Iron Cross (How To, Muscles Worked, Alternatives)


Iron Cross

Iron Crosses are a great dynamic warm-up exercise for loosening up the hamstrings, groin, glutes and even low back.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Iron Crosses, explain what muscles they work and provide you with a few alternatives.


How To Do Iron Crosses


Equipment Needed

  • None

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Start lying on your back on the floor, legs straight out
  • Lift the right leg straight up to 90 degrees, keeping the leg as straight as possible
  • Now lower the leg down, across the body, keeping the leg perpendicular to the torso
  • Lightly tap the foot to the ground and then return it to the vertical position
  • Now lower the leg down, to the outside of the body and tap the ground again on this side of the body
  • Continue moving the leg from one side to the other until all reps are completed and then switch sides

Coaching Points

Do not rush through this movement. Focus on each portion of the exercise and work to increase range of motion as well as warming up the body.


Muscles Worked


Iron Crosses work the hamstrings, groin, glutes and low back.


Iron Cross Alternatives


If you cannot do Iron Crosses, for whatever reason, here are a few exercises that you might be able to use as a substitution.

Leg Swings

Leg Swings, especially the Side to Side variety, are very comparable to a standing version of Iron Crosses. If getting up and down off the floor is an issue then Leg Swings might be a perfect alternative.

Hip Circles

Hip Circles are similar to Leg Swings in the sense that they’re done standing, using a wall or a squat rack for balance. Start by make small circles with 0ne knee and slowly expand into bigger circles. Do this in both directions and with both legs.

This is a simple but effective movement to loosen up the hips and the groin.


More Links and Info


Make sure to check out the Warm-Up Section of the Exercise Library for more warm-up movements with complete step-by-step instructions.

Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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