The single-leg raise exercise is a simple movement that targets the muscles in the hip flexors and the lower abdominal region.
Single-leg raises are an easy yet worthy exercise to strengthen your lower body muscles. It improves the functionality of lower body parts.
- Doctors often recommend this workout if you are seeking knee replacement surgery.
- The workout is helpful both before the surgery to prepare your body and after the surgery to recover and heal.
How to do the Single-Leg Raise Exercise
All you need to do is follow these steps in the listed order:
- Lie flat on your back so that your back is flat against the mat or floor.
- Place your arms straight on the sides of your body
- Lift your left leg in the air so that your feet point upwards
- Raise your leg as high as you can without hurting your back
- Hold the position for a few seconds and lower the leg to the starting position.
- Now lift the right leg and follow the same steps
- Do as many reps as you want to.
- Ensure your lower back remains in contact with the floor/mat throughout the exercise.
- Placing a hand under the lower back can help monitor this.
Muscles Worked by single-leg raises
Single-leg raises work on the following muscles:
- Primary Muscle: Hip flexors, particularly the iliopsoas.
- Secondary Muscles: Lower abdominals, quadriceps (to keep the leg straight), and the stabilizing muscles in the core.
Variations of the single-leg raise Exercise
There are many variations of single-leg raise exercises, as the main aim is to raise a single leg with any body posture you desire.
Whatever variation you follow, you will enjoy the health benefits and added muscle strength after the workout.
Some of the popular variations include:
- Double Leg Raise: Instead of lifting one leg at a time, both legs are raised and lowered simultaneously
- Alternating Leg Raise: Rather than performing all repetitions on one leg and then switching, you can alternate between legs for each rep.
- Hanging Leg Raise: This advanced version is done while hanging from a pull-up bar and involves raising both legs simultaneously.
Benefits of Single-Leg Raise Exercise
The following are the benefits of the single leg raise exercise:
- Core Activation and Strength: This exercise activates and strengthens the lower abdominals and hip flexors.
- Improved Hip Mobility: Regularly practicing the exercise can enhance the hip joint’s range of motion and flexibility.
- Rehabilitation: Often used in physiotherapy settings to help rehabilitate hip, lower back, or abdominal injuries.
- Low Impact: The single leg raise is a low-impact exercise suitable for people with specific joint issues or who are new to exercise.
- It resolves the body alignment issues by working separately on the lower body muscles on both sides.
- It makes the abdomen and leg muscles strong.
- It aids in improving the strength of hip flexors and quadriceps muscles.
- It helps decrease the weight in the abdomen and legs.
- It enhances the functionality of the calf muscles, hamstrings, and glutes.
Some of the drawbacks of single-leg raises include the following:
- If you fail to do similar reps on both sides, your body will experience an imbalance.
- If you do the exercise incorrectly, you can sprain the muscles in your lower back, which can even lead to a severe injury.
- A single-leg raise can benefit muscles but doesn’t offer cardiovascular benefits.
- You can end up spraining the muscles in your hips when you raise your leg.