I Did 90 Hanging Leg Raises Every Day For A Week – Here Are My Results
I did 90 hanging leg raises every day for a week, and shelved the exercise until further notice.
The fitness challenge straddled commando boards every day for a week, so it’s fair to say that my legs have some catching up to do. Hanging leg raises target your abs, specifically your lower abs and hip flexors, activate your lats, and build shoulder and grip strength through isometric contraction (opens in a new tab) (without bending or extending the arms).
You will need to lift your legs towards your chest during the movement while hanging from a bar, which also develops hamstring flexibility. But it’s worth remembering that variety is best when exercising, so I don’t recommend 90 reps of an exercise every day. Try to factor in recovery days and mix things up to create a complete strength training routine. And these are the best yoga mats to recover afterwards. Here’s how I got away with it.
How to do hanging leg raises
Hanging leg lifts can be modified for beginners and advanced lifters. To start, train with your knees bent and progress to extending your legs out in front of you, which builds hip flexor strength and increases your hamstring flexibility.
- Stand under a pull-up bar and grip slightly wider than shoulder width
- Wrap your thumbs around the bar and fully extend your arms
- Tuck your pelvis towards your spine and contract your abdominal muscles
- Hold onto the bar with your legs straight, then as you exhale, pull your legs towards your chest
- Pause, then lower your legs to the starting position.
Keep your pelvis slightly tucked in, which helps keep your abs engaged. The move primarily targets the rectus abdominal muscles, including the hard-to-reach lower abs (this lower abs workout is also our reference). It also strengthens the shoulders and arms when you hang from the bar and burns the hip flexors when you lift your legs.
I Did 90 Hanging Leg Raises Every Day For A Week – Here’s What Happened To My Core
My upper body caught fire. Here’s why.
Hanging leg raises are the sturdy sisters of lying leg raises – leg lifts performed on your back. This move is an advanced version, so practicing the leg lifts first will help you develop your technique if you haven’t tried it yet.
My grip strength needs work, so I put on grip gloves and tackled 12 reps with 20-30 seconds rest between sets. My forearms and wrists were the first to suffer, but not for long.
Days 2 and 3
Challenge overlapped achievement 90 commando boards every day for a week, and my shoulders were already inflamed. The trick is to get as much upper body engagement as possible, contracting your shoulder, back, chest and core muscles as you move as one solid unit.
I had to go down a few times, but mostly managed to do 12 reps each time before resting. I mixed between keeping my knees bent and extending my legs, which immediately activated my quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors and increased the intensity even more. However, I struggled to reach my toes at the bar on several occasions, so I alternated the remaining days.
Days 4 and 5
Just above the midpoint, I could tell my body was tired. My lower back and left rotator cuff muscles started to hurt, which meant I needed to engage my stabilizer muscles and core more.
The straight abdominal muscles run from the ribs to the pelvis along the front of the body. Commonly referred to as the “muscle sixes,” these are the ones you see when shredded athletes take off their tops during workouts. You can target these sought-after muscles through crunches and movements that require extending and bending your core, and this movement helps activate the lower abs by targeting the hip flexors as you move your legs.
As a reminder, body fat plays a central role in muscle definition – you can learn how to calculate body fat percentage and why it matters here. But if you want to strengthen your core, shoulders, and hips, consider this core exercise.
Research (opens in a new tab) showed that leg raises significantly increase hip flexor activation (mine was shaking), but if you suffer from lower back pain, treat this exercise with caution and seek your doctor’s advice first.
I added weight.
Yes, it increased the intensity in my hips and abs, but I started rocking my core.
Using my body weight, I avoided completely slacking off at the bottom of each rep by tilting my pelvis toward my spine. You don’t need to add weight to this move – a decent one calisthenics training can put your body through the wringer without weights. Instead, I moved with slow control, using a technique called time under tension, which increases the time muscles spend contracting.
With the end in sight, I decided to ditch the format and tackle as many reps as possible at once for burnout before giving my shoulders some much-needed TLC. I focused on a big squeeze at the top of the movement, keeping my legs straight for as many reps as my body allowed. At the end of the last 90 reps, I said goodbye to the pull-up bar and took my aching heart home to rest.
Verdict? 630 reps later, and I still can’t get off the couch with any noticeable speed.
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