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How to Perform Hanging Leg Raise Pull-ups

Updated on September 2, 2020

Hanging leg raise pull-up is a pull-up variation that works to strengthen your abdominal muscles and upper back muscles or lats. It also improves your grip and pressing moves so that your body is properly conditioned for other types of exercise. Hanging leg raise is usually done to conclude a workout. It involves simple movements, so execution won’t be a problem. But it will be rather hard to pull it off if executed the wrong way. To give you an idea, here’s how to do the hanging leg raise pull-up.

  • Warm up. Naturally, your body will be well prepared for this drill if you perform this as a workout conclusion. But if you do this as a standalone exercise, you have to flex your muscles to make sure your body is completely conditioned. Without proper warm up, you might experience muscles strains after the drill.
  • Grip a pull-up bar. Start the exercise by reaching a pull-up bar. Then tightly wrap your hands around the bar, making sure your arms are straight. If a pull-up bar is not available, you can grip a strong tree branch or any bar that is durable enough to accommodate your grip and weight.
  • Keep still. Just keep your legs hanging down, but try not to swing your body. Relax. When your body is already still, proceed to the next step.
  • Raise your legs. Without bending your arms, slowly pull your legs up toward your body. Make sure to keep your legs straight, elongating them to the farthest extent possible. It will help if you grip the bar as if you’re pushing it away from your body. This will give you enough strength to pull your legs up. You will feel some contractions in the abs at this stage.
  • Bring the legs to the hanging position. Slowly bring your legs down, making sure not to strain the muscles. For your safety, do this for four seconds or longer.
  • Repeat the exercise. After hanging the legs down, bring them up again for another round of pull-up. Repeat until you’ve made at least one set of three repetitions. If, however, you can’t immediately raise the legs, don’t force your body. Do the pull-up only if you know you can.
  • Increase the number of repetitions. With continuous practice, your body will get used to the exercise, enabling you to do more sets and more repetitions. You can, for example, try making three sets of three repetitions three days a week. If you’re really good at it, then make five sets of three repetitions five days a week.
  • Add weight. If hanging leg raise becomes too boring for you, increase the challenge by adding weight. Experts suggest adding weight to the waist or mid-section and not to the legs. Adding weight to the legs will make hanging leg raise pull-up a leg exercise instead of an abs drill. Weight belt is a good tool to use.

If you can’t raise your legs straight, you can instead try to bend your knees and push them close to your chest. When they’re already raised, begin to straighten the legs out. This is a much easier execution, but remember to do this only at the beginning. After several tries, make sure to try raising your legs straight.


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