Believe it or not, one of my favorite ab exercises uses one of those cheap infomercial gadgets, the “Ab Wheel.”

You can pick one up at Amazon.com or Wal-Mart for under 20 bucks, and it works your abs hard without having to do crunches.

But what about the other ab gadgets you see advertised on TV?

Researchers (from the Mayo Clinic, of all places) tested the “Ab-Slide

(a contraption that’s similar to the Ab Wheel), and compared using it to doing ab crunches, supine double-leg thrusts (seated knee tuck-ins), and side planks.

Ten young men and 12 young women did all the exercises. And the researchers found that the Ab-Slide worked the abs the hardest. On the other hand, the seated knee tuck-ins required a lot of hip flexion, and they believed it could cause problems in people prone to low-back injury.

Personally, I’m going to stick with the Ab Wheel. As always, I’m going to keep crunches out of my program… and now I’m going to add the seated knee tuck-in to my list of ab exercises to avoid.

[Ed. Note: If you think sit-ups and crunches are the best way to get a flat stomach, you’ve fallen victim to one of the most common fitness myths around. Discover 5 more myths about exercise – and how to combat them – right here.]

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Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men’s Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he’ll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com