January 13, 2022 9 min read
There are plenty of exercises that help to target and isolate the abdominal muscles for rock-hard six-pack abs. While some of these exercises include the moving of bulky gym weights, a great deal of them depends on the use of your body weight and gravity as a means of resistance.
Bodyweight exercises are as good as any weighted exercises for carving your abdominal muscles. One of such exercises is the hanging leg raise. Although it might look simple, the hanging leg raise packs a punch to your abdominal muscles.
The hanging leg raise is a big part of many bodybuilders’ bro-split. With a starting position that mimics the essential pull-up exercise, hanging leg raises help to isolate the core and challenge your abdominal muscles and hip flexors.This core-muscle training exercise helps activate the abdominal muscles, obliques, and even the quads as they are involved in the movement. While the conventional hanging leg raise is done by pulling yourself up, there are various versions of this exercise.
For many lifters, the hanging leg raise is a welcome change from the usual weighted exercise routines.
It is low-impact and can be done anywhere without being bothered by a fellow gym-goer about needing to work in at the bench press. However, just like any exercise, a lot can go wrong when it is done in poor form.This isometric exercise is not only great for toning your abs but also helps build muscle strength in your upper body, endurance, balance, and grip strength.
While you might consider the hanging leg raise a simple, ineffective exercise before trying it out, it is not as easy as you think.The hanging leg raise works and strengthens a range of muscle groups that are not only a functional part of your daily routine but are also a significant part of how well you perform in the gym. Given that core strength is a basic necessity for scaling other weighted exercises and lifting heavier in the gym, it is safe to say that the hanging leg raise is the best bet for getting your core prepared for more strenuous activities.
The hanging leg raise not only contracts the abdominal muscles but also requires a degree of hip flexion and extension. This not only provides you with toned abs and a smaller waistline but also strengthens your hip and glutes.One of the major muscles worked by the hanging leg raise is the iliopsoas. This muscle is also referred to as the joined iliacus and psoas muscles.
In basic terms, these muscles are charged with flexing and stabilizing your hips while you are standing erect, rising from a chair, walking, jogging, or running. If you want to make your squats and lunges better, the hanging leg raise is an excellent place to start.
Since you are flexing your legs without support, the hanging leg raise also helps to target the rectus femoris.
The predominant muscle at the front of your thigh, the rectus femoris, is a quad muscle that jointly assists in the extension of the knee and flexion of the hip. Its action during hip flexion is equally aided by the tensor fascia latae, which is also activated during the leg raise.For the primary muscle activation, your abdominal muscle groups and obliques bear the brunt of your weight.
Leg raises target the rectus abdominis, the most physical part of your abs, fondly termed the six-pack.
This muscle and your internal and external obliques are responsible for the toned and shredded look of your trunk and are activated at the peak of your hip flexion during leg raises.The hanging leg raise also engages accessory muscles like the adductor muscle groups, sartorius muscle, and the muscles in your supporting forearms, arms, and back. All in all, the hanging leg raise is an excellent upper body exercise that belongs to your workout routine.
Although it might include a limited range of motion, the hanging leg raise does its number on various muscles in the upper and lower body. Other than its primary function of increasing core strength, this exercise is also a great way to maintain balance, stability and increase your grip strength.The hanging leg raise helps to strengthen the wrist in preparation for weighted exercises and also improves shoulder flexibility and mobility.
It supports the lower back, helping to relieve back pain and reducing the risks of a back injury during workouts.The hanging leg raise also impacts the range of hip flexion. It increases hip mobility and flexibility while further reducing the risks of an injury during other activities.
Study shows that leg raises are effective in pelvic posture correction.
Because most of the muscles that support the posture are found within the abdominal and pelvic area, it makes sense that hanging leg raises target these muscles and help maintain balance and improve posture.
It strengthens these muscles and reduces the strain placed on them by your body weight, reducing pain in the pelvic area.While the hanging leg raise by itself is not a belly fat-burning exercise, it helps to achieve a toned midsection when paired with the right exercises and fat-blasting moves, and combining these exercises with the SHREDDED STACK is a recipe for consistent fat loss.
The beginning of the movement is the same as a pull-up, the exception being that with hanging leg raises, you suspend yourself on a bar and flex your hip, lifting your legs upwards, rather than pulling yourself to the bar with your back and arms.
While this full-body exercise is a great way to achieve muscle strength, endurance and test your balance, you can only get these benefits when it is done in the proper form. The hanging leg raise goes past simply reaching your legs up. It requires a whole lot of concentration and consistency.
To do the hanging leg raise:
While this might not look like much, there is a lot of effort that goes into holding the proper form to achieve the best results. Thankfully, the hanging leg raise is a scalable exercise that can help you start small and raise your legs to a higher degree as you go.
The hanging leg raise is a daunting ab workout. Because it puts a lot of pressure on the hip flexors, it is not great for individuals recuperating from hip, shoulder, wrist, or other upper boy injuries.
There are different hanging leg raise variations, and with each upgrade, the isolation gets better. In order of difficulty, some of these variations you can try includes:
This hanging leg raise with a twist is also a great core exercise. It primarily targets the lower abs and the internal and external obliques for a broader and stronger torso.
To do this variation:
For a low-impact version, lower your legs to the floor after each knee twist.
This is a captain chair or Roman chair variation of hanging leg raises. The method is the same, except your forearms, are your support instead of your wrist.
To do this variation:
The weighted hanging leg raise is a fantastic strength-training exercise. As if using your bodyweight doesn’t provide enough challenge, many powerlifters and bodybuilders resort to adding weights to hanging leg raises. This provides increased resistance that activates the muscles more, increases muscle mass, and results in a shredded torso in the long run.
Depending on how adventurous you feel, you might opt to use weighted plates, medicine balls, ankle weights, and even dumbbells.
Place your preferred weight between your straight legs and proceed with a conventional hanging leg raise. It is, however, essential to go with weights that will not compromise your form or result in injury.
This legendary hanging leg variation is not for everyone. While this calisthenics exercise focuses on the abdominal muscles, it also engages your forearms and hip flexors to a great extent. This variation exerts the shoulder and requires high muscle strength, stability and endurance.
To do the single-arm hanging leg raise:
This unilateral leg raise variation can be exhausting. For extra power bursts and muscle pumps to get you through your sets, taking N.O.7 before you lift is a great idea. It's formulated to increase the production of nitric oxide in your muscles, in order to increase endurance during high-intensity workouts like this variation.
Hanging leg raises are bound to take your core workouts to the next level.
Guaranteed to provide you with chiseled abs when paired with the right ab exercises, this legendary exercise improves your core strength, hip mobility, and arm strength.
Start with a simple variation and work your way up to the problematic variations for a mind-blowing effect in no time.