Hanging leg raise works the abdominal muscles, especially the lower abs. It also trains your grip strength which you need it for many weight lifting workouts including pull up and bench press.
- Grab a pull up bar or any horizontal bar. Hold them with overhand grip and hang. Your hands are slightly wider than shoulder width. Your legs are straight now not touching the ground. Bend your knees slightly. Yes, just a little bit.
- Do nothing to let the momentum disappear.
- Now, use your abs to slowly raise your feet up to the bar until they are just past parallel to the floor Try keeping your legs straight.
- Hold for two to five seconds.
- Lower your legs with controlled movement. Reduce the speed as much as possible. Do now swing your body. Do not use any momentum to move up or down.
- While bringing your legs down, you should stop before you reach the initial position to ensure maximum squeeze to the lower belly parts. If you allow your legs to fall too low, you may lose the flex in your abs and have to use your lower back muscles.
- Do it for 3 sets with 5 to 8 repetitions each set.
Variation of Hanging Leg Raise
Some people do hanging leg raise differently. Some bend the legs and roll their kneed up to their armpits. Some try bring their straight legs as high as possible. Some do a half circle motion. Based on my experience, fully extended legs version with slightly bent knees is still the best.
For people who have weak grip strength or tend to swing the body too much, especially beginner, you can do it on a leg raise apparatus or captain chair. It allows you to rest your arms and your back on pads while you raise your legs. Some come with handholds to help stabilize your upper body.
Tips: Look straight ahead. Doing so help your body stay upright.Do not lean backward. Keep your shoulders in place or round forward slightly.
If you find it hard to raise your legs with straight legs, try bend your knees slightly. Keeping the knees bent will help you focus more on the abdominal and less on the hip flexors. If you still feel the pain, try lifting one leg at a time.If you do hanging leg raise, your abs muscle may sore the next day. No worry, it is normal.Also, beginner find it hard on hands, shoulders and arms.
Overtime, you will get stronger. Some people say that doing hanging leg raise will lengthen your arms. I do not think so. This workout is actually food for spinal health and may actually make shorter guy get taller. For advanced level, you can try using weights.