Execution Tricks for Hanging Knee Raises

The Hanging Knee Raise is a classic abdominal exercise... just hang from a bar then raise your knees up in front of you.

Very simple.

However, there are two major tips you need to know in order to really get the most out of the exercise.



First, when doing the exercise, DO NOT try to bend at the hips...

What that looks like is having a straight up and down back while the knees just come straight up, staying close to your body.

The things is, hip flexion is going to happen naturally during the exercise...you don't want to actively set out with that as a major goal. You want to instead focus on flexing the lumbar/lower back spine, bring your knees up and AWAY from your body.

Spinal flexion is the major goal of this exercise, not hip flexion. The hip flexion will happen with spinal flexion, but spinal flexion won't happen naturally if you just do hip flexion.


Second, force your elbows forward and down..

When you're starting the exercise, instead of focusing on just raising your knees up (and flexing the spine), I want you to also try to force your elbows forward and down to meet your knees.

You won't be able to, obviously...it's just the INTENTION of doing it that's important. This will more strongly activate the muscles of the core by putting greater tension on from the top-down, while you're putting tension on from the bottom up, while doing the knee raise.

Here's what it looks like.

Start from a dead hang...arms a bit outside shoulder width apart.

Get Shredded Abs With This Powerful Techinque for Hanging Knee Raises

Now bring the knees up and in front, focusing on bending at the middle of the body rather than the hips.

At this point, I'm also trying to fold my UPPER body down and towards my knees. The elbows will come forward a bit. This is the key activation point and the cue you want to remember...pushing the elbows forward to meet the knees.

Get Shredded Abs With This Powerful Techinque for Hanging Knee Raises

Come all the way up until you shins hit the bar. I like this for a full contraction, though it is optional if you can't make it all the way like this. As long as your focus is on bringing those elbows forward to meet the knees, you'll hit the sweet spot.

Get Shredded Abs With This Powerful Techinque for Hanging Knee Raises

Lower your legs back down under control then repeat.

Don't take a big backswing at the bottom...start from a dead stop, under control.


You'll find this puts a LOT more tension on the abs in general, especially on the upper aspect of the core, in addition to the lower abdominals.

You'll even find you get some lat work out of this, too!

For another challenging leg raise exercise for the lower abs, try Incline Bench Hanging Leg Raises.



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