Pull-up leg lifts: Add another element of challenge to hanging leg raises by using a pull-up bar instead of a chair frame. All of the aforementioned muscles also help maintain proper posture. Breath holding combined with the stress and strains associated with the exercise can rapidly increase one’s blood pressure. While hanging leg raises are my pick for the most effective (and safe) abdominal exercise and it ‘s what I did more than any other movement early in my training career, it should be noted that muscle fibers adapt by getting bigger and stronger after being stressed by an overload that they are not accustomed to bearing (see my article on How Muscles Get Bigger & Stronger). Make sure this happens by keeping your ribcage down and in line with your hips throughout the entire move. Separations that create the blocks or six pack that is readily apparent in someone with well-developed abdominal muscles and minimal body fat in their mid-section. If you lift your legs before your abdominal muscles are fully engaged you're not only missing out on the toning benefits of the move, you're also putting yourself at risk for injury. Avoiding junk food isn’t impossible and it’s important to not let our leanings towards taking the easy road lower the bar in terms of what we believe we can and cannot do. I started studying martial arts at 9 because I wanted to get to a place where I wasn’t on the receiving end of a fist, and by the end of elementary school, I went from being the easy target to a formidable opponent that no one dared to mess with. Crunches, reverse crunches, planks, reverse trunk twists and their many variations all have their place in an effective abdominal development routine. That’s not just building muscles, that’s building integrity and there’s nothing shallow or superficial about that. Hanging leg raises engage the muscle through both ranges of motion.

If you're swinging your legs to get them up, then you're not doing a true leg raise. In conclusion, the hanging abdominal leg raise is one of the most challenging abdominal exercises that someone can do. For the purposes of this article we will focus on the hanging leg raise in its purest form where you are holding on to a high bar and bringing your toes to your hands. Your hip (pelvis) will naturally move forward slightly, but don’t let the momentum swing your body.

If this is the case, look to perform as many reps as possible and as the weeks progress and quickly the 8-10 rep range will become much more achievable. Hold for a second at the top then slowly lower your knees.

“Core Stability Training for Injury Prevention”. Plus, a braced core helps your torso stay upright and ensures you aren't using momentum to lift your legs, which is one of the most common mistakes. Lift your legs instead of just your knees toward one shoulder. Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News, celebrity Personal Trainer NYC and with over 2.6 million readers of his blog, Kevin Richardson is the creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, one of the top lifetime drug free bodybuilders of his time, the first International Fitness & Nutrition Consultant for UNICEF, 2020 and 8 Time Winner of the Best of Manhattan Awards for Personal Training and a world recognized authority on high intensity training.