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For Tight Abdominals, Curl, Lift And Repeat
Los Angeles Times · February 14, 2005
By Karen Voight

A good way to achieve abdominal strength is to practice holding a traditional crunch while straightening your arms and legs. It's important to focus on squeezing your ribs to your hips during this exercise as you move one knee and foot. At first, the move takes quite a bit of effort, but done with consistency, it will strengthen your abdominals and the exercise will become easier.

1 Lie on your back on a mat or a padded surface. With your left leg straight in front of you on the floor, inhale and bend your right knee toward your chest. On an exhale, reach your arms forward and draw your ribs toward your hips, moving your chest to your thigh. Keep your bottom leg on the floor during the first stage.

2 Maintain this abdominal curl as you raise the bottom leg off the floor and actively reach out toward your left toes. Without letting your torso fall back toward the floor, slowly straighten your right leg upward. Don't worry if your leg does not straighten completely; it's more important to maintain the curl. Hold this position for three breaths, then lower to the floor and repeat on the other side.

This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times in the "Good Form" feature of the Health Section. "Good Form" is updated with a new Karen Voight article each Monday.