If you find it difficult to perform the traditional bicycle exercise on the floor because your neck gives out before your abdominal muscles, try doing them against a firm pillow or bolster. Just remember to use your abdominals to press your back against the pillow.
Sit upright with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place a bolster or firm pillow behind the small of your back, making sure it won't slip out of position. Lean back against the bolster and place your hands behind your head with elbows pointed out. On an exhalation, contract your abdominals, raise your feet off the floor and press your navel toward the pillow. Straighten your right leg out in front of you at a 45-degree angle and simultaneously rotate your torso, bringing your right shoulder toward your bent left knee. Inhale and pause.
Exhale and switch legs, straightening your left leg and bringing your left shoulder toward your bent right knee. Be sure to keep your elbows open and twist your entire rib cage, chest and shoulders to each side. A common mistake is moving your elbow to the knee instead of twisting at the waist.
Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs, including "Full Body Stretch" and "Ballet BodySculpt."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times