The leg lift -- also known as the leg raise -- is a common exercise intended to strengthen abdominal muscles. Despite its simplicity, Michael Jordan’s personal trainer included 6-inch leg lifts in Jordan’s workout routine when he played professional basketball. You can perform 6-inch leg lifts at a gym during a full workout, or at home when you have a few extra minutes, to help strengthen your core and -- in conjunction with an overall fitness and nutrition plan -- to help flatten your stomach.
Lie face-up on the floor with your legs extended and your heels flat on the floor.
Raise your legs until your heels are at least 6 inches off the floor. Keep the rest of your body on the floor, with your arms at your sides.
Hold your legs in place for two to three seconds. Lower your legs slowly to the starting position.
Lift one leg at a time, if you have difficulty raising both legs at once. The other leg should be bent at the knee with your foot flat on the floor. Hold the raised leg in position for five seconds before lowering it slowly.
Perform two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions, or work up to that level. If you’re lifting one leg at a time, perform 10 to 15 reps on one leg, then repeat with the opposite leg to complete one set. Either way, perform the exercise at least twice each week.
- If your goal is to flatten your stomach, military trainer Stew Smith says to begin with a healthy diet -- eliminating fried foods, cheese, processed sugar and fatty red meat, while eating plenty of fruits and vegetables -- and perform regular cardiovascular exercise, such as walking or running about five times per week. Exercises such as leg lifts will strengthen your abdominal muscles, but to flatten your belly you still need to eliminate any excess fat that sits on top of those muscles.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.