Side leg raises are one of the best bodyweight exercises to incorporate in your workout program if you want to target your hip abductor muscles. Although it appears to be a basic movement, the lying side leg lift has a lot of advantages. And the best part is that it can be done anywhere, including while watching television.
You’ll shape and build your hips, thighs, and backside by including side leg lifts in your workout.
Why Do Side Leg Raises
Side leg raises involve pushing away your leg from your midline (abducting). It’s a terrific and simple approach to strengthen the gluteus medius and minimus, as well as the outer thighs and hip abductors.
This exercise helps you “switch on” your glutes, which will aid you in squats and lunges. This can also aid daily activities, particularly in the prevention of lower back pain.
It can be done lying down or standing up, and it only requires your body weight. This makes it simple to squeeze in a few reps almost anywhere.
Since the pelvis is supported by activating and strengthening the glutes, it can help reduce or even prevent back discomfort (depending on its source). At the same time, this aids in ‘lifting’ the butt, resulting in a more attractive behind.
How To Perform Side Leg Raises With Perfect Form
Begin with 2–3 sets of 10–15 reps for side leg lifts. Sets and repetitions should be chosen depending on your ability to maintain good technique throughout all sets and repetitions.
- On an exercise mat, lie on your right side. To support your head and neck, place a little towel or your right hand under your chin. Keep your head and neck in a neutral position. Throughout the action, keep your chin tucked, as if you were cradling an egg beneath your chin.
- To support your upper body, place your left hand on the side of your left hip or in front of your waist. Your ribs should be down and your pelvis should be somewhat tucked. Activate your core. Without locking your knees, your legs should be fully extended and placed on top of each other. Make a straight line with your body. This is where you should start all repeats.
- Lift your left leg 10–15 inches away from your right leg to begin the upward movement while keeping your alignment. At the top of the movement, take a breather.
- Return your leg to the starting position slowly.
- Repeat until you’ve completed the appropriate number of repetitions. Then do the same thing on the other side.
According to ACE Fitness, the gluteus medius is largely covered by the gluteus maximus. It stabilizes the pelvis while abducting and medially rotating the thigh (moving the thigh inward so that the knee points toward your other leg). The gluteus medius on the right side is actively working to abduct the thigh while the gluteus medius on the left side is supporting the pelvis when completing the side leg lift with your right leg.
The gluteus minimus is the tiniest of the gluteal muscles, and it is located deep beneath the other two. The gluteus medius relies on this muscle for pelvic stabilization and thigh abduction.
The tensor fasciae latae is a muscle that is encased in connective tissue layers. The iliotibial tract is a long, thick muscle that starts in the hips and joins to the knee via the short, thick iliotibial muscle. In thigh abduction and medial rotation, this muscle aids the gluteus medius and minimus muscles. Because it crosses the knee, it helps to stabilise the joint and maintain it straight during the workout.
Make it more difficult
Do the side leg raises without resistance when you first start working on them, whether you’re standing or lying down. You can use a resistance band or a cable machine to enhance resistance as you get stronger. Perform two to three sets of 20 to 30 repetitions with only your body weight as resistance. Complete two to three sets of 10 to 20 repetitions if using weights. To allow for muscular recovery, side leg lifts should only be done every other day.
Side Leg Raises Benefits
There are various advantages to including side leg lifts in your strength-training routine.
- Hip mobility is improved by side leg raises. Side leg raises, done correctly, strengthen the hip abductor muscles that lift your leg away from your body, particularly the gluteus minimus and gluteus medius.
- Side leg lifts help you strengthen your core. The side leg raise is a terrific exercise for building functional strength and stability throughout your core by exercising your abs, hip flexors, and lower back muscles.
- Side leg raises are versatile. Consider trying a more demanding variation with ankle weights or a resistance band wrapped around your legs once you’ve mastered the regular side leg raise. Try the standing side leg raise variant if you want to use your stabiliser muscles more.
Here are some pointers to make the most of your side leg raises.
When doing the standing version
- Make an effort to keep your legs straight. This will allow you to get the most out of the workout while also preventing back pain.
- Make sure your hips are in line with your knees and that your knees aren’t locked. As you proceed through the workout, they should be soft and relaxed.
- Throughout the workout, keep your trunk and back straight.
When you’re lying down, take care of the following:
- Throughout the exercise, try not to raise your leg too high. When you start to feel pressure in your lower back or obliques, lower it.
- Maintain a tight core during the exercise to ease some of the pressure on your lower back.
Including side leg lifts in your program, whether standing or lying down, is a terrific and simple technique to strengthen your hips, thighs, and buttocks. This aids in maintaining your balance, posture, and daily activities.
However, if you have hip difficulties or had in the past, see a doctor before incorporating this activity into your workout routine.
Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant.
He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves.
Rahul has a master’s degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.