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What's the Core Have to Do with It...Everything Leg raise

Posted Jan 15 2010 6:06am

Leg Raise

The leg raise works the front of your abdominal muscles, as well as the sides of your abdominal muscles and your hip flexors. This is  a great exercise for strengthening your entire abdominal area, and is particularly useful for flattening the lower portion of your stomach (the pooch).

You can perform this exercise while lying on a mat or on a flat bench. If you prefer to use a bench, lie flat on the bench and grasp the edges of the bench above your head for support.

To get into the starting position for this exercise, lie on your back and raise your legs a few inches off the floor. If you find this too difficult or your lower back feels stained, you can start with your legs a bit higher off the floor.

As you perform the exercise, focus on using your abdominal muscles to raise and lower your legs. You should also keep your lower back pressed to the floor and your head flat on the mat.

You should avoid leg raises if you have lower back problems.


1. Lie on your back on a mat and place your arms at your sides or under your buttocks, with your palms facing down. Rest your head on the mat and tighten your abdominal muscles.

2. Straighten your legs and position them together. Lift your legs a few inches off the floor.

3. Slowly raise your legs until they are at a 45-degree angle to the floor.

4. Pause for a moment and then slowly lower your legs back to the starting position.


A. Lie on the decline bench with your head at the higher end of the bench and grasp the top of the bench for support. Start with your legs raised a few inches off the bench pad. Then lift your legs up until they form a 60-degree angle with the bench pad. Pause for a moment and then lift lower your legs to the starting position. In this variation of the exercise, you are working against gravity at a different angle, which makes it more difficult.


A. To work the upper part of your abdominal muscles more, sit on the long edge of a flat bench with your feet together on the floor. Grip the edge of the bench behind you with your palms facing your body. Leaning your upper body back by bending your elbows, extend your legs straight out in front of you so your body is almost parallel to the floor. Raise your legs and upper body until they form a "V" shape. Then return to the starting position.

  • arch your back
  • lift your head off the mat.
  • move your legs too quickly. Keep the movement slow and controlled.

If you are looking for long and lean then you are going to....


1.Stretch everyday. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds. Stretch your back, your legs, and your arms. You'll be amazed how much better you will feel.

2. Add Pilate's to your routine. Pilate's focuses on strengthening your "core". What does this mean? essentially, it teaches your body to use your torso more than your limbs, when exercising. The results are flatter abs, smaller waist and a more muscular back. It helps build and lengthen muscles in your limbs over time.

3. Do a lot of reps in small amounts. You may not have  a lot of time to exercise and it's tempting to do a few reps with a high-pound weight. That's exactly what strongmen and football players do. Whys? Because it makes them bulky. You do not want to be bulky  right? You want to train your muscles to be strong without overexerting them. Lots of reps of small amounts will build up muscle, but not to the point that where muscle cells grow, thus less bulk.

4. Run if you aren't already. Cardiovascular activity is so necessary for tone. Running, like swimming, can tone your entire body. Combine the breathing techniques you learn in pilates for a stomach workout.

5. Water, water, water. Water nourishes the muscles and refreshes the muscles as you reshape them. Plus it assist in helping flush out those yucky  toxins we accumulate...so drink up!

More stuff for the abs
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