Let me contradict a secret wish of many fitness enthusiasts: The superior goal of your ab training should never be a sixpack.It should be a strong and functional core – rock hard-looking abs are the byproduct of achieving that. …and one important exercise which can help you achieve that goal are hanging leg raises.
There are a ton of ab exercises – many are really cool, some plainly stupid and others go lost in the dense swamp of exercises. Few offer that many benefits and carryover to different skills as hanging leg raises do.
Let’s take at this post a close look at this awesome, but often totally misunderstood exercise.
To avoid this mistake entirely you should, if available, do the hanging leg raises hanging down from a stall bar.
Think of Folding in Half
Try to smash your feet into your face.
Really, do that! For 99% that won’t be possible and a great cue. If you manage to do that – I am deeply impressed. And sorry for that bruise.
Hanging Leg Raises for Beginners – Floor to Hanging!
Step I: Start out on the Floor
The best starting point strength-wise and technique-wise is the floor. Here you can progress well, learn the technique safely, and can’t cheat.
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I would suggest starting out with knee raises, and doing straight leg raises if you are comfortable doing at least 8 beautiful ones. Alternatively, throw some single leg raises and some with your butt up in the air in the mix.
For many explanations and how all of these exercises look like be sure to check out this and the three annexed videos at the end of this article.
Step II: Try out Hanging Knee Raises
If you are comfortable doing at least 8 beautiful leg raises on the floor and hanging down from a bar* or a pair of gymnastic rings* for around 30s without forearm cramps – try out the knee raises!
The key point is here to keep your shoulders active. This way you won’t just rock from front to back while doing these. But – not that active that they do the main work.
Do 3-5 sets of 5-12 reps, working in between the sets passively on your pike position. If you are trying to bridge the gap between two levels, lower reps and more sets can be helpful, too. For example, don’t try to crank out 12 negatives – the DOMS the next day will kill you. 😀 Do 3-5 quality lowers of 5-10s each. That’s all I wanted to talk about today with you! I hope that post could clarify some of the most common pitfalls I see and encountered myself.
Now it’s your turn to help me out! How did you like that article? Have you any questions left? Or still struggling with doing leg raises the right way?
Just drop me a line – I would love to hear from you!
Read you soon,
Sources and further reading
Check out this video by Tom Merrick to learn everything about the hanging leg raise itself and how to progress to full leg lifts properly, starting out with knee raises.
This Video by Sid Paulson shows you a whole gymnastic routine around the hanging leg lifts and on how to achieve them quickly if you are really serious about achieving that goal.
This video by FitnessFAQs about the most common mistakes when doing hanging leg raises and how to fix them easily is also a great start point for anyone trying to learn the hanging leg raises.
Compression strength is the strength your core has to get your legs as close as possible towards your upper body.
I don’t know much about CrossFit specific programming, that’s why I want to leave this open and don’t wanna claim it to be false, what they are doing. If you know something more about it – tell me I always like to learn, too!
Do hanging leg raises like you would do biceps curls. Either you wouldn’t throw your weights up ‘n’ down. Go forcefully and controlled up, and slowly back down.
To internalize that takes just some time. Everybody starts out fucking around and barely getting his knees properly up without swinging like a drunk monkey. You got this!