Strict Hanging Leg Raises

Discussion in 'Bodyweight' started by WhatWouldHulkDo, Jan 11, 2019.


Can you do a set of 5-10 strict HLRs?

  1. I'm not a big person, and I own HLRs

  2. I'm not a big person, and I haven't mastered HLRs yet

  3. I'm a big person, and I own HLRs

  4. I'm a big person, and I haven't mastered HLRs yet

  1. WhatWouldHulkDo

    WhatWouldHulkDo More than 500 posts

    A post in another thread got me curious about strict hanging leg raises, and how many people can do them for reps - and in particular how that might break down among body size. I know "big" is a subjective term, use your best judgement.

    To me, a strict HLR is:
    • straight legs
    • back straight, maybe some forward tilt in the pelvis
    • 1 second raise
    • 1 second hold at parallel
    • 2 second lower
    I don't have the core strength to do multiple reps. I can do 1 or 2, then it stops being strict. Core just ain't strong enough yet to hold up these chunky legs.

    Just curious what the group looks like.
  2. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    @WhatWouldHulkDo, the truly strictest HLR would be on stall bars, and I cannot do a single rep that way because my lumbar flexion ability is very limited. Note to all people with "bad" lower backs - that it cannot bend forward a lot is not necessarily a bad thing.

    My definition of strict is what's in Hard-Style Abs: use a bar or rings, look straight ahead, shoulder-width or narrower grip, don't bend your elbows, and keep looking straight ahead (between your legs as you raise them) the whole time. How close to a stall bar position you'll end up will depend on your flexibility and your anatomy, but if you don't bend your elbows and you don't give in to the temptation to look up, you're doing a strict HLR in my book.

    The HLR is one of those movements I've always been able to do since the first time I tried it, and I don't train it regularly so I couldn't speak to my rep count.

    josephtd8421 and Shahaf Levin like this.
  3. josephtd8421

    josephtd8421 Double-Digit Post Count

    I agree with Steve Above, that is how I have always approached my HLR form as well. I have been training the HLR for over 6 years now, usually 2-3 times per week depending on the program I am in. I weigh 160 lbs and stick to 5 reps for 5 sets (which took me 6 years to build up to!)

    Overtime what I have focused on to increase my mastery of the HLR is Increasing my Intra-Abdominal Pressure while preforming the HLR by:
    • Slowing down on the way up and on the way down
    • Adding multiple pauses throughout
    Other than working on the progressions when I first started training the HLR, the following ques helped me the most; I believe they are all in Pavel's book "Hardstyle Abs"
    • Practice holding the Hollow position on the Bar, particularly focus on bending the bar and keeping the shoulders packed - I notice that the reps where my shoulders loosened up my HLR form went down the drain.
    • Pushing your thighs together hard - I have gone so far as practicing this with an empty water bottle between my legs
    • Point toes down and flex calves - When the above to are preformed correctly this last que really helped tie in the full body tension.
    When I get all of the above ques correct, the HLR begins to feel effortless, well at least for the first few reps.

    I hope this long-winded answer helps, and answers your original question!
    JonS likes this.
  4. Marc

    Marc More than 500 posts

    If you can't do HLR try l-sits (on the floor/bar/rings/hanging). On the floor is the most taxing variation. If that becomes easy progress to v-sits or a dynamuv version going from l-sit to v-sit.
    These will deliver great results while sparing your spine.
    pet' likes this.

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