This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body, which was voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
Working your abs requires stretching them—here you contract one side as you stretch the other. Add a dumbbell for an added challenge and a stronger center.
Stand upright with feet a little wider than your hips and your hands on your head. Concentrate on maintaining good posture and keeping your abdominals engaged (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, slowly bend sideways at the hips, leaning over to the side as far as you can without turning your shoulders. Your objective is to stretch the outside side of your body as far as possible. Both knees should be slightly bent, and you should use your leg muscles throughout the movement so that your lower body does not move. Keep the movement slow and smooth, and breathe in a regular rhythm (see Photo 2).
- Slowly return to standing and repeat the exercise for 10 repetitions on the same side. Then switch and do 10 more on the other side (see Photo 3).
You may make this exercise more difficult by holding a single dumbbell in both hands, keeping it in line with your head the entire time (see Photo 4).
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body, 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.