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For toned abs, get on the ball

June 02, 2003

In this exercise, a reverse curl with a stability ball, a common mistake is to use the momentum of your legs to raise your hips. To prevent this, you can hug the ball with your legs to keep your legs from swinging forward. This helps to isolate your abdominal muscles, making the exercise more effective.

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1 On an exercise mat, lie on your back and rest your legs on top of a stability ball; the ball should be tucked behind your knees. Squeeze the ball between your calves and thighs, pressing your heels into the ball to keep it in place. As you inhale, position your hands behind your head. Contract your abdominal muscles and press your lower back firmly into the mat.

2 As you exhale, slowly move your thighs toward your chest, lifting your hips slightly off the mat. At the same time, curl your upper body forward toward your legs. Reverse the move to release the position. Repeat 12 to 16 times, rest for 20 seconds and repeat for three sets. If you are new to this exercise, start by keeping your head on the mat throughout the move. Focus only on raising your hips a few inches off the mat. Progress to the double crunch when you feel comfortable.

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Karen Voight

Karen Voight can be reached at kvoightla@aol.com.

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