I was doing leg press today and the though struck me, does a 'leg pull' exist where you are pulling yourself towards your feet? Sort of like doing squats with your feet glued to the ceiling!

If so what is it called and how is it commonly performed? What muscles does it work?

  • 1
    In Olympic weightlifting, I think "pulls" is the term for hinge movements, including snatches, cleans, and deadlifts, but I think "pulling off the floor" is not what you meant. Jan 23, 2021 at 6:58

1 Answer 1


Well, yes. But actually no.

If we examine your example with "doing squats with your feet glued to the ceiling", we'll find that there's a set of joints that are closing. Namely the hip and the knee.

In order to forcibly close these joints, we engage the hip flexor and hamstring respectively.

So what is the more realistic version of this? Well, hanging knee raise is essentially a "backward squat", where you're closing the hip against gravity, rather than opening it. However, this doesn't do anything for the hamstring, since there is no force trying to open the knee joint.

A combination of knee raises, and leg curls will "mimic" the reverse squat, but I can't think of a single exercise that flexes both these joints at the same time. Gravity boots may be the only way to achieve it, but even then, it seems like an awful coordination exercise.

  • I don't think I've ever seen anyone do knee raises with weights... Leg exercises generally seen to be about straightening the leg though leg curls are a good example I'd forgotten. Curiously, arm exercises conversely seem to be about curling the arms.
    – Mr. Boy
    Jan 23, 2021 at 16:31
  • Reverse squat with gravity boots does in fact look awkward as heck.
    – C. Lange
    Jan 23, 2021 at 16:57
  • Well, there's the answer :D
    – Alec
    Jan 23, 2021 at 21:48

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