Lying leg raises, also known as lying leg lifts, are a classic exercise for strengthening and toning your abs, hips, and lower back muscles. These simple yet effective movements can help you achieve a strong and defined core, as well as reduce belly fat and improve posture. At Boardgains, we love incorporating this simple yet effective exercise into our fitness board game. In this article, we'll explore the many benefits of Lying Leg Raises and how Boardgains makes it even more fun and engaging.
What is the correct way to do lying leg raises and what are some modifications?
How to LYING LEG RAISES
1. Lie on a mat on the floor, face up, legs extended.
2. Place your hands underneath your lower back and glutes so your pelvis is supported.
3. Raise your legs toward the ceiling, pressing your thighs together and keeping the legs straight.
4. Return to starting position. Complete for desired repetitions.
Rep Count: Each lying leg raise counts as 1 rep.
Modification: Keep knees bent when raising (Watch video for modification)
Anatomy of the core muscles
Before we get into how to perform lying leg raises, it's important to understand the muscles that make up the core. The core is made up of four main muscle groups: the rectus abdominis (the "six-pack" muscles), the internal and external obliques (which run along the sides of the torso), and the transverse abdominis (the deepest layer of abdominal muscles). The core also includes the muscles of the lower back, the hip flexors, and the glutes.
Lying leg raises primarily target the rectus abdominis, but they also engage the other core muscles, as well as the hip flexors and lower back muscles. By strengthening these muscles, you'll improve your posture, stability, and overall fitness.
How to perform lying leg raises
To do lying leg raises, follow these steps:
- Lie on your back on a mat or flat surface with your legs straight and your arms at your sides.
- Engage your core muscles and lift your legs off the ground, keeping them straight and together.
- Slowly lower your legs back down to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
It's important to keep your core engaged throughout the exercise and avoid arching your back. If you have trouble keeping your legs straight, you can bend your knees slightly.
Variations of lying leg raises
There are several variations of lying leg raises that you can incorporate into your workout routine to target different areas of your core and add variety to your routine. Some examples include:
- Flutter kicks: Instead of lifting both legs at once, alternate lifting each leg while the other stays just off the ground.
- Scissor kicks: Lift both legs off the ground and then criss-cross them, one over the other, before lowering them back down.
- Bicycle kicks: Similar to scissor kicks, but with a cycling motion of the legs.
Incorporating lying leg raises into your workout routine
To get the most out of lying leg raises, it's important to incorporate them into your workout routine
You can do lying leg raises as part of a core workout or add them to a full-body workout. Here's a sample workout plan that includes lying leg raises:
- Warm-up: 5-10 minutes of light cardio (e.g., jogging, jumping jacks)
- Core circuit: 3 rounds of the following exercises with 30 seconds rest between each exercise and 1-2 minutes rest between each round:
- Lying leg raises (10-15 reps)
- Plank (30-60 seconds)
- Russian twists (10-15 reps on each side)
- Lower body circuit: 3 rounds of the following exercises with 30 seconds rest between each exercise and 1-2 minutes rest between each round:
- Squats (10-15 reps)
- Lunges (10-15 reps on each side)
- Lying leg curls (10-15 reps)
- Cool-down: 5-10 minutes of stretching
Precautions and tips
As with any exercise, it's important to take precautions to avoid injury and get the most out of the exercise. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Start with a few reps and gradually increase the number as you build strength.
- If you feel any pain or discomfort, stop the exercise and consult a healthcare professional.
- Keep your movements slow and controlled to avoid swinging your legs.
- Breathe out as you lift your legs and breathe in as you lower them.
- If you have lower back pain or a back injury, talk to your healthcare professional before doing lying leg raises.
- To make the exercise more challenging, you can hold a medicine ball or weight between your feet.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What muscles do lying leg raises work?
Lying leg raises primarily target the rectus abdominis, but they also engage the other core muscles, as well as the hip flexors and lower back muscles.
How often should I do lying leg raises?
It's recommended to do lying leg raises 2-3 times a week, with at least one rest day between each workout.
Can I do lying leg raises if I have a back injury?
If you have a back injury or lower back pain, talk to your healthcare professional before doing lying leg raises.
Can lying leg raises help with lower back pain?
While lying leg raises can strengthen the core and lower back muscles, they may not be suitable for everyone with lower back pain. Always consult a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise program.
Are there any alternatives to lying leg raises?
Other exercises that target the core and hip flexors include planks, bicycle crunches, and mountain climbers.
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