Hanging leg raise

USED IN: Fat-Loss III; Strength II and III

SETUP: Grab a chin-up bar overhand, and hang with your legs together and knees bent. You want your thighs in front of your body somewhat at the start of the lift, just far enough to flatten your lower back. In other words, you want to start the lift with your abdominal muscles already tight and engaged.

LIFTING: Pull your knees up to your chest, rounding your lower back.

LOWERING: Slowly lower them to the starting point, never allowing your abs to disengage or your lower back to arch.

Variations

Not many guys can do high reps, but a few modifications can make it easier. Many gyms now have elbow straps called AbOrigiOnals, which help support your weight and allow more reps (even if they are a crime against spell-checking software). Some people use a device called a captain's chair (it's often part of an apparatus that includes parallel bars for dips), which has elbow rests and a back support. The elbow rests are cool, but the back support is kind of a problem, since it discourages you from rounding your back at the end. That puts a lot more emphasis on the hip flexors and limits the action of your abdominals, which you're trying to target.

Fire Up Your Core

Fire Up Your Core

If you weaken the center of any freestanding structure it becomes unstable. Eventually, everyday wear-and-tear takes its toll, causing the structure to buckle under pressure. This is exactly what happens when the core muscles are weak – it compromises your body’s ability to support the frame properly. In recent years, there has been a lot of buzz about the importance of a strong core – and there is a valid reason for this. The core is where all of the powerful movements in the body originate – so it can essentially be thought of as your “center of power.”

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