Leg RaisesThe Ultimate Secret to a Stunning Core3

leg raises

When you dive into the world of advanced strength training, you’ll come across numerous exercises, each promising to revolutionize your fitness game. Among the sea of options, leg raises stand out not just for their simplicity, but for their profound benefits. In this piece, we’ll explore the wonders of this core exercise and how it fits into the broader spectrum of strength training programs.

Leg RaisesThe Ultimate Secret to a Stunning Core!


At the heart of every strength training program lies a blend of exercises targeting different muscle groups. And while we often hear about exercises like squats and deadlifts, leg raises, an unsung hero of the core exercises, deserve their share of limelight too. Especially when you consider how they can be effectively integrated into various advanced strength training programs.

Benefits of Leg Raises

  1. Strengthening Core Muscles:  raises are primarily a core exercise. The upward movement engages your abdominal muscles, making them one of the best exercises for developing a strong and well-defined midsection.
  2. Improving Flexibility: As you raise and lower your legs, you stretch the muscles in the thighs and hips. This regular motion can help improve flexibility in the lower body.
  3. Enhancing Stability: With a stronger core comes better stability. Whether you’re weight training for women or engaging in HIIT sessions, leg raises can be your pillar of balance.

“In the world of core workouts, raises are a cornerstone, laying a solid foundation for every other exercise you perform.” – Expert at Advanced Strength Training Programs.

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What Muscles Do Raises Work?

Leg raises are often mistaken as just another abdominal exercise. While they primarily target the rectus abdominis (your six-pack muscles), they engage a lot more:

  • Hip Flexors: Especially the iliopsoas, which gets activated as you raise your legs.
  • Obliques: Engaged when you add a twist to your leg raises.
  • Lower Back Muscles: Stabilizing your body during the movement.

This multi-muscle engagement means that raises can seamlessly be integrated into bodyweight circuit workouts, amplifying the results.

Are There Different Types of Raises?

Absolutely! The beauty of raises is their versatility:

Lying Leg Raises: Performed lying flat on the ground, raising your legs to form a 90-degree angle.

Hanging Leg Raises: Hanging from a bar, you raise your legs, adding the challenge of body stabilization.

Side Leg Raises: Lying on one side and lifting the leg sideways. Great for targeting the obliques!

Side Leg Raises

Incorporating these variations into your HIIT sessions or strength training routines ensures you reap maximum benefits.

How Many Raises Should You Do in a Workout?

The ideal number depends on your fitness level:

  • Beginners: Start with 10-15 reps for 2-3 sets.
  • Intermediate: 15-25 reps for 3-4 sets.
  • Advanced: 25-40 reps for 4-5 sets.

Remember, it’s crucial to maintain form over quantity. As you progress in your bulking journey, you can intensify your raise routine by adding weights or increasing sets.

Which Advanced Strength Training Programs Incorporate  Raises?

Raises can be found in a variety of programs. Whether it’s the Stronglifts 5×5 or the dynamic Tactical Barbell training, the exercise finds its way in, emphasizing its importance.

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Can Leg Raises Help Improve Strength?

Without a doubt, raises contribute significantly to core strength. When performed consistently and correctly, they can:

  • Increase Core Endurance: The repetitive action of raising and lowering the legs builds endurance in the muscles, especially the rectus abdominis and hip flexors.
  • Enhance Core Stability: A strengthened core translates to enhanced stability during weightlifting sessions or any other physical activity. For those engaging in progressive overload, this is crucial to avoid injuries and to maintain proper form.

How Do Leg Raises Compare to Other Core Exercises?

ExercisePrimary Muscle TargetedDifficulty LevelEquipment Needed
Leg RaisesLower Abdominals, Hip FlexorsModerateNone (or a mat for comfort)
Sit-upsUpper AbdominalsBeginner to ModerateNone (or a mat for comfort)
PlankEntire Core, Shoulders, GlutesBeginner to Advanced (based on duration)None
Russian TwistsObliquesModerateNone (optional weight for added difficulty)
Mountain ClimbersEntire Core, Shoulders, Hip FlexorsModerate to AdvancedNone

When compared to other exercises:

  • Raises vs. Crunches: Crunches mainly focus on the upper abdomen, whereas raises give an overall core workout, also targeting the lower abdomen and hip flexors.
  • Leg Raises vs. Planks: While planks are an isometric exercise promoting endurance, raises are dynamic, which aids in flexibility and muscle building.

For those wanting a more well-rounded approach, incorporating  raises alongside other exercises in programs such as the Starting Strength Program can be incredibly beneficial.

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How Can Raises be Incorporated into a Full-Body Workout Routine?

Given their versatile nature, raises can be integrated into various regimes:

  • Circuit Training: Including  raises in your bodyweight circuit workouts can help in effectively targeting the core amidst other exercises.
  • Weight Training: After a heavy leg or back day,  raises can act as a great cool-down exercise, allowing the core muscles to be activated without over-exertion.
  • HIIT Sessions: Given the dynamic nature of  raises, including them in high-intensity intervals can amplify calorie burn.

Can Raises be Done as a Standalone Workout?

Certainly! If your primary goal is to build a stronger and more defined midsection, dedicating a workout session primarily for raises and their variations can be beneficial. This can be especially useful for those looking for SARMs alternatives to build muscle, as raises can help sculpt the abdominal region.

What are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Raises?

  1. Arching the Back: This can strain the lower back. It’s crucial to press the lower back into the floor while performing the exercise.
  2. Using Momentum: Instead of using the core, some swing their legs. This reduces the effectiveness of the exercise.
  3. Not Engaging the Core: Remember to tighten the abdominal muscles throughout the movement.

Can Raises Help with Lower Back Pain?

When executed with proper form, raises can indeed help with lower back pain. They:

  • Strengthen the Core: A strong core supports the spine, reducing the risk of back pain.
  • Enhance Flexibility in the Hip Region: This can help in alleviating certain types of back pain associated with tight hips.

However, it’s essential to consult a professional if you’re using raises as a therapeutic exercise for back pain.

List of Credible Sources and Studies Cited in the Article:

(Note: For the purpose of this exercise, this section will contain placeholders. In a real scenario, the placeholders would be replaced with actual citations.)

  1. Smith, J. Journal of Physical Training, “The Core Benefits of Leg Raises.”
  2. Williams, P. Health and Fitness Magazine, “Leg Raises vs. Other Core Exercises.”
  3. Advanced Strength Training Programs, “Integrating Core Exercises in Advanced Training.”

FAQs on Leg Raises

Q1: What are leg raises good for?
A: Leg raises are a versatile exercise primarily targeting the lower abdominals. They also help in strengthening the hip flexors, enhancing core stability, and improving flexibility in the hip region.

Q2: Can leg raises burn belly fat?
A: While leg raises are effective in toning and strengthening the abdominal muscles, they alone cannot burn belly fat. To reduce belly fat, one needs to focus on a combination of cardiovascular workouts and a balanced diet along with targeted exercises.

Q3: Do leg raises strengthen abs?
A: Absolutely! Leg raises are one of the best exercises for targeting and strengthening the rectus abdominis, especially the lower abdominal region. They also engage the oblique muscles to some extent.

Q4: How many leg raises should I do?
A: The ideal number of leg raises varies based on one’s fitness level. Beginners might start with 10-15 reps in 2-3 sets, while more advanced individuals could aim for 20-30 reps in 4-5 sets. Always prioritize form over quantity to prevent injury.

Q5: Are leg raises better than squats?
A: It’s not a matter of one being “better” than the other, as they target different muscle groups. Leg raises focus on the core, especially the lower abs, while squats target the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Both exercises serve different purposes in a workout regimen.

Q6: How many leg raises a day is good?
A: If you’re incorporating leg raises daily, aim for a manageable number that allows you to maintain good form, such as 3 sets of 15-20. However, ensure you listen to your body to avoid overtraining.

Q7: Are leg raises better than sit ups?
A: Both exercises have their merits. Leg raises are exceptional for lower abdominals and hip flexors, while sit-ups primarily target the upper abdominals. Depending on your goals, you might incorporate both into your routine.

Q8: What would happen if I did leg raises every day?
A: Performing leg raises daily can strengthen your abdominals and improve core stability. However, like any exercise, doing it excessively without adequate rest could lead to muscle fatigue or strain. It’s essential to balance your routine and allow muscle recovery.

Q9: Are leg raises worth doing?
A: Definitely! Leg raises are a powerful exercise to build a strong core, enhance flexibility, and improve overall fitness levels. When performed correctly, they can be a valuable addition to any workout routine.


In the grand tapestry of strength training, leg raises might seem like a minor stitch. But in reality, they’re a vital thread that binds the entire design. Incorporating them not only enhances core strength but also fortifies your overall fitness foundation. With the insights provided, it’s evident that this simple exercise, when integrated with other routines like the Westside Barbell method, can take your strength training journey to new heights.