OK. Past the limping stage for my still-sore-ankle. But I was able to do a few crunches last week with my calves on the couch and my back on the floor. I learned this from a very inspiring video:

And here is another video showing how to do a traditional crunch:

Interestingly enough, one study says there are more efficient ways to build up your abs, and normal crunches are way down on the list. Here is the link:

http://exercise.about.com/od/abs/ss/abexercises.htm

that claims the bicycle crunch is most effective. It looks like this:

bicycle exercise for abs

bicycle exercise for abs

While I was on my back last week resting my ankle, I did a lot of reading and found many articles that tell us how to build muscle. There are literally a few hundred million web pages about fitness and abs. Maybe you can pass on some especially good ones.

Here is one by Tom Venuto–never heard of him–that appeared in a magazine (http://www.ironmagazine.com/article59.html) with the following photo. Do you want to look like this:

tom's abs

tom's abs

And here is the list in order of benefits according to the American Council of Exercise. You can see photos and how-to-do instructions on successive pages in the link above

Index: Top 10 Most Effective Ab Exercises
Bicycle Exercise
Captain’s Chair Leg Raise
Exercise Ball Crunch
Vertical Leg Crunch
Torso Track
Long Arm Crunch
Reverse Crunch
Full Vertical Crunch
Ab Rocker
Plank on Elbows and Toes

I actually saw one video that claimed there are 200! different abs exercises you can do. What an abundance of choices. I feel sick from so much food for thought.

Nevertheless the challenge is to to do something from two to three times a week. More than that doesn’t give the torn down muscles a chance to grow as they re-knit themselves every few days. Less than twice a week won’t do more than keep you toned–it won’t build muscle.

I also keep reading that to expose the muscles, we have to lower our body fat ratio, and that can only happen through diet. A million crunches a week won’t make those abs magically appear through the blubber that might be covering them. It’s a two-part process.

I plan to learn more later about how to lower my body fat, and I don’t even have much on my chest and stomach to begin with. Decades ago I heard that body builders eat a lot of tuna fish before a competition. I will check out the truth of that possible myth to making muscles pop out.

Saturday I rose from the ankle-injured dead and went to the gym for a short, one-hour workout. I skimped a bit on my stretches, but played with the exercise ball (stretchier abs crunches when you lean back, even though that move makes me nauseous), some weights, a few machines and the chin-up bar. I was able to do five pull-ups with my fingers pointing at me, and just two with fingers pointing away. And that was at the end of the workout. Some progress!