Although it seems like a simple movement, the side leg raise has many benefits.
It can also help with daily activities, especially to prevent lower back painaccording to yoga teacher and trainer Samantha Parker, E-RYT, CPT.
“Activating and strengthening the glutes provides support to the pelvis, which can help decrease or even prevent back pain (depending on its origin),” she says. “At the same time, it also helps to ‘lift’ the buttocks, leading to a stronger butt.”
Here’s how to perform side leg raises with perfect form.
Lying Side Leg Raises: Step-by-Step Instructions
- Lie on your right side with your feet and hips stacked, legs straight, and head resting on your right arm.
- Keeping your core engaged, slowly lift your top leg until you feel your hips begin to tilt upward.
- Pause, then lower your top leg back to the starting position. Complete all repetitions, then switch sides, performing equal repetitions on both.
Make it harder: To make side leg raises more difficult, do a loop resistance band around your thighs, just above your knees, to further test your strength. Or you can keep your legs together and simultaneously lift them off the mat, which will engage the lower leg adductors.
Form Tips: When you raise and lower your top leg, the slower you move, the harder your muscles will work, says Parker. Go too fast and you’ll use your momentum instead of your strength.
She also suggests making sure to activate your abs. This will help engage your core and also limit the amount of movement in your torso, isolating the muscles more effectively.
What muscles work a side leg raise?
Because you’re working against gravity and trying to maintain stability, lateral leg raises are ideal. bodyweight trainingespecially for your hips, glutes and core, according to Parker.
Here is what triggers:
- Glutes: THE muscles of your butt not only help you during squats and lunges, but they help abduct your legs (move them to the sides), especially the Gluteus medius and the small gluteus.
- Inner thighs: In the case of the double lateral leg raise, the adductors (the muscles of your inner thighs) of your lower leg will have a lot of work lifting it.
Alternatives to Lying Lateral Leg Raises
For some people, the extended side leg raise can make a hip problem worse or simply wear out its welcome. With that in mind, Parker suggests a few other ways to benefit.
Lie on your side as in the standard leg raise, but with your hips and knees bent. Next, lift your top knee as far as possible without rotating your hip or lifting your bottom knee.
Standing leg raise
Stand up straight and use a wall, chair, or counter for balance, maintaining a straight spine as you lift one leg out to the side.
Get on all fours and lift one bent leg out to the side at a time. Add a resistance band for an added challenge.