How To Do The Captain’s Chair Leg Raise Properly

The captain’s chair leg raise is an exercise-based around doing movements on a chair or chair-like frame.

Hence the name ‘captain’s chair leg raises. The exercise involves engaging the core and hips in a bid to increase levels of strength within the target areas.

WHAT TO DO:

Before you start the exercise, you need to climb onto the captain’s chair or a chair-like structure. This refers to a piece of equipment tailored to suit the needs of the captain’s chair leg raise.

After that, rest your forearms on the pads. You should then grab the handles with your back rested and legs hanging straight down.

STEPS:

  • Step into the captain’s chair and place your back against the support. Rest your forearms on the pads and grip the handles firmly.
  • When you’re in position, let your legs hang toward the floor. Keep your back against the support and contract your core to keep your upper body straight.
  • Raise your legs in front of you with your knees slightly bent. Raise your legs until they’re parallel with the floor (90-degree angle). Hold at the peak for 1 second.
  • Slowly lower your legs in a controlled motion. Don’t let your legs drop! Engage your abs while you lower them back to the starting position.

WHAT MUSCLES DO THE CAPTAIN’S CHAIR LEG RAISE WORK?

CORE

The core is the primary region of engagement when doing the captain’s chair leg raise. First, when you do the exercise, you’re forced to constrict your abdominal muscles throughout the workout.

This helps build up enough power to hold you up as you flex your knees. The captain’s chair leg raise as a result forces the abdominal muscles to hold the weight and strain generated.

As you keep doing the workout, the core adapts to the strain its put under thus making it stronger.

HIP FLEXORS

The hip flexors are extremely important when it comes to movements necessary to complete a captain’s chair leg raise rep.

This is because they are responsible for all your lower body movements while doing the exercise.

Hip flexors are a group of muscles located near the top of your thighs. It is these groups of muscles that facilitate said movement by pushing the top of the leg upward.

Therefore, every rep you do will automatically engage hip flexors since your legs do need to move upwards.

EXTERNAL OBLIQUE

The external oblique is the outermost abdominal muscle nestled on the side of your body.

It is however a deceptively large area. This is because it extends from the lower half of the ribs all the way to the pelvis.

Whilst the rectus abdominis (abs) and the hip flexors work together to engage the core, the external oblique stands alone.

When you get on the captain’s chair or chair-like frame, support is just as important as lower body movement.

Support in this case, comes from the external oblique which is often forced to bear a fair amount of your upper body weight.

A strong external oblique enables you to do the captain’s chair leg raise for a longer period.

CAPTAIN’S CHAIR LEG RAISE BENEFITS

IMPROVES COORDINATION

The captain’s chair leg raise is an exercise that requires a lot of coordination in order to be effective.

For instance, the external obliques work with the rectus abdominis to provide balance. At the same time the hip flexors also work closely with your core to work both areas efficiently.

Doing this consistently makes it easier for all these parts of your body to work together. Eventually, this translates to real-life where the same muscles are needed to perform a host of functional activities.

This could range from climbing a flight of stairs to carrying a heavy object.

STRENGTHENS THE CORE

Your core is the primary region of strain while doing this exercise. The more strain it experiences, the stronger it gets as a means of adaptation.

A strong core is extremely important for many reasons. Not only does it make it easier for you to perform physical day-to-day activities it also gets you ready for higher intensity exercises.

PROVIDES UNIFORM CONDITIONING

The captain’s leg chair raise is an isolation exercise. This therefore means that it goes into thorough details when engaging a muscle.

Consequently, this can be of great benefit to areas that wouldn’t otherwise get intense training.

Ultimately, this is what builds uniform conditioning across all areas of the body

ALTERNATIVES TO THE CAPTAIN’S CHAIR LEG RAISE

LYING LEG RAISE

To do this exercise:

  • Lay down with your back flat on the floor, feet straight out and together and your hands on your side.
  • While keeping your legs as straight as you can lift your feet up in the air between 6-12 inches.
  • You can either hold for a designated period of time or you can raise them up and then lower them right back down. This completes one repetition.

BENCH LEG-HIP RAISE

  • Lie face up on a flat or incline bench.
  • Place your hips and upper thighs on the bench and hang your lower legs off the bench.
  • Hold on to the sides of the bench near your head to support yourself.
  • Exhale, brace your abs and raise your knees to your chest by flexing both your hips and knees.
  • Pause slightly and return to the starting position.

REVERSE CRUNCHES

  • Lie face-up on the floor with your arms extended at your sides, palms facing down.
  • Exhale, brace your abs and raise your knees to your chest. Your hips and abs will lift off the floor as you flex, but keep your shoulders on the floor.
  • Pause slightly and extend your waist and legs to return to the starting position.

MISTAKES TO AVOID

USE OF BODY MOMENTUM

Using your body momentum to complete the reps nullifies most of the work you do. This is because it takes away the strain that you should be experiencing while doing the exercise.

To avoid this, it is recommended that you should tighten your core. It is also prudent that you do the exercise with your core rather than your legs

ARCHING YOUR BACK

Arching your back is a common coping mechanism whenever the strain becomes too much. However, this common tendency might end up doing more harm than good to you.

Arching your back puts an excessive amount of strain on your back which could lead to back injuries.

CONCLUSION

The captain’s chair leg raise is a highly functional workout that also does wonders for your coordination.

Therefore, if you’re looking for an exercise whose effect you can see in your daily life with high levels of efficiency few are better than the captain’s chair leg raise.