This is a simple twist on the regular hanging leg raise exercise…instead of hanging from the bar facing forward, you will instead turn 90 degree so that your body is perpendicular to the bar, then you’ll do hanging leg raises.
How is this different, you might ask?
The answer is that the close-in hand position actually allows you to better target the obliques while doing the leg raise. Normally, when you do the hanging leg raise exercise, your hands are at least a foot or more apart, for stability. With this version, you’re using a baseball-bat type grip so your hands are directly overhead. This puts the arms at an angle to your torso, which automatically involves the obliques.
You can also purposefully bring your legs up in a twisting movement to further accentuate the oblique involvement, which I will also show below.
Since I’m doing these in my rack, I have my hands set a bit back from the center point to allow room for my legs to come up. This is more of a knee raise, because of the space constraints – if you have enough room by your chin-up bar, you can do a full leg raise with the legs straighter. This version works really well, too, though.
So grip in a alternating baseball bat type grip then hang.
Now start raising the legs/knees. Be sure to start the movement with flexion at the abdominals, not just hinging at the hips.
I like to come all the way up until my feet are by the bar and my upper body is leaning back almost horizontal.
You can also come up twisting, with your knee tilted to the sides.
This is great oblique work and all it takes is a simple positioning change in the hanging leg raise grip.
Nick Nilsson is known in the fitness industry as the “Mad Scientist of Muscle,” and for good reason! For more than 28 years, Nick has been creating unique, new exercises and training techniques and putting together some of the most innovative muscle-building and fat-loss programs available anywhere.