One move for great absBy Oxygen's Staff Blog|Oxygen Staff|2012-08-07 | Comments: 0Rachel Crocker, Fitness Editor
There are tons of abdominal exercises out there to choose from – but one tops the list of my all-time faves. The hanging leg raise is a great total-core workout – and as a bonus, your grip muscles get a boost, too!
Set Up: Hold a pull-up bar with an overhand, shoulder-width or wider grip. Let your legs dangle below your hips, making sure your feet don’t touch the ground. (I have to admit: though you can’t see it in this video, I used a step to hop up and grab this bar. The perils of being short …)
Action: Exhale as you slowly raise your legs in front of you, keeping your knees straight, until they are about parallel to the ground. Pause for one count, then slowly lower back to the start. Start with sets of 10 reps and work up to sets of 15 to 20. (C’mon – you can do it!)
- Make sure you don’t swing your torso forward and back with each rep
- Can’t muster more than a few of these babies? Increase your core strength and perfect the lower-body mechanics of this move with the Captain’s chair; after a few weeks, try the hanging version once again.
- Another easier modification is to bend your legs and bring your knees up in front of your body instead of keeping the legs straight.
- I’ve shown you a more advanced version of this exercise at the end – lift your legs up as far as you can go, bringing your shins to touch the bar at the top. Momentum comes into play with this option, but try to concentrate on using your core to bring your legs overhead. And don’t get discouraged: you will probably not be able to do the same amount of these as the regular leg raises right off the bat.
- You can also do this exercise by gripping overhead parallel bars so that your palms face in; you may find this more comfortable.
- Using Versa Gripps may help you hold on longer if you find your grip gives out before your abdominals.
Follow me on Twitter @Rachel_Crocker
Follow Oxygen editors as they share the insider information about Oxygen and what makes it the leader in women's fitness! You'll get even more of your favorite training, nutrition, fat loss and health tips and a daily dose of motivation! Join us!