This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
You don't see leg raises done as much as crunches at many gyms. Why? Because they're hard, that's why! The floor leg raise is one of the great abs exercises, isolating the lower abs in a slow torture fest that builds great abdominal strength.
Important note: Do not perform this exercise if you have lower back pain or hernia. As with any exercise, consult your doctor before you do floor leg raises.
Lower abdominals and lower back
Lie back on the floor or on a floor mat with your legs extended straight up at a 90-degree angle to your upper body and your hands behind your head in standard crunch position, with your fingers just touching the sides of your head. Lift your shoulders off the floor and hold your upper body up by tightening your abdominal muscles and core (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, slowly lower your legs back down until they are almost touching the floor (see Photos 2 and 3).
- When your legs are almost touching the floor, reverse the motion and lift your legs back up to the starting position. Throughout the range of motion, focus on using your lower abdominal muscles to lift and lower your legs (see Photo 4).