With the lockdowns still going strong, there is no doubt that exercising at home is more than important for your well-being. And even if COVID-19 wasn’t a thing, leg raises are very good for many parts of your body such as your abs and your thighs. So let’s get started with the basics and then work our way up to the more complex stuff.
What’s a leg raise?
A leg raise is a form of exercise that requires one to lift his or her legs at a certain angle in order to train the iliopsoas muscles. The latter are separated by the abdomen and merge in the thigh.
This exercise is also excellent for the abs and the legs, and comes in various styles, depending on how you perform them. You can indeed perform a leg raise in different positions and at different angles, which we will get into in a minute.
How many leg raises should I do per day?
To begin with, it is important to note that any exercise should be performed within your own limits. Furthermore, there is no absolute metric or number of reps you should perform per day for a specific exercise, since every individual is different.
However, there is a general rule of thumb when it comes to the leg raise exercise:
- For beginners, 2 sets of 20 reps per day should be a good starting point for a while.
- Then, once you’re getting comfortable, you can raise the bar to 30 reps per set.
- Once you think you’re an expert at leg raising, then you can try to push for 3 sets of 30 reps, then 4 sets, 5 sets, etc. Eventually, 30 reps won’t be enough anymore, so don’t be afraid to push for 50 reps per set and so on.
What’s the best way to do leg raises?
Here’s a little step-by-step guide to walk you through the leg raise motions:
- Use a mat or a soft floor and lie on your back
- Put your legs together and try to stretch them as much as possible
- Lift your legs all the way up in the air until your butt comes a tiny bit off the floor
- Now, you will slowly lower your legs back to their original position without touching the floor
- Once they are parallel to the floor/mat, just repeat the steps above by raising your legs again, and keep going for 20 reps if you are just starting out.
- Once you’re done with your set (20 reps), rest for 1 minute before starting a new set of reps.
You can do as many sets as you can, just be careful to not push yourself too hard or you could injure your muscles. It’s better to raise the bar progressively than stretching a muscle to a point where you won’t be able to exercise again for several days.
What are the different leg raise angles?
There are 4 different categories of leg raises, so let’s see their differences in detail below:
Lying on the floor
That’s the most common one that we just described earlier. A lying leg raise is performed while lying on your back and raising your legs together and lowering them back down. It’s a very good exercise for your abs.
Side-lying on the floor
This position will make you look like a pair of scissors. Basically, just lay your body on the side and lift one leg in the air and then bring it back down.
To perform a seated leg raise, first, you’ll need to sit down on a bench or a chair. Thereafter, bring both of your legs together in parallel to the floor. Make sure your body is solid by placing your hands on the surface of the chair/bench. Now you’re ready to start lifting your legs, so just fold your knees and bring them to a 90° position. Then, repeat this multiple times to complete your set.
Finally, tractioned leg raises can be performed on different apparatuses such as captain chairs, overhead bars, and dip bars. This type of leg raise is a bit more difficult and will challenge even the strongest gym-goers. That’s right since it requires you to hang over the floor and lift your legs while you’re hanging. A lot of people cheat with this exercise by swinging their legs, which indeed helps, but it doesn’t improve your muscle strength.
What’s a reverse leg lift?
As a bonus, a reverse leg lift is also a nice exercise if you want to work your butt cheeks. To perform the reverse leg lift, just put yourself on 4 legs (2 hands on the mat, as well as both of your knees) lift one of your legs in the air, and try to straighten it up as much as you can before bringing it back down. You can bend your knee to help you go further. Repeat this as much as you want before doing the same thing with the other leg.