The Lateral leg ups or commonly referred to as lateral leg raises, are a great addition to your leg day workout routine.
By including leg ups in your routine, you will be building muscle and strengthening your thighs, hips, core, and backside.
Its simplicity in performance and effectiveness in strength training on the target muscles makes it, a must-have workout in your training regime.
The workout will take your fitness game a notch higher.
HOW IS THE LATERAL LEG UPS PERFORMED?
Here’s how to do it:
- Step 1: Get a wide and open space. Place a mat, an exercise mat such as a yoga mat on the floor to act as a cushion, allowing you to exercise comfortably.
- Step 2: Lie on one side of your body, assuming a sleeping position, with your elbow slightly bent to cradle your head for support. Slightly bend your lower leg while still on the floor.
- Step 3: Engage your core, by raising your belly button in towards your spine.
- Step 4: Raise your top leg without moving the rest of the body. Hold for 2 seconds at the top. Repeat 10 times.
- Do this for at least 8-10 reps for 2-3 sets.
- Switch sides with the other leg and repeat the above steps. Continuously breathe in and out to maintain proper oxygen flow.
- Visit the link to view a simple demo on the workout.
WHAT MUSCLE GROUPS DOES LATERAL LEG UPS WORK?
The exercise targets the following muscle groups:
The gluteus medius is largely covered by the gluteus maximus muscles.
The muscle group works to abduct and medially rotate the thigh- turning the thigh inwards so that the knee points toward your other leg. Moreover, it also steadies the pelvis.
The gluteus medius on the right side actively works to abduct the thigh while the one on the left, stabilizes the pelvis.
The gluteus minimus is the smallest of the gluteal muscle group. It lies deep beneath the left and right gluteus medius.
This muscle helps the gluteus medius in stabilizing the pelvic region and thigh abduction i.e., it helps in facilitating the movement of the leg away from the body’s midline.
The gluteus maximus is one of the strongest muscles in the body. It’s located in the butt region and it’s connected to the coccyx(tailbone) as well as other surrounding bones.
The gluteus maximus muscle is responsible for the movement of the thighs and the hips. Moreover, it facilitates standing up from a sitting position, climbing stairs, and staying erect (standing upright).
BENEFITS OF LATERAL LEG UPS
The exercise has numerous benefits to the overall lower-body training. They include:
BUILDS CORE STRENGTH
The body’s core is essential in performing physique-intensive day-to-day activities. It’s therefore important to build muscle in this region to power up the body.
The lateral leg ups build strength in the hips, glutes, and abs, all of which help to build up a strong core.
Further, it helps in maintaining a good posture to prevent back pain and injuries.
IMPROVES MOBILITY AND FLEXIBILITY
Lateral leg ups involve a lot of hip movement. Repeated sets of the exercise build up muscle flexibility through the range of motion of the hip movement.
This helps to prevent hip and knee injuries.
IMPROVES COORDINATION AND BALANCE
The lateral leg ups require a great deal of focus, coordination, and balance to get the exercise right. Repeated sets build up great body coordination and balance over time.
IMPROVES MUSCLE ENDURANCE AND STRENGTHENS THE GLUTES
The workout strengthens the abductors’ muscles.
This improves the speed and performance in physical activities that are muscle- intensive such as lifting heavy luggage or running.
Additionally, the exercise stabilizes and strengthens the glute muscles.
ALTERNATIVES TO LATERAL LEG UPS
There are great alternatives to the exercise, such as:
Bicycle crunches are abdominal exercises that work to strengthen the core. Similar to lateral leg ups, the exercise is done while on the floor.
The workout requires that you move your legs back and forward while lying on your back (equivalent to the bicycle pedaling movement).
The abs will crunch while you draw your legs towards you,
They are a great alternative since they target multiple muscle groups such as the core abdominal muscles, thigh muscles, obliques, and upper abs.
IN AND OUT ABS
In and out abs exercises work the abs (lower and upper), quadriceps, and hip flexors.
The exercise can be a little challenging however, if done correctly it can effectively target and build strong muscles in the thighs, hips, upper legs, waist, and core.
It’s a great workout to perform right at the comfort of your home as it doesn’t require any equipment.
Scorpion exercise is a bodyweight exercise that works the abs and quadriceps. The workout is moderate. It effectively targets the core, hips, legs, lower body and the waist muscles if done properly. Similar to, in and out abs, it does not require any equipment.
Reverse crunches build muscle in the core, hips, legs, and waist. The exercise does not require any equipment. This makes it an easy but quite an effective workout that can be done right at home either as a stretch or as the main workout coupled up with other strength training workouts.
LATERAL LEG UPS MISTAKES TO AVOID
To achieve the maximum effect from the workout then you have to avoid the following:
AVOID MOVING TO QUIKLY
If you are cranking out leg raises fast, then you are not doing the workout properly.
The target muscles such as abs, aren’t coming into play in the workout. Rather, you are using momentum to complete the leg raises.
Avoid swinging your legs quickly through the raise. The legs’ raise should be performed at a slower speed to ensure that you are working the target muscles.
Stronger muscles are built when they tire up fighting the resistance and tension generated.
AVOID RAISING YOUR LEG TO HIGH.
Avoid raising your leg too high throughout the exercise.
The greater the height, the less tension generated on the target muscles and consequentially the less muscle power generated to overcome the resistance. Lower it when you start to feel pressure in the lower back.
This ensures that you work the muscles properly.
Lateral leg ups are a simple home workout exercise that can be done right at the comfort of your home or at the gym. Most importantly, consistency is key in achieving your gym goals. Be sure to keep a consistent track record on your workout routine to achieve the best effect on the target muscles.