The lying leg raise is a great core exercise that can strengthen your abdominal muscles and develops six-pack abs. Whether you want to improve your aesthetic appearance, balance, or enhance your overall physical activities, your core plays a key role in executing these tasks. This exercise will require you to lie on your back and lift your legs towards the sky whilst keeping them straight to target the abdominal muscles.
Lying leg raises has compound mechanics which means that many muscle groups are simultaneously working to achieve a single movement. The primary muscles worked are the rectus abdominis, obliques, and hip flexors. The secondary muscles worked are the quadriceps, hamstrings, and erector spinae (lower back muscle).
Lying leg raises are for all fitness levels, from beginners to intermediate, and advanced levels. They are easy to perform if you have basic core strength and decent hamstring flexibility. However, if you find them tough, you can regress to an easier variation such as the lying knee raises. Simply, draw your knees in towards your chest rather than keeping your legs straight because this will reduce the load on your core muscles.
Begin by lying on your back on the ground with your legs extended and feet are together. Your arms are by your sides with your palms pressed into the floor. Keep your toes pointed at all times. You can use a yoga mat, a carpet, or any soft floor for support and comfort.
Engage your core and glutes to press your lower back flat into the ground. Your lower back should not be arching. But, if it is, you can place your palms underneath your but or a towel underneath your lower back to prevent arching and lower back pains. This is your starting position.
Exhale as you slowly raise your legs towards the sky until they are at a 90 degrees angle in relation to your torso, and your butt lifts off the floor. Keep your core tight throughout this movement.
Inhale as you slowly lower your legs down until they are about 3-6 inches off the ground. Your heels should not touch the ground. Control the gravity and not let it control you! Remember to breathe: exhale as you raise, and inhale as you lower. This will help you to perform more reps.
Repeat this movement between 5-20 reps for 4 sets, 3 times a week (see the leg lift workout below).
The reps and sets range would vary depending on your fitness level. Combining three to four sets of lying leg raises with 10 to 20 reps each is how to build and sculpt your abs. Better yet, if you combine this with cardio and strength training, you'll see more gains in your midsection than you could ever imagine. See below for a recommended working reps and sets range:
Lying leg raises will not only strengthen your core to help you in functional movements but also tone your core, giving you sculpted-looking abs. Though you must also follow a balanced diet as abs are also made in the kitchen! You can learn more about dieting to achieve your dream body by checking out this Calisthenics Diet Planning Guide.
Having abs can look attractive and is a good indicator that you are doing your body a world of good, your clothes will fit better, and it could improve your overall confidence. According to a 2021 study, physical activity is a proven modality for treating the disease of overweight and obesity. Management of his disease is best through dietary action and exercise.
This exercise will develop the strength and control of the muscles around your abdomen and trunk. It is important for your core to be able to support you in movements when you need them. Having a strong car makes your everyday tasks easier, especially when lifting and carrying. A weak core can make you vulnerable to utilizing poor posture and body mechanics, which could lead to a higher risk of injury such as falling.
A 2020 study considers core stability to be a decisive factor in the base of the extremities for supporting loads and for protection of the spinal cord and nerve roots. Moreover, inadequate static core stability may undermine the dynamic stability of the extremities, which could lead to increased strain on the soft tissue and the coming of repetitive strain injuries.
Your posture can suffer if you have a weak core, which could cause strain and stress on your body and inevitably suffer from bad posture. Lying leg raises develop the postural muscles (deep muscles in your abdomen, pelvis, and back), they help you to stand straighter and keep your tunk stabilized during movement. It is crucial to have good postural muscles to help sustain a good posture.
The hanging leg raises is intermediate level because it requires your upper body strength to be in a dead hanging position. Find out how to properly do the dead hang by checking out this dead-hanging tutorial.
The lying lateral leg raise is another great exercise that targets your core, but with more emphasis on the obliques. It is a beginners level exercise and is easy to perform, you should loop a resistance band between your legs, or put on ankle weights to increase resistance. To perform the lying lateral leg raise, you will:
Weighted lying leg raises are a progression to the lying leg raises as you will be utilizing weights to increase the resistance on your core, therefore, making them work harder. This variation is an intermediate-level exercise and it has the same movement path and targets the same muscle groups as the lying leg raises. To perform weighted lying leg raises, you will:
Six-inch leg raises are for those who are at beginner's level as it doesn’t require any equipment and is relatively easy to do. You can make this exercise harder by shortening the distance between your feet and the floor. This exercise mainly targets the lower abs, abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, quadriceps, and glutes. To perform this, you will:
Reverse leg lifts, otherwise known as reverse leg raises are great for strengthening the lower back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings. You will need to lie on your stomach on an elevated platform so that your legs can be in a pike position. To perform reverse leg lifts, you will:
If you're after a simple ab exercise to help develop a strong core, consider including lying leg raises should in your core training routine. It's a versatile exercise that gives you the freedom to do it anywhere you want and if they're executed with proper form, lying leg raises should work the core, hip flexor muscles, hamstrings, and lower back muscles.
If the traditional method is too hard and you struggle to keep your lower back flat, start by training them with your legs bent (lying knee raises). Also, when the lying leg raises feels too easy, you can make this exercise more challenging by:
Thank you for reading these articles, I hope they add value to your health and fitness. Don’t forget to follow and connect with me on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube to stay on top of my content. Big love and I’ll catch you next time.
My name is Pat Chadwick, I am a calisthenics coach with over 4 years of experience in helping people from all backgrounds to achieve their calisthenics goals. My goal is to become the number one calisthenics coach in the world as it is my passion to help people change their lives through inspiring bodyweight movements. I believe everyone deserves the right to feel good about their health, body, and be delighted inside and out.