A very challenging and tiring exercise, the hanging knees to head raises is another form of abdominal exercise that sculpts your core while working your upper body strength as well.

This exercise requires more core strength than the standard move of raising your knees waist-high, however, it is guaranteed to work your core twice as hard and provide more resistance to your abdominal muscles.

Exercise Instructions:

  • Hang from a bar with your knees slightly bent.
  • Bring your legs up and try to touch your knees to your elbows.
  • Lower your legs as SLOWLY as possible until you reach the starting position and then repeat.
  • This exercise is similar to Gorilla Chin Crunches.

abdominal exercise that sculpts your core anatomy

Muscles Targeted:

The muscles worked are the core, obliques, upper legs and also your upper back, forearms and shoulders. By performing the full extension and lowering yourself slowly, you are causing your muscles to have to work twice as hard to not only compress together, but also to expand back out. This causes them to be used more during the exercise which helps build more muscle and strength in the area.

Why This Exercise is Important:

This exercise is important for anyone wanting to build a stronger core area and also for anyone that is trying to tone their midsection and their upper body. By performing this exercise, you are challenging your core and abdomen in a way that they have never felt before and forcing them to work harder. This exercise also increases a person’s ability to stabilise themselves and keep their core engaged while at full extension.

Things To Avoid:

First and foremost, be safe and ensure that you have a solid surface below you in case your grip slips. Also, ensure that you keep a strong grip at all times. While you are raising your knees to your head, the risk of your grip slipping increases and in the position of your knees being to your head, if you were to fall you could possibly suffer a serious head injury.

Reps and Sets:

  • For beginners, go light, as this exercise is more challenging and attempt two sets of six to eight reps.
  • For those who are intermediate and in fairly decent shape, I would recommend anywhere from three sets of eight to ten to four sets of ten reps.
  • For those who are in much better shape and are at an advanced point in their workout, then go for five sets of fifteen to twenty reps.

Other Exercises To Use:

Hanging Knee Raise with twist step by step


To add a slight variation to this exercise, try attaching ankle weight straps, thus increasing the weight that you have to pull up while performing a repetition. Also, if you find yourself having difficulty maintaining your grip, then an arm harness can be used, as these will keep your weight from pulling down too much and make it easier to maintain proper form while performing this exercise.

Another good variation to add to this exercise, if you are having trouble performing it, is to have a spotter or a partner help you perform the move by assisting you with lifting your feet. This helps to alleviate the strain on your abdominal muscles if you are a beginner. For those of you looking for an extra burn, try this exercise after performing hands to toe leg raises, as the same muscles will already be fatigued and will add an extra burn to your workout.