Gym lovers often exercise separately for their functional core work and direct abdominal work. There is nothing wrong with this approach but there are exercises that can act as a hybrid and train functional core and direct abdominal. One such hybrid exercise is hanging leg raises. 

What Is Hanging Leg Raises?

Hanging leg raises is an exercise in which you grab a hanging bar, hang on it, and raise your legs to work on your abs. This is called an isometric movement since your muscles get contracted without any movement. 

It takes a little time for a beginner to master the perfect hanging leg raises form. For weeks, people do not even reach the peak pose. However, once you practice the hanging leg raise exercise regularly, it can become your go-to exercises for your workout at home.

Benefits of Hanging Leg Raises

Here is a list of the most important health benefits of practicing hanging leg raises:

  • Stretches Your Upper Body: Apart from your core muscles, hanging leg raises also works on a number of upper body muscles such as biceps, triceps, shoulder muscles, back muscles, and lats.¬†
  • Strengthens Your Grip: It should come as no surprise that by adding hanging leg raises to your workout, you are going to increase the strength of your grip. Just to hold the bar for a few seconds when your legs are in the air, you need to engage the muscles of your palm and hand muscles along with the major hanging leg raise muscles like abdominals.¬†¬†
  • Works On Your Shoulder Muscles: One of the lesser-known benefits of a hanging leg raises is the increase of strength and mobility of your shoulder muscles. Beginners often fail to lift their legs in air because their shoulder muscles are either not strong or flexible enough. This changes when they practice hanging leg raise exercise regularly.¬†
  • Stretches Your Spine: You will find the name of spine in the major hanging leg raise muscles but it gets stretched too while you perform the exercise. With a stretch in the spine, your back gets decompressed and your body posture becomes straight. A strong spine also decreases the risk of various health problems such as inflexibility and neck pain.¬†
  • Makes Your Forearms Strong: Everyone desires to have strong forearms but only a few people are able to achieve this feat. Beginners fail to do weight lifting exercises and hence can not strengthen their forearms. Hanging leg raises can be a starter exercise to engage the forearm muscles.¬†

How to Perform Hanging Leg Raises

Most people do not struggle with doing hanging leg raises but with achieving the right hanging leg raise form. They swing their legs in the air but fail to stop them at the right position. Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you practice the proper hanging leg raise form:

  • Grip the hanging bar using an overhand grip while keeping your arms at a shoulder-wide distance to each other.¬†
  • Breathe out while lifting the feet off the floor.¬†
  • Keep your legs straight, pull your pelvis backwards, engage the abdominal muscles and raise the legs in front of you.¬†
  • Keep raising the legs until you reach a level where you can maintain the form.¬†
  • The ideal hanging leg raise form is when you raise your legs parallel to the ground. However, as a beginner, it is okay to raise the legs as per your body‚Äôs flexibility and strength.¬†
  • Breathe in and gradually lower down your legs back to the position where you started this exercise.¬†
  • Keep your legs straight throughout the hanging leg raises exercise.¬†
  • Also, do not forget to maintain the pelvis tilt till your exercise ends.¬†

Hanging Leg Raises Variations

Here is a list of some hanging leg raises variations that you can add to your hanging rod workout:

  • Hanging Single Leg Raise

This hanging leg raises variation works on your entire core which includes your lower back, hip flexors, and lower abdominals. When you raise only one leg with hanging single leg raise, you also target your obliques. The exercise also improves your shoulder mobility, hip mobility, and the strength of your upper back. Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you practice hanging single leg raise:

  1. Grip the hanging bar using an overhand grip while keeping your arms at a shoulder-wide distance to each other. 
  2. As you start the exercise, keep your arms straight and feet off the floor.
  3. Bend your left knee at a 90 degrees angle and keep the right leg straight. 
  4. Engage your core and try to move the knee as close to your shoulders as possible. 
  5. Pause for a few seconds and then return to the position where you started this exercise. 
  6. Now, bend your right knee and repeat the exercise. 
  • Twisting Hanging Leg Raise

This is another hanging leg raises variant exercise that hits your core muscles, back muscles, and shoulder muscles. If you think that this exercise is not intense enough for you, you can hand a dumbbell between your legs while they are in the air. Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you practice twisting hanging leg raise:

  1. Grip the hanging bar using an overhand grip while keeping your arms at a shoulder-wide distance to each other. 
  2. As you start the exercise, keep your arms straight and feet off the floor.
  3. Bend your knees and lift the legs towards your left side. 
  4. Gradually, lower down your legs back to the position where you started the exercise. 
  5. Repeat the same exercise, this time raise the legs towards your right side. 

If you like these exercises, you can also try bar hanging leg raises alternative exercises such as Roman chair leg raises, hanging knee raise, fit ball pikes, double crunches, etc. 

Conclusion

In the beginning, you might find it a little hard to maintain the proper hanging leg raise form. However, if you stick to your bar handing routine, you will find that not only are you able to achieve the correct form, but you also have strengthened your core muscles with hanging leg raises. 

Posted 
January 4, 2022
 in 
Fitness
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