Leg raises have multiple benefits that can lead to weight loss and provide great posture. It can also help in lower ab muscle development.
Want a simple exercise focusing on your lower abs and hip muscles? Leg raises, also called leg lifts, can be your best friend. You only need a comfortable place to lie down and perform this exercise. While performing this exercise does make you feel active, there are also some great leg raise benefits that come along with it. Some standard leg raise benefits include strengthening your core muscles and preventing back pain. It also helps improve muscles' flexibility and can be more challenging based on your comfort level.
Leg raise exercise, also called leg lifts or standing legs, is a straightforward yet quite effective bodyweight exercise that challenges your lower abs and works out your abdominal muscles along with the lower abs. Apart from this, the leg raises workout is also a great way to target the following areas such as:
While these leg raise workouts may appear straightforward, eventually, you will have many additional leg raise benefits as and when you go along with it for a long time.
1. Strengthening of abdominal muscles
Once you learn how to perform the straight leg raises appropriately, you can start feeling the difference in your core muscle strength. You can also eventually start developing better injury prevention and balance skills. Leg raise exercise will not only provide you with great toned abs but will also support your core. Your daily activities, such as bending over to clean the house or tying your shoes, are all supported by your core muscles, which comprise a considerable part of your body. Hence, physical stability and balancing are stabilized with the help of abdominal muscles.
2. Enhances back muscles
While performing leg lifts does improve your core strength, it also aids in the improvement of back muscles. Hence, you can target two areas with a single leg raise exercise. The back muscles tend to be a part of multiple activities such as dance and other sports, which makes it essential to maintain your back muscles.
3. Strengthens hips
One main leg raise exercise benefit includes strengthening of hip and hip flexors. Hips and hip flexors tend to be stiff due to a sedentary lifestyle, which can eventually negatively affect your daily activities. Hence, it is essential to work your hip flexors to ensure smoother movement. Leg raises are one of the most recommended exercises for most hip issues.
4. Improves Balance
With the help of leg lifts and single leg lifts, it is possible to work out your legs while also improving the overall Balance of your body. One of the leg raises benefits also includes rectifying any balance-related problems. Some of the muscular imbalances can also be solved easily with the help of this exercise.
5. Reduces stomach fat
Losing tummy fat is hard, right? But what if you can lose your tummy fat, a resilient and obstinate type, with just this one exercise? Well, it could be better, then! The belly is horrible for your health. Leg lifts target this extra fat accumulated due to stress and an unhealthy lifestyle, which also works out your entire abs.
6. Improvement in posture
A sedentary lifestyle can have multiple effects on your posture. When you sit down for a long time, your muscles affect the spinal column. Hence, performing leg lifts can be beneficial, significantly developing these back muscles and relieving stress while improving the overall posture.
You need to perform the leg raises with proper guidance to get leg raise benefits. To truly get the essence of the leg raise workout benefits, you might want to follow the steps provided below:
- Lie down straight on your back while keeping your legs straight ahead.
- Your arms should be kept straight by your side, and your palms should face downward.
- Now engage your core and lift your legs a few inches off the ground while keeping your legs as straight as possible
- Keep your chin tucked in while you are performing the exercise.
- Now keep on raising your legs until they are straight and make 90 degrees with your torso
- Keep this position for 4 to 5 seconds, and then engage your core to bring your legs back down slowly.
If you are a beginner, start with 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps and gradually build up on the number.
If you are looking for some challenging and accessible variations to these leg lifts, then here are some of the most effective leg raise variations that you need to try out:
1. Weighted leg raises
This is quite the challenge leg raise variation that includes using weights such as dumbbells or handbells. Since you must also raise your legs, keep the weights slightly lighter.
2. Hanging leg raises
This is another challenging variation of leg raises where you'll be hanging from a pull-up bar or a gymnastic ring and simultaneously raising your legs until they are parallel to the ground level.
3. Standing leg raises
As the name suggests, you will be performing this exercise while standing, unlike the traditional lying down exercise. To do this exercise, you will stand with your hands resting on your sides or out in the front. Now, you will lift your leg off the floor while you flex your foot and slowly lower it after holding it for a few seconds. Perform both legs alternatively.
4. Single leg raises
Here, you will be lifting one leg at a time. This is an excellent variation for those who have problems with raising both legs at the same time. You can also do alternating leg raises or by finishing all the reps on a single side, after which you can switch to the other side.
5. Medicine ball leg raises
This is quite the challenging leg raise variation where you will hold a medicine ball between your feet, and the other steps will remain the same as the traditional leg lifts.
Leg raises are a great exercise, especially considering all the leg raise benefits that you get. The key lies in rotating between various leg raise variations. This also creates progress while keeping you engaged and reducing the risk of injuries.
Regular performance of leg raises may keep the lower back pain risk at safer levels apart from also reducing back strain and back injuries.
For beginners, it is recommended that a total of 2 to 3 sets should be performed with around 10 to 15 repetitions each.
Leg raises tend to focus on the lower abs, obliques, and hip flexors, which reduces the waist instead of increasing it.
Regular leg raises are one of the best exercises for losing weight around your belly area while getting rid of resistant belly fat.