Hanging Leg Raises
Hanging Leg Raises are a fantastic body weight exercise which concentrates the contraction of the lower portion of the Abdominal wall. When performed correctly the exercise is not only very difficult but it really works the Abs in a way that no other exercise can quite compare too.
The basic functionality of the Abs is the key for athletes realising the most efficient and productive ways to train the Abs. The upper Abs are called into play when an Athlete moves his or hers upper body towards the core and their lower Abs are worked when the lower part of the body is brought towards the core, as in the Hanging Leg Raises exercise.
As with all exercises, the overload principle is the best thing to follow in order to improve the body and always remember that the more strain you put your body under, the more it will improve. There exists two obvious ways in which you can apply the overload principle to Hanging Leg Raises, increase the amount of Reps you perform, or increase the resistance with which you perform the reps.
If we follow the age old advice of remembering that the body adapts in relation to the stress placed upon it, it is quite obvious that increasing reps will improve the muscular endurance of the lower Abs whereas increasing the resistance will improve the size and muscular definition of the lower Abs – this is where the Kettlebell comes into play.
Kettlebell exercises are popular, difficult and efficient and by simply adding a Kettlebell to traditional movements you can dramatically affect the physique of an athlete. Traditionally people have tried to wedge a Dumbbell between their feet but struggled to continue to increase the weight as it starts to become more difficult to balance the weight than actually perform the movement. A kettlebell however can simply be hooked onto the feet, one on each foot if you choose and as Kettlebells do not become dramatically bigger as the weight increase an athlete has no problem following the overload principle.
Adding Hanging Leg Raises to your Kettlebell workouts is a positive move in which the athlete will be thanked with fantastic lower abs development.
Importance of Cardio for Abs Development
Training your Abs without doing Cardio is similar to Body building and cutting Protein from your diet. It simply can’t work. The Abs are the one muscle group which will not look good with a layer of fat, for instance, the Deltoids still look super impressive and athletic if you are carrying body fat as the shape still shows and the power you posses as an athlete is on show. As an athlete a good clean diet and a solid cardio routine is required if you are too show of the Abs that you have built. When the body fat is low enough the upper Abs are the first thing to come through and even with lots of hard work performing reverse crunches and Hanging Leg Raises the lower Abs take a lot longer to show.
In order to display the muscularity you have earned whilst performing Hanging Leg Raises using Kettlebells you literally have to strip all body fat from the physique. To do this efficiently, perform cardio first thing in the morning if your daily routine allows prior to breakfast as this will encourage increased fat burning as oppose to cardio performed at any other time of the day. As with your weights training keep your body guessing with cardio workouts, mix up the apparatus used, the pace, switch from slow paced longer cardio sessions to short intense cardio such as HIIT cardio using Kettlebells or a circuit of body weight exercises.
Performing Hanging Leg Raises
1) Support your weight using either parallel dipping bars or hanging from an overhead pull up bar.
2) Keeping the core tight throughout, slowly lift the legs.
3) Keeping the Legs almost straight, lift the Legs whilst exhaling until the soles of the Feet are facing away from the athlete.
4) Hold the position momentarily before returning your Legs downwards through the same path of movement.
*Once you have mastered the technique of the Hanging Leg Raises, try the movement using a Kettlebell to increase the resistance. To do this, simply hook a small Kettlebell onto each foot and repeat the technique above. Allow for a slight bend in the Knee when performing this movement with additional weight*