How to Do The Captain's Chair Leg Raise

So just what is the right way to do a captain’s chair leg raise? First let’s find out what a captain’s chair is, where you find one, what body parts it works and why you need to know this in the first place.

What is a Captain’s Chair?

A captain’s chair is a workout frame that lets you do hanging leg raises. There are two padded chair arms on either side that support your body weight while you lift your legs that are either bent or straight. Doing a straight leg raise on the captain’s chair is much harder and is something you need to work up to accomplishing.

Hanging leg raises done from a captain’s chair are considered by most exercise professionals to be one of the top ten ways to exercise and strengthen abdominal muscles. This exercise has the added advantage of working the side abdominal muscles (love handles), which are known to be difficult muscles to target.

Your entire abdominal region (rectus abdominus) gets a workout when you do hanging leg raises from a captain’s chair. Also your hip flexor muscles (iliopsoas) are worked out when you do this exercise.

How do you use a Captain’s Chair?

  • While standing on the platform you grip the handholds while pressing your back against the padded back of the chair.
  • Breathe in and contract (pull in) your ab muscles.
  • Exhale as you lift your legs toward your chest. If you’re new to this, bend your knees and try to raise them until they are parallel to the floor. Later on you can try raising your straight legs. This is much harder, so do work up to it.
  • Lower your legs to the beginning position and then do another leg raise.
  • Do multiple raises in each set. Try to get in 10 raises before you rest. Work toward doing 3 sets of 10 raises.

Tips for Success

  • Do not let your back arch as you exercise.
  • Always breathe in before you lift your legs.
  • Do not swing your legs. Lift them.
  • Be sure to exhale as you lift your legs.
  • Make sure your movements are slow and controlled. Your movements should come from your ab region, not your upper body.

What Else do you Need to Know?

As with any exercise, it is important to pay attention to your form as you workout. It is tempting to arch your back as you near the completion of all of your reps. Guard against this because you can strain your back if it isn’t properly supported. Also the most common form mistake, particularly with ab exercises, is holding your breath. This will actually make the moves harder to perform, so make a conscious effort to breathe in before each leg raise and breathe out while you are lifting your legs.

Doing leg raises on a captain’s chair is an effective ab exercise. Just remember to breathe and you will do very well. These exercises, in addition to sticking to a healthy meal plan and doing various other types of exercise that get your heart rate going, will help you reach your fitness goals. 



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