Leg raise exercises can do wonders for several different major and minor muscle groups, however the most improvement will manifest in the abdomen. If done right on a daily basis along with some diet restraints and additional muscle and cardio workouts, there is no reason why a leg raise regiment will not yield excellent results.
It is important to note that using all of these leg raises in a single workout is highly recommended. Also, be sure to make proper adjustments before embarking on these exercises. If your knees are weak, try to use some slip-on braces; if your back, especially your lower back, is in chronic pain, a deep stretch and possibly a back brace should be considered. And if your neck tends to be in pain more often than not, be sure to adequately stretch it, and watch your form to avoid a neck strain.
1. Standard Leg Raise
- Lie on your back and put your hands to your side.
- Turn your hands so the palms face the floor.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth
- Push your fingertips out and raise your arms and palms off the floor–about 1-6 inches.
- Point your toes
- Do not bend your knees
- Tighten your abdominals
- Raise your legs one inch off the ground.
- Keep your neck relaxed and the back of your head on the ground.
- Count backwards from eight and then release.
- Slowly and if there is no pain, during your next leg raise, bring your chin to your chest.
- Continue with counts of eight, rest for 5 seconds, do a set of five to ten depending on your stamina.
2. Scissors and Circles
- Follow the above standard formula
- Point your toes as your legs are raised
- Scissor your legs–crisscross your legs, alternating over and under one another, ten times
- With toes pointed, draw tiny circles in the air while each leg is raised
- Do not forget your breathing–in through the nose and out through the mouth
3. On the Side
- Lie on your side
- You can put your arm underneath your torso or stretch it above your head
- Bend the bottom leg
- Raise the top leg, without bending, as high as you can go
- Go slow
- Do a set of ten
- Switch sides, repeat
4. On Your Stomach
This exercise if great for your glutes.
- Lie on your stomach
- Put your arms to your side or under your chin
- Without bending your leg, raise it as high as it will go without raising your torso or hips
- Repeat with the other leg
- Try to raise both legs at once
5. Pull Up
For this exercise you will need to find either a leg raise bar in your gym which looks like a pair of bicycle handlebars or find two surfaces that can hold your weight and still allow you to bring your legs up and out in front of you.
- Lie on your back
- Hold yourself up with your arms bent at the elbow
- Slowly bring your knees to your abdomen
- Try to extend your legs in front of you and hold
- Bring back to bent knee position
- Drop down for five seconds
- Repeat ten times