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  1. #1
    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    Ab straps vs hanging?

    I've been doing a lot of hanging leg/knee raises lately. Some people say straight leg raises are more difficult, but that the knee raises give a better contraction and work the hip flexors less.
    I don't know which one is better. I usually start out with leg raises and when fatigue kicks in, i finish the set with knee raises to failure.

    However i noticed that my arms also fatigue while hanging from the pull up bar.
    I used ab straps yesterday for the first time and i felt i could go on longer/focussing solely on my stomach and really go to failure until my entire stomach burned. It honestly felt great.

    Now my question is: Which one do you think is better? With or without straps? And leg raises or knee raises?
    Thanks for reading!
    Last edited by backinthegymbro; 11-12-2019 at 02:53 AM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    If the goal is working the abs and not the grip and the straps allow you to feel the abs better than use the straps for sure.

    Regarding straight vs bent, it somewhat depends on your flexibility and current strength levels. Either way you need to rotate the pelvis upward (as opposed to just hinging at the hip crease) to engage the abs directly as opposed to just statically as a stabilizer. If you are flexible enough and strong enough to do this in a controlled fashion with straight legs then go for it and feel free to bend your legs more as you fatigue.

    If your goal is to work the hip flexors specifically, then place a dumbbell between your feet and bring your knees up as high as you can go without rotating your pelvis significantly.

    I will say doing them slowly and in control with straight legs is very difficult. I can do a set of 10+ dragonflags and struggle to do more than a few reps of straight legs raises slow & controlled, but I also don't generally do them so that also plays a role in my relative weakness.
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    pay the iron price SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    If you want to focus on abs not hip flexors then it helps to know that the abs curl the spine - whereas the hip flexors move the femur.

    So focus on curling your spine, not just swinging the legs from the hip.

    If you try a dragon flag for example, you should not change your hip angle at all, the movement should come from spinal flexion. Same with the HLRs.
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    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    If you want to focus on abs not hip flexors then it helps to know that the abs curl the spine - whereas the hip flexors move the femur.
    So focus on curling your spine, not just swinging the legs from the hip.
    Definitely. I always try to move the pelvis towards my face, curling it up. Bringing it up with my stomach muscles instead of any swinging momentum.

    I did dragon flags before (after watching rocky 4), but i don't feel them at all in my stomach. The fixed hip position is probably the reason for that.
    Most of the pressure is on my lower back when i do them. They look cool though.
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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    Definitely. I always try to move the pelvis towards my face, curling it up. Bringing it up with my stomach muscles instead of any swinging momentum.

    I did dragon flags before (after watching rocky 4), but i don't feel them at all in my stomach. The fixed hip position is probably the reason for that.
    Most of the pressure is on my lower back when i do them. They look cool though.
    Could you post a video of yourself doing dragonflags? I only feel them in my abs, nowhere else (significantly).
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    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    I love the ab straps.
    Taking away the grip aspect is a good thing for ab focus.
    I like the bent knee position also.
    Try curling your butt and legs coming up and chin to the chest in the contracted position.
    You won't completely eliminate hip flexor involvement but you'll reduce it.
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    Replies in 1/2 hr - 3 day GeneralSerpant's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    I've been doing a lot of hanging leg/knee raises lately. Some people say straight leg raises are more difficult, but that the knee raises give a better contraction and work the hip flexors less.
    I don't know which one is better. I usually start out with leg raises and when fatigue kicks in, i finish the set with knee raises to failure.

    However i noticed that my arms also fatigue while hanging from the pull up bar.
    I used ab straps yesterday for the first time and i felt i could go on longer/focussing solely on my stomach and really go to failure until my entire stomach burned. It honestly felt great.

    Now my question is: Which one do you think is better? With or without straps? And leg raises or knee raises?
    Thanks for reading!
    Just for you I tried some straight-leg situps to kick off my ab workout at gym today. I really thought that it was going to be weirdly hard, but it seemed just less comfortable than with bent-legs. You get more leverage between the quads and the hip-flexors when leg extension isn't fully activated.
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