When you’re looking for a low impact and effective ab training exercise to strengthen your core, the leg lift is always a great option. In addition to strengthening your abdominals, leg lifts, help build your trunk, which can improve balance, posture, and strengthen your lower back. We’re going to talk about more about how to execute leg lifts, the benefits, and why this staple and fundamental ab day exercise belongs in your training program.
What Are Leg Lifts
Leg lifts are a bilateral and basic ab exercise, that uses the weight of your legs to engage your core. Leg lifts can improve your hip mobility, enhance your flexibility, and increase your strength in your hamstrings and lower back. The traditional leg lift is a unilateral execise, lifting both legs together at the same time, however there are several variations such as single or alternating leg lifts, which are bilateral, as well as side raises, which involve moving your legs in alternate planes of motion.
Leg Lifts Muscles Worked
Leg lifts stimulate the lower and upper abdominals, targeting the abdominal wall and all four main abdominal muscle including the transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques.
Think of the core as a strong column that connects the lower and upper body. Building a strong and solid core, creates improved functional strength, building a foundation for all basic human movement patters, such as running, walking, jumping, and sprinting. The core works to support the spine. Leg lifts also work a deep and internal muscle called the multifidus. This muscle runs along the spine working together with the transverse abdominis to increase spine stability and protect against injury.
Leg Lift Variations
- Alternating Leg Lifts
- Side Raise Leg Lifts
- Reverse Leg Lifts
- Plank Leg Lifts
- Hanging Leg Lifts
- Dip Bar Leg Lifts
Leg Lift Benefits
1. Functional Core Strength
The main goal of the leg lift is to increase functional core strength. Your core is composed not only of your abdominal muscles, but also include your lower back and trunk. Leg lifts benefit the entire core, working in unison to build more power and strength collectively to improve functional strength, which is applied in everyday human movement patterns.
2. Better Posture
Core and midline stability is what controls balance and posture. Leg lifts incorporate your core muscles, as well as your hip flexors, and lower back, which are directly correlated to better posture and balance.
3. Hip Mobility
Leg lifts benefit hip mobility, which translates across several compound movements, such as the squat, deadlift, and snatch. Better hip mobility will increase your range of motion and make these movements, more fluid.
How To Do Leg Lifts
- Lie on your back, legs straight and together.
- Keep your legs straight, inhale, and lift both legs together all the way up to the ceiling until your butt comes off the floor.
- Slowly exhale, then lower your legs back down till they’re just above the floor. Hold for a moment.
- Raise your legs back up. Repeat.
Leg Lifts: Takeaway
Leg lifts can add a variety of benefits to your training program, including better hip mobility, core stability, and functional strength, that will translate across heavier lifts, and improve overall aesthetics and athletic performance.
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