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Published by: nirev81 on Feb 04, 2012
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Abs are often forgotten while doing other exercises that are not
usually thought of as “for abs.” Some people deliberately arch while
exercising, mistakenly thinking it looks good. In either case, it is not

Overhead Press

Arching while lifting weight further compresses your low back. Use
your abs to tuck your hips enough to take the large arch out of your
back. Sometimes you use abs to make a small adjustment, other times
a larger one.

Bad posture. Back arched.
Hard on the back.
Abs not in use.

Same exercise done properly.
Abs reduce the arch and
control back posture.

Dr. Jolie Bookspan


Triceps Curls

When doing triceps curls, people often arch their back to bring the
weight back, instead of lifting arms while keeping posture neutral.
The low back bears the weight, rather than the torso and arm muscles.
You pressure your low back and get less arm exercise than you
thought. You also miss the free ab workout you would get if you used
abs to straighten your posture and save your back.

Tuck under to straighten your back to keep the weight of your upper
body plus the hand weights off your low back.

Bad posture on triceps curls.
Back arched.
Abs not in use.

Same exercise done properly
with abs in use to reduce the
arch and control back posture.

The Ab RevolutionTM



Yoga won’t automatically “give” you good posture. You have to
consciously use your muscles to move you into good, straight posture.

Abs are often forgotten when doing yoga poses. Some styles of yoga
even teach to deliberately stand in this arched position. That does not
use the abs and is hard on the back. Instead, use your abs to tuck your
hips and reduce the arched posture to stand properly, get an ab
workout, and save your back.

Bad posture.
Back overly-arched.
Abs not in use.

Same pose done properly with abs in
use to reduce the arch and control
back posture.

Dr. Jolie Bookspan


Same pose done properly with abs in
use to reduce the arch and control
back posture.

Bad posture.
Back arched.
Abs not in use.

The Ab RevolutionTM



Pushups with terrible arched posture (shown by the first, third, and
last white shirt in the picture below) means your abs are not in use,
and your back strains from hanging your weight on it in an arch. This
is common.

Tuck your hips and straighten your back (black shirt), but hold your
head up too. You will instantly feel your abs spring into use. The
more you tuck, the more you’ll use abs, but don’t tuck so much that
you hunch your back or hike your hips in the air. You will save your
back and make the pushup a terrific abs and core exercise.

Look sideways at this same terrible
posture and see how they would look
standing up this way: overly-arched,
bad posture, heads hanging, and lack
of use of abs. Don’t do this for
pushups or for standing up.

Dr. Jolie Bookspan


Martial Arts

You need your abs to straighten your back posture while doing many
moves in martial arts. (See pages 84 to 89 on punching and kicking
for how.)

Can you spot the students not using abs in this Karate class? (First on
the left and second from the right.) They are not controlling their back
posture, allowing it to arch too much. This can strain the back and
will not give you good punching or kicking power

Teacher is holding
strong posture.
Student is arching and
slouching, losing
punching power and
straining the back.

The Ab RevolutionTM



You need to use your abs to keep your back from folding back in an
arch during normal walking. It’s surprising how many fitness books
and articles talk about posture for walking but still show someone
walking with an overly-arched torso. You need a small natural inward
curve to keep your spinal column like a spring for shock absorption,
and to keep forces distributed on your discs. Many people allow too
much arch, which allows body weight to grind down on the low back
and decreases natural shock absorption. Look at illustrations in books
and magazines, and see how often you’ll find this bad posture in
illustrations and photos from fashion to exercise.


Archery is an activity where using abs saves more than your back. If
you arch when drawing a bow and arrow, your chest will protrude
outward into the line of the bowstring. You can painfully “twang”
your breast with the bowstring. Tuck your chest and hip as if starting
a crunch to straighten up. Hold good straight posture to keep your
chest out of the line of the bowstring.

“Lat” Machines

When using a weight machine to pull down a bar to your chest (lat
pull-downs), don’t arch your back. Use abs to keep you sitting
upright, not arched or leaning back. You’ll get an ab workout and also
get far more out of the exercise for your lats and chest.

Other Activities

In many activities you need to lean back but still not arch. Use good
ab technique to keep your back from arching while leaning backward
during windsurfing and water skiing, for “hiking out” to
counterbalance sailboats in the wind, to dodge flying objects and fists
as in the movies “The Matrix” and “Spiderman,” to be dipped while
ballroom dancing, to take photographs from certain angles, and for
doing the limbo dance.

Dr. Jolie Bookspan


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