What Muscle to Lift Leg Into Underwear: Tips and Techniques

The act of lifting one's leg to put on underwear may seem like a mundane task, but it’s an intricate maneuver that requires the coordination of several muscle groups. This seemingly simple action primarily relies on the strength and flexibility of the lower limb muscles, specifically the hip abductors, quadriceps, and the muscles in the lower back and core. The hip abductors, comprised of muscles such as the gluteus medius and tensor fasciae latae, are responsible for moving the leg away from the midline of the body, allowing for the necessary outward motion to don underwear. Supporting these movements are the quadriceps, located at the front of the thigh, which aid in knee extension and overall leg stability. Additionally, the muscles in the lower back and core play a crucial role in maintaining balance and providing a stable foundation for leg elevation. These muscles, including the erector spinae and transversus abdominis, work synergistically with the hip abductors and quadriceps to ensure a successful lift of the leg into the confinement of underwear. Though this action may often be taken for granted, it exemplifies the intricate interplay of muscles necessary for even the simplest daily tasks.

What Muscle Lifts Leg to the Side?

The muscle responsible for lifting the leg to the side is called the gluteus minimus. Situated deep within the gluteal region, it works in conjunction with the gluteus medius to facilitate two primary movements: rotation of the leg and lateral elevation away from the midline of the body. This crucial muscle plays a significant role in stabilizing the pelvis during walking or running, ensuring proper alignment and optimal function of the lower extremities.

The gluteus minimus, being one of the smallest muscles in the gluteal region, is situated underneath the larger gluteus medius. Despite it’s size, it carries out a vital function in coordinating movements of the hip joint.

Engaging the gluteus minimus is important not only for proper biomechanics but also for preventing injury. This muscle helps to maintain overall balance and control during activities that involve lateral movements, such as walking on uneven surfaces or participating in sports that require quick changes in direction.

To strengthen the gluteus minimus, exercises that target the hip abductors (muscles responsible for moving the leg away from the body) can be incorporated into a fitness regimen. Some examples of such exercises include lateral leg raises, clamshells, and side-lying hip abduction exercises. These movements specifically target the gluteus minimus, helping to build strength and stability in this crucial muscle.

Strengthening this muscle is important for maintaining proper hip function, stability, and balance, making it vital for various daily activities and physical performance.

Exercises and Stretches to Strengthen and Stretch the Gluteus Minimus

  • Glute bridge
  • Clamshell exercise
  • Fire hydrant
  • Single-leg squats
  • Side-lying leg lifts
  • Standing hip abduction
  • Bulgarian split squat
  • Lunges
  • Donkey kicks
  • Seated figure-four stretch
  • Pigeon pose
  • Supine cross-legged stretch
  • Standing hamstring stretch

Leg raises primarily target the iliopsoas, the muscles at the front of the hip, responsible for lifting the leg. However, due to the need for stability during the exercise, leg raises also engage the abdominal muscles, including the rectus abdominis, and the internal and external oblique muscles. This comprehensive engagement of multiple muscle groups makes leg raises an efficient exercise for strengthening both the hip flexors and the core.

What Muscles Are Used to Lift Your Leg Up?

The leg raise is a versatile exercise that primarily works the iliopsoas muscle group. This muscle group is located deep within the pelvis and is responsible for flexing the hip joint. When you lift your leg up, these muscles contract to pull the thigh towards the abdomen. This movement engages the iliopsoas, which consists of the psoas major and iliacus muscles.

The rectus abdominis, commonly known as the abs, is the main muscle targeted during this exercise. As you lift your leg, the abs contract isometrically to stabilize the body and assist in the leg raise movement.

The internal and external oblique muscles are also activated during leg raises. These muscles are located on the sides of the abdomen and play a crucial role in trunk rotation and lateral flexion.

To perform leg raises effectively, it’s essential to maintain proper form. Lie flat on your back with your legs extended and your arms by your sides. Slowly raise one leg off the ground, keeping it straight and as vertical as possible. Lower it back down to the starting position in a controlled manner. Repeat the movement with the other leg.

Leg raises can be modified to target different muscle groups. For example, by keeping your legs straight and raising them to a 90-degree angle, you engage the lower abdominal muscles more intensely. Alternatively, if you bend your knees during leg raises, the focus shifts to the hip flexors and quadriceps. Experimenting with variations can help you tailor the exercise to your specific goals and preferences.

Source: Leg raise – Wikipedia

The iliopsoas muscles, specifically the psoas major and iliacus, play a crucial role in lifting the leg at the hip joint. These powerful hip flexors function together to contract and pull the knee upwards, allowing for movements like walking, running, and climbing stairs. Understanding the role of the iliopsoas muscles helps us appreciate the significance of hip flexion in our daily activities.

Which Hip Muscle Lifts the Leg?

These muscles consist of two major components, the iliacus and the psoas major, which work together to flex the hip joint. The iliacus muscle originates from the iliac fossa, a concave surface of the pelvis, while the psoas major muscle arises from the lumbar spine. Both muscles merge to form the iliopsoas tendon, which inserts into the lesser trochanter of the femur.

When the iliopsoas muscles contract, they generate a strong pulling force on the thigh bone, causing flexion at the hip joint. This action is fundamental for various activities involving lifting the leg, such as walking, running, and climbing stairs. The iliopsoas muscles also play a crucial role in maintaining proper posture and balance. They work in conjunction with other muscles around the hip, including the gluteus maximus, to promote stability and control during movement.

A sedentary lifestyle, excessive sitting, or repetitive activities that involve bending and lifting can lead to tightness and restricted range of motion in these muscles. This can result in issues like lower back pain, hip stiffness, or difficulty in raising the leg.

To avoid such problems, it’s essential to maintain flexibility and strengthen the hip muscles, including the iliopsoas. Regular stretching and targeted exercises can help prevent tightness and enhance the overall function and stability of the hip joint. Consulting with a healthcare professional or a qualified trainer can provide specific guidance on exercises and stretches tailored to individual needs.

Their contraction initiates hip flexion, enabling activities like walking, running, and stair climbing.

How to Stretch and Strengthen the Iliopsoas Muscles

  • Perform hip flexor stretches by kneeling on one knee and leaning forward.
  • Do lunges to stretch and strengthen the iliopsoas muscles.
  • Engage in core exercises like planks to enhance stability.
  • Try out leg raises while lying on your back to target the iliopsoas.
  • Consider using resistance bands for iliopsoas strengthening exercises.
  • Include exercises such as bicycle crunches and mountain climbers in your routine.
  • Practice proper posture throughout the day to alleviate strain on the iliopsoas.
  • Incorporate bridge exercises into your workout regimen to engage the iliopsoas muscles.
  • Remember to warm up before performing any stretching or strengthening exercises.
  • Consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance.

Here’s a simple exercise you can do from the comfort of your chair to strengthen your legs. It’s called Seated Single-Leg Raises. Start by sitting up straight in a chair with one knee bent and the other leg extended. Flex the foot of your extended leg and slowly raise it until it’s about a foot off the floor. Lower it down slowly and repeat. Remember to switch legs and repeat the exercise for a balanced workout.

How Do You Lift Your Legs While Sitting?

One effective exercise for lifting your legs while sitting is the seated single-leg raise. To begin, find a comfortable chair and sit upright with one knee bent and the other leg extended out in front of you.

Next, flex the foot of your extended leg, bringing it to a 90-degree angle. This will engage the muscles in your leg and prepare them for the movement.

Slowly and gradually raise your extended leg, aiming to lift it until it’s about a foot off the floor. This movement will activate the muscles in your thigh and hip, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

Once you’ve reached your desired height, lower your leg back down to the starting position slowly and with control. Focus on engaging your muscles and maintaining proper form throughout the entire movement.

After completing the desired number of repetitions with one leg, switch to the other leg and repeat the exercise. This will ensure that both sides of your body receive an equal amount of work, promoting balance and symmetry.

Remember to breathe throughout the exercise and listen to your body. If you experience any pain or discomfort, decrease the range of motion or consult a healthcare professional before continuing.

Benefits of Leg Exercises While Sitting

Leg exercises while sitting can provide numerous health benefits. They help improve blood circulation, prevent muscle atrophy, and maintain strong leg muscles. Additionally, these exercises can help reduce the risk of blood clots and improve overall mobility. They’re especially beneficial for those who’ve limited mobility or spend long periods sitting, such as office workers or individuals recovering from injuries. By incorporating leg exercises while sitting into your daily routine, you can enjoy improved leg strength and health.


These muscles include the quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, and glutes. Each muscle group plays a crucial role in stabilizing, flexing, and extending the leg, allowing for the smooth movement required in this everyday task. While this may seem like a simple action, it highlights the intricate complexity and functionality of the human musculoskeletal system. Understanding and appreciating the involvement of these muscles not only sheds light on the marvel of our bodies but also emphasizes the importance of maintaining their strength and flexibility through regular exercise and proper care.