Hanging leg raises place a very intense form of stress on the abdominal muscle region. Greater focus and emphasis is placed on the lower abdominal muscles than the upper abs. Hanging leg raises enable you to stress the abdominal muscles through a wider range of motion than is possible on the ground or on a bench. This exercise can be done with either bent or straight knees.
Jump up to a pull-up bar with the hands approximately shoulder width apart. Allow your legs to hang straight below the body with the knees bent just slightly.
Use the muscles in your stomach to bring your feet upward in front of you until they come to just above your waist. Hold at this point of greatest stress, and then lower the feet back down until they are hanging directly below you again.
If doing leg raises with straight legs is too difficult for you, you can try a less intense variation of this exercise until you can build up greater strength. Simply allow your knees to bend as you raise your knees upward until they are just above your waist.
Tips From the Trainer
Performing this exercise with the bent knees allows some great variation for working the sides of the abdominal muscles. You can alternate between raising your knees directly in front of you and out to each side. To accomplish this, just rotate your hips to either side as you pull your knees upward.
With a little practice, you may learn to time your leg raises to prevent your body from swinging forward and backward with each movement. In some instances, you may be able to touch your feet to the sides the ground or the sides of pull-up racks to slow the swinging, or you can have a spotter hold your waist in place.