top of page

Hanging Leg raise > Toes To Bar

So last week I wrote a blog post titled “Your Why Determines your HOW” (in case you missed it:

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:

A post shared by Dave Hedges (@dave_hedges) on Jul 31, 2017 at 12:44am PDT

And current World Champion in Kettlebell Snatch, Maria:

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

129 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page