For the last fiveoff-seasons, star running back Edgerrin James, as well as dozens of other Miamialums now in the NFL, has adhered to a core-centric workout designed by AndreuSwasey, the Hurricanes' strength coach. James's five-day-a-week regimen startsthe day after his season ends and continues until the day before the nextseason begins. James, 28, may miss an occasional weight room session, but he'sfaithful to the most intense part of the workout: a 17-exercise, 250-repabdominal sequence that must be done within seven minutes and requires littlemore than a floor, a table and a lot of determination. James, who has struggledin his first year as a Cardinal, credits the routine with helping him make fourPro Bowls as a Colt. Here's a sampling of his abs routine. For the full regimengo to SI.com/players.
HYPEREXTENSIONS (10 REPS)
Lie face down on a bench with a weight (or a partner)stabilizing your ankles and your torso draped over an end of the bench so thatyour head is near the floor. With hands on sides of head slowly raise torso tohorizontal position. Slowly lower torso back down. Keep neck, shoulders andupper back arched throughout movement.
TWISTED SIT-UPS (16 REPS)
Lie face up, fingers interlocked behind the head.Bring knees slightly and lift shoulder blades. Straighten left leg to 45degrees while bringing left elbow toward right knee; switch sides, bringingright elbow toward left knee. Alternate in a pedaling motion as if riding abicycle.
LEG HUGS (10 REPS)
Lie face up, arms and legs extended. Slowly raiseupper back while bringing knees toward head; grab knees and clutch them,pulling the body into a ball. Hold the position a few seconds. Release kneesand slowly return to starting position.
REVERSE TRUNK TWISTS (20 REPS)
Lie face up, legs extended, arms straight out atsides. Raise legs perpendicular to floor. Slowly lower feet to the right (legsstraight, muscles tight) until feet are a few inches above floor. Return tostarting position, repeat to left side.
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (ACTION)
ILLUSTRATIONS BY KAGAN MCLEOD