Muscles Targeted:

Hanging leg raises are without a doubt one of the best choices when selecting the most effective exercise for your lower abs. Doing hanging leg raises correctly requires not only strength and endurance but also flexibility and mobility of your abs, your back and your hips. When you are able to do what most experts call the king of all abs exercises then you will be well on your way to developing those razor-sharp abs that all men envy since the majority of women find a ripped stomach very attractive. Below you will find a step by step method to do hanging leg raises correctly.

The specific muscles that you are targeting when doing hanging leg raises include the following:

  • Iliopsoas
  • Rectus Femoris
  • Tensor Fascia Lata
  • Adductors
  • Rectus Abdominis
  • Obliques

There are other secondary muscles that you will be working when doing this movement. For example, your forearms which are holding up your bodyweight are being worked as you perform this exercise. You are also working your shoulders as well as your back that are all used to help support your weight and stabilize your body when performing hanging leg raises.

Exercise Advice:

If you have never done this exercise before then it’s important to always follow proper exercise technique. The most important aspect of doing this and all other exercises is to master the technique and use proper form at all times to target the muscle group correctly and avoid injury.

  • Start off the movement by grabbing hold of a pull-up bar or a chin-up bar and grip the bar using an overhand grip slightly wider than your shoulders. While holding onto the bar, slowly raise your hips and curl up towards your chest.
  • Try to focus on keeping your body from swinging while doing this exercise and concentrate on trying to curl your lower back as you lift up with your thighs and legs towards your chest.
  • At the top of the movement, pause for a brief moment when the front of your knees reach your chest and then slowly lower your legs down to the starting position and repeat.
  • Even if you can only do a few hanging leg raises correctly, you will find that developing the strength as well as the flexibility in the abdominal region is definitely worth the time invested.

Things To Avoid:

Without a doubt, the biggest mistake is to use momentum (swing) to complete this movement. You need to concentrate on starting with your body hanging in a straight line before you begin the movement. You should try to imagine that your hips are curling up while placing maximum tension on our abs and keeping your butt in a fixed position during the range of motion. Using a mirror to review your technique when doing this exercise is very helpful.

Reps and Sets:

The sets and reps that you choose to use when doing this movement will depend on how strong you are. Because it is such an isolated abs exercise, you should be careful to avoid over training this muscle group and always give yourself at least 48 hours of rest and recovery between ab workouts to fully recuperate and recover.

Other Exercises to Use:

A few other great exercises to perform along with hanging leg raises in your abdominal workout might include the crunch machine and medicine ball crunches which provide great overall coverage of your entire stomach and abdominal muscles.