You've been kidnapped, thrown into a dark room, and your hands are cuffed behind you. You can hear your nameless, faceless abductors through the thin walls laughing at your predicament. We've all been there a time or two, but if you have a very specific set of rather simple skills it won't take long for you to turn the tables on your would-be captors. They won't know what hit them... if, that is, you know how to get out of your restraints.

How To Get Out Of Handcuffs

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While they might seem like the most secure way to keep a prisoner from getting loose handcuffs are nowhere near as tough to beat as they might seem. For starters mass-produced sets all have the same locks and take the same key. So if you're really paranoid about being abducted it's a good idea to keep a spare on your key ring, or maybe in that little change pocket of your jeans. If you don't have a key, or if your key doesn't fit, then you're going to have to pick the lock.

This is nowhere near as difficult as you might think, but it is certainly a little harder than Hollywood would have you believe. For starters you need your hands in front of you, which might take some bending and straining if your hands are cuffed in the small of your back. Once your cuffs are around in front simply take a paperclip or a bobby pin and bend the bitter end at a 90-degree angle. Once that's done slip your makeshift pick into the lock toward the end where the tooth of the key would go. Rotate the pick slowly, and the cuff should pop right open. This might take a few tries, but it's the simplest lock you'll ever try to pick.

What About Breaking Flexicuffs?

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Flexicuffs are nothing more than a set of plastic zip ties that go around an individual's wrists. There are no locks to pick, so the only solution you have is to bust out of them. You don't need to be the Incredible Hulk to do it either; you just need to know the proper way to apply your force.

The first thing you need to do is to get your hands in front of you. Once you've done that pull your wrists outwards and tighten the cuffs as much as possible so there's no give. It will be uncomfortable, and breaking them will hurt. Hold your arms out in front of you, take a deep breath, and piston your arms back toward your chest. Keep your elbows tight to your ribs, and the force of the thrust as the flexicuffs are pulled against your chest will cause them to burst. A quick-fix solution if ever there was one.

What About Escaping From Duct Tape?

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Duct tape is the favorite redoubt of the uncreative; the problem is that it's also really hard to get out of. There aren't any locks to pick, and there's no amount of force that will snap the tough strands. Duct tape requires some grit, determination, and a decent pair of boots to escape.

You're going to need a good, strong boot lace; the round kind. Tennis shoe laces just won't get the job done, which is why James Bond never wears them. Once again, get your hands in front if they're not there already. Untie your boot and stretch the lace up. Grab one end in your mouth, and saw the duct tape back and forth until it breaks. Alternatively you can unlace the boot entirely. Throw the lace over the duct tape, and tie loops in either end. Hook the loops over your toes, sit or lie back, and make a bicycle motion while pulling against the duct tape. This will saw right through the tape, leaving you free in a matter of moments.