The Roman chair leg raise is a recommended exercise for abs for the highly effective targeting of the abdominal muscles and even helps to develop a strong core. The Roman chair happens to be a specialized piece of exercise equipment designed to support the body during core-strengthening exercises.

There is a padded seat and two armrests, allowing the individual performing the exercise to stabilize the upper body while performing leg raises. This happens to be a challenging exercise that has shown good results by working on isolating the rectus abdominis, obliques, and hip flexors.


How to perform Roman chair leg raise?

How to perform Roman Chair Leg Raise
How to perform Roman Chair Leg Raise

Step 1: Initial positioning:

  • Sit on the Roman chair with your back against the backrest and your arms resting on the armrests.
  • Place your feet on the footrest, ensuring your legs are slightly extended.

Step 2: Engaging the core:

  • Activate your core muscles by drawing your navel inwards towards your spine.
  • Maintain this engagement throughout the exercise.

Step 3: Lifting the legs:

  • Exhale and slowly raise your legs until they are parallel to the floor or as high as you can comfortably go.
  • Focus on using your abdominal muscles to lift your legs while minimizing momentum.
Roman-chair leg raises (Image via Getty Images)
Roman-chair leg raises (Image via Getty Images)

Step 4: Lowering the legs:

  • Inhale and slowly lower your legs back to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the descent.
  • Avoid letting your feet touch the footrest to keep tension on your abdominal muscles.

Step 5: Breathing techniques:

  • Exhale during the exertion phase (lifting the legs) to engage the core muscles more effectively.
  • Inhale during the relaxation phase (lowering the legs) to facilitate proper breathing and maintain stability.

Step 6: Increasing difficulty:

  • As you become more comfortable with the exercise, you can increase the difficulty by adding ankle weights or performing variations such as oblique leg raises.

Variations to try

Oblique Roman chair leg raise: Instead of lifting your legs straight, twist your torso to the side as you raise your legs, this variation would target the oblique muscles and helps develop a more defined waistline.

Roman-chair leg raises (Image via Getty Images)
Roman-chair leg raises (Image via Getty Images)

Weighted Roman chair leg raise: Secure ankle weights around your ankles or hold a dumbbell between your feet while performing the leg raise, so adding resistance would challenge your muscles further and promote strength gains.

Hanging Roman chair leg raise: If a Roman chair is not available, you can use a pull-up bar to perform hanging leg raises. Hang from the bar with your arms extended, and then raise your legs to a horizontal position, this variation engages the core and upper body muscles simultaneously.


Common mistakes to avoid

Arching the back: Maintain a neutral spine position throughout the exercise to prevent excessive arching of the lower back. Engage your core and focus on lifting your legs with your abdominal muscles.

Using momentum: Avoid swinging or using momentum to lift your legs. Instead, prioritize controlled movements and concentrate on muscle contraction during each repetition.

Roman-chair leg raises (Image via Julien Quaglierini)
Roman-chair leg raises (Image via Julien Quaglierini)

Neglecting proper breathing: Breathe consciously and synchronize your breath with the movement. Exhale during the exertion phase (lifting the legs) and inhale during the relaxation phase (lowering the legs).


Benefits of the Roman chair leg raise

Core strength and stability: The Roman chair leg raise primarily targets the core muscles, leading to improved strength and stability in your midsection which in turn, enhances performance in various activities and reduces the risk of back injuries.

Sculpted abdominal muscles: Consistently performing the exercise would help sculpt the abdominal muscles, resulting in a more defined and chiseled appearance, and combining this movement with proper nutrition and other abdominal workouts would provide optimal results.

Sculpted abs and strong core (Image via Getty Images)
Sculpted abs and strong core (Image via Getty Images)

Improved posture and spine health: Strengthening the core muscles through exercises like the Roman chair leg raise helps improve the body posture and support the spine. A strong core provides stability and reduces the strain on the back, promoting better spinal health.




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