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Captain’s Chair Leg Raise, Steps, And Benefits

Want to get six-pack abs, and look lean, and despite doing lots of crunches and situps, and other exercises you are not getting desired results.

One of the reasons to get good-looking abs is to target every muscle in your abdominal area, which crunches alone can’t target.

Captain’s chair leg raise is for you, this is one of the top exercises for abdominal muscles.

According to American Council on Exercise, Captain’s chair leg raise is at second position for rectus abdominis recruitment and is at the first position for obliques recruitment. [1]


Captain’s Chair, also known as Roman Chair is a frame [2] for workout looks like a big chair with no seat with two armrests to support the whole body while doing Captain’s Chair Leg Raise.

It has a backrest, and armrest padded so it feels soft when you put your hands on the arm’s rest.

Our abdominal muscles consist of the following muscles:

  • Rectus Abdominis – It is the largest muscles between the Chest and Pelvis region
  • Transverse Abdominis – It is located deep inside the six-pack abs muscles
  • Obliques – Obliques is on the sides of the stomach that run down in a diagonal form

To build perfectly nice abs, it is very important to target all of these muscles.

It helps to target every muscle, let’s understand how to do it?

How to do Captain’s Chair Leg Raise?

vertical leg raise
  • First, start with standing on the frame, and back pressed against the backrest.
  • Put your arms on the armrest, and grab the handle with your hands.
  • Remove your leg from the frame, and let them hang.
  • Keep the legs straight
  • Touch both feet together
  • Lift your legs until they are parallel to the floor
  • Pause at the top, and feel the contraction
  • Then slowly lower them down
  • Repeat again

Do 3 sets of 12 reps at the initial stage and then increase the sets and repetition as you progress.

Captain’s Chair leg raises target several muscles at a time and requires a lot of upper body strength.

Variations of Captain’s Chair Leg Raise

Knee Raise

Captain's chair knee raise
  • Start with the regular captain’s chair leg raise stance.
  • The only, and big difference is that you need to lift your legs with knees bent
  • Bring your knees as close as possible to the chest.
  • Pause at the top for a moment and feel the contraction.
  • You can even roll your upper body, it will look like you are doing verticle crunches.
  • Don’t hurry, keep the movements slow

Side Raise

Captain's chair side leg raise
  • Start with a regular Captain’s chair leg raise stance.
  • But don’t lift your legs straight, instead lift them by rotating them a bit.
  • Legs should be straight
  • Lift your leg until they are parallel to the ground.
  • Pause at the top and feel the contraction in the abs.
  • Slowly lower down the body

Since you start doing them, soon you will get nice looking abs

Targeted Muscles

  • Rectus Abdominis (abdominal muscle, largest muscles between the Chest, and Pelvis region)
  • Internal and External Obliques
  • Front Quadriceps

If you are doing side raise, then obliques are the primary muscles.

Benefits of Captain’s Chair Leg Raise:

Stronger Core

I have already mentioned it but still, I am mentioning it again

According to American Council on Exercise, Captain’s chair leg raise is at second position for rectus abdominis recruitment and is at the first position for oblique recruitment.

The amount of stress this leg raise put on the core is immense that helps you to get a stronger core

Core also plays a crucial role in determining the body posture, strong core implies a strong upright posture whereas a weak core implies poor posture.

Provide Flexibility

Many people who go to the gym complain that they don’t have a flexible body.

Captain’s chair leg raise stretches abdominal and secondary muscles to a great extent, this will help you to get a flexible body.

A flexible body will further prevent you from injuries.

Quick Fat Loss

On the average leg, raise burns 70 calories per 10 minutes for a 60kg person.

Those who find it difficult to burn fat, and get toned abs start doing leg raise.

Strong lower back

The lower back also gets engaged while doing leg raise, it strengthens the back.

It fulfills your two objectives, first, it will give nice abs, and second, it will give strength back.

One bonus, a strong back also prevents getting an injury in other weight lifting exercises such as a deadlift.

Common Mistakes while doing Captain’s Chair Leg Raise

vertical leg raise

Arch in the back

This is one of the common mistakes, most people do. When you are doing Leg Raise don’t arch your back, and keep your back straight, and head and neck stable.

Not engaging the core

It is often seen that many practitioners start raising legs without engaging the core properly. By doing the same, you are not only losing the chance of good-looking abs but also putting yourself into trouble.

It can lead to injury.

Use of Momentum

In another weight lifting, we do ego lifting. And in leg raise we do momentum lifting. Swinging your legs will not be beneficial for you. So, try not to swing your legs.

Holding the breath

To lift the leg, it is observed many times that people tend to hold their breath. Even an intermediate-level bodybuilder do this mistake.

Always keep in mind, your body needs oxygen to perform efficiently.

Precautions for Captain’s Chair Leg Raise

  • Don’t do Captain’s chair leg raise if you have an injury in the neck, shoulder, knee, hands, or legs.
  • If you are pregnant refrain from Captain’ chair leg raise
  • Avoid if you are suffering from rectus diastasis (a state in which large abdominal muscles separates)

Key Notes

Captain’s Chair Leg Raise is a very good exercise to work on your abs and not only the strength, but it will also provide you the flexibility, help you to lose fat fast, and will reduce the risk of injuries.

So, are you going to add Captain’s Chair leg raise to your daily routine?


This article provides general information only. It would be better if you consult an expert. It is not a substitute for an expert at all.



My name is Kunal Koli . I am doing my BBA from Ambedkar University Delhi ( AUD) . I am from Delhi , India . I am passionate for Yoga and fitness. Without health, wealth has no meaning. And I am also learning Digital Marketing because Digital is the future. And I don’t want to get lost somewhere in obsolete World.

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