February 13, 2012
Here's an exercise that will help you get strong abdominals and a flexible spine. For best results, perform this move three or four times a week.
Sit on a flat, padded surface or mat. Place a small inflatable ball or small, firm pillow behind your lower back. Place your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, with your knees bent. On an exhalation, form a C-curve with your spine as you lean back against the ball or pillow. Keep the C-curve as you twist your torso to the right and grasp the outside of your right thigh. Be sure to twist above your navel so only your shoulders, chest and ribs rotate. Keep your hips, thighs and knees facing forward. Pause in this position.
Without losing the position, slowly release your hands and practice doing small, pulsing twists for 30 seconds, bringing your left shoulder toward your right knee. To release, grasp your right thigh again and return to the center. Repeat on the other side. Your spine should remain in a curved position to keep the work in your abdominals.
Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs, including "Full Body Stretch" and "Ballet BodySculpt."