When you are ready to start training, one of the best things you can do for your body is make sure to include compound movements. Compound movements, which will hit a variety of muscle groups at the same time, allow you to work out much more efficiently. By working several muscle groups at one time, you will burn more calories and build muscle tissue much more quickly than simply specializing on one at a time.

One favorite for many ab gurus is a compound movement called the hanging leg raise. This as a compound movement comes as a surprise to some because most people simply think of this as a simple ab exercise…An ab workout that usually hurts and is difficult that is, leading to many staying away from this extremely effective exercise.

So, what muscles are hit with hanging leg raises? Let’s start with your grip. When you grab the bar to perform hanging leg raises, you will want to engage a strong grip. This will work to build superior grip and forearm strength, especially as your reps of hanging leg raises increase. Once you get to the point of doing 20 or more hanging leg raises, you might have to depend on your grip and forearm strength for a minute or more.

Secondly, once you engage your grip, squeeze your lats as well. Your lats will get a great workout during hanging leg raises and once you get used to performing them, you can keep your lats fully engaged throughout the entire exercise.

Moving on, the next part of your body that will benefit from this “core” workout will be your hip flexors. These often overlooked areas of your core will get a terrific burn.

The last area to be hit will be your abdominals of course. Your abs will really receive a fantastic workout from hanging leg raises and those who start doing them regularly in their workouts often stop doing crunches altogether. The combination of the multiple muscle groups that are hit as well as the amazing ab workout you will get convert many to become solely devoted to this exercise as the basis of their core workout.

Performing hanging leg raises is simple. Simply grab onto a horizontal pull-up bar and hang. This first part is vital because this is the time you want to grip the bar tight and engage your lat muscles. Then, stabilize your core. Finally, slowly raise your knees to your chest and then bring them back down so that you are hanging fully extended once again. The first few times you perform hanging leg raises, your grip may fail before your abs do. This is fine because your abs and core will progress right along with your grip strength. Soon, you will be knocking out 15-20 hanging leg raises with ease. I can assure you this, by this time your core and specifically your abdominals will be REALLY strong. If you have been following a strict diet and doing some fat blasting cardio, you will probably own a seriously tight six pack.

There you have it, hanging leg raises. While others waste their time (and effort) by trying to focus on just their abs by performing hundreds of crunches, you can smile and know that just by knocking out 20 hanging leg raises, you will not only do more for your abs, but you will be hitting your entire core as well as other parts of your body as well.

Author's Bio: 

M2FitnessPros.com, aka Emile Jarreau, is a 31-year veteran fitness professional and co-owner of MrFatloss.com in Long Beach, California. Also having 19 years of bodybuilding and figure coaching experience, he specializes in fat loss and all its aspects and freely shares online resources to the world.