There are many different habits and workouts you can do to improve your life. What about doing side leg raises, what benefits can you expect?
Side leg raises are an exercise where you move your leg away from the middle of your body. If you want to stick to bodyweight side leg raises you likely want to do the exercise lying down to make it challenging enough.
Some people question how useful this exercise can be but adding side leg raises to your routine can offer you some of the following amazing benefits.
1. Stronger muscles
Side leg raises are mostly a strength training exercise, which means they are helpful for improving muscle strength and endurance. Extra muscle is not only beneficial for your health in many ways but it is also considered to be visually appealing.
Side leg raises are mainly used to strengthen hip abductor muscles like:
- Gluteus medius
- Gluteus minimus
- Tensor fasciae latae
If you like the idea of building muscle while doing side leg raises you can add extra resistance, for example by using a resistance band or wearing a pair of ankle weights, while doing them to increase the amount of muscle mass you gain.
Make sure you give your body enough nutrients, rest, and sleep to repair and grow your muscles when you implement more side leg raises into your routine. To build the most muscle mass you likely don’t want to do side leg raises every single day.
2. Can improve hip flexibility
Flexibility is the range of motion specific joints or joint groups can do.
By doing an exercise like side leg raises where you push these boundaries you are able to increase this range. This in turn can help reduce the likelihood of accidents, especially falls, and improve exercise performance.
Most people do not often go through the same hip movement as in side leg raises. That means there is likely a lot of improvement there when it comes to flexibility improvements.
3. Better body stabilization
The hip abductor muscles not only make your legs go outward. They also keep your thighs from going inward. Especially every time you are leaning on one leg, these muscles allow you to balance yourself.
By training these muscles your abductors become stronger. Many people forget balance but it is a helpful fitness component.
The benefits of improved balance and coordination don’t just show up in complicated sports. In daily activities as simple as walking and climbing stairs, better control over your balance can help you avoid accidents.
4. May reduce knee pain
The muscles in your hips and legs work together during as good as every activity that involves walking. Muscle imbalances can lead to pain and injuries. By doing side leg raises you can resolve these imbalances.
One study looked at the effect of an 8-week hip abductor strengthening program on forty participants with knee osteoarthritis. Among other benefits the participants reported a reduction in knee pain (1).
The study quality could be higher and these are not regular people. However, based on how much your hip and leg muscles work together, resolving muscle imbalances with side leg raises could offer a similar effect or at least prevent knee pain or injuries.
5. Budget-friendly workout
Another potential hurdle for many workouts is the budget required.
Some exercises require inexpensive equipment starting at a jumping rope to at-home workout machines of hundreds or thousands of dollars. Even the investment required for gym subscriptions adds up after a while.
Money put into improving your health is generally a great investment but sometimes you can get the same effects with less. In the case of side leg raises you don’t need to invest any budget at all. This can be a great benefit depending on your personal situation.
6. You can do side leg raises almost anywhere
A downside of many exercises is that they need you to be in a specific location, or use specific equipment that you generally don’t have at home.
This makes it so you often have to drive, cycle, or walk somewhere for a while. Let’s say you exercise twice a week and going to your workout takes 10 minutes to get there and 10 minutes to go back. That’s 40 minutes less free time per week.
This extra transportation also makes it easier to say no to your workout. Being able to be consistent is key for a good workout plan.
However, with side leg raises you don’t have to worry about these things. The lying-down version may be preferred, but you can also do standing side leg raises basically anywhere. All you need is a few blocks of free time throughout the day or a minute in the line at the grocery store, and you can get in a few side leg raises.
While inevitably some workouts are better for some of these benefits than side leg raises, it is amazing that you can get so many important benefits from adding one activity to your routine.
One thing you need to remember is that doing side leg raises can be hard on your hips, even if you implement the right technique. If you are sensitive or weak in your hips you may need to do other strengthening exercises first. You may want to talk to your primary care provider before starting a new workout routine.
Also keep in mind that consistency is a big factor in a workout plan. The more you love the exercise you do the easier it becomes to do it consistently.
If doing side leg raises is a workout you love, great. If not, there are plenty of other exercises to consider that can also offer a lot of benefits.
If you do decide to implement more side leg raises make sure you give your body enough nutrients, rest, and sleep to repair and grow your muscles.