What Muscles Do Leg Lifts Strengthen?

Leg lifts can help improve many parts of your physique.

Leg lifts can help improve many parts of your physique.

Performing leg lifts, also known as leg raises, can help you develop your physique without having to leave your home, as this exercise does not require any specialized fitness equipment. And despite the lack of complexity and expensive equipment, leg lifts can be quite effective at helping to improve your athletic ability and appearance because the exercise works many muscles at once. Always consult a doctor before starting any fitness plan.

Performing Leg Lifts

Performing leg lifts with proper form is crucial if you want to get the most out of the exercise. To perform leg lifts, lie on an exercise mat on your back, with your arms down at your sides, palms down. Keep your legs together and keep them straight as you raise them up until they are perpendicular with the ground or as close to it as you can manage. Keep your back straight and flat on the ground throughout the motion. Failing to adhere to this form may result in different muscles receiving the intended benefits.

Hip Flexors

Your hip flexors are a major driver of the motion in the leg lift. Your hip flexors help you bend your body at the waist and help you lift your knees, so these muscles are important for many movements, especially in athletic settings. Performing stretches, such as kneeling on one knee and leaning forward with your opposite foot planted on the ground, can help improve the flexibility of your hip flexors and aid in injury prevention.

Abdominal Muscles

Leg lifts can also help you develop your abdominal muscles. In addition to being popular "show" muscles, your abdominal muscles are important because they help stabilize your body during motion and can help you maintain your balance. Strong abdominals can also help you maintain good posture and avoid lower-back pain.

Lower-Back Muscles

The leg lift also works your lower-back muscles, which are important muscles of your core along with your abdomen. These muscles help support your upper body and are involved in motions such as rowing and torso rotation. Keeping your lower-back muscles strong can also help prevent back injuries and low back pain.

Alternative Exercises

Other than the leg lift, there are many exercises that can help you strengthen your abdominal muscles, lower back and hip flexors. Exercises such as crunches and planks work your abdominal muscles; pull-ups and rows will help improve your lower-back muscles; and hanging leg raises and decline situps can help strengthen your hip flexors.

Other Forms of Leg Lifts

While leg lifts of this variety are beneficial, there are other effective exercises also known as leg lifts. You can also perform leg lifts in a Roman Chair, a specialized piece of workout equipment that consists of a chair back and arm rests but no seat. For those leg lifts, you begin with your legs hanging straight down and then slowly bring them up in front of you to waist level. Additionally, you can strengthen your hip flexors by performing a type of leg lift while lying on your side. Begin with your legs together then separate your legs by lifting your top leg toward the ceiling.

 

About the Author

Brian Willett began writing in 2005. He has been published in the "Buffalo News," the "Daytona Times" and "Natural Muscle Magazine." Willett also writes for Bloginity.com and Bodybuilding.com. He is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina.

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