The seated leg lifts are a lower body exercise that targets and strengthens your lower abdominals, quadriceps and hip flexors. It also increases flexibility across the hip flexors and back extensors.
This exercise is better than the hanging leg raise especially If your upper body fatigues fast even before your abs are thoroughly worked. You can choose to sit on a flat bench or on the floor as you do the exercise.
Like any other exercise targeting the abdominals, ensure that you keep your core engaged throughout the exercise. This contraction will not only maximize the results but also protect your lower back from injury.
HOW TO DO SEATED LEG LIFTS
Here are the steps to perform the exercise:
- Start in an upright seated position on the edge of a flat bench. With your hands behind you, place them on the bench.
- Lean your back at about 35-degree angle with your legs extended in front of you. This is your start position.
- Contract your abs as you lift your legs off the end of the bench. Bend at the knees as you lift your legs bringing them toward your chest.
- While still tightening your abs, slowly lower the legs back to the starting position.
- Repeat the exercise for the desired number of sets and reps.
SEATED LEG LIFTS MUSCLES ENGAGED
The seated leg lifts primarily work the lower abdominals, quadriceps and the hip flexors. Notably, the lower abs are not actually a separate muscle as they form part of your rectus abdominis.
The hip flexors do a lot of the work during the lifting and lowering. Two hip flexing muscles that are engaged a lot are the iliopsoas and rectus femoris, which lie deep in your lower abs.
The upper abdominals are targeted as synergist muscles.
SEATED LEG LIFTS BENEFITS
IMPROVED LOWER ABDOMINAL AND HIP STRENGTH
The exercise mainly targets and strengthens the lower abdominal muscles. Undoubtedly, you will start feeling your lower abs burn after just a few reps.
However, this is not to mean that your abs are the only body part putting in work. The lower abs work together with the quads and hip flexors to mobilize and control our core.
Lifting and lowering these muscles, strengthens them over time.
IMPROVED STABILITY AND INJURY PREVENTION
The movement can help you stabilize your lower back by boosting your core strength. This will not only improve your posture and alignment but also reduce your risk of injury to our ankles, mid and upper back, and neck shoulders.
Additionally, a stable core will improve the resilience of your knees, lower back, hips and upper back. Strengthening the muscles around your knee joints will also reduce the injury in this area.
Since the exercise is an ab work out targeting the lower abdominals, it will assist in giving you the distinctive six-pack look.
The rectus abdominus is divided into segments by the linea alba. A lean body will get you the six-pack look appearance.
SIMPLE TO PERFORM
The movement is quite simple to master. It can also be a great addition in abs circuits and high-intensity interval training when you need a simple exercise.
SEATED LEG LIFTS ALTERNATIVES
SEATED IN AND OUT
The seated in and out is an abs bodyweight exercise that engages your abs, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower abs and upper abs. It is a great challenging move, which when done correctly, can have tremendous effects to your core, hips, legs, lower body, thighs, upper legs and waist.
Like the seated leg lifts, it is a calisthenic exercise. This means it requires no equipment to do.
SEATED PIKE LEG LIFT
The seated pike leg lift improves mobility and your control of the hamstrings, quads, glutes, hips and lower abs. By so doing It boosts your core strength.
It’s a pretty simple move that is fit for all experience level.
SEATED LEG RAISES
For the seated leg raises, you will need to sit up straight with one knee bent and the other extended. Flex the extended leg to a 90-degree angle while gradually raising it until it’s about a foot off the floor. Gradually lower it back to the starting position and repeat. Alternate the legs and repeat.
With the bicycle crunch, you’ll be extending one leg at a time the same way as with the seated in and outs. Additionally, so as to increase the involvement of the obliques, you’ll need to add a little twist.
CAPTAIN’S CHAIR BENT KNEE RAISE
The captain’s chair bent knee raise, like the seated leg lifts, targets both your lower abs and hips flexors at the same time.
SEATED LEG LIFTS MISTAKES TO AVOID
ARCHING YOUR LOWER BACK TOO MUCH
Do not allow your lower back to arch too much. This is because it will put excessive strain on the back and make it much less effective.
Ensure that you contract your abs and your back muscles throughout. This will ensure it’s just not your hip flexors being worked.
LOCK THE KNEE EVERY TIME
Do not lock your knee joint as you perform the exercise. This will reduce the pressure on your quadriceps, placing the burden on the knee joint and increasing the risk of injury.
The result of not locking your knees is getting the best stimulated quadriceps ever!
RUSHING THE MOVEMENT
Do not rush the exercise. You will not fully activate your muscles if you use jerky and quick movements. Make sure you use slow and controlled movements for each repetition.
Do not swing your torso during the exercise. This will shift the tension from the targeted muscles and you won’t feel it.
Ensure that you tighten your core to help stabilize the torso.
The seated leg lifts are an efficient exercise for building a firm and toned midsection. Ensure you use the correct form to prevent risk injury and maximize your results.
Also, if you alternate the exercise with the other variations discussed above, you will be able to sculpt perfect abs.