How to do hanging leg raise: train your abs and biceps with ONE MOVE

Stop monkeying around on the bars and put the effort in that six pack training

How to do hanging leg raises
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Learning how to do a hanging leg raise properly is well worth it. Why? Because hanging leg raises are one of the most potent elements of the best core workout. Even if you are time poor, if you’re in need of washboard abs gains, try doing hanging leg raises. This one move will train your abs, core, biceps and make you stronger in general. However – like this 15-minute six-pack home workout – it won't be easy.

There is a saying: abs are made in the gym and revealed in the kitchen, and we couldn't agree more. You can bend over backwards and do all the crunches in the gym to get a six pack, but until you eat right and lose belly fat, all your abs will be tucked away nicely under that tyre you call your abdominal area.

People also say everyone have abs and this is also true, to some degree. There is a huge difference between abs and having a six pack of abs. Everyone has the former, it makes you able to sit up in bed. The latter, though, is pretty hard work to get and if you want abs fast, you'll need to do the right exercises and get your dieting game right, let it be keto diet or intermittent fasting

If you want to have a six pack fast, stop frequenting the ab crunch machine or that weird core-twist machine thing which looks like a torture device from the mid 1600s. Instead, try doing compound exercises that can be a part of a full body workout. These exercises use multiple muscles and are a great way to improve strength, build muscle and even to burn fat.

For the best six pack results, you want exercises where you can move naturally and more often than not, these exercises are the ones where you don't need to use machines – although for being able to do hanging leg raises, you will need something high enough off the ground to hang from with your feet off the ground. 

Like this for instance (or any pull up bar or even multi-gym).

Hanging leg raises

(Image credit: Future)

How to do a hanging leg raise

Well, first you will need to 'hang' from something – a frame being the obvious thing or you may be able to use a pull-up bar. We don't recommend hanging off your balcony, but hey, it's a free country.

Hardstyle plank: try this plank variation for quicker summer body six-pack gains

Important: Always make sure you are hanging from a stable bar before you perform hanging leg raises, especially if you are working out at home. Once your legs are up in the air, you will be in a vulnerable position and can hurt your back if you fall.

Then you will need to 'raise' your 'legs'. Now you can see where the name 'hanging leg raise' comes from, right? You lift your legs right up in front of you.

Start off by doing bent-knee leg raises then slowly introduce straight leg reps over a period of weeks or months as you get stronger and more confident. Make sure your core is engaged all the way through the movement and lift your legs slowly. Once mastered, you can try and lift some weight with your legs or try using resistance bands – although using only your bodyweight is challenging enough. Form is more important than weight, so concentrate on performing the hanging leg raises correctly, all throughout the movement.

To elevate the game even more, try hanging with your elbows in an 90 percent angle. This will not only stabilise your movement, but it will also work your arms, especially your biceps. Superset hanging leg raises with bicep curls and soon you'll have the abs and biceps of Thor the Thunder God

The hanging leg raise is one of those exercises that look simple, yet aren't easy to pull off. To be able to perform even just a single set of hanging straight-leg raises, you will need strong arms, a killer core and – of course – strong abs.

Man loosening hamstrings

Lose those hamstrings, now

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Before you try hanging leg raises, it's best to loosen up your hamstrings a bit. Get a foam roller and an exercise resistance band and tend to your hammies so they are a bit more mobile.