How To Perform Leg Lifts And Varieties Of Leg Lifts

One of the most important exercises to build lower abdominal muscles is the leg lift. This exercise is done by laying flat on the ground and lifting both your legs vertically upwards and it should face the ceiling. To know more about this particular exercise and the various forms of the leg lift exercise, read on...

One of the most proficient methods of building and developing the lower abdominal muscles or lower abs is by making use of the leg lift exercise. The lower abdominal muscles are very hard to access otherwise and leg lifts are the way to go if one wants to improve the strength and shape of the abdominal muscles particularly the lower abdominal muscles. The exercise regimen of leg lifts is incorporated by many different sportspersons too like tennis players and footballers as they invariably add on to develop the lower body strength which is vital in many such sports. In particular, leg lifts are for those individuals planning to get rid of a hard earned beer belly and also for people aiming for those enviable six pack abs, Leg lifts also help in improving body posture. Therefore in case you haven't included leg lifts in your workout yet, then now is the time to start.

How to perform a leg lift?

Though leg lifts have a great number of variations using the same basic motion, the very basic version of the leg lift is explained as follows. The best part of the basic version of the leg lift is that no external props are necessary for performing this exercise. Good old gravity takes care of most of the rudiments of the task. To start, lie down on a flat, even surface like the floor of your room or gym (do not use a bed for the purpose, even if it does fulfill the 'flat and even' requirements) with your feet close to each other and hands beside the body. Next open up your palms and place them flat against the floor, palms down right beside the body. So now the positioning is complete. Now to start the exercise, just lift your legs upward in a simple motion, still keeping them together. Continue with the upward motion until the upper body and the lower body makes a right angle to each other. Once this position is reached, gently lift your hips to provide an upward thrust and get the hip gently down again and return the legs back to the starting position.

An important thing to note is that the legs should not touch the floor on the downward journey but the downward motion should stop just above the ground. The event in which the leg touches the ground, it results in release of the tension generated in the lower abdominal muscles. One other thing to bear in mind is that on the upward motion the lower body should not make an angle more acute than the right angle prescribed with the upper body. Beginners are advised to perform 10-15 repetitions of the basic leg lift. Excruciating pain results in the abdominal region initially. Athletes and advanced individuals can perform 25-50 repetitions of leg lifts. The basic leg lift can also be done by placing your palms facing downwards beneath your buttocks and carrying out the leg lift exercise. The main advantage of this addition is that it avoids the back from arching. Another way to perform the leg lift is to place both hands under your head and perform the basic leg lift exercise.

Variations to the leg lift exercise

Hanging leg lift exercises

As opposed to the basic leg lift which targets the lower abdominal muscle region alone, the hanging leg lift exercise targets the entire abdominal region which also includes the lower abdominal muscles. Begin by holding a high horizontal rod so that the body is freely suspended. This position strains the arm muscles and the back muscles contract too. The next step is to pull the lower body upwards, simultaneously bending the knees and pulling it up against the chest so that in the end position the knee is up against the chest. The entire abdominal area is targeted in this motion due to gravity and resistance of the body. The hamstring placed at the back of the thigh also gets contracted. Push your lower body as high as possible and hold the position for 5 seconds. Next gently bring the body back to the original position to complete the repetition. This is a very strenuous exercise and evidently not custom made for beginners. Also individuals with back worries should step clear of this particular exercise.

Abdominal chair leg lift exercise

It is a slightly different exercise from the hanging leg lift exercise where the difference lies only in the positioning of the upper body with the lower body performing the same motion as in the hanging leg lift exercise. For this particular exercise, an abdominal chair is required. The elbow is parallel to the ground and rests on the elbow pads and in this way, arms and shoulders contract to keep the body suspended in the air. From this position, one would have to follow hanging leg lift version and gently pull the legs straight up, and simultaneously bend their knees and pull them as much as possible towards the chest. Hold the body in this position for a while and then return to the initial position for a complete repetition. Like in the hanging leg lift, the hamstring gets worked in this exercise. But unfortunately this exercise is not meant for individuals, with a history of back troubles, and beginners.

Side lying lift exercise

This particular exercise is very highly recommended for beginners and particularly women. One must lie on his side rather than on his back so that the hips are stacked next to each other. In this case, instead of the abdomen, it is the leg muscles that are worked. There are two particular variations in this exercise that can be used interchangeably according to the preference. In the first type, you only have to lift the top leg in this position. The leg should be lifted upwards and should be pushed as far upward as possible and gently get it down again to complete the repetition. This exercise works on the hips, buttocks and outer thigh muscles of the top leg. If both legs are lifted simultaneously in the second type, in addition to the above areas, the inner muscles of the lower leg are also worked.

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