Build up abs, help the back

Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs. The latest is "Sleek Essentials Workout."

Because strong abdominal muscles are key to preventing back pain, training the abs is extremely important. The abs should act as a girdle to pull in your belly and stabilize your spine as you move around all day. Incorporate this exercise into your daily workouts for a strong, trim midsection.

-- Karen Voight

1 Lie face up on a mat or padded surface, placing your hands behind your head. Inhale and bring your legs above your hips (knees can be slightly bent). On an exhalation, press against your mid-back, contracting your abdominals as you raise your hips and upper back slightly off the floor. Pause for a few seconds.

2 Keep your abs contracted and, with your shoulders and hips off the floor, lower your right leg 8 to 10 inches toward the floor. Hold for three to six seconds, not letting your left leg move forward. Bring your legs back together and release your hips and shoulders down to the floor. Repeat the exercise, this time moving your left leg slightly back. Do the exercise 12 times for each leg.


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