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Ab Straps Exercises

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
Ab Straps Exercises
Work those abs! Photo Credit: undrey/iStock/Getty Images

You know hanging ab exercises will complement your on-point diet, cardio and strength routines to get you a washboard stomach. However, gripping the bar is preventing you from benefiting from these tough ab exercises. Don't let sweaty palms, uncalloused hands or lack of finger strength stand in the way of your abs' potential.

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Hanging leg raises and its variations are as much about grip strength as they are about ab power. If you're still working on the skills in your hands and fingers, but want the massive benefits that hanging ab work gives you, hoist yourself into a set of ab straps.

These slings hook onto a pull-up bar; you slide your upper arms through them to support your hanging body weight. Without having to worry about your palms sliding off the bar, you can train your abs to their maximum potential with some seriously challenging exercises.

1. Hanging Leg Raises

Hanging leg raises challenge your rectus abdominis, at the front of your abs, and -- to a lesser extent -- the obliques at the sides of your middle. Aim for 10 to 12 repetitions of this move, working up to three sets over time.

HOW TO DO IT: Use a platform or step to help you mount your arms into the ab straps. Allow your legs to hang straight down toward the floor. Keep your upper body activated so your shoulders don't shrug up by your ears.

Contract your abdominal muscles as you bend your knees and pull them up toward your chest and shoulders. Pause for a count or two. Release your legs back to the hang to complete one repetition.

Read more: The 41 Hardest Ab Exercises

2. Hanging Trunk Rotations

Master the hanging straight leg raise tip variation above before trying this challenging rotation move. Aim for four or five in each direction.

HOW TO DO IT: Insert your arms into the ab straps and allow your legs to dangle toward the floor. Keep your legs straight and together as you circle them to the right, ceiling, left and then floor.

Make the movement deliberate and controlled, rather than using momentum. Do all the reps in one direction, then repeat on the other side.

3. Hanging Oblique Knee Raises

The hanging leg raise activates the obliques, but the hanging oblique knee raise variation targets these side waist muscles even more. Aim for eight to 10 total reps, and up to three sets.

HOW TO DO IT: Insert your arms into the arm straps and hang your legs toward the floor. Bend your knees up toward your right shoulder, pause, then release the legs to a hang.

Bend your knees up toward your left shoulder, pause, then release the legs to a hang. Continue to alternate for all the desired repetitions. Right, then left, equals one rep.

Read more: The Cardio Abs Workout

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