The leg raise is a terrific exercise for building a strong core with the additional benefit of improving the flexibility of your hips and lower back.
The exercise is great for anyone who spends a lot of time sitting at a desk and offers a different approach to the popular “sit up” which often focusses less on hip mobility and lower abdominal development than the leg raise does.
Leg raise form
- Lying on your back, with your legs straight, overlap your hands so that they lie flat on top of each other, under the hollow of your lower back.
- Engaging your abs, push your lower back into your hands and then smoothly raise your legs to a 90-degree angle.
- Once at the top, smoothly lower your legs (whilst keeping them straight) back to the floor.
- Three seconds up, one-second pause and three seconds down is a good rep cadence to start with.
- Breathe smoothly throughout.
Easier leg raises variations
- Raise one leg at a time.
- Raise bent legs.
Harder leg raises variations
- Reduce rest at top and bottom of exercise – don’t raise your legs to a right angle, raise them to around 45 degrees and lower them to around 6 inches from the floor.
- Super slow, 10 seconds up, 10 seconds down or longer.
- Hanging leg raises.
- Dragon flags.