The hanging knee raise is a tough exercise, as anyone who has ever done (or tried to do) one can testify. After just a few reps your abs start to ache, and unless your core is in cracking shape it’ll be ablaze by the end of your set.
Now imagine doing that exercise, but giving your abs absolutely no break at all between reps. That’s the garhammer raise. With the hanging knee raise you start with your legs extended beneath you, then bring them up to your chest. The range of motion in the garhammer raise is actually smaller, which might fool you into thinking it’s easier, but allowing your legs to extend fully gives your abs a small break between reps.
There are no breaks with the garhammer raise, which means it’s an absolutely excellent move for anyone looking to carve out a six-pack, or just increase their core strength. Here’s how it’s done.
How To Do The Garhammer Raise
Hang from a pull-up bar and bring your knees up until your thighs are horizontal – this is your starting position. From there bring your knees further up towards your chest as high as you can, then lower your knees slowly back to the starting position. Keep your abs engaged at all times – that’s the key to getting the maximum core benefit out of the move.
You might find that you burn out earlier in a set than you expect with the garhammer raise, such is the challenge of keeping your abs under tension throughout, but you can always switch to the standard hanging knee raise if you are struggling.
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Garhammer Raise Variations
Since we mentioned the hanging knee raise several times, it’s only fair that we make sure you know how to do one in case you do need to swap to it when your abs are screaming during a set of garhammer raises.
Hang from a pull-bar with your legs extended. Bring your knees up to your chest, then slowly lower them until your legs are fully extended again. It’s still by no means an easy exercise, and the larger range of motion involved compared with the garhammer raise will recruit more of your core muscles.
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.