The hanging abdominal leg raise is one of the most challenging abdominal exercises that someone can do. It combines your upper body strength with your core strength and also uses some of your leg strength as well. Here is a basic guide and description for this exercise and when combined with a proper diet and cardio exercise it can result in a lean sculpted core area.
Exercise Instructions: Hang from a bar with your legs straight down. Raise your legs by bringing your knees up toward your chest until they are even with your waist. Focus on performing the movement slow and controlled. Concentrate on using your abs to bring your legs up. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
Muscles Targeted: The main muscles targeted by this exercise are the core and abdominal muscles including your hip flexors and your upper leg muscles. Also, you can feel it in your forearms, shoulders, and back, as you will be using these to stabilize yourself while hanging. This exercise will require you to not only use your abdominal and leg strength for the raises, but also your upper body strength to hang onto the bar.
Why This Exercise is Important: This exercise is important because it helps to build strength in a person’s core and legs. It helps to sculpt the muscles in those areas and also helps to build upper body strength because a person has to stabilize themselves while hanging from a fixed bar.
Things To Avoid: One of the main things that you want to avoid is hurting yourself first and foremost. Be sure that you use proper technique and form at all times. Also, ensure that whatever bar you are using to perform the exercise with is in a strong and fixed position, so you do not have to worry about it coming off once all of your weight is hanging from it.
Reps and Sets: For beginners who are just beginning a workout program, it would be wise to start with three sets of eight to ten reps. This will not only give you a good feel of how the exercise will test your strength, but also give you a good feel of the muscles that are going to be worked. For those of you who are in pretty good shape and are at an intermediate level of your training, try four sets of twelve reps twice in your workout. Do one set, then switch to another exercise, and then do another set. For advanced, those who are in extremely good shape, do five sets of fifteen to twenty reps.
Other Exercises To Use: To add challenge to this exercise, try extending your legs all the way down, arching your back, and bringing your knees all the way up to your chest. You can also try gripping a dumbbell between your feet when you perform the exercise, as this will add weight and cause your muscles to work even harder. Try mixing this exercise into your workout not only when performing your abs workout, but also with your standard workouts on a few times per week. If you have trouble gripping a pull-up bar or you have trouble with maintaining your form, try using an arm harness and hang from it. You will still be required to use your upper body strength, but using the harness will take a lot of pressure off of your hands. View our extensive database of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that target the abs.