How to raise the leg to the level of the head

How to raise the leg to the level of the head
How to raise the leg to the level of the head

A lot of athletes and dancers succeed in raising their legs to the level of the head, which shows their strength and flexibility. Dance, figure skating and martial arts, among others, are disciplines that require this skill. Raising your leg to head level is a complicated movement, but you can do it by gradually increasing your body's range of motion, building your core muscles, and stretching your leg a little bit more each time.


Part 1 of 5: gain flexibility

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Step 1. Stretch your hips

The hips are the joints that allow our legs to move. If you take the time to stretch your hips, you will be successful in increasing the range of motion of your legs. There are several ways to stretch them, but the most common are the hip flexor stretch, the hip rotator stretch, the hip floor stretch, and the adductor stretch. Here is how to stretch the flexor muscle.

  • Kneel on your right knee and put your left foot on the ground. Your left hip and knee should form a right angle.
  • Bring your right hip forward until it is above your right knee. Place your hands on your hips and keep your back straight, while pushing your chest forward.
  • As you stretch, inhale until you feel tension in your hips. Hold the position for 15 to 60 seconds. Release and switch sides. Repeat the stretch five times on each side and do two sets per day.
Raise Your Leg up to Your Head Step 2

Step 2. Stretch your hamstrings

The hamstrings are the muscles that run along the back of your thighs. There are several exercises for stretching them that require that you have already practiced or that you can lean on a surface such as a doorframe and a wall, a table, a dance bar or the floor. Here's how to stretch yourself while leaning against a doorframe.

  • Lie on the floor next to the door. Keep one leg flat in the doorframe and rest the other against the adjoining wall.
  • Begin to gently raise your chest towards the wall to put pressure on your leg which is against the wall. You should feel tension in the hamstring muscle.
  • Hold the position for 15 to 60 seconds. Release the stretch, then switch sides. Repeat the stretch five times on each side and do two sets per day.
  • When you are able to do this exercise, switch to another hamstring stretch that makes you lift your leg higher or stretch it more, such as stretching your leg on a table or sitting on the floor and stretching your hamstrings.
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Step 3. Do pelvic rotation exercises

To perform the pelvic rotation exercises, also called "butterfly" or "inverted frog", you must bend your legs on either side of the body, knees pointing outward to open your hips. These exercises are very common among classical dancers, but also very useful in climbing or other sports, because they allow to gain flexibility in the legs. Here is how you will perform a pelvic rotation exercise.

  • Sit on the floor and place your soles together so that your legs form a diamond in front of you.
  • Hold on to your ankles and put your elbows on your legs. Lightly press your thighs with your elbows. Be careful not to rest your arms on your knees, otherwise your knees may hurt.
  • Continue the stretch until you feel a slight tension inside your thigh and in your groin. Hold this position for 10 to 20 seconds, then release. Repeat, holding the stretch a little longer, 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Lie down so that your back is on the floor. Keep the legs in the same position. Let your knees drop to the ground, while keeping your soles firmly against each other. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat this exercise several times a day.
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Step 4. Stretch the leg against a wall

When you gain flexibility and your leg rises more easily, stretch it against a wall. Place your foot against a wall and slowly bring your body closer to the wall, so that your leg gradually rises. Hold onto a chair or table to keep your balance.

  • Do this exercise barefoot, as socks may cause your foot to slip off too fast and you may injure yourself if it goes up too fast.
  • Practice with the other leg as well, so that both legs gain the same flexibility.

Part 2 of 5: strengthen the core muscles

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Step 1. Evaluate the strength of your abdominal box

The abdominal box brings together all the muscles of the trunk. It stabilizes your body and if it is developed it allows you to do a lot of exercises in a much more efficient way. Here is how you can assess the strength of your abs.

Lie on the floor on your stomach. Lay a long tube, bar, or ruler along your back. Place your hands on the floor, shoulder width apart. Do a flexion, keeping your legs straight. If your chest leaves the floor along with your belly, your core is muscular

Raise Your Leg up to Your Head Step 6

Step 2. Do the plank exercise

The plank is one of the basic exercises for strengthening the core, because it works several muscles at the same time. This is how we do the plank.

  • Lie on your stomach and put your forearms on the floor, shoulder width apart.
  • Push up on your arms to be in a flexion position, keeping your elbows and forearms on the ground. Keep your body straight and squeeze your abs to reduce the pressure on your arms.
  • Breathe evenly and hold the position for 60 seconds.
  • Relax for 60 seconds, then start again. Do this exercise one to three times a day.
Raise Your Leg up to Your Head Step 7

Step 3. Do the plank exercise on the side

When you master the board, it will become too easy for you. Try a more difficult version of the plank, doing it on the side. First get into the normal plank position. Next, place one forearm on the floor with the elbow just below your shoulder. Put your feet on top of each other while rotating your body until one of your sides touches the ground. Push on your arm to bring your body up, keeping it straight.

Raise Your Leg up to Your Head Step 8

Step 4. Do the leg lift exercise

Raising your legs will help you strengthen your lower back and abdominal muscles. The classic exercise consists of lying on your back with your arms at your sides. One leg after the other, gradually raise the leg to about 30 cm from the ground, keeping it straight. Hold this position for about 10 seconds, then slowly bring it back to the floor. Don't bend your knees. Repeat the exercise ten times for each leg, one to three times a day.

If you want to try a more complicated variation, try lifting both legs at the same time. Gradually raise them to about 30 cm from the floor, hold the position for 10 seconds, then slowly bring your legs back to the floor

Raise Your Leg up to Your Head Step 9

Step 5. Do the lateral leg raise exercise

Stand with your feet together. Place your hands on your hips. Gradually raise one leg to the side, keeping it straight, until it is about 6 inches from the floor. Slowly lower the leg. Make sure your body stays straight and doesn't lean to one side. Do 10 times the exercise on the same side, then change legs. Repeat this series one to three times a day.

  • Contract your abdominal muscles and gluteal muscles to stabilize your body.
  • As you gradually build your muscles, try lifting your leg a little higher. Otherwise, raise her in front of you, still tight. Practice to try to gain a little more height each day. Make sure you can hold onto something to keep you balanced.
Raise Your Leg up to Your Head Step 10

Step 6. Practice with a “girya”, also called a “kettlebell”

It is a steel mass equipped with a handle. By lifting it, you are forced to use your core muscles for balance. To strengthen your abs, start with a 4.5kg gyria by doing several exercises, like this one.

  • Place one knee on the floor and make circles with the girya, which you hold with two hands, facing your chest. Lift the weight up to your right shoulder, rotate it up behind your head, then direct it toward your left shoulder, before returning it to face your chest. Repeat in reverse order. Repeat this exercise 5 times, then change the supporting knee for another five laps.
  • Do this exercise three to four times a week.

Part 3 of 5: gain balance

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Step 1. Balance on one foot

This exercise will help you continuously readjust your body position to stay balanced, especially when you are moving at the same time.

Stand up with your feet together. Raise one foot a few inches off the ground. Hold this position for a few seconds with your eyes open, then continue with your eyes closed. Do the same thing again by changing the foot. Repeat this exercise about five times a day

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Step 2. On one foot, do the pendulum motion with your arms

For this exercise, you must stand on one leg, rotating your arms like clockwise. Stand on one leg and look straight ahead. Place your hands on your hips. Raise one arm in the 12 o'clock position, then around 3 o'clock, then 6, then 9. Repeat the exercise, changing legs and arms.

Try to only move your arms. Breathe evenly and try to stay still

Raise Your Leg up to Your Head Step 13

Step 3. Make trunk twists

Since your core is at the center of your body, it will be easier to stay stable and gain balance if you focus on this area. For this exercise, stand with your feet a little further apart than your shoulders. Get on a small trampoline or similar surface. Turn about ten times the waist on one side, then the other.

The movement should be fluid and voluntary, but do not rock back and forth. Since the goal is to work your body with each movement, don't use the momentum of the previous twist to initiate the new one

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Step 4. Do a single leg lift with a dead weight

For this exercise, your legs must be well muscled in order to successfully swing them as you lift the weight. Balance on your left foot and bend your knee slightly. Rotating your hips, lean forward, put your right hand on the floor and grab a weight of 2.5 kg. Lift your right leg up behind you. Get up gently to regain your initial position. Do the same with the other leg. Do this exercise five times and repeat it several times a week.

This movement must be clean and regular. Try not to waver. Breathe evenly and focus on your abs and leg muscles so that your movement is well controlled

Part 4 of 5: doing softer exercises

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Step 1. Try yoga

Yoga is the type of exercise that uses body positions to work on relaxation, stretching, and muscle building. You can easily find yoga classes in sports halls or specialized clubs, on DVD or on the Internet. There are different types of yoga, ranging from beginner level to more advanced levels. Here are some yoga poses that will improve your flexibility and strengthen your muscles so that you can successfully raise your leg to your head:

  • downward dog pose
  • the chair posture
  • warrior postures 1 and 2
  • back lunge posture
  • butterfly posture
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Step 2. Try the Pilates method

Pilates also makes it possible to work on muscle strengthening, flexibility, endurance and in particular helps to develop your abdominal box. The goal of a 60- to 90-minute daily workout is to strengthen muscles through repetitive exercise. Most gyms and gyms offer Pilates. Look on the Internet to find a course in your city. To strengthen your core muscles, here are some Pilates exercises:

  • heel slippage
  • the leg lift
  • leg opening
  • the flapping of the heels
  • the shouldered bridge
Raise Your Leg up to Your Head Step 17

Step 3. To strengthen your core muscles, do a workout by mixing exercises

There is a wide range of exercises for working the core muscles, each aimed at a particular muscle, to gradually strengthen that area evenly. To find examples of exercises for strengthening abdominal muscles, look on the Internet.

Part 5 of 5: change your diet

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Step 1. Eat foods rich in nutrients

If you want the energy you need for an effective workout, eat healthy foods and avoid carbohydrates, starches, and refined sugars. Choose fruits and vegetables, whole grains and foods rich in protein.

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Step 2. Hydrate well

If you become dehydrated, your athletic performance may be poorer, even if you only stretch. Drink plenty of plain water every day. To increase your fluid intake, you can also eat more water-based foods, such as watermelon, celery, and soups.

  • When you work out, hydrate yourself even more. About an hour before exercising, drink a glass of water or the equivalent of 0.25 liters every 15 minutes or so.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as these drinks can dehydrate you.
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Step 3. Get plenty of sleep

To be well rested, it is necessary to sleep 7 to 8 hours a day. This will improve your training ability and you will be more able to focus on your goal: to raise your leg to your head level.

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Step 4. Avoid cigarettes

If you don't smoke, your body will stay healthy. Inhaling cigarette smoke limits your lung capacity and dehydrates your body.


  • When you stretch or muscle one part of your body, always do the same on the other side, otherwise you can injure yourself and put your muscle structure out of balance.
  • Warm up your muscles during each workout by doing five to ten minutes of simple stretching and light cardiac exercises (running in place, for example).
  • As you raise your leg up to your head, make sure you have something nearby to lean on (a wall, chair, bar, etc.) in case you lose your balance.
  • Never go higher than you can, as you may injure yourself.

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