Fitness and Weight Loss 9 ways to shred your core using only a pullup bar

Get off the floor and take your core workout up a notch with these moves.

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hanging leg variations play

hanging leg variations

(Photograph by Men's Health)
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Hanging leg raises are an advanced core exercise that not only molds rock-hard abs, but also improves your upper-body strength and endurance.

So what exactly makes hanging raises so much more challenging than lying leg raises? For one, you need a baseline of upper-body strength to hang from the bar comfortably for an extended period of time. So while you are working you abs, you're also challenging your grip, arms, and shoulders.

With your upper body locked on the bar, your abs and hip flexors are isolated and have to do the lion's share of work against gravity to raise your legs.

Your raises should be controlled, ensuring that all the work is coming from your core. It's tempting to let your body swing like a pendulum, but using momentum defeats the purpose of this exercise, which is having a core and back strong enough to control both the ascent and the descent.

You also need superior flexibility and mobility to raise your legs past parallel to the floor.

When your upper-body is not locked onto the bar, it's a lot easier to compensate for inadequate flexibility. But attempting a toes-to-bar will quickly show you how flexible you truly are.

Geren Liles, Master Trainer at Equinox Fitness Clubs, shows you nine different ways to mix up your hanging ab raises for max results in the video above, but if you want step-by-step- instructions on how to perform the perfect hanging raise, check out this guide.

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