Hanging Leg Raises

Image of how to do hanging leg raises


Type: Strength

Main Muscle Worked: Abdominals

Equipment: Body Only or a pull-up bar

Level: Intermediate

What are Hanging Leg Raises?

The hanging leg raise is most likely the first ab exercise that your gym trainer hands out to you when you step into your gym. It is a fat burning exercise that isolates the abs really well, hanging leg raises are a strength training exercise which targets the hip flexors. Because the abdominal muscles are used constantly to stabilize the body during the motion, leg raises are also often used to strengthen the abdominal muscles and the internal and external oblique muscles.

Leg lifts are a pretty basic-but effective-core exercise. But it’s easy to mess them up.

Muscles Worked in Hanging Leg Raises

Muscles worked in hanging leg raises

primary: Abdominals

Benefits of hanging leg raises

Improves flexibility

All leg raise exercises massively improve the flexibility of both your hips and abdominal area since they involve continuous joint movements, they also Improve your posture. This lets you stretch muscles to their maximum potential without the muscles feeling strained when climbing stairs the next day.

Lowers risk of back injuries

Leg raises also lowers the risk of back injuries. While most abdominal exercises appears to focus on the abdominal area, back support is actually also improved when performing hanging leg raises. This means that your back muscles are more equipped to support greater weights and the strained feeling when you lift heavy objects is improved.

Burns calories fast

Performing hanging leg raises tone your muscles, improve your form and burn a good 58 to 65 calories for every 10- to 15-minutes performing leg raises. As a result, fat in the belly area is burned faster especially when paired with a low-carb diet, such as the keto diet.

Strengthens core muscles

Leg raise exercises strengthen your lower abdominal muscles. Hanging leg raises target your lower and upper abdominal muscles while floor leg raises burn fat in your lower abs. Although they are challenging exercises for beginners, repeating them gets you faster results.

Enhances balance and stability

Some leg raise exercises such as on the chin-up bar and raised curve bar strengthen your grip. Continuously performing hanging leg raises also increases your balance and stability which then let’s you endure carrying your whole body’s weight .

How to do hanging leg raises

If you have a gym membership there will be pull up bars all over the place.  At your house you might have “the perfect pull up” in your door way. If you have neither of these you can purchase a pull-up bar from here: Pull-up bar

How to do hanging leg raises

  1. 1. Hang from a pull-up bar with both arms extended at arms length in top of you using either a wide grip or a medium grip. Yours legs should be straight down with the pelvis rolled slightly backwards. This will be your starting position.
  2. 2. Raise your legs until the torso makes a 90-degree angle with the legs. Exhale as you perform this movement and hold the contraction for a second or so.
  3. 3. Go back slowly to the starting position as you breathe in.
  4. Repeat for desired reps.


Mistakes commonly made in hanging leg raises

Holding Your Breath

As you engage your abdominal muscles and prepare to lift your legs, you may be tensing up so much that you forget to breathe. Timing your lifts with your breathing will help you avoid holding your breath.

Your Core Isn’t Engaged

One of the keys to performing hanging leg raises with good form is engaging your core before you lift your legs up. If you lift your legs before your abdominal muscles are fully engaged you’re not only missing out on the toning benefits of the exercise but you are also putting yourself at risk for injury.

Arching Your Back

As you perform leg raises, you should keep your back straight, not arched. Your head and neck should also be steady.

Relying on Momentum

The same can be said for swinging your legs or relying on momentum. You should keep your movements controlled.

Safety when performing hanging leg raises

To perform a hanging leg raises, you need the right equipment. Make sure that the gym where you work out has either a pull-up bar or you can buy your own for home here: Pull-up bars

If you have certain health conditions, injuries, or are recovering from surgery you should talk to your doctor or physical therapist to see if the hanging leg raise is suitable for you. Exercises like hanging leg lifts require your core and upper body to do a lot of work. You may need to avoid hanging leg lifts if you:

  • • Are pregnant or recovering from childbirth
  • • Have recently had surgery
  • • Are recovering from injuries involving your back, neck, arms, or legs

Variations of leg raises

Lying Floor Leg Raise

Lying floor leg raises are used by people who work out at home and have no equipment. How to do a Lying Floor Leg Raise

  1. 1. Lie on the floor on your back with your legs together and fully extended.
  2. 2. Slowly raise your legs from the hips, keeping your legs in a straight line. Keep your toes pointed up and your back flat on the ground with your hands at your sides.
  3. 3. Raise your legs to a 90-degree angle, and slowly lower them back toward the ground without touching the ground.

Repeat for desired reps.


Lying Bench Leg Raise

For people with weight benches or who have access to a gym, the bench version of leg raises is similar to the lying leg raises but are performed on a weight bench. You can hold onto the bench for additional leverage.

If you need a bench which can be flat and in an incline or decline postion one can be purchased here: Benches

How to do lying leg raises

  1. 1. Lie with your back flat on a bench and your legs extended in front of you hanging off the end.
  2. 2. Place your hands either under your glutes with your palms down or by the sides holding on to the bench for support.
  3. 3. As you keep your legs extended, straight as possible with your knees slightly bent but locked raise your legs until they make a 90-degree angle with the floor. Exhale as you perform this portion of the movement and hold the contraction at the top for a second.
  4. 4. Now, as you inhale, slowly lower your legs back down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for desired reps.

Write below in the comments your opinion on the hanging leg raises, if it works for you and any questions you might have.

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