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Guide to Knee Ups – Benefits, Muscles Worked, and How-To

knee ups

“Unlocking Core Strength: The Ultimate Guide to Knee Ups – Benefits, Muscles Worked, and How-To”


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on knee ups, focusing on Hanging Knee Raises and covering everything from their benefits and muscles worked to detailed how-to techniques. If you’re looking to enhance your core strength and overall fitness, you’re in the right place!

How-To: Mastering the Hanging Knee Raise

Performing a hanging knee raise is a straightforward yet powerful exercise. Follow these steps to ensure proper form and maximize muscle engagement:

Grip and Hang

  • Utilize a pronated, overhand grip, with palms facing away.
  • Hang from your pullup bar or chosen equipment.

Activate Your Core

  • Maintain a neutral pelvis or slight posterior tilt.
  • Engage your lower abs by tilting your pelvis toward your ribs and gently squeezing your glutes.

Raise Your Knees

  • Slowly lift your knees toward your chest.
  • Keep your lower abs braced and maintain a hollowed position.

Lower with Control

  • Gradually lower your legs to the starting position.
  • Aim for the desired number of repetitions.

Summary: The hanging knee raise targets the lower abs, engaging the entire core and building forearm and grip strength.

Benefits of Hanging Knee Raises

Unlock a myriad of benefits by incorporating hanging knee raises into your fitness routine:

  • Comprehensive Core Activation: Targets the entire core and abdominal region for a more holistic workout than traditional exercises like crunches.
  • Stability for Heavy Lifts: Enhances stability, benefiting activities requiring bracing, such as squats or deadlifts.
  • Neutralizes Lower Back Arch: Counters the tendency of the lower back to arch, crucial for safe spine loading with added weight.
  • Hand and Forearm Strength: Hanging by gripping the bar boosts hand and forearm strength, transferring to exercises like pullups and functional activities like climbing.
  • Abdominal Hypertrophy: Intense resistance on the abdominal wall promotes hypertrophy and muscular development across the entire abdominal area.

Summary: The hanging knee raise improves core stability, functional abdominal and grip strength, and increases muscular development in the abdominal area.

Muscles Worked with Hanging Knee Raises

Discover the muscle groups activated during hanging knee raises:

  • Rectus Abdominis and External Obliques: Especially targeted by hanging knee raise variations.
  • Internal Obliques: Engaged throughout the exercise.
  • Hip Flexors: Worked during knee raising movements.
  • Forearm and Shoulder Girdle Muscles: Developed through gripping and hanging.

Summary: The hanging knee raise targets major core muscles and builds forearm, shoulder, and grip strength.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Ensure maximum effectiveness and minimize injury risks by steering clear of these common mistakes:

Arching Your Lower Back

  • Activate lower abdominals and glutes to prevent lower back arching.
  • Focus on bringing the front of your pelvis to your ribs.

 Swinging Your Legs

  • Avoid using momentum for higher repetitions.
  • Control the entire range of motion to engage core muscles effectively.

Summary: Common mistakes include arching the lower back and swinging the legs, which can reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.

Hanging Knee Raise Variations

Tailor the exercise to your fitness level with these variations:

Easier Variations

  • Supine Knees-to-Chest:
    • Lying on your back, lift your feet, bend your knees to your chest, and extend back.
  • Supine Straight-Leg Raise:
    • Lift your straight legs perpendicular to the floor while lying on your back.
  • Dead Hang from a Bar:
    • Hang from a bar to build static grip strength.

Harder Variations

  • Hanging Leg Raise:
    • Keep your legs straight and lift them parallel to the floor.
  • Weighted Knee Raise:
    • Attach additional resistance to your ankles for increased difficulty.
  • Toes-to-Bar Raise:
    • Perform a hanging straight-leg raise, bringing your feet all the way to the bar.

Summary: Customize your hanging knee raise with variations based on your fitness level for optimal results.

The Bottom Line

Incorporate 3 sets of 10–15 repetitions of hanging knee raises or variations into your routine to witness improvements in core strength within weeks. Elevate your fitness journey with this efficient and effective core exercise, enhancing functional strength, muscular development, and control in your abdominal muscles.

Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or a beginner, knee ups are the key to unlocking your core strength potential. Start your journey today!


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