Skip to Content

Army Leg Tuck Exercise 2023

The Leg Tuck is a bodyweight exercise often used in military fitness tests, such as the US Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). It tests a combination of the upper body, core, and grip strength, as well as overall coordination and control.

The origin of leg tucks can be traced back to Military Physical Fitness Evaluations; nonetheless, their advantages have exceeded the military base and seeped into mainstream fitness society.

Leg tucks involve hanging from a bar using an overhand grip and pulling your knees or ankles towards your elbows. 

The critical muscles activated during this workout are the abdominals, hip flexors, and latissimus dorsi (the most expansive power on the back), making it a thorough training for your core and upper body.

Despite its apparent simplicity, the leg tuck is a multifaceted workout that demands strength, control, and a decent amount of flexibility. It targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously, making it an extremely efficient compound exercise.

Army PRT Leg Tuck Climbing Exercises

Leg Tuck Climbing Drill
Leg Tuck Climbing Drill

The leg tuck is the fourth exercise in Climbing Drills One and Two. This climbing exercise combines upper body and abdominal strength to develop a soldier’s ability to hang while moving their legs to different support positions for climbing.


  • This exercise develops the abdominal, hip flexor, and grip strength essential to climbing a rope

Here is a breakdown of the exercise, which would be conducted in a formation with two spotters to assist. 

Starting Position

  • Soldiers begin in an extended arm hang position with a closed, alternating overhand grip.


  • SLOW

Role of Spotters

  • If required, two spotters position themselves on either side of the soldier.
  • Spotters prepare to assist by placing one hand behind the soldier’s knee and the lower back.
  • Spotters must always be ready to help the soldier and catch them if their grip fails.

Exercise Execution

  • On the Command ‘Up,’ the soldier flexes the elbows and hips, raising the legs until the thighs touch the elbows.
  • On the Command ‘Down,’ the soldier returns to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise five to 10 times.

Post-Exercise Procedure

  • The spotters may assist in guiding the exerciser to the foot pegs after the Command of Down, before the Command of Dismount.
  • This ensures the soldier’s safety and allows a smooth transition to the next exercise or conclusion of the session.

Check Points

  • Throughout the exercise, keep the feet together.
  • On Command Up, the thighs and elbows touch just above the knees.

The Leg Tuck Exercise maximizes a soldier’s strength and climbing skills while maintaining safety measures.

How to do the Leg Tuck Exercise

  • Maintain a relatively vertical posture while moving the hips and knees up and down without excessive swinging.
  • Hold the bar with a coordinated grip, legs off the floor.
  • From a straight arm position, pull the body up until the knees touch the elbows.
  • Return to the starting straight-arm position.

Difficulty and Required Strength

  • Leg tucks are considered difficult due to the involvement of many joints and muscles.
  • It places a heavy load on the abdominal muscles, which need to both flex the spine and stabilize the pelvis.
  • When the knees are raised, the hip flexors are activated, pulling the pelvis and tilting it anteriorly.
  • Similarly, when pulling the body up, the latissimus dorsi is activated, which also pulls the pelvis and creates an anterior pelvic tilt.
  • This means that the abdominal muscles must be strong enough to both stabilize the pelvis and flex the spine.

Requirement of Normative Spinal Flexion Ability

  • The leg tuck exercise requires a uniform, integrated rotation and flexion of the vertebrae, along with the creation of a sequential arch.
  • A seated flexion test might reveal a deficient sequential arch in the lumbar vertebrae. This deficiency is usually caused by structural rigidity or shortened muscles, such as the quadratus lumborum.
  • This deficiency might prevent exercisers from flexing the spine and bringing the knees to reach the elbows, even if the muscles are very strong.

Common Leg Tuck Workout Mistakes

  • Common leg tuck mistakes include swinging your body for momentum and not effectively engaging your core. Using your muscle strength to perform the movement rather than relying on momentum.
  • For novices, begin with a modified workout variation, lifting the knees to the chest instead of the elbows. 
  • You can advance to the full version as you build strength and confidence. For seasoned practitioners, adding variations like twisting the torso or extending the legs straight out can escalate the difficulty level.

Incorporating Leg Tucks into Your Routine: A Balanced Approach

  • Leg tucks are a flexible workout that can be incorporated into various workout regimens. 
  • However, it’s crucial to maintain equilibrium and not overdo it. Overworking specific muscles can lead to imbalances and injuries.
  • Due to their compound nature, you can include leg tuck workouts in strength and cardio.
  • They can be combined with other exercises that target different muscle groups for a well-rounded workout.

Safety First: Preventing Injuries with Leg Tucks

  • While leg tucks offer numerous advantages, incorrect execution can lead to potential risks, including lower back or shoulder injuries.
  • Those with pre-existing conditions in these areas should approach leg tucks cautiously or avoid them altogether. I
  • It is advisable to seek professional guidance when starting with leg tucks to ensure correct form and prevent injuries.

Muscles Involved in the Leg Tuck Exercise

  • The latissimus dorsi: extends the arm.
  • The abdominal muscles: stabilize the pelvis and flex the spine.
  • The hip flexors: pull the legs.
  • The biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis: flex the elbow.

How to Train for ACFT Leg Tucks

Leg tucks involve hanging from a bar and raising your knees until they touch your elbows.

  • Grip and pull-up strength will be very important in this event because you must hang onto the bar and activate your lats to bring your knees up to your elbows.
  • Often, that involves bringing the elbows down to the knees a little bit.
  • The more flexible you are, particularly in the hips and hamstrings, the easier it will be to tuck yourself into a little ball at the top of this movement.

How to Improve the Leg Tuck Exercise

  • You can improve your score on this exercise by pulling exercises such as lat pull-downs, chin-ups, or rows.
  • Do hamstring stretches, hip stretches, low lunges, or shiva squats to improve your flexibility and make it easier to fold into a ball at the top of this movement.
  • Those are excellent ways to improve your mobility and make it easier for you to get to the top position of this movement.”

Leg Tuck Benefits Unveiled

The health advantages of executing leg tucks go much further than achieving a sculpted physique. 

  • Being a compound exercise, they engage various muscle groups concurrently, leading to enhanced core strength and agility.
  • The abdominals, hip flexors, and latissimus dorsi all receive a substantial workout during a leg tuck. This extensive involvement leads to improved core stability, an essential factor in almost every physical activity, from sprinting to weight lifting. 
  • The enhanced core strength also assists in maintaining good posture, reducing the likelihood of back pain and injuries.
  • Moreover, leg tucks significantly contribute to boosting agility. Agility is the capacity to move swiftly and effortlessly, a required skill for sports like soccer, basketball, and tennis. Incorporating leg tucks into your fitness regimen can enhance your performance in these activities.


Specific routines have proven their worth over time in the boundless, continuously advancing fitness domain due to their efficiency and all-inclusive advantages; the leg tuck is one such routine.

This seemingly uncomplicated yet astoundingly demanding activity has earned acclaim as a powerful resource for fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and military professionals.

Leg tucks are superb workouts that offer many benefits, from improved core strength and agility to enhanced athletic performance.

However, they must be executed correctly and integrated responsibly into a workout routine to prevent injuries. With proper execution and a balanced approach, leg tucks can help you effectively and safely accomplish your fitness goals.

George N.