Hanging leg raises, an acquired taste for many. Agreed, they are great to incorporate into your Ab training. But with that being said, this is one of the exercises we most frequently see performed badly. Often to the point that people are deriving very little benefit from it and worryingly are risking injury.
The biggest issue many people face is the ability to keep their body taught, and having sufficient control and core strength to prevent their body from starting to swing, forwards and back. The moment the body begins to swing the effectiveness of the exercise begins to diminish, with the tension being drawn away from the target muscle (your abs), not only that it is very difficult to prevent the swing as it naturally begins to gain momentum. Another issue which is perfectly normal, and experienced by many is not having the grip strength to remain hanging for the length of time required.
As ever we would always advise performing a substitute exercise properly rather than a specific exercise badly.
Laying leg rasies are a great alternative which eradicate the problems above. Nice and simple to perform, yet still effective.
- Take a flat surface and ideally a soft mat for comfort
- Lay flat on the mat, head back and down
- Hands by your side (easier option), or for those wanting to make it difficult hands raised, straight and behind your head ( (see photos)
- With your legs side by side, but feet not touching, raise your legs (remaining straight throughout) contracting your abs as you do so. Raise them up until comfortable and no further than in-line with your eyes
- Pause for 2 seconds
- Control the lowering phase for 3-4 seconds on your return. Avoid bending your legs and don’t allow your feet to touch the mat at the base of the repetition – stop just before, control and;
- Pause for 2 seconds and then start your next repetition.
- Think abs throughout both the eccentric and concentric phase and keep your breathing functional. Exhaling as you raise your legs and inhaling on their descent.
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