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Do It Yourself

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Are you looking for a stronger, leaner midsection? Before you invest in equipment that claims to enhance your abdominal workouts, it may be in your best interest-and your pocketbooks to hit the floor with some old-fashioned crunches

Are you looking for a stronger, leaner midsection? Before you invest in equipment that claims to enhance your abdominal workouts, it may be in your best interest-and your pocketbooks to hit the floor with some old-fashioned crunches. A notable study published in the Journal of Athletic Training (2004) found researchers comparing abdominal muscle activity during traditional trunk curls with muscular activity elicited by three pieces of popular at-home abdominal equipment.

A total of 23 male and female participants were asked to perform about 15 repetitions during each exercise condition while the various abdominal muscles were measured for activity. In the end, researchers found that the specialized equipment did not elicit greater muscular activity than traditional trunk curls. In addition they determined that using two particular pieces of equipment actually enhanced greater use of the hip flexor musculature, which is not desirable when performing an abdominal routine. So think twice before buying, and give yourself the chance to get back to basics. Your abs and your bank account will profit!

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