Leg Raise: Simple And Effective Exercise That Is Frequently Neglected

Do you struggle with leg raises during your workouts? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people find this exercise difficult and sometimes even painful. The reason for this could be due to tight hip flexors or weak lower abs. But don’t let this discourage you! With the right technique and exercises, you can improve your leg raises and work towards achieving your fitness goals. In this blog post, we will explore the causes behind struggling with leg raises and provide helpful tips on how to perform them correctly. So, let’s dive in and improve those leg raises!

Leg Raise Summary

  • Primary Muscles: Rectus Abdominis
  • Secondary Muscles: Adductor Brevis, Adductor Longus, Iliopsoas (Psoas Major & Iliacus), Obliques, Pectineus, Rectus Femoris, Sartorius, and Tensor Fasciae Latae
  • Equipment: Flat Bench
  • Mechanics Type: Isolated
  • Force: Pull
  • Utility: Auxiliary
Graphic image of a fit man performing alternate cable triceps extensions.

Leg Raise Instructions

  • Begin by laying on your back on the ground or on a flat bench.
  • Extend your legs and lift your feet a few inches off the foundation.
  • Now pull your legs vertically with your core while keeping your legs straight.
  • Next, lower your legs back to the starting position with your feet still off the ground.
  • Do your Leg Raise for 10-20 repetitions.

Video Tutorial

How to Do Leg Raises

Leg Raise Muscles

Target (Agonist)


  • Adductor Brevis
  • Adductor Longus
  • Pectineus
  • Rectus Femoris
  • Sartorius
  • Tensor Fasciae Latae

Dynamic Stabilizers

  • None


Antagonist Stabilizers

  • None
Image of the skeletal muscular system with the muscles used in the leg raise exercise highlighted in red and the rest in blue.

Benefits of Leg Raise

The leg raise is an excellent exercise for strengthening and toning the rectus abdominis muscle, also known as the “six-pack” muscle. By performing the leg raise, you are engaging the entire abdominal region, including the lower and upper abs. This exercise also helps to strengthen your core muscles, which are essential for proper posture and balance. With regular leg raise exercises, you will not only benefit from increased strength and toning in your abdominal area, but you will also experience improved balance and core stability. Additionally, it can help to reduce back pain, improve posture, and reduce the risk of injury.

Tips for Performing Leg Raise

Your at the right place if you’re motivated to advance your leg raise execution. These tips can help you get more from of this effective workout, and help you reap all the benefits it has to offer. You’ll be able to develop your abs muscles, and minimize your risk of getting hurt. So let’s begin now and discover what these tips may achieve for you.

  • Ensure Proper Form: Make sure to keep your back flat and your legs straight when raising your legs up and down. Doing this will help you target your lower abdominal muscles while also preventing injury.
  • Take Breaks When Necessary: Leg raises can be quite strenuous so it’s important to take breaks when you need them. Doing this will help you get the most out of your exercise session and prevent overexertion.
  • Vary Your Reps: Incorporating different variations of reps into your leg raises will help you keep the exercise interesting and maximize your results. You can try doing single-leg raises, alternating leg raises, or even pulses at the top of the movement for an extra challenge.

Benefits and Tips Video

LEG RAISE GUIDE | How To, Tips, Benefits

Frequent Mistakes To Avoid

Staying away from mistakes can be the distinction between a productive workout and an injury when executing leg raise. Moreover, achieving optimal results from this exercise requires proper technique, and making sure you don’t perform typical errors can allow you to perform the exercise correctly and obtain your desired results. But relax, it’s not quite as difficult as it might seem. By knowing the errors to avoid and taking the appropriate actions, you can execute the exercise securely and effectively. So it is time for you to maximize your results from this exercise and enjoy the advantages of a productive workout.

  • Not engaging their core muscles: Not engaging the core muscles when performing a leg raise will reduce the effectiveness of the exercise and may put unnecessary strain on the lower back.
  • Performing the exercise too quickly: Performing a leg raise too quickly will not allow your body to benefit from the exercise and can also increase the risk of injury.
  • Using momentum instead of muscle strength: Using momentum instead of muscle strength when performing a leg raise will reduce the effectiveness of the exercise and may lead to muscle imbalances in the long run.

Find More Bodyweight Exercises Here

Variations and Complementary Exercises

The Leg Raise is a great exercise for strengthening the core muscles, but it is important to add in variations and complementary exercises to ensure a well-rounded workout. Below is a list of exercises that work similar muscles as the Leg Raise, and can be added to your regular routine to help further target and strengthen your core.

Leg Lift Knee Raise

Graphic image of Leg Lift Knee Raise.

The Leg Lift Knee Raise is a great complementary or alternative exercise for the Leg Raise. This exercise strengthens and tones the lower abdominal muscles, and can also help to improve posture by strengthening the hip flexors and lower back. It involves lying on your back with your legs bent at the knees, and then raising your legs towards your chest while keeping your knees bent. This exercise should be performed slowly and with control to ensure proper form and posture. Once you’ve mastered this movement, you can increase the difficulty by performing this exercise with weights or a resistance band.

Knee Hug Crunch

Graphic image of Knee Hug Crunch.

The Knee Hug Crunch is an excellent complementary or alternative exercise for the Leg Raise. It strengthens the hip flexors, which are the muscles that allow the leg to be raised. To perform the Knee Hug Crunch, you will lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head and slowly lift your shoulders and chest off the floor while hugging your knees in toward your chest. Hold this position for a few seconds before slowly lowering back to the ground. The Knee Hug Crunch is an effective way to target the same muscles as the Leg Raise while also providing a bit of a change in movement and intensity.

Jack Knife Sit Up

Graphic image of Jack Knife Sit Up.

The Jack Knife Sit Up is a great alternative or complementary exercise to the Leg Raise. It works the entire core, targeting the upper and lower abs, obliques, and hip flexors. To do the exercise, start by lying on your back with your legs straight out and your arms reaching up toward the ceiling. Then, simultaneously lift your torso and legs up towards each other while keeping your arms extended. The key is to maintain control throughout the entire motion. This exercise can be a great alternative or addition to the Leg Raise, helping to strengthen your core muscles and improve your overall fitness.

Check Out These Top Bodyweight Exercises

Incline Leg Hip Raise

Graphic image of Incline Leg Hip Raise.

The Incline Leg Hip Raise is an excellent alternative or complementary exercise to the Leg Raise. It targets the lower abdominal muscles, as well as the hip flexors and glutes, while also strengthening the core. The exercise is done by lying on an incline bench with the feet flat on the floor and the hips raised. The knees are then bent and raised up towards the chest, while keeping the back straight and maintaining a tight core. The legs are then slowly lowered to the starting position before repeating. This exercise is great for developing lower abdominal strength and stability, as well as strengthening the core.

Hanging Leg Raise

Graphic image of Hanging Leg Raise.

The Hanging Leg Raise is a great complementary or alternative exercise to the traditional Leg Raise. It is an excellent core exercise that strengthens the abdominals and obliques, while also increasing stability and balance. The Hanging Leg Raise requires the use of a pull-up bar and involves hanging from the bar while raising your legs up towards your chest. This exercise can be made more challenging by adding weight to your feet, such as a weighted belt or ankle weights. This exercise is a great way to target your lower abdominal muscles and increase overall core strength.

Hands Up Crunch

Graphic image of Hands Up Crunch.

Hands Up Crunch is a great alternative or complementary exercise to the Leg Raise. This exercise focuses on the upper body, while the Leg Raise focuses on the lower body. The Hands Up Crunch involves lying on your back with your legs raised and your hands on the floor above your head. You then raise your torso while keeping your legs in place, crunching your upper abs in the process. This exercise will strengthen your core and tone your upper body. It can be performed as a stand-alone exercise or incorporated into a larger workout routine.

Find More Abs Exercises Here

Opposing Complementary Exercises

To get the most out of the Leg Raise exercise, it is important to complement it with exercises that target opposing muscle groups. This helps to prevent overtraining one muscle group and maintain a balanced workout. Below are a few exercises that work the opposite muscles as the Leg Raise:

Barbell Good Morning

Graphic image of Barbell Good Morning.

The Barbell Good Morning exercise is a great complement to the Leg Raise exercise as it works the opposing muscle group. This exercise targets the posterior chain muscles, such as the hamstrings and glutes, while the Leg Raise works the anterior chain muscles, such as the quadriceps and hip flexors. The Barbell Good Morning requires a barbell to be held across the back of the shoulders while bending at the hips until the torso is parallel with the ground. By focusing on proper form, this exercise helps to strengthen and stabilize the core, while also engaging and strengthening the back muscles. Together, these two exercises provide a balanced workout that helps build strength and endurance in both the upper and lower body.

Good Mornings With Bands

Graphic image of Good Mornings With Bands.

Good Mornings With Bands is a great complementary exercise to Leg Raises. This exercise works the posterior chain muscles, which are the opposite muscle group to the quadriceps worked in Leg Raises. Good Mornings With Bands can help to balance out the muscle development of the legs, allowing for better overall leg strength and stability. It also helps to increase flexibility and mobility in the lower back and hips, which can improve posture and performance. The band provides an extra level of resistance, making this exercise even more effective at building strength and endurance.

Smith Machine Good Morning Off Pins

Graphic image of Smith Machine Good Morning Off Pins.

The Smith Machine Good Morning Off Pins is an excellent complement to the Leg Raise exercise. This machine allows you to perform a deep squat while engaging the opposing muscle group to the leg raise. This helps to improve balance, stability, and strength in the lower body, as well as providing a good challenge to the core muscles. By using the Smith Machine Good Morning Off Pins, you are able to effectively target both the quads and glutes, as well as the lower back and abdominals. This makes for a comprehensive full-body workout that can help you reach your fitness goals faster.

Elevate Your Fitness Routine with Leg Raises

Are you looking for ways to switch up your exercise routine and work on your core? Look no further than adding in some leg raises! This simple but effective exercise targets your lower abs and hip flexors, improving your overall core strength and stability. Plus, it can be easily modified for different fitness levels and can be done anywhere, whether you’re at home or in the gym. Incorporate leg raises into your workout for a new challenge and to see the results in your core strength.

References: Wikipedia | ExRx.net | PubMed.gov | Comprehensive List of Abs Bodyweight Exercises

Pin image for leg raise post. With an image of a man performing the exercise on Top and a graphic of the exercise on the Bottom.

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