The show: The Simpsons
Perform a different core move for each of the three ad breaks
“The premise is simple,” says Nick Grantham, a strength coach who works with the FA, the National Sports Medicine Institute and the British Olympic Association. “In the first ad break, hold a plank (A) until the hard selling is over. During the next two, drop down into a side-plank (B) – left for one and right for the other.” Up and atom, to paraphrase Rainier Wolfcastle.
The show: Boardwalk Empire
Do 10 reps when Nucky’s name is mentioned
For abs sharper than a Boardwalk plot twist, lie face up on the floor with arms above your head, knees bent and feet up (A). Research in The Journal of Sports Rehabilitation found this targets your core harder than a sit-up. Crunch up, bringing your arms to your knees, then slowly lower to the start (B). “This hits your upper and lower abs and will fry extra calories,” says Grantham.
The show: True Blood
Do 12 reps each time anybody licks their lips
Sit on the floor, then raise your feet and clasp your hands together while locking your elbows (A). Keeping your back straight, lower your arms to touch the floor on either side of your body (B) with a motion similar to that of paddling a canoe (through a river of blood, if you like). This move targets your core, and will go a long way towards carving out your very own set of Jason Stackhouse obliques.
The show: Eastbound & Down
Do 5 reps each time Kenny swears or cusses
Create a backbone Kenny would be proud of. Lie on the floor with your legs straight and arms in front of you (B). Research in The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy found this move works 77% of the muscles in your lower back, which develops the muscles around the front, without stressing your spine. To stabilise your core, raise your arms and legs off the floor and keep your elbows and knees locked (B). Hold.
The show: Game of Thrones
Do 15 reps every time Tyrion Lannister has a drink
This old favourite has been carving out warrior-worthy abs since the days of the Spartans. Drop into press-up position with your arms straight and hands just beyond shoulder width (A). Bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor (B). Pause, push back up and repeat. “Your abs have to tense to prevent your hips from resting on the floor,” says Grantham.
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