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Captain's Chair Leg Raise 101 Video Tutorial

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Captain's Chair Leg Raise
Captain's Chair Leg Raise

Exercise Synopsis

Target Muscle Group


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Required Equipment

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The Captain's Chair Leg Raise is a highly effective abdominal exercise that primarily targets the abs while also engaging the hamstrings as secondary muscles. Utilizing the Captain's Chair apparatus, this exercise involves gripping the handles and positioning oneself on the chair with the back against the backrest and elbows resting on the arm pads. With legs hanging freely, the individual lifts their knees towards their chest or straightens their legs towards the ceiling, engaging the abdominal muscles to control the movement. This exercise effectively strengthens the core muscles, particularly the rectus abdominis, while also providing a secondary workout for the hamstrings.

How to Perform

  1. Position yourself on the Roman Chair apparatus, ensuring your forearms are resting along the horizontal pads and your hands are gripping the handles, with your back against the back pad.

  2. Lift your feet off the supports so they are hanging freely, establishing the starting position for the exercise.

  3. With your legs straight and feet and knees together, initiate the movement by raising your legs upwards as high as possible, engaging the lower abdominal muscles.

  4. Hold the raised position for a brief pause, focusing on contracting the abs, before slowly lowering your legs back down to the starting position.

  5. Maintain control throughout the movement to maximize muscle engagement and prevent swinging or momentum.

  6. Aim to perform the exercise with a full range of motion, ensuring that your legs are raised as high as possible without compromising form.

  7. Focus on breathing steadily throughout the exercise, exhaling as you lift your legs and inhaling as you lower them back down.

  8. Avoid arching your back or swinging your legs to generate momentum; instead, rely on the strength of your abdominal muscles to lift and lower your legs.

  9. Keep your movements slow and controlled, emphasizing quality over quantity to effectively target the abs and minimize the risk of injury.

  10. Repeat the leg raises for the desired number of repetitions, gradually increasing intensity and difficulty as your strength and endurance improve over time.


  1. Extend the duration of each leg raise repetition to intensify the engagement of the abdominal muscles; the longer you hold your legs up, the greater the challenge for your abs.

  2. Gradually increase the duration of the hold during each repetition to progressively enhance the difficulty of the exercise and further stimulate the targeted muscles.

  3. Focus on maintaining proper form and control throughout the movement, ensuring that the extended hold does not compromise technique or lead to excessive strain on the muscles.

  4. Experiment with different hold times to find the optimal duration that challenges your abs without sacrificing form or risking injury.

  5. Listen to your body and adjust the hold duration accordingly, recognizing your individual strength and endurance levels to effectively progress in the exercise.

  6. Incorporate variations such as static holds at different points in the range of motion to add variety and target specific areas of the abs.

  7. Combine the extended hold with other techniques such as slow eccentric contractions to further enhance muscle activation and promote strength gains.

  8. Focus on breathing rhythmically throughout the exercise, inhaling deeply before each repetition and exhaling steadily as you hold your legs up.

  9. Avoid excessive swinging or momentum by engaging the core muscles to stabilize the body and control the movement.

  10. Incorporate the increased hold duration as part of a well-rounded abdominal workout routine, complementing other exercises to effectively strengthen and define the abs over time.

How Not to Perform