Fitness ABC – Letter D
is actually for “Der Dampfer” or “Steam-ship”. For our purposes I think we can refer to it as: Drop your feet down!
Leg Raise Exercise
This is simply a leg raise (and a leg drop!) exercise – one of the BEST abdominal exercises there is!
Lie flat on the floor with arms stretched overhead and toes stretched forward. In this position you should be as LONG as you can possibly be! Image you are a long steamer, about to start puffing your way slowly up the river.
The first thing you need to do is raise your chimney stack (i.e. the legs!), so breathe out and lift both of those legs at the same time, until the toes are pointing straight up into the air (or as close as you can get).
In a bad bit of planning, however, the stretch of river you are going up has an awful lot of low bridges! Luckily, however, your chimney stack is hinged, so you simply breathe in and lower your legs. After you have mentally passed under the bridge, you can raise your chimney again.
Performing this exercise at a slow and steady pace is going to increase the STRENGTH in your abdominal area AND improve your FLEXIBILITY (as well as working all kinds of little stabilizing muscles). 8-12 is a good number of repetitions to start with.
Perform the Leg Raise Safely
Try and keep the lower back in contact with the floor at all times – in other words you want your ENTIRE back in contact with the floor.
In the beginning it is perfectly acceptable to start with your hands placed by your sides or under your lower back for support.
Keep the ab area ‘tight’ throughout the movements and if need be, start by only lifting your legs half way. There are more than enough variations of this exercise to get you going somehow!
Leg Raise Video:
In other routines:
Take a look at these images from the 1937 Daily Dozen for Boys and Men:
The picture on the left is a one-legged leg raise – you simply alternate legs. It is then a natural progression to move into another classic abdominal exercise: the bicycle. Keeping the back flat as detailed above, simply start to pedal – don’t think it’s going to be easy!