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Old 07-07-2007, 07:54 PM   #1
-Ross Hunt
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Default Rep Hanging Leg Raises--are they any good?

Title pretty much says it all. This is one of the ab exercises I throw in from time to time when I feel like it, along with holding the top of a HLR and, more recently, L-sits.

So, is doing HLRs for reps any good for developing trunk strength and (of course) RIPPED ABS?

When I do holds at the top, I settle into the position and I can focus on pushing my butt down and making myself as vertical as possible. When I do reps (got 15 today) I certainly don't swing at all, but it is very difficult to avoid leaning back a lot after about 10 reps. If you're doing this exercise mostly for the abdominal muscles, does it make sense to limit reps to the range where you can maintain a relatively strict body position?
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Old 07-08-2007, 09:52 AM   #2
Steven Low
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Add weight to HLRs if you want your core stronger. Either that or go to ab wheel or any other weighted ab exercises. Put on some ankle weights and do some L-pullups. That sounds like fun...

The best way to negate you from starting to recruit your pecs/lats in the pull to get your legs up is putting something vertical against your back. That's why the racks mounted on the wall are pretty good for HLRs.
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Old 07-08-2007, 01:51 PM   #3
Greg Everett
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i used to be a big fan of HLRs, KTEs, etc., but recently i'm a little ambivelant. i'm not sure i see much need for super strong hip flexors - some baseline of strength and speed is great, but how much is really necessary (outside of gymnastics)? plus, i see a lot of short hip flexors causing shitty posture and exacerbating if not causing back and other pain/injuries. so the idea of encouraging even more shortening seems dicey.

increasingly i'm inclined to do a lot more stability work instead of trunk flexion/extension and lateral flexion/extension. working on abdominal bracing and torso stabilization under big loads, or the absorption and possible redirection of force. i've seen lots of folks who can bang out a ton of HLRs but can't stop wiggling under an overhead weight - the latter seems like a more important ability than the former to me.

so ross - between HLRs, even with weight, and say, deadlifting and carrying a 100 lb + sandbag, heavy front squats, etc., i would go with the sandbag and gang for genuine torso strength. for the ripped abs, i would go for winstrol and better choice of parents.
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Old 07-08-2007, 03:04 PM   #4
Dave Van Skike
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FWIW, I do very little in the way of KTE or leg raises, mostly squat and deadlift adding in heavyish weighted sit ups. Used to find KTE sort of difficult, now they are laughably easy...Greg's advice resonates with me.. I think using the core in the way you intend for it to perform works better than anything. standing abs ala' louie simmons, planks, heavy suitcase, one handed overhead work like snatch and odd object lifting seems to give legit torso stability without a lot of extra effort...
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Old 07-08-2007, 05:10 PM   #5
Steven Low
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If you're gonna go the lifting route... definitely unilateral lifts like one arm DB bench. Weighted pullups with enough weight on a belt will cause siginificant abs work as well.

Honestly, if you can do stuff like kips in the gym or any explosive ab work, it's better than the conditioning that HLRs or anything like that can provide especially if you can weight those.

Hip flexors should definitely be stretched everyday though regardless. They're such a hindrance in posterior chain explosiveness it's pretty ridiculous.
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Old 07-08-2007, 06:06 PM   #6
-Ross Hunt
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Originally Posted by Greg Everett View Post

for the ripped abs, i would go for winstrol and better choice of parents.
Don't tell me the truth. I CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!

Thanks for the advice, all. All I have to show for my leg raise rep PR yesterday are sore lats and pecs. I do like the holds at the top, because I can wedge myself into a vertical position that hits the abdominals fairly well.

I loaned my ab wheel away to a Junior National Team member and never saw it come back. Unscrupulous types... I might finally have enough shoulder strength for standing roll-outs to be a good abdominal exercise.

I'll probably keep working on L-sits. Weighted incline sit-ups with weight held behind the head and paused parallel to the floor hurt, at least... I don't know how good they are. At this point abdominal strength is not a limiting factor in my lifting (comes after leg strength shoulder strength, and pretty much everything else), so I can afford to screw around a little bit.
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Old 07-09-2007, 07:00 AM   #7
Allen Yeh
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Clients or athletes must be able to prevent rotation before we should allow them to produce it.
Interesting thought, considering the emphasis on the types of exercises that have been advocated for a long time now.
"And for crying out loud. Don't go into the pain cave. I can't stress this enough. Your Totem Animal won't be in there to help you. You'll be on your own. The Pain Cave is for cowards.
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:30 AM   #8
-Ross Hunt
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One of the most interesting aspects of Pavel's abs book was the exercise he called the full-contact twist--basically, you load a barbell at one end with the unloaded end set in a corner, grasp the end of the barbell, and move the barbell from side to side with arms locked by rotating the hips; it trains the abdominals for support during rotation. You can work this movement heavy.

One fun thing I have done in the same vein is partner force absorption drills--resisting a partner pushing on you, in the same way, constantly and sharply changing how much force he is exerting. You can play this like an Indian wrestling match.
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