The leg raise is a fantastic bodyweight exercise to add to your daily workout routine. It effectively targets the core and hip flexors. With minimal to no equipment required, it is a perfect exercise to do anywhere at any time.
How To Do Leg Raises
Prepare a comfortable floor mat or workspace for your exercise. Lie down on your back with your feet straight out in front of you. Place your arms at your sides with palms facing down and lightly press your hands into the ground.
If this position is uncomfortable for you, you can also try placing your hands underneath your back just slightly above the buttocks to provide support to your tailbone.
To initiate the movement, engage your core and lift your legs slowly and carefully until they are off the ground. Make sure that your head, neck, and lower back are still in contact with the ground while doing so.
Hold at the top position for a second or two, then slowly lower them back to the starting position. Repeat this motion without letting your feet touch the ground in between each rep.
- Keep your legs together and straight throughout the movement.
- Avoid arching your back. An arched back not only reduces the effectiveness of the exercise but also increases the risk of injuries.
- Do not overdo it. If you feel discomfort in your lower back, try keeping a lower range of motion for each rep.
- Strengthens your core, hip flexors and lower back muscles
- Improves your posture
- Helps burn calories
- Provides lots of variations depending on your goals
- Rectus Abdominis
- Hip Flexors
Leg Raise Variations
Weighted Leg Raises
Wear a pair of ankle weights and proceed with performing a leg raise as usual. This adds resistance and makes your abs and hip muscles work harder. However, make sure that you do this progression only if you have perfected the form of leg raises.
Single-Leg Leg Raise
This is just like the usual leg raise but instead of lifting both legs together, raise only one leg while the other rests on the ground.
Hanging Leg Raise
Hanging leg raises are a hanging version of the lying leg raise performed on the floor. To do a hanging raise, start in a dead hang position. Raise your legs, making sure to keep them extended (as little bending in the knees as possible). Raise your legs to a horizontal position (a hanging l-sit) and squeeze your core, then return to a dead hang.
Leg Raise Alternatives
Just like a leg raise, sit-ups can be done anytime, anywhere as they don't require any special skills or equipment. They are a popular exercise for people wanting to strengthen and tone their abdominal muscles.
Reverse crunches are an effective exercise for targeting the lower abs. These are a great addition to your daily routine and can be done back-to-back with regular crunches for beginners looking to build well-rounded abs.
V-ups, also known as Jackknife, is a great exercise for a total core workout that not only tests your strength, but also your discipline. This is also effective for improving posture, balance and coordination.