How to do Toes to Bar (Hanging Leg Raises) Correctly and Safely

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INTRODUCTION: hANGING LEG RAISES/TOES TO BAR

When it comes to abdominal training there are a few exercises that are more difficult than hanging leg raises. As mentioned before, the best way to train our abs is for stability and not mobility. The leg raise exercise Strengthens our ab muscles in resisting flexion and extension, both of which are crucial for spinal health. 

TOES TO BAR PROGRESSION VIDEO

 

PRECAUTIONS

Do not attempt the full toes to bar variation until you have mastered the first three progressions

 

BENEFITS OF THE HANGING LEG RAISE

  • Hanging leg raise has many different variations making it easy to scale to any level

  • Strengthens the rectus abdominis, oblique muscles, and transversus abdominis muscles via anti-flexion and anti-extension

  • This exercise is more efficient than other ab exercises as you cannot do as many repetitions due to the complex demands of the hanging leg raise

 

MUSCLES WORKED DURING THE HANGING LEG RAISES

  • Rectus Abdominus
  • Obliques
  • Transverse Abdominus
  • Forearm/Grip Muscles

 

PERFORMING THE HANGING LEG RAISE-> TOES TO BAR

  • For the first variation of this exercise, find a pull-up bar that is high enough to get to your feet completely off the floor

  • Jump up and grab the pull-up bar at a distance that is approximately shoulders with and your palms facing forward

  • From this position brace your abdominal muscles and glutes, and take a breath

  • In a controlled manner lift your knees up towards your chest by focusing on squeezing your abdominal muscles together

  • Keep your knees bent throughout the movement

  • Pause for a one-count, And slowly reverse back to the starting position

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  • For the second variation, you will keep your knees extended when performing the exercise
  • Again brace your core and your glute muscles, take a breath and slowly begin to raise your legs with your knees straight
  • The goal is to raise your legs until you are at a 90° angle
  • Slowly return back to the starting position
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  • For the third variation, you are going to bring your knees to your elbows
  • From the hanging position brace your core and your glutes, and take a big breath
  • Begin by bringing your knees up to your chest as you did in the first variation
  • Once they are at the level of your chest you are going to gently lean back so that your knees can continue to travel up and towards your elbows
  • Once your knees make contact with your elbows, slowly return your legs back down to the starting position
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  • For the final variation, you are going to bring your toes all the way up to the bar with your legs extended
  • As in all of the variations, brace your core and your glute muscles and take a big breath before each repetition
  • Slowly begin bringing your legs straight out in front of you as you did in the second variation
  • Once your legs have breached parallel you gently begin to lean back
  • Continue bringing your legs up all the way around until your toes make contact with the pull-up bar
  • This movement should be done in a controlled fashion with no excessive swinging or momentum
  • Is important to lower your legs back down in a controlled manner without bending the knees
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COMMON HANGING LEG RAISE MISTAKES

USING TOO MUCH MOMENTUM

This exercise is meant to teach core strength and stability. Using too much momentum can introduce instability into the system and increase the risk of low back and shoulder injuries. Control the exercise and only progress to the next variation once you have mastered the prior movement 

 

INTEGRATING THIS EXERCISE INTO YOUR ROUTINE

Want to know how to use this exercise in your workout? Check out The Best Workout Template For Busy Individuals to learn how to integrate it into your training!

 

TOES TO BAR ALTERNATIVES

 

Alex & Brittany Robles are the founders of The White Coat Trainer, a site dedicated to improving the health and wellness of busy individuals. Learn more about them here and connect with them on instagram and Twitter. Feel free to send them a message here