Leg Lifts
Strengthen Your Lower Back



Reverse leg lifts will strengthen the muscles in your lower back. Your abdominals work to support your back during the exercise. Working both back and ab muscle groups makes this exercise great, if you have a healthy back.

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If you've had back pain/injury, click here before doing any back exercises.

Healthy back? You'll find instructions and videos for the correct leg lift exercise technique, which will help you stay safe from injury and create a core of steel.

With any exercise, good technique is vital to staying fit, but it's even more important with exercises that work your back.

Due to the intricate nature of the spine and muscles that surround it, be extra cautious when exercising the lower back.

You'll also need good abdominal strength with this exercise. Your deep abs play a crucial role in supporting the spine whilst your lower back muscles do the work.

Engaging those deep core muscles prior to exertion is a subtle movement. Click here for deep core muscle contraction tips.

I know you may be thinking that it's all too much hassle just for one exercise. And I agree, it's slightly more advanced than other back exercises.

But once you're ready (i.e. healthy back, good abs strength), the reverse leg lift is an exercise that will strengthen your core into a nice, tight steel cage. And that'll have a positive effect on all your other activities.

healthy back

Reverse Leg Lifts

Take each rep slowly. When you first start out, don't overdo the amount of reps. A max. of 5 reps to start with, progress from there.

  1. Lie face forward on a bench with your hips coming off the end (i.e. only your body is on the bench).
  2. Keep your shoulders back, and grip the underside with your hands.
  3. Start with your legs together, toes bent on the floor.
  4. Contract your deep core muscles (as described above).
  5. Lift both legs up and apart, as far up as you can.
  6. Then slowly bring them back down and together.
  7. Repeat until you complete your reps.

Tips:

  • Exhale as you lift up, inhale as you come back down. Don't be tempted to hold your breath.
  • Keep your core muscles braced throughout, this will stabilize your lift.
  • Don't cheat by letting gravity pull your legs back down. Lift slowly and come back down slow and controlled.
  • Keep your shoulders and neck relaxed.
  • You can make this exercise easier by only lifting one leg at a time, or by bending your knees, or doing both.
  • If you feel any sharp pain then stop immediately.


Side Leg Lifts

This exercise should be done on an exercise mat. It focuses on your core stabilizers, as well as your butt and thighs.

  1. Lie on the mat on your side so that there's a straight line from your ankles to neck.
  2. Keeping your legs straight and feet together, shift them slightly forward (this will help you stay balanced).
  3. Lay your lower arm down and rest your head on it.
  4. Contract your deep core muscles (as described above).
  5. Keeping your feet together, use your core, butt and thighs to slowly lift them up off the mat.
  6. Then slowly lower them back down.
  7. Repeat until you complete your reps.
  8. Repeat by lying on your other side.

Tips:

  • Exhale as you lift up, inhale as you come back down.
  • Keep your core muscles braced throughout, this will assist your lift.
  • Use your other arm for balance, place your hand flat on the mat in front of your chest, but don't use it to assist the lift.
  • You may not be able to lift up very far at first, that's ok don't force it. Go as far as you can, then over time progress slowly higher.

If you're looking for leg raise exercises that specifically work your abs, click here for ab exercises.

Exercise Pictures

Leg Lift Videos

Enjoy these leg lifts! Check out these quality videos for a visual idea of the best technique:



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