So last week I wrote a blog post titled “Your Why Determines your HOW” (in case you missed it: http://wg-fit.com/wp/blog/your-why-determines-your-how/)
In it I mention how the post was inspired by coaches sharing video of their clients “achieving” movements but with shocking form.
Much of the inspiration was from seeing my instagram feed of late featured videos of people “achieving” a drill known as Toes To Bar
While the “T2B” is a valid exercise, I’m old and therefore call them by their old name:
Hanging Leg Raises
Notice the difference in the names…..
Toes to Bar vs Hanging Leg Raise
The first is a GOAL The second is a DESCRIPTION
Focusing on simply getting to the goal can lead to the search for shortcuts, it removes the idea of progression and regression as options. It says toes to bar, so you want to touch your toes to the bar, who cares how!
Whereas a description, well that means you can raise you legs, then gradually raise them further, or more preferably, better.
It’s an exercise.
And a quick google search for the definition of the word exercise tells us:
exercise noun 1. activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness. “exercise improves your heart and lung power” synonyms: physical activity, movement, exertion, effort, work; More 2. an activity carried out for a specific purpose. “an exercise in public relations”
So what is the specific purpose of the Hanging Leg raise?
1: Abdominal Strength 2: Hip and Spine Flexion 3: Grip
What does it require (prerequisites)
1: Ability to acheive posterior pelvic tilt 2: Functional (ie not overburdened/tight) Lats 3: Shoulders that are stable in the overhead position 4: Hamstring flexibility 5: Hip flexors that work 6: Adductors that work 7: the ability to do both relaxed and active hangs for 60 second holds
So it’s not for everybody.
But for those that tick the boxes, it’s a fantastic exercise.
These two video’s are examples of two of my athletes, both who compete at the world level in their respective sports.
They BOTH tick all the prerequisite boxes, but that STILL doesn;t mean we insist on touching the bar. That would be detrimental to the goals we are trying to achieve in using this exercise.
Here’s Aneta who competes in Kyokushin Karate:
Aneta straight back at it after two World Tournament’s and a well earned break Hanging leg raises are a great abdominal training exercise that involve the hip flexors A great choice for most athletes, especially combat athletes While she is both strong enough and flexible enough to perform this with straight legs lifting to touch the bar, that wouldn’t be appropriate for the context we are using this movement for. As this is part of a two movement finisher, legs bent allows for a higher volume and quicker pace for that armour building effect. #wgfamily #irishfitfam #thewhydeterminesthehow #kyokushin #karate #fullcontact #martialarts #strength #mobility #endurance #core #corestrength #bjj #mma
A post shared by Dave Hedges (@dave_hedges) on Jul 31, 2017 at 12:44am PDT
And current World Champion in Kettlebell Snatch, Maria:
Maria showing the 4 ways she likes to use the Hanging Leg Raise In any sport strong abs and hip flexors are vital, in an extension based sport such as Kettlebell Sport, its not just important for health, but also balanced development of the body #wgfamily #irishfitfam #abs #corestrength #kettlebells #kettleheads #kettlebellsport #girevoysport #strength #mobility #endurance
A post shared by Dave Hedges (@dave_hedges) on Aug 6, 2017 at 1:15pm PDT
As you can see, the goal isn’t “Toes to Bar” the goal is anterior core strength.
Or to use a phrase from my strength coaching man crush, Mr Dan John:
“Keep the Goal, the Goal”
And don’t be flopping about under the bar in a manner that will only develop blisters and big egos
Seriously, no one but a small few will be impressed and your chances of exacerbating your injuries / movement dysfunctions goes up every set, rather than down.
And that goes against the very point of training.
We train to get fitter, faster and stronger. We train to develop Strength, Mobility and Endurance
Getting hurt in the gym is just stupid and counter to the very reason we are there in the first place!
Dave Hedges www.Wg-Fit.com