Captain's chair leg raise exercise

Captain’s chair leg raise

Exercise details

  • Target muscles: Iliopsoas
  • Synergists: Tensor Fasciae Latae, Sartorius, Pectineus, Adductor Longus, Adductor Brevis
  • Dynamic stabilizer: Rectus Femoris
  • Important stabilizers (not highlighted): Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Obliques
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Climb into the captain’s chair. Your forearms should be resting on the pads, your hands should be grasping the handles, your back should be pressing against the back support, and your legs should be hanging straight down.
  2. Press your lower back (lumbar spine) against the back support.


  1. Keeping your feet together, exhale as you raise your knees towards your chest by flexing your hips and knees.
  2. Hold for a count of two.
  3. Inhale as you lower your feet to the starting position.
  4. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • To protect your lower back, keep it pressed against the back support.
  • Raise your knees as high as you can without raising your hips off the back support.
  • During the captain’s chair leg raise, your rectus abdominis and obliques only act as stabilizers because you do not flex your waist and raise your hips off the back support. If you do flex your waist and raise your hips, the exercise becomes the captain’s chair leg and hip raise.
  • Make the captain’s chair leg raise more difficult by either straightening your legs (captain’s chair straight leg raise) or holding a dumbbell between your feet (weighted captain’s chair leg raise).
  • Also known as the vertical bench leg raise.
  • See also the weighted captain’s chair leg and hip raise and the hanging leg raise.

Captain’s chair leg raise video

In this video, you’ll see the different variations of the captain’s chair leg raise.


Similar Posts