Muscle Sport Magazine

Hanging Leg Raises: The ‘Squats’ of Abdominal Exercises

There are certain movements associated with a particular body part that have become the staple one that should be included every time out. Being diverse, shocking the muscles and that method of thinking does have some substance, but there’s nothing wrong with having at least one of your three-to-four movements being repeated the next – and every – time that body part is worked.

Squats for quads, curls for biceps, pushdowns for triceps…you get the picture. But how about abs? Crunches may seem to be the quick answer, but give it a little more thought and hanging leg raises seem to make more sense. First of all, they work your entire midsection and not just the top area, as crunches tend to do. Those lower abs are a bitch to get to and men retain fat right there, so it behooves them to try to work those muscles as much as possible.

You can do rep after rep of ab exercises but nothing will matter if your diet isn’t correct. But you already know that.

So let’s take a look at why hanging leg raises can do a hell of a lot more for you than crunches, leg lifts and anything else you have tried – and still don’t have ab definition. There are two glaring reasons:

NUMBER 1 – They work the entire abdominal wall.

NUMBER 2 – They also work your lats and grip strength.


A few tips about them. You can do them with the bent knee-up variation, but the straight leg variety is much better, especially for the lower abs. Secondly, do not swing or use momentum and wait until your body is entirely still before doing another rep. This hanging time will help your grip strength. And lastly, don’t worry about adding extra weight or the number of reps right away. Just use your body weight and do as many strict reps as you can. You can only do six good ones this week? So what? Next week go for seven. Once you can do 12-to15 with good form, try adding some light ankle weights or hold a small dumbbell between your feet.

Plenty of time left between now and the summer to get that six-pack you desire.

Photo by Simon Lau


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