Leg Lifts & Holding a Pull Up Bar

Hanging knee raises strengthen your abdominals.

Hanging knee raises strengthen your abdominals.

Get off your back and strengthen your abdominals from a vertical position. The hanging leg raise from a pull-up bar is a vertical strengthening option. The leg raise is similar to an abdominal exercise performed on a captain's chair. According to the American Council on Exercise, the captain's chair requires a strong contraction in your rectus abdominis, the muscle down the center of your core, and in the obliques, the muscles along your sides. Use the hanging knee raise to improve the look and function of your core.

Grasp a pull-up bar with your hands positioned slightly wider than your shoulders. Face your palms toward each other if your bar has handles, or face your palms forward if it does not.

Hang from the bar with your arms, torso and legs straight. Exhale, bend your knees, flex your hips and lift your knees toward your chest. Lift until your legs are higher than your hips to ensure you have waist flexion.

Inhale and lower your legs to the starting position. Keep yourself from swinging as you perform the leg raises. Repeat for your desired number of leg raises. Aim to perform two or three sets.


  • The higher you raise your knees, the greater the abdominal contraction. When the exercise becomes too easy, perform the movement with straight legs.


  • The hanging leg raise may cause discomfort in your lower back. Speak with your doctor if you experience any pain.

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About the Author

A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.

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