Workout Wednesday #17

by DavalosMcCormack on April 8, 2009

Have you noticed that every men’s health magazine ever published has a picture of a man on the front with ridiculously well-defined, sculpted, six pack abs – accompanied by a story on how you too can get a washboard tummy in just five minutes a day.

Oh, if only it were that simple. Getting those kinds of abs requires huge amounts of effort, losing most of your body fat, and even then you need to use photo shop to get the picture to look that good.

But even if the vast majority of us will ever have a belly that beautiful we can still do a lot to tighten our tummies so they don’t spill out over the top of our trousers.

Some researchers in the Biomechanics Lab at San Diego State University did a study comparing 13 different kinds of stomach and abdominal exercise to see which one is the best.

The one they said beat the others was that old standby, the bicycle crunch. It’s an easy one to do and you don’t need to be in the gym or even belong to one to be able to do it.

Here’s how you do the bicycle crunch.

First, lie flat on the ground with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent at about a 45 degree angle.

Place your hands behind your head, with the fingers interlaced.

The next step is to begin to move your legs through what looks like a bicycle pedal motion, with one knee coming up and towards your head while the other leg is extended straight out.

As you are bringing your right knee forward raise your upper body a little and twist so that your left elbow comes across to touch your right knee.

Then straighten out your right leg, bend your left knee and bring that forward and touch that with your right elbow.

Repeat, slowly, steadily, breathing throughout the exercise. Make sure you are not pulling your neck with your hands as you raise your upper body.  The upper body action should be centered in the abs and shoulders.

It’s a great way to strengthen your stomach muscles, which will not only pull your gut in, they’ll also ease the strain on your back too.

Want to see how it’s done? Check this out.

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