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Which Ab Move Works Best?

  • Standard Crunch

  • Pilates Roll-Up

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The Pilates roll-up is 30 percent more effective than the standard crunch when it comes to targeting the rectus abdominis (the "six-pack" muscle), say researchers at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama. Because the move challenges your abs through a fuller range of motion, it recruits more muscle fibers.

Try it:

  • Lie back with legs straight and arms extended above head next to ears.
  • Bring arms forward, tilt chin down, and slowly curl upper body up, reaching hands to toes.
  • Repeat 8 to 10 times three times a week.

Originally published in Fitness magazine, October 2005.