Good Form: Abdominal training

Good Form

To intensify your abdominal training and avoid neck pain, try using a firm pillow behind your back. It’s an ideal way to support your back while focusing on small contractions to bring your chest toward your pelvis.

Sit on a level padded surface with a firm pillow placed behind your lower back. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor, hip-width apart. Inhale to begin. On an exhalation, lean back slightly and press your navel toward your spine. Tuck your hips under and focus on pushing your abs firmly against the pillow. Stretch your arms forward, keeping your chest lifted and your abs contracted. Pause for two breaths.

Without releasing your abdominal contraction, inhale and slowly raise your arms until they are above your head. It’s very important to keep your navel pressed down toward the pillow and your toes pressed into the floor as you raise your arms. Pause in this position for a few seconds. Exhale and lower your arms to the start position. Repeat 12 to 15 times, then rest for 30 seconds. Do three sets.

Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs, including “Full Body Stretch” and “Ballet BodySculpt.”