Here's a new way to spice up your basic abdominal crunches using a 36-inch round roller. This is a challenging exercise, so be patient if you find it difficult at first. And remember: It's important to keep your shoulders and hips level throughout the entire move.
1. Sit at one end of the roller, line up your spine on the roller and lie down on it. (Scoot down enough to make sure the back of your head rests on the roller.) Place your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart, with your knees bent, toes facing forward. On an inhale, extend your arms straight behind you, elbows tight and thumbs facing the floor. Focus on maintaining your balance.
2. On an exhale, sweep your arms straight in front of your chest, fingers pointing toward your feet. Simultaneously raise your right foot, contract your abdominals and roll your head, shoulders and chest off the roller. Pause for two seconds while pressing your mid-back down against the roller. Slowly return to the start position with your arms overhead. Repeat, raising your left foot off the floor. Continue to alternate legs for eight to 12 repetitions.
Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs, including "Sleek Essentials."