Leg Raises 101: Proper Form, Benefits, Variations, Alternatives, Muscles Worked & More

Leg raises are an excellent exercise for building strength and stability in the core, lower body, and upper body.

While they may seem simple, proper form and technique are essential to ensuring you get the most out of your leg raise workout.

This article will provide a comprehensive guide to performing leg raises correctly, including information on benefits, muscles worked, different types of leg raises, and lots more!

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How to do Leg Raises Correctly

What You’ll Need:

  • A floor and your body weight: To do leg raises, you do not need any equipment at all!

Alternative Equipment:

  • An exercise mat: If you want extra comfort – an exercise mat will be a nice addition. With an exercise mat, you will provide your lower back with support and comfort.
  • A sit-up bench: With a sit-up bench, you provide cushioned stability to your back, and you will also have the ability to change the angle at which you work out. The bench will help you to do variations of leg lifts, like sitting leg lifts and incline leg lifts.
  • A Power Tower: Using a power tower, you can take your leg raises to the next level. The tower provides support for your back and gives you the ability to do the exercise in a vertical position instead of lying on a surface.
  • A Door Frame Pull-Up Bar: Using a door frame pull-up bar is mostly suited to experienced gym-goers. While hanging from the bar, you can do hanging leg raises, working out even muscles in your upper body.

Step1: Lay Flat on The Surface

To perform a leg raise, begin by lying on your back with your legs extended in front of you and your arms at your sides for added stability and balance.

Step2: The Lift

Keeping your lower back pressed against the ground and core engaged, slowly lift both legs as high as possible without arching or straining the lower back.

Step3: The Burn

Once you reach full extension, pause for one second before slowly lowering your legs back to the start position until they hover just above the ground.

Step4: The Set

This completes one rep; do two to three sets of 10-12 reps for best results.

Leg Raises Benefits

Stand Taller Easily

Leg raises are an effective way to support improved posture. They can help increase flexibility and stability in your hip flexors, allowing for more efficient use of these muscles during standing activities like walking, running – or simply standing tall.

Regular leg raise exercises help you stay strong and maintain good posture so that you look – and feel – better throughout the day.

Strengthen Your Core

Leg raises are an effective way to strengthen muscular strength in your lower body, hips, and core.

Not only will developing basic lower body and core strength help with a variety of physical activities such as running or jumping, but it may also reduce the risk of injury due to strong supportive muscles in your back and abdominal area.

Improved Stability

Leg raises engage and strengthen the lower body muscles responsible for maintaining balance while standing or walking.

This increased strength can help you retain better stability and coordination – providing confidence – not only in day-to-day activities but also when participating in sports or outdoor activities.

Low-Impact Training

Leg raises are a great low-impact exercise ideal for any fitness level, helping to gently work the muscles in your core while alleviating strain on the joints.

They also require minimal equipment, allowing you to perform them almost anywhere, with no need for expensive gym memberships or specialized machinery.

Workout Anywhere!

Leg raises allow you to get a great lower body workout from anywhere; there is no need to go to the gym or use any equipment.

This means you can easily squeeze in a fast and effective session while on your lunch break at work or while traveling without having to lug around any weights or other heavy items.

Turn Up Your Abs

With regular leg raises, you can target a variety of muscle groups in your lower body and core, specifically to get toned abs and a six-pack.

Using this exercise bolsters the abdominal muscles as well as hip flexors while maintaining an intense up-down-up motion – all of which are pieces needed for achieving firm abs.

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Doing Leg Raises

Concentrate on Form and Technique

Leg raises are a great way to work your core and strengthen the muscles around your torso, but they can become dangerous if done incorrectly.

To ensure that you get all the benefits of leg raises without sustaining lower back pain or injury, pay attention to proper form while performing them. Keep your posture straight and focus on engaging your abdominal muscles during each rep. Doing so will greatly reduce any risks associated with this exercise.

Keep Control Throughout the Movement

Leg raises require good posture and control. If you do not keep your legs straight or raise them too high, you risk straining your back muscles instead of engaging your abdominal muscles as intended.

In addition, many people tend to swing their legs up and down in an effort to complete more repetitions quickly; however, this can lead to an incorrect form that could result in muscle strain or, even worse – a serious injury.

Don’t Rush it!

One common mistake is doing too many reps too quickly.

This can cause the muscles in your legs and core to become fatigued quickly, leading to poor form, which could put you at risk for injury. In addition, when done too quickly and with improper form, it won’t provide any benefit as the muscle won’t have time to react properly.

It’s essential to focus on proper form by engaging your abdominal muscles while performing the exercise for it to be effective and safe.

Arching The Lower Back

Arching is one of the most common mistakes people make while doing leg raises, as it can place unnecessary strain on the lower back and lead to injury.

Focus on Your Breathing

Another mistake to avoid is holding your breath during the exercise.

Not only can this increase tension in the body, but it also decreases oxygen flow which can lead to dizziness or lightheadedness.

So instead, focus on taking deep breaths throughout each rep and never hold your breath as you raise or lower your legs.

Breathe out while lifting and out while lowering.

Leg Raises Muscles Worked

Rectus Abdominis

Leg raises target several muscles of your abdominal area – the rectus abdominis in particular.

The rectus abdominis is an important muscle used in everyday activities, such as sitting up, bending over, and walking. When performing leg raises correctly, this muscle group can be effectively engaged while also providing a small challenge to your balance.

The Oblique Muscles

The oblique muscles run along the sides of your abdomen and act as stabilizers for other movements such as rotation, side bending, and flexion. When done correctly, leg raises can help tone these abdominal muscles while also improving overall balance and coordination.

The Hip Flexors

The hip flexors are important muscles used for everyday activities such as walking, squatting, and lunging.

When done correctly, leg raises can help improve your range of motion and reduce pain in this area of the body.

The Hip Flexors are comprised of several muscles that run from the top of your pelvis down to your thighs. These muscles work together to “flex” or bend your hips when you bring your knee up towards your chest. Leg Raises activate these hip flexor muscles and help strengthen them to improve balance and posture, as well as reduce the risk of injury during physical activity.

Leg Raises Vs Sit-Ups

Leg raises and sit-ups are popular exercises focusing on the abdomen’s core muscles. While both activities will strengthen these muscles, there are some key differences between them:

The main difference between leg raises and sit-ups is the range of motion involved. Leg raises involve raising your legs until they form a 90-degree angle with the floor, while sit-ups involve bending your upper body at the waist and lifting it up from a lying position until your shoulders are off the ground.

Both exercises target different muscle groups in the abs, making them complementary additions to any workout plan.

In terms of difficulty level, leg raises tend to be easier than sit-ups. This is because sit-ups require more coordination between multiple muscle groups in order to be performed correctly and safely.

Both exercises have benefits in terms of muscular endurance and core strength; however, different aspects of each exercise can be emphasized depending on specific training goals.

Hometraininghero’s Suggested Reps, Sets, and Programs

For Gaining More Muscles

The efficacy of leg raises for gaining muscle mass has been well-documented in scientific literature. It is important to understand the recommended repetitions, sets, and programs needed to increase muscle mass through leg raises effectively.

Generally speaking, a program involving three sets of 12-15 repetitions of leg raises may be sufficient to stimulate muscular hypertrophy. However, it is also advisable to vary intensity and volume over time in order to ensure continued progress and adaptation.

For Improving Overall Strength

Leg raises are a highly effective strength training exercise that can produce significant improvements in overall bodily strength. Depending on the level of intensity desired, leg raises can be used as part of a progressive resistance program to reach specific goals.

The recommended number of reps and sets for leg raises depends largely on your current level of physical fitness and the desired outcome – but typically ranges from 8-15 reps and 2-3 sets.

For Boosting Muscle Endurance

Leg raises are an effective exercise for boosting muscle endurance.

In order to optimally benefit from leg raises, it is vital to understand how to perform the exercise correctly and select an appropriate rep, set, and program.

Typically, to boost your muscle endurance, you should train your muscles to they have nothing more to give. Doing five sets of leg raises, with a short break of 20-30 seconds of rest between the sets, should do the trick. Each set should be performed doing as many repetitions as possible – all with perfect form and technique!

Leg Raises Variations

Weighted Leg Raises

With weighted leg raises, you can increase resistance to achieve a more intense workout. Here’s how you do them:

Begin by lying on your back with your arms at your sides and your legs extended in front of you. Place a dumbbell, medicine ball, or another weighted object between your legs. Brace your core and use the power of your abs to raise both legs off the floor until they reach 90 degrees from the ground. Make sure you keep them straight during this movement – don’t let them bend at the knees or hips!

Single-Leg Leg Raises

Here’s how to do single-leg leg raises the right way:

Start by lying down on your back and placing your hands flat on the floor next to your body, palms facing down. Then, slowly raise one of your legs up until it’s at a 90-degree angle or higher if you can comfortably manage it. Then lower it back down to the starting position without touching the ground in between reps.

Make sure your abdominal muscles are engaged throughout this exercise; this will help support your lower back as well as protect it from any strain during the movement.

Incline Leg Raises

To do an incline leg raise, you will need an incline bench set at an angle of about 30-45 degrees.

Lie down on the bench with your back flat against it and grab the footrest with your hands. With your feet together, slowly lift them using only the strength in your abdominal muscles until they are about a foot above the bench. Pause momentarily before returning them to their starting position, maintaining control over the movement throughout each repetition.

Scissor Leg Lift

It may look easy, but it can be quite challenging when done correctly. Here’s how to properly perform the Scissor Leg Lift for maximum results:

Start by keeping your legs straight and lifting them a couple of inches off the floor. Then, keeping your core tight, cross your right foot over your left, mimicking a “scissor movement.” Maintaining control of the movement, return the leg – and do the same movement using the left leg. Keep going, switching between the right and left leg until each leg has crossed the opposite leg ten times.

Eccentric Leg Lift

The eccentric leg lift is similar to the original leg lift; the only difference is the speed of the movement during the eccentric phase of the exercise. When your feet are lifted to the top position, return them to the ground slowly – using a minimum of 4 seconds until they are parallel to the surface.

Seated Leg Raises

To do seated leg raises, sit straight on the edge of a chair or bench with feet firmly planted on the floor. Ensure your back is straight, your shoulders relaxed, and your chin slightly tucked in to maintain proper posture.

With hands placed onto either side of your hips for balance, keep your legs straight and slowly raise them off the ground until your knees are at a 90-degree angle from hip level. When in this position, hold for one second before slowly lowering them back down to the starting position. Throughout this movement, be sure to keep abdominal muscles tight and maintain good form throughout the exercise.

Leg Raises Alternatives

Plank Variations

Plank variations are a great substitute for leg raises if you cannot perform them safely.

Planks work the entire core muscle group: abs, obliques, and lower back muscles. The traditional plank requires you to hold your body in a straight line with arms and toes on the ground while contracting your abdominals.

There are also several plank variations like side planks, one-arm planks, mountain climbers, and more that challenge different parts of the core muscle group for an effective workout session.

Crunch Variations

If you are looking for alternatives to traditional leg raises, several crunch variations provide similar benefits – and that will bring variety to your workout routine.

These crunch variations target different parts of the core depending on how they’re performed. The basic crunch is a great place to start because it helps you get familiar with proper form and technique while engaging your abs. To make crunches more challenging, add twists, different angles, or reverse crunches.


This exercise focuses primarily on your abdominal muscles, making it an effective substitute for leg raises.

It is important to keep proper form when performing sit-ups to maximize their effectiveness and avoid injuries. To ensure proper form, ensure each rep is controlled and slow while keeping your chin slightly tucked towards your chest during the entire exercise.


The V-up is an often overlooked exercise, an excellent alternative to leg raises.

This exercise targets your abdominals and hip flexors while engaging your obliques and lower back—all while keeping your spine in a neutral position. To perform the move, begin by lying flat on your back with your legs extended straight up toward the ceiling.

From this position, crunch up and reach both hands towards your toes as you pull yourself into a V shape (hence its name). Hold this pose for two seconds before slowly releasing yourself down to the starting position.

Hollow body holds

The hollow body hold is a core stabilization exercise performed by lying flat on your back with arms stretched above your head and legs extended out long. From this position, you clench your core while lifting both arms and legs off the ground, so they stay in line with each other in a “hollow” shape.

When done correctly, the hollow body hold engages many of the same muscles as leg raises but minimizes stress to the spine and hips. It also works other muscle groups, such as the glutes and hamstrings, for an even more comprehensive workout routine.

Lying Hip Raise

The lying hip raise is an excellent alternative to traditional leg raises that targets the glutes, hips, and lower abdomen with minimal risk of injury.

To perform a lying hip raise, lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent at 90 degrees. Keep your arms straight by your sides or clasped together below your chest and press down through your heels while contracting the muscles in your buttocks and lower abdomen as you lift up off the ground until you reach a seated position.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What are Leg Raises Good For?

Leg raises are an excellent exercise for strengthening your core, glutes, and hip flexors.

They also help to improve balance and stability. Doing leg raises regularly can help to improve posture, reduce back pain, and increase overall strength. In addition, it’s an effective way to tone the muscles in your lower body.

Q: What Happens if you do Leg Raises Everyday?

Doing leg raises daily can help strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles, improve your balance and core stability, and even reduce lower back pain.

However, it is vital to make sure you use proper form when doing the exercise in order to prevent injury. Additionally, it is important to vary your routine and add other exercises for a full-body workout.

Q: Is Leg Raises Better Than Sit-Ups?

Leg raises and sit-ups are two of the most popular abdominal exercises. Both provide effective workouts that help strengthen your core and flatten your stomach. But which one is better?

The answer depends on a few factors, including the goals of your workout routine, the difficulty level you want to achieve, and your current fitness level.

Leg raises target specific muscles in the lower abdomen, while sit-ups focus more on the upper abs. If you’re looking for a more intense exercise requiring higher energy output, leg raises might be your best bet.

On the other hand, if you’re just starting out or looking for something less strenuous, sit-ups may be better suited for you.

Q: How Many Leg Raises Should I do a Day?

The answer to this question depends on your fitness level and goals.

Performing 10-15 leg raises per day is a good starting point for beginners as it allows time for rest between each set.

If you’re looking to build strength, you may want to increase the number of reps to 20-25 per day with rest periods in between.

Advanced exercisers may do 30 or more reps per day if they are training for more demanding activities such as running or high-intensity sports.

Q: Do Leg Raises Flatten Stomach?

Leg raises can help to build core strength and tone the abdominal muscles, which can improve your overall posture and give the appearance of a flatter stomach.

However, it is important to note that spot reduction (targeting fat loss in one specific area) is not possible. To achieve a flatter stomach, you should focus on overall weight loss through diet and exercise.

Q: Can Leg Raises Give you a Six Pack?

Leg raises can help you strengthen your core muscles, which are essential for developing a six-pack.

However, they alone will not be enough to get you a six-pack. You’ll need to combine leg raises with other exercises and a healthy diet in order to achieve the desired result.

Q: What are the Dangers of Leg Raises?

Leg raises can be dangerous if done incorrectly or with too much weight.

Improper form can lead to pulled muscles and back pain. Additionally, using too much weight or doing too many reps can cause strain on the lower back and hips, leading to injury. Therefore, it’s important to use proper form when doing leg raises and always start with a light weight before increasing intensity.

Final Words

Leg raises are an effective way to improve strength and stability in the abdominal region.

It is important to use proper form while performing leg raises and to know about the various variations, benefits, muscles worked, and alternative exercises. However, with consistency and practice, anyone can master leg raises and make them a part of their daily workout routine.

Remember to always check with a doctor before beginning any new exercise program. If performed correctly, leg raises can help you reach your fitness goals safely and effectively.

To learn more about strength training, visit hometraininghero’s strength-building resource – loaded with fitness tips and workout routines that actually bring results!

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