Are leg raises the greatest single abdominal exercise known to man?

 

This is day 4 of our Fact or Fad prison series where we will continue to progress through the 6 core movements of convict conditioning – an amazing calisthenics training program.

Here is a quick summary of the 6 “Core Movements”

  1. Pushups
  2. Squats
  3. Pull Ups
  4. Leg Raises
  5. Bridges
  6. Handstand Pushups

Today we are going to focus on the fourth of “The Big Six Movements”:

Movement Four: Leg Raises

This is meant to be a supplement to Convict Conditioning as it is imperative to understand the correct implementation of each movement and the history behind them.

As a bonus, you can preview and download the portable Convict Conditioning Movement 4 Leg Raises Cheat Sheet Here.

A Note From The Book: by Coach Paul Wade

The following is an excerpt from the book.

Crunches and Other Modern Madness

If you really crave a midsection, the first thing you’re going to have to do is forget everything you’ve learned about modern abdominal training methods.

It might surprise you for example that the ”ultimate” modern ab exercise-the one touted in all the gyms and muscle magazines, was never intended to develop the stomach muscles at all. This exercise is the crunch and all its variations; the reverse crunch, the twisting crunch, the incline crunch, etc.

The idea that you need to perform multiple exercises to properly train your abdomen is another modern myth.

You may have been told that in exercises where you raise the torso, the “upper” abs get worked, and that in exercises where you raise the legs or hips the “lower” abs get worked.

Any trained anatomist will tell you that this is crap.

The abdominal muscles are attached to. the sternum at one end, and the pelvis at the other end. These muscles contract along their entire length evenly-you can’t contract one end more than the other, no matter how you move. It would  be like holding a length of elastic at each end and trying to pull one end to make it stretch more than the opposite side. You couldn’t do it; the elastic would stretch evenly along its length, just as muscles contract evenly along their length.

Current training ideology is obsessed with the six-pack.

This is another modern error in think­ing.

For athletic ability and true core strength, it’s important to think in terms of the “midsection” or “waist” rather than just the abs.

There are dozens of major muscles in the waist-the rectus abdominis is just one set. When training the midsection, never forget that it is just that-a middle section. It’s not divorced from the upper and lower body; it exists to help them work together.

For this reason, the best way to develop an all-round powerful waist is not by performing isolation exercises, crunches, or machine work-it’s by using the body as an integrated unit.

Punching, throwing, pushing, kicking, lifting the body around; all these activities combine to stimulate the waist muscles and bring about harmonious, balanced development.

Old School Ab Work: Sit-Ups and Leg Raises

The muscles of the midsection are firing to stabilize the body almost all the time. If they didn’t, you would collapse. During strenuous movements-any strenuous movements-they fire propor­tionately harder. But if you really want to take your abdominal development to the next level, you need to specialize in training them with a single major movement. Really learn to master that movement, getting stronger and stronger over a long period of time until your waist possesses ungodly strength-that’s the way to a six-pack from hell!

In the old days of training- before the nineteen-seventies- two exercises used to vie for the title of ”ultimate” midsection exercise. These exercises were situps and Leg raises.

Sit-ups and leg raises work the midsection in similar ways, but from opposite directions; in sit-ups, the abdomen contracts to lift the torso; in leg raises, the abdomen contracts to lift the lower limbs. Remember, you really don’t need to do both-as I said earlier, there are no “upper” or “lower” abs. Either the abdomen contracts or it doesn’t. So which of these two classics is best?

Both these ”old fashioned” exercises are supremely effective, but in prisons leg raises have always been much more popular.

There are three reasons for this:

  1. Hanging leg raises require less equipment than sit-ups. This is a biggie, especially for con­victs. To do sit-ups progressively, you need an adjustable sit-up board, or a Roman chair, or weights to hold onto; ideally, all three. To work up to hanging leg raises, all you require is something to grip-an overhead bar, a tree branch, stair railings, etc. Anybody can find something to hang from if they look hard enough.
  2. Hanging leg raises are more functional than sit-ups. Sit-ups train the nervous system to push the torso forward at the hips; leg raises train the hips to lift up the legs. This second action is far more natural, and more useful in athletics; the legs must be lifted when kicking, jumping, running, climbing, etc.
  3. Hanging leg raises work more muscles than sit-ups. Forcing the abs to work while the body is hanging causes many more muscles to come into play than during sit-up training. Hanging develops the grip, shoulders and lats, and forces the serratus muscles around the ribcage to work strongly as an intermediary link between the ribs and midsection. To keep the legs straight, the deeper muscle heads of the quadriceps also work hard during leg raises.

For these reasons, the Convict Conditioning system includes the leg raise as one of The Big Six: major movements. It really is the greatest single abdominal exercise known to man. It’s all you’ll ever need for maximum waist power, flexibility and muscle.

The Leg Raise Series

1. Knee Tucks

  1. Beginner Standard: 1 set of 10
  2. Intermediate Standard: 2 sets of 25
  3. Progression Standard 3 sets of 40

(Watch Video)

Convict Conditioning Leg Raises

2. Flat Knee Raises

  1. Beginner Standard: 1 set of 10
  2. Intermediate Standard 2 sets of 20
  3. Progression Standard 3 sets of 35

(Watch Video)

Flat Knee Raises

3. Flat Bent Leg Raises

  1. Beginner Standard: 1 set of 10
  2. Intermediate Standard: 2 sets of 15
  3. Progression Standard: 3 sets of 30

(Watch Video)

Flat Bent Leg Raises

4. Flat Frog Raises

  1. Beginner Standard: 1 set of 8
  2. Intermediate Standard: 2 sets of 15
  3. Progression Standard: 3 sets of 25

(Watch Video)

Flat Frog Raises

5. Flat Straight Leg Raises

  1. Beginner Standard: 1 set of 5
  2. Intermediate Standard: 2 sets of 10
  3. Progression Standard: 2 sets of 20

(Watch Video)

Flat Straight Leg Raises

6. Hanging Knee Raises

  1. Beginner Standard: 1 set of 5
  2. Intermediate Standard: 2 sets of 10
  3. Progression Standard: 2 sets of 15

(Watch Video)

Hanking Knee Raises

7. Hanging Bent Leg Raises

  1. Beginner Standard: 1 set of 5
  2. Intermediate Standard: 2 sets of 10
  3. Progression Standard: 2 sets of 15

(Watch Video)

Hanging Bent Leg Raises

8. Hanging Frog Raises

  1. Beginner Standard: 1 set of 5
  2. Intermediate Standard: 2 sets of 10
  3. Progression Standard: 2 sets of 15

(Watch Video)

Hanging Frog Raises

9. Partial Straight Leg Raises

  1. Beginner Standard: 1 set of 3 (both sides)
  2. Intermediate Standard: 2 sets of 5 (both sides)
  3. Progression Standard: 2 sets of 7 (both sides)

(Watch Video)

Partial Straight Leg Raises
10. Master Step: Hanging Straight Leg Raises

  1. Beginner Standard: 1 set of 5
  2. Intermediate Standard: 2 sets of 10
  3. Master: 2 sets of 30

(Watch Video)

Hanging Straight Leg Raises

Preview and download the 4’th of 7 Convict Conditioning Cheat Sheets on Scribd.

Previous Convict Conditioning Cheat Sheets can be found here:

  1. Pushup
  2. Squats
  3. Pull-ups

Series Progression Chart Convict Conditioning – Leg Raises

Series Progression Leg Raise Series Progression Leg Raise

Training Programs: (for the Busy “Convict”)

The New Blood (Step 1) Good Behavior (Step 2)
The New Blood Training Schedule Good Behavior Training Schedule
  • Practice this program, or a similar routine, during your early work on the ten steps.
  • Once you get past Step 6 on all four of the exercises mentioned, it’s time to move to the next program.
• Good Behavior can be worked into almost anybody’s busy schedule. • This program can (and should) be used by any athlete to achieve solid strength gains-no matter how advanced they are.
The Veterano (step 3) Solitary Confinement (step 4)
The Veterano Trainig Schedule Solitary confinement convict conditioning
  • This workout is good for those with limited time on their hands. Sessions can often be completed in under six or seven minutes per day!
  • Recovery is actually pretty fast during this program because the athlete never works the upper or lower body two days in a row. The exercises alternate in the most efficient manner possible.
  • For athletes looking to gain strength and work their way up through the ten steps, this routine can be very productive. Because only one exercise is performed on a given day, the athlete can really focus and give his all.
  • This program includes ancillary work for the grip, neck, and calves. If you like the idea of trying these extras, but can’t take the daily workload, add a day’s rest between training sessions, or whenever you feel the need .
  • This program is mean. Unless you are in good shape and living clean-regular meals, plenty of sleep, etc.-be prepared to get bullied, big time.

 

Best of luck, and if you are reading this in jail, please let us know in the comments section below so I can contact my inside connections and send you updates!  Smile