You can do much better than the much loathed sit-up if you want to whittle your middle and shore up your core. World-renowned performance coach Mark Verstegen recommends a move called the "front pillar with diagonal arm lift." It recruits your deep abdominal muscles, which help with the appearance of a tighter stomach and protect your spine from injury. Try wedging this exercise into your workout twice a week. Start with two sets of six reps.
- Lie facedown with your forearms on the ground under your chest and your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Push off your elbows and support your weight on your forearms and toes, keeping your toes pointed toward your shins, your back flat, your weight even on both feet, your chin tucked, and your head even with your spine. There should be a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.
- Lift your left arm up and slightly out to the side, keeping your abs tight, your back straight, and your pelvis still. Hold for a second or two; return to the starting position. Repeat with your right arm.
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