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Hanging ab exercises can be very challenging. Not necessarily in doing enough reps of them but rather doing enough quality reps of them. In order to do the hanging leg raise effectively, you’re going to first have to teach your body how to stop swinging. Far too many people allow momentum to carry them through the exercise and they mistake the act of completing a rep with the action of completing a meaningful rep.
In this video, I’m going to show you a simple tip that you can employ on the very next set of hanging leg raises (or any other hanging ab exercise for that matter) that will help you to gain full control of your body and prevent unwanted swinging on every rep. The key to minimizing the momentum is to not let the body be at the mercy of momentum. How do we do that? We can do this by engaging the muscles that are at our disposal that are capable of stabilizing us when the only two points of contact we have are our hands on the bar.
Some will try and squeeze the bar to gain support and stability however this will only cause the forearms to fatigue faster than your abs or lats if you are attempting to do a pullup or chinup. Instead, you want to look a bit further down the kinetic chain to your shoulder blades. If you can control the scapula and prevent unwanted motion there, then you are going to be able to impact the hands through their connection to the humerus.
So here is what you want to do. Before you start your next repetition of a hanging ab raise or leg raise, first engage the lower traps by pulling the shoulder blades down. You should be sure to keep your arms straight the entire time. If you bend your elbows when pulling the shoulder blades down you are likely just using your biceps to do the work. This is not going to accomplish what we are trying to do. Instead, keep the arms straight and pull the arms down to engage the lower traps and set up the stability in the shoulder blades.
If you don’t have the requisite strength in your shoulder blades to perform this exercise tweak when hanging that is ok. Instead, start by performing this in a captains chair with your back pressed into the back pad. The additional surface area that you are pushing through will give you a better chance at stabilizing your body to prevent swinging while doing the hanging ab exercises.
Progress to moving out to the dip bars and make sure to depress the scapula when doing the leg raises from here. Obviously, you don’t have the support of your back here so this is going to be more difficult. Once you’ve mastered this, get up on the bar and do your hanging ab exercises with just the tweak the lower trap and scapular depression. You’ll stop the swinging and start noticing better results from these exercises in no time at all.
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