Kurt Brungardt was at the front end of the abdominal obsession. His Abs of Steel
video was a bestseller, and the original Complete Book of Abs
, published in 1993, was considered the bible of midsection exercises for trainers and fitness enthusiasts. The obsession has only grown since then, manifested by dubious infomercial products, a burgeoning fitness-magazine industry promising readers great abs with almost no investment of time and effort, and (perhaps because of the shortcomings of the first two phenomena) a boom in the demand for legitimate nutritionists and personal trainers. Even Brungardt himself came out with a 1998 book, 3-Minute Abs
, to take advantage of the craze.
With all that going on, it seems hard to believe that there's anything new to say about abdominal exercise. Indeed, this revised version of The Complete Book of Abs doesn't really try. There is a new prebeginner midsection routine, which leads into the more advanced exercise regimens described in the original book, and a handful of new exercises. But other than that, the expanded sections are in nutrition (several new pages of recipes) and total-body fitness (new photos demonstrating exercises for body parts other than abs).
Still, the original package is a terrific deal: more than 100 exercises, numerous training routines, and lots of basic information about exercise and diet. Each abdominal exercise is rated for difficulty on a scale of 1 to 3 and how risky it is to the lower back. The routines are complete and thoughtfully compiled, and there's not a bit of advice in the entire book that isn't scientifically legitimate. That's why this book--in either edition--remains indispensable for those serious enough about fitness to need information that goes beyond the basics. --Lou Schuler END
Features more than one hundred exercises and specialized routines designed to tone stomach muscles.