How to do hanging leg raises with proper form

  • By: gymtrix
  • Date: January 7, 2023
  • Time to read: 7 min.
How to do hanging leg raises with proper form

It takes a lot of commitment and dedication to develop a six-pack, as it requires you to make some serious lifestyle changes.

In the gym, it is important to include specific exercises such as sit-ups, crunches, and hanging leg raises that stimulate your abdominal muscles in order to achieve your goal.

However, aside from this, dietary changes are key eating in a way that reduces your body fat percentage so that you can see the underlying musculature is essential.

Perhaps the most overlooked factor when striving for an aesthetically pleasing stomach is rest studies have highlighted a correlation between insufficient sleep and weight gain, making rest critically important during your quest for abs.

How to Perform a Hanging Leg Raise

When performing this exercise, it is important to use a stable bar that is able to support your full body weight.

Pull-up bars are the most suitable choice, as they come with the necessary stability and grip needed.

Further, they usually feature a round design, which makes them more comfortable to grasp than squared-off or square wooden beams.

For safety reasons, be sure to avoid attempting hanging leg raises on any door frames or ledges, as these are not designed for this purpose and could be hazardous.

Step by step guide how to do a hanging leg raise:

Step 1. Find a pull-up bar that is securely fastened to the ceiling or wall, and ensure it is at a height you are comfortable with. Make sure your feet can reach the floor when you are hanging from the bar. 

Step 2. Reach up to grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip. Remember to keep your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, ensuring you have a strong and secure grip on the bar. 

Step 3. Engage your core muscles by contracting them tightly and keeping your torso stable throughout the movement. 

Step 4. With both legs straight and toes pointed, slowly raise your legs up until they are in line with (or slightly higher than) your hips this should result in an approximate 90° angle between your torso and legs. 

Step 5. Hold this position for a few seconds, taking care to keep your core engaged throughout, before slowly lowering back down to the start position with control.

Step 6. Repeat this exercise for as many repetitions as desired without compromising form, then remove yourself from the pull-up bar when finished (if necessary). 

Tip: To increase difficulty and intensity of the exercise, try pointing each toe outwards at 45° angles during each repetition; this will engage additional stabilizer muscles in your hips and glutes that may be neglected during traditional leg raises!

Hanging Leg Raise Benefits

Several muscles collaborate to produce the motion of a hanging leg raise exercise.

The sartorius and iliopsoas muscles are primarily responsible for the lift, with the sartorius being the body’s longest muscle and aiding in hip and knee flexion.

The iliopsoas also aids in hip flexion, drawing the thighs to the trunk and allowing for side bending at the lumbar spine.

During this type of movement, synergistic muscles such as the rectus femoris, tensor fasciae latae, pectineus, and adductor longus are also engaged, while supportive muscles such as the rectus abdominus and obliques provide stability.

The hanging leg raise is an excellent bottom-up way to work the abdominal muscles.

This exercise is not only a fun way for advanced exercisers to change up their usual ab routine, but it also has a big effect on their core strength as a whole.

Different areas of the abdominals will be engaged depending on how far the legs are raised, resulting in a stronger midsection that makes it easier to lift heavy items and maintain good posture.

Using this strict method to work the abs makes sure that anyone can get the physical benefits.

Hanging Leg Raise Variations

Hanging knee twist

This variation of the hanging knee raise is an excellent exercise choice when targeting abdominals and obliques.

The move begins with the knees tucked up towards the chest and then slowly twisting to one side, before reorienting back to centre, and then repeating on the other side.

During this move, it is beneficial to keep the legs in a raised position throughout to allow for continual tension on abdominal muscles.

This twist addition specifically serves as a great way to target your obliques for an all-encompassing workout.

Hanging V-sit

Taking your regular hanging leg raise to the next level can give you great abs-building benefits. For a more intense workout and a bigger challenge, try the hanging V-sit exercise.

Begin with legs straight and raised up to the bar, then slowly lower them back down. To get even more from this exercise, consider adding a pull up before every rep.

You’ll give your core muscles an extra dose of stimulation for maximum engagement during your sets. With consistency, you’ll be able to see strong results in no time!

Weighted Hanging Leg Raise

The weighted hanging leg raise is an excellent way to progress your core strength.

To challenge yourself further, add ankle weights and hold a dumbbell or medicine ball between your feet as you perform the exercise.

Make sure that the weight you choose is appropriate, allowing you to maintain proper form yet still sufficiently challenge yourself.

This variation helps to deepen the effectiveness of this bodyweight exercise and increase its intensity for maximum results.

Single-Arm Hanging Leg Raise

The single-arm hanging leg raise is an advanced variation of the more common two-arm hanging leg raise.

While the instructions remain identical, you are only using one arm rather than two to support your body and perform this herculean feat of strength.

If you find that you are unable to complete the exercise due to muscular strain in your wrist or forearm, then it is best for you to look for other exercises to try instead.

Developing greater physical proficiency over time will put you on the track towards mastering this skill.

Mistakes People Make When Doing The Hanging Leg Raise

Using Excessive Momentum

Core strength and stability are essential components of any effective workout. This exercise is great for developing these essential qualities, but it must be done correctly.

To accomplish this, concentrate on performing each movement with controlled precision and avoiding using too much momentum.

This will protect you from lower back and shoulder injuries that may occur if you try to rush things.

Allowing the Lower Back to Arch

To get the most out of a leg lower exercise and prevent any injury, remember to focus on proper form during each repetition.

Keep your abs engaged throughout the movement and make sure your glute muscles are turned on to support your back.

Utilize the strength from your whole body, especially from your midsection, to keep the lower back from arching as you lower your legs to the starting position.

This way you can be sure that you are effectively and safely performing this exercise.


What Are Hanging Leg Raises Good For?

•Hanging leg raises help to develop strength in the core and hip flexors, as well as improve core compression skills.

• This exercise also strengthens the upper body and improves grip strength.

Are Hanging Leg Raises Difficult?

This exercise is beneficial for improving core engagement, by strengthening the hip flexors, abdominal muscles and upper body.

Additionally, there is a greater benefit to grip strength as a result of this exercise compared to others that require gripping equipment.

Developing core compression skills while increasing strength throughout all major muscle groups with hanging leg raises makes it an excellent choice for any serious athlete or fitness enthusiast.

Why Are Leg Lifts So Difficult?

Strength and conditioning professionals recognize that exercises involving hip flexor strength can often be the most challenging for their clients.

Struggling to lift the legs requires a great deal of muscle power, stability, and dynamic control of the movement.

Unfortunately, many members of the general population are not equipped to perform these exercises with any level of comfort or success due to weak and underdeveloped hip flexors.

Strength training is an excellent way to gradually build the strength in this area needed for more advanced movements involving the hip flexors.

Improving hip flexion strength can also help to reduce pain and stiffness associated with tight muscles in this area.

Are Hanging Leg Raises More Effective Than Sit-Ups?

Leg raises require that you lift your legs while hanging, creating tension on the lower abdominal muscles this movement also helps condition the hip flexors without stressing the spine too much.

On the other hand, sit-ups primarily work on your upper abdominal muscles and can put excessive strain on your lumbar spine due to repeated bending.

Thus, hanging leg raises may be more superior for overall abdominal strength and injury prevention.

Should I do Hanging Leg Raises with my knees bent or straight?

If you’re just starting out with hanging leg raises, the bent knees variation is a great place to begin.

This variation requires less strength from your abs and hip flexors since the moment arm between these muscle groups is decreased.

You should progress over time to doing them with straight legs, and eventually work your way up to achieving the full hanging leg raise or toes-to-bar variation. This will allow for optimal gains in strength and endurance.

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