A Bench Leg Raise is one of the many variations of the standard leg raise, a strength-training exercise that focuses on your core and hip flexors. The movement is an excellent exercise for improving overall core strength and stability and can be done at home or in a gym. The exercise is effective because you are using your own bodyweight to boost the exercise’s benefits, but it can also be done with weights.
How To Do Bench Leg Raise
Instead of lying on the floor like you would in a standard leg raise, prepare a flat bench and position it in an area with enough room for you to extend your legs out over one end. Lay down on the bench with your buttocks close to one end.
Place your hands under your glutes with palms facing down or grasp the bench at head height for stability. Lift and extend your legs in front of you at the end of the bench. This is your starting position.
While keeping your legs as straight as possible, slowly raise them together until they are at a 90-degree angle from the ground. Exhale and engage the core as you do this part of the exercise, and pause in this position for about 2 seconds. In a slow and controlled manner, inhale as you lower your legs back to the starting position. Repeat for desired reps.
- Keep your torso still throughout the exercise. This will make your core work harder as you lift your legs up and down.
- Don’t let your feet drop to the ground or below the height of the bench to achieve maximum stability.
- Always keep your legs together and avoid bending your knees. This will allow full core engagement for a fantastic core workout.
- Builds and Strengthen the core muscles
- Improves strength flexibility of the hip flexors
- Improves Balance and Stability
- Burns fats
- Hip Flexors
Bench Leg Raise Variations
Lying Leg Raise
The lying leg raise is the same exercise as the bench leg raise, but you will be lying on the ground with your legs elevated in the air. This variation is best for those who don’t have access to a bench or if you are new to this exercise and need more time to warm up.
Weighted Bench Leg Raise
Using weights such as ankle weights or sandbags will add resistance, increasing the intensity and challenge of the exercise. This allows your muscles to work harder than just using your bodyweight.
Bench Leg Raise Alternatives
Bicycle kicks are a fantastic alternative to the bench leg raise as it also builds your core muscles and strengthens the hip flexors.
In this exercise, you’ll need to pull one of your knees into your chest while keeping the other leg extended, while both shoulders and legs are slightly elevated from the ground.
Switch to the other leg and repeat the same steps, making a movement as if you are riding a bicycle.
The mountain climbers are another great alternative to the bench leg raise as it targets several muscles in the body including the abs.
Instead of laying down, start on the floor in a high plank position. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart and your shoulders should be aligned directly over your wrists.
Bring one knee up toward the center of your stomach and quickly alternate between legs. Continue alternating until the set is completed.