MEN'S EXERCISE. Men's Journal. Men's Health. Men's Fitness. Men's Health and Fitness. Men's Health, Fitness & Exercise. On the newsstand, rippling naked abs are exclaimed everywhere. Obliques, erectors, intercostals! Shred 'em, sculpt 'em, rip 'em! In only eight hours a day for the next five years you, too, can look like a hairless, surgically altered underwear model! Just six-pack that washboard with crunches, reverse crunches and bodyball cross-crunches! Marvel at the soft-core porn of the kneeling, twisting cable crunch! Weep at the human drama of the bent-legged hanging leg raise! Next month on the cover of National Review—William F. Buckley's ab-blasting neo-con supersets! More sit-ups! You must do more sit-ups! Why? So you'll be strong enough to do more sit-ups? Remember: Babe Ruth couldn't have done a sit-up if Miller Huggins had clamped a 770-amp truck battery to his genitals.
SQUATTER. RUNNER. LIFTER. Seat of power, vital lever! Wallet-hauling ham and hunker! Center of gravity! Samba engine! Unsung hero! The humble ass is where the real grunt work gets done. A doughty Sancho Panza to the brain's Don Quixote! Whether our life's long work is bucking bales or breaking for second or playing Chopin, we all need the maximum gluteus tailored to the task. Ask Johnny Bench or Gordie Howe who carried him all those years. Yo-Yo Ma or CooCoo Marlin. Vijay Singh or V.S. Naipaul. As important to substance and spirit as the mighty heart itself, any injury done to the ass is commonly and correctly understood to be life-threatening. The abdomen can say nothing of the kind. What streetwise thug would ever bother to bust a cap in your abs? What prom-night father, his precious daughter staggering home at 4 a.m., ever offered her date a good, swift kick in the abs? Look at your life and give the ass its due. Who among us, about to shuck the mortal coil, in those final moments of bittersweet regret, would kiss their abs goodbye?