This classic floor exercise gives a tough workout to your abdominal muscles, with a particular focus on your lower abs. It's also a great "no excuses" exercise, meaning you can do it just about anywhere that you have a flat floor, whether it's a gym, at home, or at a hotel when you travel.
Lie flat on a floor mat with your hands straight out to your sides and your palms facing down. Lift your legs up off the floor so that your hips are at a right angle, and bend your knees so that your knees are at a right angle as well (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, lower your legs down to the right and towards the floor, being sure to hold your legs in the same position (90-degree-angled hips, 90-degree-angled knees) as you move. Your upper body should remain motionless; focus on pivoting your legs and hips using your abdominal muscles and core (see Photo 2).
- When your legs have touched the floor at right, reverse the motion and bring them back up to starting position (see Photo 3).
- Without pausing, move through starting position and lower your legs down to your left. When you have lowered your legs to both sides you have completed one repetition (see Photo 4).
Once you master the standard leg swings, move on to the advanced straight-legged swings. To do straight-legged leg swings, keep your hips at a 90-degree angle and follow the same steps outlined above, but straighten your legs at the knee to add more weight to the swing (see Photos 5 and 6).
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal Magazine (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.