Leg Raises are abs exercises which target the Rectus Abdominus muscles, popularly called the six packs. They primarily target the lower part of this muscle group. There are 6 types of Leg Raises- the flat Leg Raise, the seated knee raise, the Captain’s Chair Leg Raises, the Captain’s Chair Knee Raise, the hanging leg raises and hanging knee raise . We will deal with them one by one:
1.Flat Leg Raises
- Lie on a flat bench and grab the sides of the bench with your hands. Make sure your hips are at the end of the bench.
- Squeeze your abs and lift your legs vertically upwards, towards the ceiling. Return back till your legs are parallel to the floor. Squeeze your abs, pulling your navel towards your spine.
- Use weights for added resistance.
- Keep your back grounded to the floor, and keep your neck neutral, not letting your chin move here and there.
- Inhale as you go down, exhale as you go up.
2. Seated Knee Raises
The seated knee/leg raises are in between captain’s chair knee raises and lying knee raises.
- Sit at the corner of a flat bench and grab the bench with your hands.
- With your legs straight out and back straight, bring your legs towards your chest, bending them at the knees.
- Inhale as you push out, exhale as you pull in.
- Remember to keep your back straight and avoid using momentum to bring your legs in.
3.Captain Seat Leg Raises/Knee Raises
You can work on your abs as well as your obliques here. Here is the correct form:
- Keep your arms on the pads of the setup, and hoist yourself, supporting your entire body on your forearms.
- Keeping your back flat against the pad, squeeze your abs and pull your legs up and forward, till they are parallel to the ground. Exhale as you go up.
- Inhale as you bring your legs down, till they are in line with the body.
- Repeat the above two steps 10-15 times, making sure you do not use momentum. Do about 3 sets.
- However keep in mind that you should not let any sort of momentum develop when performing this exercise, otherwise it takes the pressure off the abs.
- Also remember not to arch your back.
4. Hanging Knee Raises
This is similar to Captain’s chair leg raises, however, the intensity is increased here as you have to maintain balance using your arms.
- Grab hold of the chin up bar or any bar that is high enough. Use an overhand grip and your hands should be shoulder width apart.
- Bring your knees up to about waist level, taking them upto your chest level and slowly bring them down.
- Make sure you do not use momentum to bring your knees up. Keep your back straight and try to avoid swinging when bringing your legs up.
- Exhale as you pull up, Inhale as you go down.
5. Hanging Leg Raises
These are the most intense Leg Raises. They are similar to hanging knee raises, but here your legs are fully stretched with a slight bend at the knees.
- Grab a chin-up bar and place your hands shoulder width apart.
- Keeping your back straight, bring your legs up parallel to the floor, with a slight bend at the knees.
- Exhale as you go up, inhale as you go down.
- In hanging leg raises, do not let your abs loose when your legs go down, rather go into the next repetition quickly.