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Tone Your Abs With the Lying Leg Raise

Get the most out of leg raises when you can’t hang.

Dan Eslinger
Tone Your Abs With the Lying Leg Raise

In the past, whenever we’ve asked our high-level trainers for ab workouts, one exercise seems to always find its way into every program: the hanging leg raise. On the whole, our experts agree that no workout regimen is complete without lower ab and hip flexor work, and the leg raise is the best way to get the job done.

What happens, however, when you don’t have anything to hang from? You lie down on a bench or on the floor, and you perform the next best thing: the lying leg raise. Done correctly, the lying leg raise offers all the benefits of the hanging leg raise—without the need for an overhead bar. Here’s how to incorporate this move into your routine.

Quick Tip: Envision your body as one muscle you’re trying to elongate and contract.

The Technique

1. Use a bench if there’s one available. Letting your legs hang off the edge will increase your range of motion

2. Place your hands under your glutes with your palms facing down. Keep your legs as straight as possible, and hold a dumbbell between your feet if you want added resistance.

3. Slowly raise your legs perpendicular to the floor. Hold the contraction at the top for a second, then slowly lower your legs to the start position.

Programming

1. Higher weight and volume equals bigger muscles. Avoid abdominal distension by using moderate weights for quality reps.

2. Vary your sets by performing timed holds or by spreading your legs into a V position at the top of each rep.

3. Increase the degree of difficulty by performing leg raises with cables or bands.

The Workout:

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Lying Leg Raise 3 15 45 Seconds
Rotary Machine Twist 3 30 Per Side 45 Seconds
Decline Sit-up 3 30 60 Seconds

 

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