This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
If you think hang knee tucks sounds like an easy exercise, you would be wrong. You'll need all the strength in your upper body to bring your knees up over your head in a tuck, and even more to lower them back down. Abs, shoulders, back, biceps—they'll all feel the burn.
Grab hold of pull-up high bars or any elevated hand grips with your palms facing forward, such that your arms reach directly up from the shoulder and your body is hanging supported by your hands (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, begin bringing your knees up toward your chest and shoulders. Try not to use your hip flexors; instead, contract your lower abdominals and tilt your pelvis to rotate your knees upward (see Photo 2). Lift as high as you can, but remember that you must be able to control your downward motion as well, so go only as high as you can while maintaining form and control (see Photos 3 and 4).
- From the top of your tuck, slowly lower your legs back to the starting position, controlling the downward motion with your abs (see Photos 5 and 6). Do not swing; keep your arms slightly bent and your feet down in front of you as you descend to prevent any swinging tendency. Repeat for a total of 20 knee tucks. Beginners who can't complete the 20 reps at once may rest every few reps but should still strive to complete the entire 20.
If your grip is not strong enough to do 20 reps of this exercise, try doing only as many as you can manage with the pull-up high bar, and then switch to the armpit stirrups for the remainder of the set.
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.