No matter how much we may complain about them, leg raises are really useful. Not only do they contribute towards the washboard abs we’re all vying for, but, more importantly, they also strengthen and add power to the core muscles.
Some studies suggest that leg raises may even be more useful than crunches when it comes to losing stubborn belly fat. Not only to does it target the core and leg muscles but also involve all the main muscle groups including the abdominals, hip flexors, back muscles and thigh muscles. Various secondary muscles come into play depending on whether you are standing, lying down or using an exercise ball while performing the lifts.
Most aerobic exercises and sports require the active engagement of these muscles, and perfecting your vertical leg lifts can significantly improve your balance and coordination in everyday life.
- Lie flat on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you, a toe’s width apart. Make sure to keep your hands down flat on the ground near your sides.
- Bend your knees and raise your legs. Your calves should be parallel to the ground, while your thighs are perpendicular. Keep your toes pointed while you do this, drawing your abdominal muscles toward your spine.
- Straighten your legs until your feet are pointed at the ceiling. Keep your toes pointed and raise your legs as slowly as possible. Remember not to let your lower back arch off the ground, or you may injure yourself
- Slowly lower your legs. Bring them down as far as you can while keeping your back flat against the floor. Your goal is to reach about an inch off the floor. Hold your arms in the same place, but use them for strength and support as you lower your legs.
- Keep your lower back pressed into the floor to engage your abdominals and protect your spine.
- For a tougher workout, you can lift your straightened legs all the up on a count of ten, and then lower them down while counting to ten again. This will definitely give your abs a great workout, but can be bit more of a challenge.