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Leg Raises Abs Exercises – Our 2024 Guide To Sculpting Your Core
You wouldn’t think your legs are so important for abs — but they can strengthen and sculpt your abs better than crunches alone. They also target the lower abdominal muscles, which are usually the hardest to work on.
Leg raises rank among the top exercises for activating the rectus abdominis — the much sought-after six-pack muscle. By practicing proper form and consistently incorporating leg raises into your exercise regimen, you’ll be well on your way to a stronger and more defined core.
A common misconception is that ab exercises can target stubborn tummy fat. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to target where exactly you’re going to lose weight on your body. But with a good exercise routine and healthy diet, you can work toward weight loss. And with these ab workouts, your flatter tummy will be showing off your muscles soon enough.
Best Leg Lifts For Abs
- Leg Raises
- Hanging Leg Raises
- Ab Leg Lifts
Best Leg Raises Abs Exercises
If you want to work your abs, leg raises are a fantastic exercise to incorporate into your fitness routine. They effectively target the entire abdominal region, including your lower abs, which can often be challenging to isolate.
Let’s talk about how to perform leg raises for abs.
How to do:
- Begin by lying on your back, placing your hands under your gluteals with your arms straight, or on the floor beside you for support. Ensure that your lower back remains flat on the ground throughout the exercise.
- Now, slowly lift your legs off the ground, keeping your legs straight as possible.
- Raise your legs until they form a 90-degree angle with your body, then slowly lower your legs back down without letting them completely touch the ground.
- Repeat for 10-15 repetitions or as many as you can do with proper form.
- As you gain strength and increase your reps, you can add ankle weights to enhance resistance.
- Keep your lower back pressed firmly against the floor to engage your core effectively.
- Lift your legs slowly and with control to target your lower abdominal muscles.
- Exhale as you lift your legs and inhale as you lower them to maintain proper breathing and stability.
Optimal Sets and Reps: Three sets of 10-15 reps
Hanging Leg Raises
An effective variation of leg raises is the hanging leg raise.
How to do:
- Hang from a pull-up bar with your arms fully extended and your hands roughly shoulder-width apart.
- Engage your abdominal muscles, maintain a straight body, and lift your legs up towards your chest.
- Slowly lower your legs back down to the starting position, and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
- Begin with a dead hang to engage your core fully.
- Lift your legs using your lower abdominal muscles, avoiding swinging motions.
- Lower your legs with control to maximize the effectiveness of the exercise.
Optimal Sets and Reps: Three sets of 10-12 reps
Ab Leg Lifts
Now let’s dive into ab leg lifts properly, another popular variation of lying leg raises.
How to do:
- Start in the same position as the basic leg raise, with your back flat on the ground and your hands underneath your glutes, palms facing down.
- Keep your legs extended, and instead of lifting both legs simultaneously, raise one leg at a time.
- Perform 10-15 repetitions on each leg, maintaining proper form throughout the exercise.
Remember to maintain proper form and gradually increase the number of repetitions as your strength and endurance improve.
- Focus on maintaining control throughout the movement to engage your abs effectively.
- Keep your lower back flat on the floor and avoid arching it to prevent straining your lower back.
- You can modify the exercise by bending your knees slightly if needed to reduce intensity while still working your abs.
Optimal Sets and Reps: Three sets of 10-15 reps
What Are Leg Raises?
Leg raises are a popular exercise that targets your abdominal muscles, specifically the lower abs. They involve lifting your legs off the ground and lowering them back down in a controlled manner.
The movement can be performed either lying down on your back or hanging from a pull-up bar, with variations such as seated leg tucks and hanging leg raises.
Leg raises are also easy to perform and require little or no equipment, making them convenient for home or gym workouts. Incorporating these leg raises into your fitness routine regularly will benefit your overall strength, stability, and aesthetics.
Are Leg Raises Good For Abs?
Leg raises target your abdominal muscles, particularly the lower abs, and offer numerous benefits. This exercise can improve your core strength, flexibility, and overall stability.
One significant benefit of performing leg raises is strengthening your core muscles. As you raise your legs, your abdominal muscles engage to provide the necessary support, resulting in a stronger and more toned abdomen. Your lower abs are often challenging to target, but leg raises work on them, leading to well-developed abdominal muscles.
Improves Flexibility And Decreases Risk Of Injury
Another advantage of leg raises is their ability to improve flexibility and decrease the risk of injury. The movement involves lowering your legs, which stretches your hamstrings and hip muscles. You can become more flexible by doing leg raises, ultimately preventing injuries during your workouts or daily activities.
Enhances Balance And Stability
Leg raises can also enhance your overall balance and stability. As you work on your core muscles, your body gains improved support, leading to better postural control and coordination. This can assist you in other exercises, such as squats, lunges, or deadlifts. Balance and stability are essential components of overall physical fitness and can be useful in preventing falls and accidents in daily life.
Incorporating leg raises into your exercise routine is an effective way to see these benefits. To maximize your gains, make sure to perform this exercise with proper form and adequate repetition.
Some Common Mistakes And Precautions
Leg raises are popular for strengthening your abdominal muscles. However, performing them in the correct form is essential to avoid injury and ensure effectiveness. In this section, you’ll learn about some common mistakes and precautions to take when doing leg raises for your abs.
Maintain Correct Form
Firstly, it’s crucial to maintain proper form while performing leg raises. One common mistake is using momentum rather than engaging your core muscles. To target your abs effectively, make sure to lift your legs slowly and with control.
Don’t Hold Your Breath
Another common error is holding your breath during exercise. Proper breathing is essential for both efficiency and safety. Inhale as you lower your legs and exhale when you lift them, ensuring consistent airflow.
Remember To Warm Up
Remember to warm up before starting any workout, including leg raises. Warming up prepares your muscles, ligaments, and tendons for the exercise, reducing the risk of injury. You can start with some light cardio or dynamic stretches to get your blood flowing.
Finally, consistency is key when it comes to seeing results from leg raises. Ensure that you incorporate this exercise into your regular workout routine for the best outcomes.
Other Ab Exercises And Workouts
This exercise targets your obliques and helps improve core stability. To perform this exercise, sit on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly and hold a weight or medicine ball with both hands. Twist your torso to one side, bringing the weight to your hip. Repeat on the other side.
They target your transverse abdominis, which is a deep abdominal muscle responsible for stabilizing your spine. To perform a plank, get into a push-up position, but rest your weight on your forearms instead of your hands. Hold your body straight for as long as you can while maintaining a tight core.
Crunches target your rectus abdominis, the main muscle group comprising your six-pack. To do a proper crunch, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head, with your elbows pointing to the sides. Contract your abs and lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the ground. Lower yourself back down slowly.
Don’t forget to be consistent with your workouts and combine them with a balanced diet for optimal results.
Incorporating leg raises into your workout routine can greatly improve your abdominal strength and stability. Remember to maintain proper form and consistency to maximize the benefits and prevent potential injuries.
Combine your workouts with a healthy diet — including all the necessary vitamins and minerals — and proper hydration to optimize your progress. Supplements or fat burners are an option if you find it hard to meet your nutritional needs with your regular diet.
Lastly, remember that improvements take time and consistent effort. Stay patient and persistent in your journey toward a stronger core, and soon enough, you’ll see the fruits of your labor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, leg raises are an effective exercise for targeting your lower abs. By lifting your legs, you engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your core, working your abs.
Leg raises are indeed good for your abs. However, it’s essential to remember that they primarily target your lower abs. For a well-rounded abdominal workout, it’s crucial to incorporate other exercises to target different regions of your abdominal muscles.
The number to perform will depend on your fitness level and experience. Start with a moderate number, such as 10 to 15 reps, and gradually increase as your strength improves. Aim to complete two to three sets with proper form.
In addition to leg raises, other effective lower abs exercises include reverse crunches, slider pikes, and hanging knee raises. To ensure you’re working your entire core, consider incorporating a variety of exercises in your abdominal routine to target multiple regions.
As previously mentioned, start with 10 to 15 leg raises per set and aim for two to three sets. The key to effectively targeting your abs is to focus on the quality of your reps rather than sheer quantity.
While leg raises are generally considered safe, it’s important to know the potential risks. Improper form can lead to strain on the lower back and hip flexors. Ensure you’re adequately warmed up and engage your core throughout.
+ 1 sources
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- Park, D.-J. and Park, S. (2019). Which trunk exercise most effectively activates abdominal muscles? A comparative study of plank and isometric bilateral leg raise exercises. [online] 32(5), pp.797–802. doi:https://doi.org/10.3233/bmr-181122.