Flat Bench Abdominal Leg Raises - Abs Exercise Guide with Photos
Muscles Targeted: The main muscle groups targeted by the
flat bench abdominal leg raises are the rectus abdominis, the internal
abdominal obliques and the transverse abdominis which are three
of the main components of the lower abdominal group. If additional
movements or angles are added to this exercise, then other muscle
groups can be added. This exercise can be performed anywhere with
a flat bench and its perfect for anyone looking for an ab exercise
they can do at home.
Exercise Instructions: Lie flat on your
back on a bench with your legs off the end, remaining parallel
to the ground. Place your hands back next to your head and
grab the edge of the bench. Keeping your legs as straight
as possible, raise your legs as high as possible, making sure
that your abs are doing the work. Lower legs back down to
the start position and repeat.
Why This Exercise is Important: Flat bench abdominal leg
raises are important because they are one of the few exercises that
do not require the use of machines yet provide a targeted workout
to a specific muscle group. This means that you can perform this
exercise any place that you have a stable bench or exercise mat
to work from. Another reason that this exercise is important is
that it is targeted specifically to the abdominal muscle group,
and does not require working any other muscles to get great results.
Having a powerful core is the key to unlocking your overall body
strength. You can draw power from different exercises for other
parts of your body such as the back and legs. Outside of the gym,
a powerful core is necessary to do all of the lifting that we take
for granted each day, from something as simple as picking up a child
to lifting a heavy box. A strong core also contributes to a positive
overall body condition which will reinforce the physical structures
that allow you to walk and run. In essence, this exercise is crucial
to improving the body structures that support the bulk of your body.
Things To Avoid: As with any type of exercise, form is absolutely
the most important thing to focus on. You must ensure that your
back is completely flat against the bench, otherwise your body will
naturally try to draw strength out of your back muscles rather than
your abdominal muscles. Another mistake that you must avoid involves
the range of motion of your legs. When you come up to the top of
the exercise, your legs should form a ninety degree angle with your
body. At the bottom range of motion, your legs should be at one
hundred and eighty degrees, meaning that they are stretched out
straight rather than dipping below the bench. This will result in
less work being performed by the targeted muscle group, meaning
less strength gained overall. One more thing to avoid when performing
this exercise is lifting or lowering your legs too quickly. The
work portion of the flat bench abdominal leg raises happens during
a steady, slow lift. By moving too quickly, your muscles will not
be worked properly and you will not reap the benefits of this exercise.
The final thing to avoid when doing this exercise is forgetting
to breathe correctly. You must remember to exhale when you are lowering
your legs to release the tension built up in your diaphragm.
Reps and Sets: Generally, there are two different ways to
divide the reps and sets of the flat bench abdominal leg raises.
One way is to do two sets of twenty reps if you have a moderately
strong core. Otherwise, it is recommended that you do three sets
of ten reps in order to build your strength while giving yourself
adequate time to rest between each set. This will promote muscle
growth while simultaneously avoiding injury.
Other Exercises To Use: While flat bench abdominal leg raises
are among the best exercises for the abdominal muscles, there are
other exercises that can be used instead. The first one is flat
bench abdominal leg pull-ins, which also focuses on the abdominal
muscle group, but provides a different range of motion. Another
potential exercise to use instead of the leg raises would be the
exercise ball abdominal crunches. These require the use of an exercise
ball, but also provide a powerful workout for the middle abdominal
region. View our extensive database
of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that
target the abs.