Toes To Bar
The best ab exercise out there for gym-goers is the hanging leg raise.
To perform hanging leg raises all time all you need is your body and a captains chair or bar.
The fitness industry is constantly pushing consumerism, you honestly don’t need ab king pros or any crazy equipment to build a great physique (funnily enough all of those isolation ab exercises with equipment net you virtually no results… but more on that a bit later!). I remember watching videos on YouTube about 5 or 6 years ago on ‘how to get abs’ and ‘how to build a ripped core’ of course the information I found was useful – eating acai berries and doing 100 sit-ups twice a day is NOT the way to get abs or even develop functional core strength… needless to say I spent a couple of years wasting my time with sit-ups, sit-ups and more sit-ups, until one day I discovered the hanging leg raise. If you only perform one abdominal exercise make sure it’s the leg raise or one of its many variations.
Required: Horizontal Bar
Toes To Bar Form:
Hold onto your horizontal bar with an overhand grip, palms facing away from your body.
While keeping your core tight flex at the hips and raise your legs in a straight manner up to the bar.
Slowly lower your legs back down – the key to avoid swinging on the negative (downwards) portion of each rep is to consciously think about keeping your abs tight for the entire duration.
Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Toes To Bar Variations
Captains Chair Bent Knee Leg Raise
A slightly easier variation of the Captains chair raise, maintain a 90 degree bend in your knees while raising your legs to reduce the difficulty of the exercise.
Captains Chair Straight Leg Raise
An advanced variation of the Captains Chair raise, maintain completely straight legs for the duration of the repetition to increase the difficulty and tension on the abdominal region.
Common Toes To Bar Mistakes
Training Abs Too Frequently
Abdominal training is a lot easier than many make it out to be.
You do not need to train abs every single day, in fact if you’re training them hard it’s detrimental to progress.
You do not need to dedicate entire workouts to your abs.
Like all other muscle groups, the abs require time to recover after they’ve been hit hard.
I recommend throwing in a 15 minute ab workout 2 – 3 times per week at the end of your regular workout… do not train abs first before you go into heavy squats or deadlifts as your core will be fatigued and will become the weak link in your exercises.
Not Venturing Beyond The Sit-Up
The sit-up is without a doubt the most common ab exercise, chances are when you think of abs you instantly think of sit-ups, and lots of them.
I personally find 2 issues with the sit-up and cannot remember the last time I incorporated sit-ups into my ab workout regime.
The sit-up places the lower back in a compromised position when performed with bad form.
The sit-up does not work the entire abdominal region, i.e. it neglects the lower abdominals.
Thinking Ab Exercises Will Get You Abs
The cliche saying, ‘abs are made in the kitchen’ is correct.
Six pack abs are the result of low body fat, for men the abs start popping around 10% body fat and continue to get more defined as you delve down into the single digit body fat range. For women, abs are visible around 15% body fat.
In order to burn fat and get down into this low body fat range we need to subject our body to a calorie deficit (i.e. be consuming less calories per 24 hour basis than our body needs to maintain its current weight). Without a caloric deficit fat loss is literally impossible.
A caloric deficit is induced via a combination of diet and exercise, ab exercises can assist you in burning calories to place you in a deficit to lose fat… but if you’re eating too much there’s no colossal number of sit-ups, leg raises or planks that’ll get you the six pack abs you desire.
Similar & Substitute Exercises
- Side Planks
- Hanging Leg Raises
- Cable Crunches
- Dragon Flags