amplitudes. Even more intense are small impulses in the area of highest muscle tension (longest lever). The exercise becomes easier with bent legs. Here, we don’t have to work on the horizontal line only. Feel free to further raise your legs.

Hanging leg raises variations

Hanging leg raises variations

 

Hanging leg raises with twist

Hanging leg raises with twist are less intense since we work out with shorter levers. We take a similar starting position. The abdominals are tensed and the pelvis is erected. From that position we raise our bent legs and start twisting them without momentum smoothly and controlled from one side to the other.

Hanging leg raises, twist

Hanging leg raises, twist

 

Hanging leg raises on the bars

Hanging leg raises on the bars are actually not performed from a hanging position. Our forearms support on the bars. The execution stays similar. Keep the abdominal muscles tensed and the pelvis erected. To ensure highest intensity make sure to not have the buttocks move toward the back too far.

Leg raises on the bars

Leg raises on the bars

 

All versions of the hanging leg raise activate the hip flexors. Athletes with complaints in the lower back, pronounced hollow back, or shortened hip flexors should not practise this exercise. If back problems occur during or after the training please switch to other exercises for the abdominals. Also avoid press breathing (exhalation against closed airways).


Antagonist: Lower back muscles

Stretching: Abdominal stretches

 

 

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