Leg raises are an exercise primarily used to strengthen the hips and abdominal muscles. They target the hip flexors and lower abdominals but also work to tone the upper abs and obliques. Before you begin, perform a proper warm-up, such as a brisk five- to 10-minute walk or bike ride. Always consult your doctor before exercising if you have any health concerns.
Supine Leg Raises
Supine leg raises are performed lying on your back on the ground. This exercise does not require any equipment, so it is a great at-home option for those looking to avoid pricey gym membership fees. Begin by lying on your back. Keep your arms at your sides or place your hands under your buttocks for stability. Keep your legs straight and extended, raise them to a 90-degree angle and then lower them toward the ground without touching. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Side Leg Raises
Side leg raises target your oblique muscles. Begin by lying on your right side, with your legs straight and feet together. Prop yourself up on your elbow and support your head and neck with your hand. Keep your legs and feet together and slowly lift as high as you can and then lower to the starting position. Switch to the left side and repeat. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions on each side.
Hanging Leg Raises
Hanging leg raises require access to a high bar, or a pullup bar, found at a gym. Grasp the bar firmly with your hands shoulder-width apart. Hang from the bar and keep your body still. Bend your knees and slowly raise them in toward your chest. Pause, then slowly lower your legs to the starting position. Do not allow your body or legs to swing. This exercise may be difficult at first, so begin with five repetitions. As your strength improves, increase to 10 repetitions.
Roman Chair Leg Raises
Roman chair leg raises require an upright roman chair, found in a gym. Begin with your back against the pad of the chair. Firmly grasp the handles and rest your forearms on the forearm pads. Flex at the hips and raise your knees toward your chest. Pause, then slowly lower to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 15 times. When you are ready to challenge yourself, keep your legs straight instead of bent as you lift and lower. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
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