According to Brian Nguyen, owner of Brik Fitness and Mark Wahlberg's personal trainer, simply hanging on the bar is core work for the upper body.
"Some of my favorite exercises to do for the core involve static shoulders and dynamic hips," he says.
Hanging Leg Raises are a dynamite ab exercise. Raising your legs engages all of your abdominal muscles, including the lower abs—making makes the exercise better than Crunches, which only engage the upper abs.
There are a ton of ways to progress/regress the Hanging Leg Raise exercise to find the perfect challenge for you.
If the standard variation detailed below is too challenging, you can use a Hanging Knee Raise, as we've seen from UNC Baseball. This variation does not require you to keep your legs straight as you bring your knees up, but can still do a number on your abdominal muscles.
If you want to crank up the challenge, gymnast Brandon Wynn performs a variation that sees him raise his straight legs so high his shins nearly contact the bar on each rep. He also performs a variation called Hanging Leg Windmills, which look like pure ab-and-oblique-toning torture.
You can also perform a Hanging L-Sit by holding the contracted position (with legs parallel to the ground) for intervals or until failure.
How to Perform Hanging Leg Raises
• You can either hold directly onto a bar as if you were about to perform a Pull-Up, or attach ab loops to said bar and place your arms through them (as seen in the set-up here)
• Hang and allow your body to naturally straighten
• Tightening your core, bring your legs up until they're parallel to the ground. Do not bend your knees as you raise your feet
• Slowly lower your legs to the starting position
• Do your best to avoid rocking back and forth
Sets/Reps: 3-4 sets of 6-12 reps