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A workout that puts the abs front and center

Strong, defined abs are one of the most coveted body parts, and a sturdy core is essential for many sports and activities. In “Crunch: Fat Burning Ab Attack” (Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2005), the abdominals get a complete workout, putting viewers on the fast track to those six-pack abs.

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Crunch: Fat Burning Ab Attack: Talk about motivation -- host Catherine Chiarelli has abs to die for. A fitness instructor from Crunch in Los Angeles, she leads an intense half-hour ab workout that begins with a warmup, then segues to standing exercises that include boxer twists from a squat position and standing oblique crunches that incorporate leg lifts.

Mat work begins with basic crunches, then moves to reverse crunches (where the legs come off the floor) and planks, a static exercise that challenges the core. Back exercises are also included for a complete core workout. Chiarelli does a good job of explaining proper positioning and does high reps to keep heart rates elevated.

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“If you expose your abs, people see that and say, ‘Look at the incredible shape that person is in,’ ” says Chiarelli, who cautions that diet is as important as exercise in achieving well-defined abs.

She adds that the program is suited for beginners as well as veterans of the crunch: “Even if someone hasn’t been in the gym for 10 years, it’s never too late to start.”

Price: $15, available at www.anchorbayentertainment.com.

-- Jeannine Stein

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