The Hanging Leg Raise Guide – Everything You Need to Know

hanging leg raises guide

Don’t you see results by doing floor core exercises? Then, it’s time to do some hanging leg raises for abs. Have you ever seen those guys doing calisthenics on the playgrounds having perfect abs? They achieve this incredible core strengths by doing a wide variety of leg raising exercises on bars.

I know from my experience that doing bodyweight exercises on a bar, no matter which muscles you want to train, is the best training technique. And it is really true for abs training. I started doing different abdominal exercises on the bar for 3-4 months now, and the results I see is far better that I expected.

The well-known floor abs exercises just like crunches, sit ups and others are good, but if you want a real strong and great looking midsection, you should include various vertical leg lifts in your routine.

What are the hanging leg raises benefits?

Different sorts of leg lifts train all your core muscles efficiently. While, most of the floor abs exercises only train one particular muscle, leg lifts on pull up bar work all your muscles once. However, there are some variations which strengthen one particular muscle better.

Another advantage of doing these activities is that besides training your midsection, they help to strengthen other muscle groups such as your arms, back, shoulders and even your legs. They also help with fat burning, I used to have rather thick belly fat, but now my hips and waist are slimmer than ever before.

Personally, I like these workouts because they do not strain my lower back and my spine. I used to have back pain the past when I did lots of floor abdominal training. Nowadays, large part of my abs training routine contains workouts on the pull up bar and I have no back pain at all.

muscles worked
Hanging Leg Raises Muscles Worked


How to start – Hanging leg raises for beginners

What if you can’t do hanging ab raises yet? Do not worry! For most of the people doing pull up bar leg raises is not easy at first. If you have never done pull ups or other exercises before, you should practice being able to hang on the pull up bar for at least 20-30 seconds. At the same time, you can start doing bodyweight exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups and others to train your entire body.

Once, you can do that you can start with hanging knee raise. This is a good exercise to get used to the movement and to learn how to control the motion. It is important that you should concentrate on your abdominal muscles. Feel the contraction and extension while doing it. Put your legs together tightly and do not use your leg muscles to do the motion. Try to keep your torso at one position. If you do not feel that your abs works, you do this exercise improperly.

Also, if you go to the gym you may have the possibility to use the captain’s chair or a power tower that comes with a vertical knee raise section. Since, it has a back support you will not moving forward and backward while performing the exercise. Hence, without swinging, you can perform it with better concentration.


Once, you are familiar with hanging knee raises, and you can do at least 10-15 repetitions, you can start to do the straight leg version. It is necessary to tight your legs together while you do the rising. At first, you can bend your knees a bit when you lift your legs, which makes it a bit easier. As you get comfortable with it, raise the angle and the reps. It will develop your upper and lower abs.

When you can perform many straight leg raises, the next step is the hanging leg circles. This is an ultra-powerful exercise which will build your abdominis and increase your core strengths incredibly. It is killer for obliques.

The next advanced drills to train your abs can be dragon flags, levers and the human flag. These are really hard ones, but with a lot of training and practice you can do them.

Watch the following video from Al Kavadlo about how to do hanging leg raises progression.



Various hanging leg lifts for abs are perfect methods to train your whole midsection efficiently. You need to put in time and effort to learn how to do them properly, but the outcome is far better that you can see from other ab workouts.



Can I get a six pack by doing only leg raise ab workout?

This exercise is definitely one of the best to work and tone your midsection, but to get six pack abs you will need other exercises. I recommend including it on your workouts. Anyway, if you have some extra fat on your tummy first you will need to get rid of that by eating properly and doing cardio.

Anyway, here is a sample hanging ab workout that lasts only 5 minutes but kills your midsection.


Is there an alternative exercise?

The best alternative is the simple leg lifts on the floor, your can do leg lifting on a Roman chair or even you can use a decline sit up bench to do leg lifts. All of them are efficient.

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