How to Perform the Knee Raise for Increased Core Strength
The knee raise is a classic abdominal training exercise. It can help develop higher levels of strength and functionality that can transfer to other high-performance exercises.
When performed correctly, it challenges grip strength, coordination/rhythm, flexibility, as well as strength.
Step or jump up to a high bar and take a shoulder-width grip. Allow the body to become still, then set the shoulders slightly and engage the core.
Keeping the legs together, bend the hips and raise the knees towards the chest. As the knees come higher than horizontal, allow the back to turn.
Return to the start position under control and repeat for reps or time.
As mentioned above, this exercise requires tight control of the midline (core). If the body starts to sway during the movement, more muscles will have to stabilise the body, resulting in quicker fatigue. As the knees raise, the body’s centre of mass will move forward slightly. To counterbalance the torso must reposition slightly backwards – one can do this by pushing the bar forwards (counterforce). When timed correctly, you will be able to control excessive sway and maintain strength throughout each rep.
Grip strength (or lack of) can also be a limiting factor. Don’t be surprised if at first, your grip gives out before your core. Keep practising proper technique with lower reps until the required strength develops.
The knee raise is also a stepping stone to the Toes to Bar exercise – popularised by Crossfit. This advanced variation requires added control and flexibility (hamstrings) – so be sure you have both before progressing.
More than just a core exercise, the knee raise is also a staple exercise within general bodyweight training, callisthenics and gymnastics, and can help to drill advanced skills such as kipping muscle ups.