How to Do Alternating Leg Raises Properly

If you are deeply interested in building a rock-hard core or sculpting your packs, then you have definitely come across the alternating leg raises exercise.

Basic as it looks, it is however easy to mess them up and end up straining and with numerous injuries. Read on to know how to do it properly, its benefits, muscles worked and common mistakes to avoid.

HOW TO DO ALTERNATING LEG RAISES PROPERLY

  • Lie face-up on your exercise mat with your legs straight and feet together. Place your arms by your sides, with your arm facing down or under your glutes.
  • While engaging your core and your legs straight, lift one leg away from the ground with your toes facing away from you.
  • Remember to keep your chin tucked as though you are holding an egg under it. Your pelvis should also be tucked and your ribs down. This is the beginning point for all repetitions.
  • While maintaining this alignment, raise one leg until your knee is directly over your hips or until your butt lifts slightly off the ground.
  • Aim to form 90 degrees with your leg and upper body. Pause for a second at the top movement.
  • While still engaging your core, and having your upper body in contact with the exercise mat, slowly lower your leg until they are just above the ground.
  • Come to a complete stop at the bottom of the movement. Repeat this while alternating your legs.

TIPS FOR DOING ALTERNATING LEG RAISES

Just like other exercises, this one also demands that you seek a physician’s opinion before beginning the exercise.

Inasmuch as you started by doing the alternating leg raises, you might need to add in some modifications in the course of the exercise in order to make it more effective.

When it comes to this, be careful to use weights that will allow you full control of your body throughout the movement.

When performing the alternating leg raises, listen to your body and stop immediately you notice any pain or discomfort.

In order to attain optimal results based on your individual needs, consider incorporating proper warmups and rest to your workout schedule because your results will ultimately be based on your ability to adequately recover from your workouts.

To allow for sufficient recovery, consider resting for 24 to 48hrs before working out the same muscle groups.

WHAT MUSCLES DO ALTERNATING LEG RAISES WORK?

This is a bodyweight exercise that targets your abdominal muscles, particularly the lower abs.

Using the proper form, alternating leg raises will work your entire body, including your rectus abdominis, hip flexor muscles, hamstrings, and lower back muscles.

ALTERNATING LEG RAISES BENEFITS

STRENGTHENING YOUR CORE AND BACK

Your lower abdominal muscles primarily benefit from alternating leg raises as it targets to reach the hard-to-reach lower abs. A repetition of this exercise will help to increase the strength and definition in your abs and the control that you have over your core muscles. The act of changing your legs from different positions will help to shift the focus of the exercise and address different abdominal muscles.

LOWERS YOUR RISK FOR INJURIES

Regular performances of alternating leg raises will also lower your risk of getting back injuries, back pain and back strain while performing other exercises and routine activities.

INCREASING FLEXIBILITY AND STRENGTH

Although back muscles are not the focus of alternating leg raises exercise, any abdominal and core exercise will help in working them out. Since the alternating leg raises is a core exercise, it will help in supporting your lower back and increase your strength and flexibility.

STRENGTHENING YOUR HIP FLEXORS

Alternating leg raises and all its alternatives aim at increasing the flexibility, agility and strength of the hip flexors because all of them will require hip joint movement.

 

Other benefits include:

  • Helps to lose weight from the legs and lower abdomen.
  • Tones and strengthens muscles in your legs.
  • Strengthens calf muscles and glutes.
  • Can be done anywhere, even when lying in bed.
  • Helps to improve your attention and focus.

ALTERNATIVES TO ALTERNATING LEG RAISES

MEDICINE BALL LEG RAISE

This alternative to the alternating leg raises exercise will require you to add an extra challenge for your abs and the insides of your thighs (adductors) by gripping a medicine ball between your feet.

WEIGHTED LEG RAISE

As with many exercises, you can increase the challenge to alternating leg raise by adding some weight. Just ensure that even after doing this, you still have full control of your body during the movements.

LEG RAISE ON DIP STATION

This alternative should be your go to if you are not quite ready to do the hanging leg raise. From it, you will get to work your core harder to keep your torso still and, in the process, your arms and shoulders will get a workout a well.

HANGING LEG RAISE

About as tough as alternative leg raise gets, the hanging leg raise involves hanging from a pull- up bar while raising your legs until they are parallel to the ground.

HANGING KNEE RAISE

This should be your go to if you feel that the hanging leg raise is a hand full. Here, instead of raising your whole legs, you will raise your knees, which is way easier.

GARHAMMER RAISE

Compared to the hanging and knee leg raises, the garhammer raise has just one adjustment that makes it more effective. Instead of releasing your legs or knees fully after a rep as in the hanging legs or knees, you are not allowed to release them in the garhammer raise, until a set is fully complete.

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID WHILE ALTERNATING LEG RAISES

Do not lift your shoulders up because it will cause an imbalance hence you will roll to your sides.

Do not apply pressure on your chest as this will decrease your tolerance.

Avoid arching your back a you bring your legs down as this can damage your back.

CONCLUSION

Always consider choosing your alternating leg raises sets and repetition based on your ability, in order to maintain good technique through the full range of motion.