The leg raise is basic, but doing it "locked-in" with a resistance band takes it to a whole new level. This is predominantly an anti-extension exercise, challenging your core to maintain a neutral spine when lowering down.

Band-Locked Leg Raise

The resistance band creates whole-body tension, helped by the additional lat engagement from the straight-arm pulldown motion. Use a lighter band for more of a shaky and unstable feel, or a heavier band for more of a high-tension "trying not to pass out" kind of feel.

How to Do It

  1. Set the band in a rack about arms-length from the floor. Use anything that's sturdy to loop the band between: trees, fence posts, chairs, etc.
  2. Grab the band with a palms-down grip, then activate your lats by pulling the band downward in a straight-arm lat pulldown motion. Keep your low back pressed into the floor.
  3. Raise your legs up to vertical.
  4. Repeat for 12-20 reps.

To make these even harder, try holding something between your feet like a medicine ball. Or if you have good core control, have a partner (gently!) push your legs down to eccentrically overload your anterior core.

Related: Advanced Core Training, Minimal Equipment

Related: Nasty Ab Training