Everyone wants killer abs. And everyone wants to lay on the couch all day.

What if you could have both?

Well, you can't. But there are definitely some great ab exercises you can do with out leaving your sofa. So if you're feeling kind of flabby but you really don't want to turn off the game, here's how to have the best of both worlds ...

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Let's start with the pinnacle of all ab routines, the plank. All you need to do is hold yourself in the push-up position for 30-second increments, which happens to be the length of a commercial. So challenge yourself to do one commercial, then two, then an entire between-innings break. Side planks work too. And doing them on the couch actually might give you a better workout because you will need to work harder to stabilize your torso.

Now move to pulse-ups, which are every bit as efficient as crunches and are very simple. Just lie back, point your toes to the ceiling, and "punch" the sky. You can do this one without taking your eyes off the TV.

Finally, try some mason twists. You P90Xers will know this one by heart. This is a move that works your entire core. It helps considerably if you have a weight, so grab a six-pack of soda (or a dumbbell, if you have no imagination) and scoot toward the end of the cushion. Then lift your legs up off the ground and rock back. Now twist, lightly tapping the soda/weight on each side. Do not let your back hit the couch. (And do not open the soda after this exercise.)

Now, let's be real: All of these exercises are better on a mat laid on the floor. You can still watch the game from there.

And don't use a good ab routine to rationalize a popcorn binge. As the saying goes, abs are made in the kitchen.

Eric Adelson can be reached at adelson@yahoo-inc.com.

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Tags:
Abs, Fitness

What's the most underrated piece of gym equipment? Bench press? Smith machine? Lat pulldown?

How about the ceiling?

The hottest trend in getting fit takes advantage of the roof over your head, and it doesn't even require that.

A former Navy SEAL came up with the idea of using suspension cables to combine body weight with the force of gravity to create a workout that might make a Cirque du Soleil understudy sweat bullets.

The result is the TRX training system, which actually consists of nylon straps. It's designed to provide a thorough, challenging workout in tight quarters -- something necessary in the military and quite helpful for the rest of us civilians.

Yes, bands and pulleys have been around for a while, but they don't support your body weight. TRX does. And if you think it sounds too intimidating, just do a search for 'TRX' on YouTube and find dozens of videos done by everyone from surfers to MMA wannabes.

Here's how it works: hang the straps from the ceiling (or a swingset or a tree branch), grab the handles, and do everything from tricep dips to yoga. Moves can be as easy as curls or as complex as plank-twist-push-ups-into-a-pike. You can even combine it with other workouts. For example: attach the straps to your feet, grab a pole, and do mid-air sideways crunches. (Good luck!)

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Athletes have plenty of uses, whether their sport is tennis or motocross. Even Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a believer (and paid endorser), using it to strengthen his throwing shoulder and train for his five-step drop.



There's just one catch: TRX's $189 price tag will make you want to hang yourself. And if you want to join a TRX class, which are popping up everywhere, you'll probably have to spring for the system.

But it's hard to beat the convenience. Got a meeting in an hour? Attach the straps to your hotel door. Need a quick post-hoops stretch? Hang the cables from a basketball stanchion. You can even get a treadmill workout without a treadmill by running against the stretch of the straps.

The whole system weighs two pounds, and that sure beats lugging around dumbbells. Sure, if you're trying to get huge, you'll need something more than this. But most of us just want to fit into our pants.

And hey, in the worst-case scenario, your kids will love their new jump rope.

Eric Adelson can be reached at adelson@yahoo-inc.com.

Tags:
Fitness, Guru, TRX