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Thread: Leg Raise While Avoiding Low Back Pain

  1. #1
    kenshin9x is offline Junior Member
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    Nov 2017
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    Default Leg Raise While Avoiding Low Back Pain

    So I got some low back pain.

    Surfing the web, apparently lying leg raises are notorious for
    a) not a good enough exercise for developing the abs (and developing the psoas/ hip flexors instead)
    b) causing/ exacerbating lower back pain.

    So, how does one perform a correct leg raise exercise in order to avoid low back pain?
    Should that exercise be completely replaced altogether, with another exercise? What exercise?

    Thanks in advance everyone.
    Last edited by kenshin9x; 03-25-2018 at 08:10 PM.

  2. #2
    John Du Cane is offline Administrator
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    I recommend switching to hanging leg raises instead--one of the very best abs exercises on the planet.

    Quote Originally Posted by kenshin9x View Post
    So I got some low back pain.

    Surfing the web, apparently lying leg raises are notorious for
    a) not a good enough exercise for developing the abs (and developing the psoas/ hip flexors instead)
    b) causing/ exacerbating lower back pain.

    So, how does one perform a correct leg raise exercise in order to avoid low back pain?
    Should that exercise be completely replaced altogether, with another exercise? What exercise?

    Thanks in advance everyone.

  3. #3
    GeoffreyLevens is offline Senior Member
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    Sep 2010
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    One key, regardless of which exercise, is to establish and maintain posterior pelvic tilt i.e. at least neutral but better slightly flat back. That will help isolate the abs. In the movement, try to bring pubic bone to shoulders or top of sternum. All leg raises have potential for being mostly hip flexor exercises which is exactly what you do NOT want; that pulls hard on psoas which in turn pulls spine towards hyper extension. Cue words will vary per person but bottom line is you want your abs to be doing the work and not your hip flexors.

    Since abs are primarily stabilizers, not a great deal of distance traveled is really necessary. Hanging is a great option. Start with knee raises and again, emphasize moving pubic bone/pelvis forward and up. Can also use just hollow body holds for a few sessions to "wake up" the proper muscles.
    John Du Cane likes this.

  4. #4
    GeoffreyLevens is offline Senior Member
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    I should add that the reason I posted just above is that I used to get severe low back pain from hanging leg raises and to lessor degree, hanging knee raises.

    Another practice that can help you to isolate the proper muscles is often called the "stomach vacuum" but really is about strongly contracting the obliques:

    Modified Stomach Vacuum (THIS AB EXERCISE DOESN’T SUCK!)


    Once you can easily do that, then do it while you are doing either supine or hanging leg raises

  5. #5
    Chris Hansen is offline Senior Member
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    The tip I was given is that a friend shouldn't be able to slide a pen under your lower back.

    Also make sure your obliques are engaged and not just the "washboard" muscle in the front. You can do this by poking your fingers on the sides of the abs and make sure there's muscle tension.
    Last edited by Chris Hansen; 11-27-2017 at 06:11 AM.

  6. #6
    chixlegs is offline Member
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    How about doing a leg-drop instead of a leg-raise?

    Instead of starting at the bottom, with the body flat, then raising the legs, start at the top, with the legs nearly vertical, lower back flat on the floor, then slowly lower your legs. When your lower back arches off the floor, that's the limit of your muscle's strength. Lift your legs to the vertical, then start again.

    If possible, have some way to monitor how low your low your legs go. That could be the goal; instead of adding reps, the goal is lower legs.

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