Oblique Leg Raises

Isolation exercise, Body weight




Required equipment

Main muscles

  • Abdomen: Straight abdominal muscle
    (Musculus rectus abdominis)
  • Abdomen: External oblique abdominal muscle
    (Musculus obliquus externus abdominis)

Workout plan

Here you can find example plans for oblique leg raises training:

Oblique Leg Raises: Basics and alternatives

: Involved main muscle groups Oblique Leg Raises

Involved main muscle groups:
Oblique Leg Raises

The oblique leg raise is an exercise that targets the side abdominal muscles. It’s a variation of the well-known “knee raise” exercise, which requires a piece of equipment called the Captain’s Chair to support your upper body. Instead of lifting your legs straight in front of you, you’ll bend them at the hips and lift them slightly to the side.

While the focus is on the side abs, you’ll also work your straight abdominal muscles, training your core muscles as a whole.

Other variations include the classic knee raise, hanging knee lift, and lying knee tucks on the cable pulley. Alternatives for training the side abs include various versions of the abdominal twist and side bends. The hanging windshield wipers are particularly challenging.

Correct execution

This exercise can be performed in two ways. You can either keep your legs bent at all times and alternate pulling your hips up on one side, or drop your legs after each rep and then pull them back up.

Both versions have pros and cons, but generally, a larger range of motion is more beneficial for stimulating the muscles. So, the second variation is shown and described below.

Video tutorial

Captains Chair Oblique Leg Raises

Step-by-step instructions

Position yourself in the Captain’s Chair: Place your elbows or forearms on the supports and press your back against the backrest.

Keep your head facing straight ahead. Place your feet in the supports (or let them hang in the air, depending on the machine). You’re now in the starting position.

Rotate your hips slightly to one side (about 15 to 30 degrees).

Raise both knees upward by lifting your legs at the hips.

Hold your legs at about a 90-degree angle for a brief moment. Then slowly lower them back to the starting position in a controlled manner. Repeat by rotating your hips to the other side, alternating sides with each leg raise.

Common mistakes

Not rotating your torso enough can reduce the training effect, as it doesn’t provide a good stimulus for the side abs. Also, make sure to train both sides of your body evenly to avoid imbalances.

A common mistake is using momentum, which also reduces the training effect. Focus on lifting your legs slowly and with control, maintaining tension. Swinging your legs up won’t help you in the end.