Exercise Video of the Week: The Best Hanging Leg Raise Instructional Video on the Web

by Jordan Syatt January 5, 2015

I have a love/hate relationship with the hanging leg raise.

I love it because it’s an insanely effective full-body movement that not only improves overall core stability, but also total body tension, lat strength, grip strength, kinesthetic awareness, and more.

I hate it because it’s offensively difficult.

Like…really freakin’ hard.

But that’s a good thing.

I look at it like this: if it’s brutally difficult then I probably suck at it. And if I suck at it then it’s clearly a weakness which I need to improve upon.

Improve upon my weaknesses, build them into strengths, and my overall performance will improve. #BOOM! (<– Click to Tweet!)

With that in mind, in this article I’m going to show you exactly how to perform the perfect hanging leg raise.

After my instructional video, I’m going to show you the exact progression you and your clients can use to progress from beginner all the way to advanced hanging leg raise variations.

How to Perform the Hanging Leg Raise

Progressing the Hanging Leg Raise

1) Deadbug

The deadbug is a phenomenal core stability-focused drill that teaches you how to maintain core stiffness while simultaneously extending your hips and flexing your shoulders (i.e. exactly what you need to do in a hanging leg raise).

The deadbug is a great first progression as it allows you to draw stability from the floor without the added stress of gravity working against you as it does from a hanging position. 

Important Note: make sure to keep your lower back flat against the ground the entire time. If your lower back arches off the floor the exercise is null and void.

Video Credit: Tony Gentilcore

2) Hollow Body Hold

The hollow body hold is the second progression after the deadbug as it’s slightly more advanced and requires significantly more core stability.

As you can see, rather than extending 1-arm/leg at a time, the hollow body hold requires you to fully extend both arms and legs simultaneously which closely resembles the starting position of the hanging leg raise.

Important note: make sure to keep your lower back flat against the ground the entire time. If your lower back arches off the floor the exercise is null and void.

Video Credit: Stacey Schaedler

3) Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch is the third and final progression to use prior to attempting a true hanging leg raise. 

I like the reverse crunch as it teaches you to control the eccentric (lowering) portion of the movement while maintaining core stability and correct pelvic positioning. 

I’d note, you can increase the difficulty of the reverse crunch by moving your knees further away from your face and/or straightening your legs. Needless to say, the straighter your legs become the more it will resemble the demands of a true hanging leg raise. 

4) Bent Knee Hanging Leg Raise

As outlined in the initial hanging leg raise tutorial, the first progression from the hanging position is a bent knee hanging leg raise. 

Use the bent knee variation until you can perform a minimum of 10 perfect repetitions. 

Once you can perform 10 perfect reps, you can advance to the fifth variation….

Screenshot (91)

5) Straight-Leg Hanging Leg Raise

The straight-leg hanging leg raise is the fifth and final progression of the hanging leg raise series. 

An extraordinarily challenging movement, this is unquestionably one of the best drills you can use to improve overall core stability, grip strength, lat strength, kinesthetic awareness, and more.

Screenshot (92)

Did This Help?

If the instructional video and information helped you better understand the hanging leg raise and how to use it, don’t forget to share it with your lifting buddies so they understand it too.

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