Captain’s chair leg raise

The Captain’s Chair Leg Raise is one of the best core exercises as it works the abdominals and obliques simultaneously. What’s more, once you build up with experience and confidence you can add weight to the exercise by gripping a dumbbell between the feet.

Ok, so, strictly speaking the illustration we’ve used is the Hanging Leg Raise, not the Captain’s Chair Leg Raise, however, they both follow the same principle in that you will be using your core to raise your legs. Essentially, the captain’s chair is a large chair with no seat, a padded backrest, and padded horizontal supports for the arms. The main difference between the more difficult Hanging Leg Raise and the Captain’s Chair Leg Raise is that in the latter, your arms will be supported in the chair, rather than hanging from a pull-up bar.


bent knee leg raises

Sit back in the Captain’s Chair facing outwards, rest your forearms on the pads and hold the handles. Press your back against the pad, keep your shoulders relaxed. Bend your knees and use your abs to lift your knees to hip level, arching the lower back slightly to contract your abs further. Squeeze for a second and slowly lower your knees back to the starting position. Concentrate on using your abs to bring up the knees as opposed to swinging your legs and only arch the lower back slightly, not the middle back. To increase difficulty, you could perform the Bent Knee Hanging Leg Raise by hanging from pull-up bars as in the illustration opposite.

image credits: fitness illustrated


Also known as: Knee/Hip Raise On Parallel Bars
Primary muscles: Abdominals
Secondary muscles Obliques
Equipment needed: Dip station
Level: Beginner

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