If you want a simple exercise that gives you huge benefits, think about doing side leg raises. Or side leg lifts as they’re also called.
I know right, it’s
such a basic movement, but when it comes to strength training, or any
kind of training really, keeping it simple is best.
There’s not really
any magic formula, or any special movement that you can do that will
fast forward you to your goal. There’s no hack.
It’s about doing
And side leg raises,
are a fantastic exercise to do.
Want to learn more?
Of course you do...
Yes, side leg raises
are a great exercise, but what exactly are they?
Well, to explain,
I’m going to have to tell, roughly, how to do them.
with any exercise, doing them with proper form is going to give you
the best results. And will help prevent injury. If you’re unsure
about whether you have good form, please consult a personal trainer.
You can always contact me for a chat if you don’t want to see a
personal trainer locally.
Ok, so side leg
raises are done when you’re lying down on your side, and you lift
your top leg. So, if you’re lying on your right side you’ll lift
your left leg. And when you lye on your left side you’ll lift your
There are different
variations of the exercise, for example standing side leg raise, but
I’ll get to that in a moment.
The idea is you lift a single leg at a time to the side. Hold it for 5-10 seconds and then return to the starting position.
So, let’s get on
with the good stuff, why you need to be doing them. Why you should
include them in your workout routine.
As I mentioned
above, for such a simple exercise, side leg raises pack a punch when
it comes to benefits.
But that’s what
you like right?
In fact at Mamas
that Move, that’s what we love.
Making the most of
any time we have to workout. Doing exercises that have various
advantages. It’s what I live for.
So, what are some of the benefits.
Ok, this one might
be stating the obvious, but leg raises are going to improve your leg
strength. Yeah, I know, mind blown.
But do you know why
strengthening your legs is important?
They give us the
power to do, pretty much everything. All of our daily activities are
powered, at the core, by our legs.
So, if you’ve got
strong legs, everything you do will be that bit easier.
Seriously, side leg
raises can help to reduce lower back pain.
Hear me out.
Your lower back does
a lot of compensating when muscles in your lower body aren’t strong
enough to do their jobs properly.
particularly the case with your gluteal muscles.
You gluteus minimus,
gluteus medius and gluteus maximus, aka your bum.
Yeah, if your bum
isn’t doing it’s job properly your lower back compensates. And
your lower back muscles aren’t as big or as strong.
So, if you’re suffering from lower back pain, start by strengthening your bum. And yeah side leg raises are a great way to do that because they target all of your bum muscles as one unit.
Painful knees are a
The pain seeps into
everything you do. Because you need your knees a lot. Especially if
you’ve got kids your running around after. Picking up after.
Carrying when they’re too tired to walk any further.
As with lower back
pain, most knee pain, not all but most, happens because your knees
are compensating for weaknesses elsewhere in your body. Particularly
your lower body.
Whether it’s your
glutes, your thighs, your hips, something is not working quite as it
should. So, it stands to reason that addressing that source of
weakness could be the answer to your problems.
The problem is, if
you’re suffering from knee pain, the traditional lower body
strengthening exercises, squats, lunges, may not be an option for
you. You might not be able to do them.
That’s where side
leg raises come in.
They can help to strengthen your legs without you having to bend your knees.
A side effect of
stronger legs and a strong bum is that you’ll have better balance.
You might not be too
worried about your balance at the moment. I mean we don’t often go
around standing on one leg do we?
But, the thing is,
as we get older our ability to balance deteriorates. And that makes
everything harder. Believe me.
I suffered from
daily migraines and the pain affected my balance. I found just
walking to the bathroom a bit of a chore.
But keeping your lower body strong will help you keep your balance longer.
I’ve talked about
functional and compound movements before, but essentially they’re
the best type of exercise.
Because they work
lots of muscles in one movement. Which means you don’t have to
spend as long working out.
They also work your
body in a functional way. They way we do when we’re going about
Those movements get
stronger, which means you get stronger, and our every day gets a bit
Just in case your
interested here is a list of all of the muscles side leg raises
I think we’re all
agreed that the leg lift exercise is a fantastic exercise and one you
should definitely be doing.
But, are they all
you should be doing? And what do you do if you can’t lie on the
You’ll be happy to
know that there are lots of variations of side leg raises. Just leg
raises in general. And they are all just as beneficial, and easy to
If you struggle
getting down on the floor, you could try them in a standing position.
Hold onto something
if you need to, a wall, a chair, or a park bench.
For best results you
could even try taking your leg out to the side, to the front, behind
you and then the other side. That will make sure all of your leg and
your hip movement is being targeted.
If you can lie on
the floor you might try a double leg lift.
That will target
more of your abdominal muscles.
Once all of those
become ‘easy’ you could try adding in a resistance band, ankle
weights or even a medicine ball squeezed between your feet.
Slowing down the
movement will also give you more of a challenge.
There are always ways to make an exercise more challenging.
So, have I enticed you with these benefits of side leg raises? Are you going to
include them into your exercise program?
struggling to fit them into your training plan, then please do get in
touch. I’m always happy to help.
And remember, if you
want fun but quick home workouts delivered straight to your inbox,
sign up for my newsletter.