The Hanging Leg Raise – How to and Demonstration Video

Summary: This is an essential core exercise for athletes, those looking to improve their physique and those who want a serious core workout. You need to be both strong and aware of your body to perform these properly with a minimum of momentum. The hanging leg raise involves hanging from an overhead bar or using hanging straps (shown in video) and raising straight legs up to your hands or the bar. It’s basically an ab workout all on it’s own!

Hanging Leg Raise - @Jschoftraining

Hanging Leg Raise – @JSchofTraining

How To: Hang from an overhead bar, chin up grips, or use hanging straps, and with as straight legs as possible, raise your legs up high to your head / to the bar. Tilt your pelvis and engage your core as hard as possible to lift your lower body skywards. Once at the top, lower your legs again in a controlled manner until your torso is straight again before repeating. Control the movement as much as possible to minimise swinging. Momentum should be limited as much as possible as if the abdominals aren’t effectively engaged it is possible to hyperextend the spine. Many people perform leg raises and bring their legs to parallel or 90 degrees, which is ineffective in fully engaging the lower body musculature, but is of course much easier. Bringing your legs up high to your hands engages the posterior chain more completely and provides a much tougher core workout. The straighter your legs, the harder the exercise.


Regression: If a partial hanging leg raise is too difficult to perform, then the best variation is the seated leg raise with a closed knee joint (bent knee). If this is too easy, you can try hanging and raising your legs with bent knees.


Seated Leg Raise (Bent Knee)

Muscles worked: Rectus and Transverse Abdominus (abdominals), complete posterior chain stabilisers – illiapsoas (hip flexors), tensor fascia lata, sartorius.

Secondary muscles worked: Upper body (to support and hold the torso!) but especially shoulders, arms and back. Quadriceps femoris must be tense to keep your legs stable as you raise them.


Thanks for reading, for more exercise and training ideas and videos make sure you hit CTRL+D and bookmark us, hit up the Facebook group (James Schofield Fitness Training) and check out the Youtube channel.


Twitter: @JSchofTraining
Instagram: JSchofTraining
Youtube Channel: JSchofieldTraining