This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
Decline abs work against gravity, with a vengeance. Not only is your head lower than your hips for this exercise, but you'll also have to go painfully slowly. Remember to breathe—exhale up, inhale down.
Lie on your back on a decline bench with your head toward the low end and your legs hooked under the stabilizing bars. Bend your elbows out to the side and place your hands behind your head, lightly supporting rather than pulling (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, tuck your chin to your chest and lift your upper body, peeling yourself off the bench in a rolling motion. Be careful not to jerk yourself upward—try to locate your lifting motion in your lower abdominals, below your belly button. This motion should be slow and fluid. Try to keep your hands behind your head, but if that is too difficult, you can modify by bringing your arms overhead and using them for leverage by bringing them up and forward as you lift. Continue to lift until you have come all the way upright and beyond, bringing your upper body toward your knees at the top of your lift. (see Photos 2 to 4).
- From the top of the motion, reverse direction and slowly lower your body back to the starting position, again keeping your chin tucked down, and controlling your lowering motion through your lower abs (see Photos 5 and 6).