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Shape, October 2007, page 136
Get Flat Abs in Half the Time

Using a stability ball during crunches gives you better results but only if you put it in the right spot. In a new study, researchers at Occidental College in Los Angeles discovered that centering the ball under your lower back had up to twice the belly firming power as placing it under your shoulder blades. "Since more of your torso is unsupported, your abs have to work much harder," says study author Eric Sternlicht, Ph.D. Especially surprising: The ball-under-your-shoulders position was less effective than doing cruches on the floor. The lower-back may feel harder but your abls will thank you. -Sara Bodnar