Lying Leg Raises

Leg raises are a great exercise for strengthening your lower abdominals and hip flexors. Here’s how you can perform them:

  1. Find a flat surface: Lie down on your back on a yoga mat or a comfortable flat surface. Keep your legs straight and together.
  2. Position your hands: Place your hands either under your glutes with palms down or by your sides for support. This helps stabilize your lower back.
  3. Start position: Begin with your legs straight and lifted slightly off the ground. Ensure your lower back is in contact with the ground to prevent any strain.
  4. Lift your legs: Slowly lift your legs up to a 90-degree angle. Keep your legs straight and together, and your movements controlled. The motion should come from your hips and lower abs.
  5. Lower your legs: Slowly lower your legs back down just above the floor without touching it. Keep your movements smooth and controlled to avoid any jerking.
  6. Repeat: Perform multiple repetitions based on your fitness level.


  • Keep your core engaged throughout the exercise to support your lower back.
  • If you feel any pain in your lower back, stop immediately.
  • For beginners, start by lifting your legs only as high as you can maintain proper form, even if that’s not fully 90 degrees.
  • You can increase the difficulty by adding ankle weights or holding the leg raise at the top for a few seconds.

This exercise can be quite effective for developing core strength when done consistently and with proper form!

Why does my lower back hurt when I do leg raises?

If your lower back hurts when doing leg raises, it might be due to a few common reasons:

  1. Weak Core Muscles: If your abdominal muscles are not strong enough, your lower back can take on more strain during leg raises. Strengthening your core can help alleviate this.
  2. Improper Form: Not keeping your lower back pressed firmly against the floor can lead to arching your back as you lift your legs, which puts undue stress on the lower back. Ensure that your back remains in contact with the ground throughout the exercise.
  3. Too Much Too Soon: If you’re performing leg raises with a form or range of motion that’s too advanced, or doing too many repetitions too soon, it can lead to lower back pain. Start gradually and increase intensity as your strength improves.
  4. Existing Back Issues: If you have pre-existing back problems such as a herniated disc or lower back pain, leg raises might aggravate your condition. Consult with a healthcare provider or physical therapist to adapt the exercise or find an alternative.
  5. Hip Flexor Tightness: Tight hip flexors can pull on the lower back during leg raises, leading to discomfort. Stretching and strengthening the hip flexors alongside other core exercises can be beneficial.

To help prevent back pain during leg raises, consider these tips:

  • Always warm up before exercising.
  • Focus on engaging your core throughout the movement.
  • Start with simpler versions of the exercise, like bent knee raises, and gradually progress to more challenging versions.
  • Include a variety of core strengthening exercises in your routine to build overall stability.

If the pain persists, it might be best to consult with a physical therapist who can provide personalized advice and adjustments to your exercise routine.