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The Complete Book of Abs
by Kurt Brungardt

If you are abdominally obsessed, you will probably love this book. And even if you do realize there's more to life than a six-pack or a flat stomach, you'll still find a lot of valuable information here. A toned midsection is the result of more than just ab exercises, and Kurt Brungardt's book acknowledges that. Before he even gets into the approximately 100 abdominal exercises that make up the bulk of this volume, he has chapters on diet and a full body exercise routine. He also debunks a lot of common myths about ab muscles (there's no such thing as spot-reducing, for example, and a woman's approach to working out her abs is pretty much the same as a man's). While you're not getting this book for its general fitness information (after all, it's a complete book of abs), this is all good to know. The quality of your abs does depend on the overall fitness of your body.

You'll find nearly every abdominal exercise known to man in this book with one exception: those that require the use of a Balance Ball. The only reason for this is probably because the book came out before the Balance Ball's latest surge in popularity. But that aside, you'll find all sorts of crunches, leg raises, reverse crunches, leg lifts, exercises that require a Roman Chair, a Captain's Chair or machines, exercises that can be done in an office chair. There are even prenatal abdominal exercises appropriate for the first two trimesters, with your doctor's permission). The exercises are rated according to their difficulty and lower back risk. Brungardt also tells you which part of your abs the exercise targets. All this information might be overwhelming, but there are also several chapters outlining routines for all fitness levels. You're even taught how to create your own routine.

One of the secrets to training well is changing up your routine every few weeks. With this book, you'll never be stuck for new ways to work your abs. There's just one caveat - if you decide to buy this book used, make sure you are getting the revised edition. The original edition, which came out back in 1993, doesn't have a lot of the general fitness information, and that's really good to have. And maybe when another edition comes out, Brungardt will add in some Balance Ball exercises, which will make the book truly complete - at least until a new fitness toy takes over the market.

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