Med Ball Straight Leg Raises is a great core exercise that emphasizes the lower abs. In addition to the abs, because of how the med ball has to be squeezed between the feet its also a very effective groin movement.
They can fit perfectly either in a warm-up, as a superset or along with other ab exercises as part of a full core routine.
In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to properly do Medicine Ball Straight Leg Leg Raises. I’ll also highlight some important coaching tips, muscles worked and give you some alternatives you can try out as well.
How To Do Med Ball Straight Leg Raises
- Medicine Ball
- Groin (Adductor Longus, Adductor Brevis, Adductor Magnus)
- Abdominals (Rectus Abdominis, Obliquus Externus Abdominis)
- Hip Flexors (Iliopsoas, Rectus Femoris)
- Lay on your back, legs straight and place a medicine ball between your feet.
- Arms can either be at your side or underneath your low back as support*.
- Start by raising the feet to six inches off the floor (should be high enough to get the ball off the floor).
- Now, using the core, raise the feet until they are straight up (perpendicular to the floor**)
- Finally, lower the legs under control back to the starting position – feet six inches from the floor. Try to keep the medicine ball from hitting the floor in between reps.
- Repeat for the designated number of reps.
*Some will find that Straight Leg Leg Raises puts an uncomfortable strain on the low back. Placing both hands under the low back will alleviate this strain for most. If you still find the exercise uncomfortable then I suggest trying one of the alternatives below.
**If you find yourself struggling with being able to get your legs to perpendicular to the floor while keeping them straight, then I would highly suggest working on your hamstring flexibility. You should be able to achieve at least this level of range of motion.
Don’t rush through the movement. The eccentric portion of the movement (lowering the legs) is just as effective at working the abs as the concentric portion.
How Many Reps?
I generally program Medicine Ball Straight Leg Raises as part of either the warm-up or as a part of a core routine with other core exercises. 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 20 reps.
Medicine Ball Leg Raise Variations
Straight Leg Leg Raise
The simplest variation for Med Ball Leg Raises is to simply remove the medicine ball and do Straight Leg Leg Raises.
If you’re finding the medicine ball version too difficult, or if you simply do not have a medicine ball, the bodyweight version of the exercise is still extremely effective.
Med Ball Straight Leg Raise Alternatives
Need an alternative for Med Ball Straight Leg Raises? Here are a couple of exercises that you may be able to use as a substitute.
Suitcase Crunches are another one of my favorite bodyweight core exercises that focuses on the lower abs.
Balance sitting on your butt with your feet and shoulders up off the ground. Crunch in, bringing your knees and shoulders together – like closing a suitcase – and then extend back out.
These can also be done with a medicine ball (or weight plate) to add some extra resistance.
Knees to Elbows
Want to ramp up the challenge? Try Knees to Elbows.
For Knees to Elbows you’ll need a sturdy pull-up bar. Grab the bar with an overhead grip and flex the elbows.
Now crunch up, bringing the knees up and lightly touching the elbows. Control the legs on the way down to keep yourself from swinging uncontrollably back and forth.
More Links and Info
Looking for more core exercises? Our Exercise Library has dozens of Core Movements, all with complete instructions and coaching tips.