Why it's on the list: There are many reasons to like leg raises, but top of the list is their scalability. You can start doing bent-knee raises in a captain's chair or with ab straps to focus on the lower core, work up to straight-leg raises, and then move to a hanging bar. By the time you're doing full straight-leg toes-to-bar raises, you've built unparalleled strength in your entire core.
Another point in their favor: You can increase the degree of difficulty and resistance by holding a medicine ball between your knees or ankles, allowing you to train in a lower rep range. Or you can add a twist at the top or graduate to full-blown "windshield wipers" to target your deeper rotational muscles and obliques.
No matter the variation, just remember to use your abs, not momentum, to get your legs as high as possible on each rep.
Hanging Knee Raise Variations for Ab Development:
- Hanging leg raise
- Captain's chair knee raise
- Parallel bars knee raise
- Hanging dumbbell knee raise
- Hanging toes-to-bar
- Hanging windshield wiper
In your workout: Do this move first or second in your routine for 3 sets of 10-15 reps, or however many reps you can do. If using a medicine ball, try a dropset simply by letting go of the medicine ball when you hit failure.