Keeping your body in different positions can influence comfort and muscle engagement. Discover what raised leg crunches can do for you.
Raised leg crunches are a crunch exercise variation where you hold your legs in the air at a 90-degree angle instead of putting your feet on the ground.
This will typically result in your hips tilting slightly back. In turn, many people will find leg crunches slightly more comfortable than regular crunches.
On the flip side, you can also say that your ab muscles will likely go through a slightly smaller range of motion when doing raise leg crunches.
This is just a bit less optimal for muscle growth and strength progress.
In short, if you like the feeling of raised leg crunches, they can offer nice ab workouts. If you don’t mind regular crunches, you likely want to do these instead.
No matter what ab exercise you do, keep the ideal sets, reps, and resistance for your goals in mind.
How to do a raised leg crunch
Raised leg crunches tend to be more comfortable with a yoga mat or something similar below you.
That being said, take the following steps to do this exercise:
- Lie down on the ground with your legs slightly less than stretched and together. Keep your arms against your chest throughout the exercise.
- Slowly raise your legs until they are about vertical.
- Raise your shoulders as far as comfortable in a controlled motion.
- Slowly lower your shoulders back to the ground.
- Keep your legs in the air if you will do more repetitions.
Raised leg crunches are a relatively straightforward exercise.
The main thing to keep in mind is to not swing your head forward too much. Your abs should generate the force to lift your shoulders.
Raised leg crunches muscles worked
The main muscles worked in raised leg crunches are your abs and more specifically the upper part.
Besides that, your hip flexors have to work to some extent to raise your legs and keep them up in the air.
Some people will find this leg position more comfortable than regular crunches.
The small downside that comes with that is that your ab muscles will likely go through a slightly smaller range of motion during raised leg crunches.
You can still see nice results from this ab exercise but the slightly smaller range of motion is just a bit less optimal than regular crunches.
In both of these (and other core exercises), you still need to do enough repetitions and pressure your ab muscles enough to reach certain training goals.
Raised leg crunches benefits
Besides the small differences in comfort and range of motion, raised leg crunches are very similar to the regular version.
In turn, the positive effects of this variation will be almost the same as the regular crunch benefits. Some examples are:
- Stronger muscles: If you use a good exercise plan, raise leg crunches can help you grow and strengthen your abs.
- No equipment or location required: Raised leg crunches are a bodyweight exercise. In turn, you don’t need specific exercise equipment or a specific location to work your abs.
- You could find them more comfortable: Some people will find raised leg crunches more comfortable on their hips and lower back than the regular version.
- May reduce or prevent back pain: Raised leg crunches can help you reduce or prevent back pain by strengthening your abs (1, 2).
- Makes your six-pack more visible: If your body fat percentage is low enough, growing your abs with raised leg crunches can make your six-pack more visible. This is typically considered to be a visual benefit.
If these benefits align with your situation and training goals, you can definitely consider adding raised leg crunches to your ab workouts.
Raised leg crunch alternatives
Even though they can be great, you may want to know what raised leg crunch alternatives are available. These can work your abs in different ways, work different muscles, and potentially be more fun for you.
- Regular crunches
- Ab wheel roll-outs
- Reverse crunches
- Bicycle crunches
- Hanging knee raises
- Exercise ball crunches
- Plank variations
Why you like raised leg crunches but don’t find them optimal will influence what alternatives are the best choices for you.
Are raised leg crunches a good exercise?
Raised leg crunches can be a good exercise for working your abs and more specifically the muscle fibers in the upper part.
Some people will find the raised leg version more comfortable on their hips and lower back than regular crunches.
In turn, the range of motion of your ab muscles is just a bit smaller. This tends to be less optimal for growing and strengthening these muscles.
So if you like regular crunches just as much, these are likely the better choice.
On the flip side, you can also still consider raised leg crunches if you like these. Potentially with some crunch exercise equipment and extra attention to reps and sets for your specific training goals.
Lastly, there are many other good ab and core exercises too. These can be great if you like their effects and movements.
Are raised leg crunches better?
Raised leg crunches tend to be tiny a bit better than the regular version in terms of comfort. On the other hand, regular crunches tend to be just a bit better in terms of training results.