The Leg Lifts exercise, or leg raises, is an ab isolation exercise. By raising your legs above your body, you work not only your upper abs, but your lower abs as well. Because you raise your legs off the ground, Leg Lifts especially work your lower abs.
This abs exercise is very similar to the V-ups exercise, but you don’t move your arms. Often performed while hanging on a bar, this exercise is often termed “hanging leg lifts” or “hanging leg raises.”
To Do Leg Lifts:
- Lie on your back.
- Place your hands, palms down, on the floor beside you.
- Raise your legs off the ground (Exhale as you go).
- Keep your knees locked throughout the exercise.
- Hold for 30 seconds, or as long as you can (with some routines, there is only a short contraction/holding period).
- Return to starting position (Inhale as you go).
Leg Lift Variations
If you find it too difficult to perform then raise your legs at a different angle. This will give you added support. Different leg lift variations include going very high, or very low. Switch things up, until you find what works for you. You can hold grasp a stability ball between your legs, to increase your core strength.
Also, keep your knees locked for a better workout. Unlock your knees to make Leg Lifts easier. You can also cross your legs, as seen in the 2nd video below.
Popular Leg Lift Workouts
- The Matthew McConaughey workout for Magic Mike uses this exercise to train his abs.
- The Ryan Reynolds workout for Green Lantern uses the Hanging Leg Lifts version of this exercise.
- The Jen Selter workout (Instagram sensation) uses Lower Leg Lifts during her lower abs workouts.
- The Audrina Patridge workout from The Hills, works her abs using Bent Leg Lifts and other variations.
- The Marisa Miller workout uses Lying Leg Lifts. She says this is a great exercise to tone your waist.
- The How to Get A Sexy Butt Workout Video uses leg lifts that go up and out, as well as, pushup position leg lifts.
Leg Lifts Videos
Swiss Ball Leg Lifts
Swiss Ball Leg Lifts are a popular variation of leg lifts. Here you put an exercise, or Swiss ball, between your legs. Some variations even have you extend your arms up as you go. The first video shows this version of Swiss Ball Leg Lifts. The second shows an easier, safer way, where you support your abs/core with your hands. Remember to inhale on the way up, and exhale on the way down:
Hanging Leg Raises
With hanging leg raises, keeping your knees in is the easier version. Raising your legs above your head is obviously the harder version. Proper breathing, like explained in the video above, is important.
If you’re looking to get ripped six pack abs, try the “Get Ripped Six Pack Abs” Workout, or Jillian Michaels Workouts: 6-Weeks To Six Pack Abs.
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