Trainer Stephanie’s Tips:
How to do a Leg Raise
Leg raises are an excellent way to strengthen abs and create more flexibility. However, they are often done wrong! There is a correct method that ensures proper form and no pain in the hip flexors.
Let’s Get Started:
- Lie down with your legs at 90 degrees in the air, either straight or bent.
- Push your mid and lower-back into the mat, which automatically engages your abs – do not arch your back.
- Slowly lower your heels all the way down, but hover just before the ground so that there is lots of tension in the abs.
- Pull your legs back up, keeping your hip flexors relaxed as much as possible and maintaining tension in your abs.
- Do a few sets of 10 reps, and eventually work your way up to more!
When you first start doing leg raises, your hip flexors might work too hard. This is why it helps to go slowly, and pay attention to your abs. If you have a hard time with this exercise, you can try doing leg lowers instead, which focuses more on the eccentric (lowering) phase more than the contraction (raising). The process is the same except for going extra slow on the way down, and tucking your knees in to come up vs. keeping your legs straight. This puts less stress on the lower back.
If you ever have any questions about proper form in exercises, find a trainer at your gym to help you!