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Description: A simple but extremely important exercise for your abdomen in which you try to suck in your tummy. What guys do automatically when they want to impress a member of the opposite sex.

Motions trained: None, but this does aid all the others.

Main muscles used:transveralis abdominis
   Other muscles:

How to do it: Stand up as straight as you can. Try to suck your tummy in until your navel touches your spine. Hold this for up to 30 seconds. It is good to start these standing so you aren't tempted to use your abdominals. Repeat 3 or so times in a workout.

How to work up to it:If you have trouble doing it standing, lie on your back.

Ramping it up:Throw this into other activities. For instance, I do vacuums while jumping rope.

Do's and don'ts:Don't contract your abs when you do this! This is most emphatically not a type of crunch. If you are going to put this into another motion, don't do it for an aerobic activity since some people find they can't breath so well while doing it.

Comments: This is the supporting motion for doing just about everything. It turns out that this one, obscure muscle buried deep inside of you is one of the very few that attaches to your lumbar spine (lower back, on the inside of you). Every limb you move starts by firing this muscle to form a base. People with lower back trouble for years were told to do crunches since they need to flatten the back. The problem is that your abs will only pull up the front of the pelvis but don't do anything for the lumbar region. Indeed, you can have severe lordosis (curvature of the spine) while having rock solid abs. Working this muscle will make you have better posture and can correct a number of lower back ailments. It doesn't take much work, actually, just a few vacuums a day since once you get so you are aware of it, you will start noticing it gets used all the time. These just help you take note and give you a way to strengthen it.