No More Crunches! No More Back Pain!

The Ab Revolution
By Dr. Jolie Bookspan


How to Use Your ABS All the Time for Real Life
Burn calories, work your abs, and save your back while doing your everyday activities. Used by military and law enforcement and the nation’s top spine docs and rehab centers

© 2003 by Dr. Jolie Bookspan, Neck and Back Pain Sports Medicine. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author. ISBN: 1-4107-4528-7 (E-book) ISBN: 1-4107-4527-9 (Paperback) ISBN: 1-4107-4526-0 (Dust Jacket) Library of Congress Control Number: 2003092486 This book is printed on acid free paper.

Printed in the United States of America Bloomington, IN Nothing in this book is meant as specific medical advice or exercise instruction. See your physician, get training, and use your brain before attempting anything presented. The Ab Revolution™ Method, name, and information are trademarked and part of the Fitness Therapy series, including Lower Body Revolution. To teach or distribute this method in any way, contact the author for permissions and training materials.
1stBooks – rev. 7/28/03


To my Grandmother the Gypsy, who taught me to spot snake-oil, and who taught me about real exercise, posture, and health from my earliest years. She got her college degree at age 81. To her the highest things in life were education and Jack LaLane. To my mother who I promised I would find how to end back pain. To my students and patients who all really feel better and work their abs more using this method, and showed me how needed it is. To my wonderful husband and hero Paul. What beautiful abs you have, my dear.


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............... 6 Abs are Your Guy Wires from the Front .................................................................................................................... 37 What About Ab Machines? .......................... v Revolution! .................................................................................................................. 35 How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Legs........ 21 How to Use Your Abs When Standing Up............................................................................................................................................................ 5 How Do Abs Control Posture? ............................................. 17 But Aren’t You Supposed to Stick Your Behind Out?............................................................................................. 4 What Exactly Do Abs Do? .......................................................................................................................... 1 Why Do Abs? .. 34 How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Arms.......................................... 10 How Do Abs Help Your Back? ............. 32 How to Use Abs for Reaching.. 19 What Are All the Muscles Called? ................................................................................................................................... 42 v ..........................................Table of Contents Dedication... 39 What About “Captain’s Chair?” ............ 25 How to Use Abs for Carrying Loads ........................................ 9 What is Lordosis? .................................................................................................................................. 15 What’s Wrong with Crunches?... 23 How to Use Abs When Doing Other Exercises.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 16 Doing Abs Doesn’t Automatically Change Posture or Back Pain. 12 What About the Ab Study?....... 3 Using Abs Doesn’t Mean “Sucking Them In” or Making Them “Tight” ....................... iii Table of Contents ................................................................................................................... 38 What About Leg Lifts? .............. 36 Real Athletes Use Abs...........................................................................................................

.....................................76 Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture When Reaching and Lifting Overhead .........................................80 Using Abs for Side and Underhand Arm Activities ......................................................................... Babies..44 What About Abdominal Twists? ..........88 Using Backpacks................52 What About Ab Isolators? ..............................................................................71 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Reaching and Lifting Overhead .................... and Bags as Oblique Ab Exercise........................................................................................92 “Ab-Only” Exercises are Not Good ......................................................63 Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture...............................................57 What About Electronic Ab Zapper Belts?........97 vi .................................................................................................................................................Arching Isn’t the Culprit ......................................................................91 Using Abs to Throw a Tantrum..............................................................................56 What About Ab Rocking Devices? .........82 Using Abs for Punching ................................................................................84 Using Abs For Pushing................59 What About Neoprene Waist Bands?.... How Often? ............................94 Should You Work Your Abs Every Day or Every Other Day?............................................................61 How Many............................................................................................90 Using Backpacks.........................58 What About Miracle Liquids and Fat Burners? ....... and Bags as Ab Exercise...................................49 What About Exercise Balls?.........47 What About Lower Abs and Reverse Crunches? ................................. Babies............62 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Normal Standing .....79 Using Abs for Throwing and Other Overhead Arm Activities .............................................................68 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture When Using Weights .......96 How Do You Flatten Your Abdomen?.................................................................................60 What Exercises Work Your Abs the Way You Need For Real Life? ......87 Using Abs for Kicking ........................................................................

..................................... Jolie Bookspan...........How Do You Get a “Washboard?”.... 102 Credits.............................................................................. 100 More Books by Dr............................................................................................................. Bookspan’s Ab Revolution ............................................................ 103 About the Author....................... 102 Health & Fitness in Plain English................................... 98 More Praise for Dr.............................................. 105 vii .............

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To most people. walk. and which make your neck hurt. Most people have no idea what abs specifically do. and back pain. and lift with no use of your abs. Ab exercise has become hugely popularized as something you specially “do. then stand up and walk away with arched posture and no use of abs at all. reach. usual ab exercises “miss the boat” because they don’t transfer skills to real life. and tight muscles are a factor in headaches. It’s practically universal to see a roomful of exercisers cranking away doing ab exercise.” You can’t move or breathe properly that way.” then never use the rest of the time.The Ab RevolutionTM Revolution! This is a revolution in ab fitness. It doesn’t happen automatically just from exercising. you go back to your “real life” and stand. doing ab exercise means stopping your “real life” and lying on the floor or using machines to hunch forward to do motions you never do in real life. The “experts” say to do crunches for strong muscles to “support” you. how to use them when standing up or during things you do in real life. Plenty of people with strong muscles and tight abs have terrible posture and persistent back pain. The old. Fitness has become “Fast Food” — stripped of real content and value. The Ab Revolution shows you how to work your abs to correct your posture and keep strain off your back all the time during your daily activities while standing up. poor posture. The very thing we regard as exercise advice. and thought to be healthy when it is not healthy.” is the root of the problem because it separates using abs from the rest of your life. back pain. “do three sets (or however many sets) of 10 crunches. or even that you are supposed to at all. Then. 1 . Shake up your entire thinking about abs. or movement in real-life activities. Using abs is not “tightening them. But strengthening alone does not automatically change posture.

and legs too. You’ll burn calories. They were told to be nice for 30 minutes. It teaches specific skills to make your life better. Jolie Bookspan Doing specific moves for an hour and not knowing to use them for daily life is like couples being nice in a counselor’s office. The exercises not only strengthen your abs. 2 .Dr. not all the time. It’s a revolution. You’ll strengthen your body. what they don’t do. and how to consciously use your abs for all your daily activities — even standing up. You’ll strengthen your abs. You’ll get exercise without going to a gym. then throwing knives at each other the rest of the time. and teach you how your muscles need to work together in your real life. You’ll save your back. You’ll exercise your brain. This book gives you an understanding of what abs really do. shoulders. arms. but your back. three to five times a week. This method revolutionizes how you think about abs and how you use them.

They think it just happens automatically. everyone seems to want to “do abs”.” What does “support” really mean? Most people don’t know what abs specifically “do. but never use their abs for real life.The Ab RevolutionTM Why Do Abs? More than other exercises. Yet 8 out of 10 people still have back pain. But why? It’s “something” to do with helping the back. Why do the exercises so often “fail?” 3 .” or how. But what exactly do “abs” do for your back? It’s “something” to do with posture. But exactly what? It’s something vague about “support. or even know they are supposed to. They do abs in rehab programs for back pain. Poor posture is common. They do crunches in every workout.

or normal daily activities. It’s voluntary movement to change the amount of bend and arch in your spine. and it doesn’t teach you how to use your abs the way you need for sports. exercise. not tightening them. and are not the way to use your abs the way you need them. Yes. for good posture. yet they are incorrect and outdated. That’s why it’s a revolution in ab fitness. Move your arm around. Now arch your back and make the abs tight with your back still arched. It will change your whole way of thinking about abs. You can’t breathe properly that way. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs Doesn’t Mean “Sucking Them In” or Making Them “Tight” Using your abs does not mean “sucking them in” or “tightening them” or “pressing your navel to your spine. You voluntarily move your arm into the position you want by using the muscles. Tightening is not how to use abs. Try this: bend your elbow to bring your hand up to your face. It wouldn’t change your posture. Moreover. You didn’t tighten anything. and teach you exciting new skills to be fitter. this is new and different. Another often-repeated instruction is: “press your navel to your spine and contract your gluteal muscles.Dr. Moving your torso into good posture by using your torso muscles is the same. The tightening didn’t change anything. 4 . even with “tight” abs. or any muscles. healthier.” You can’t function or exercise normally that way.” These are practically universal phrases to describe using abs. and pain-free. walking around with “tight” muscles is a common factor in headache and stress/strainrelated muscle pain. You can have poor posture and a terribly arched back.

The Ab RevolutionTM What Exactly Do Abs Do? Most people use vague words like “support” to describe what abs do. sides. It doesn’t mean holding yourself rigidly. and bends the joint. exaggerating the normal inward curve. When you contract your abs. and their back to arch. on the front.” Then they stand and walk away with abs slack. your low back will sway. All your different ab muscles connect your ribs to your hips. When any muscle contracts. allowing their ribs to lift up. 5 . The Ab Revolution shows you how to use your abs standing up to save your back and get a free built-in ab work-out. curling your torso and taking the arch out of your back. protecting your joints and soft tissue. This can cause wear and tear on your soft tissues and discs. What does “support” exactly mean? When you stand up and don’t use your abdominal muscles. it means holding yourself up easily without slouching backward or to the sides. This arching allows the weight of your upper body to press down on your low back. Most people only exercise their abs by hunching forward and sideways for a bunch of “repetitions. where each vertebra attaches to the one above and below it. and across. they pull your ribs and hips closer to each other in various directions and amounts. hips to drop down. it pulls on the bones it attaches to. Contracting your abs just enough to take out excess arching when you’re standing up keeps your upper body weight from slumping onto your low back. Using abs means using them like any other muscle. The joints of your spine bend. and irritate the joints called vertebral facets.

To understand what abs do for your posture when you use them properly. 6 . Put your other hand on the front and middle of your hip bone where your front abs begin. You have to voluntarily use your abs to change your posture. If you don’t consciously use your muscles to hold you up. They aren’t using their muscles to prevent it.Dr. But strengthening does not automatically “support” your back or change your posture. stand up and put one hand on the front of your ribs. Jolie Bookspan How Do Abs Control Posture? It’s a common assumption that doing ab exercise to strengthen your abs will help your posture and back. That is one big reason people slouch. you will sag under gravity. where your front ab muscles attach.

How much do you need this posture in real life? Shortened abs curl you Lengthened abs let you arch Still holding your ribs and hip bone. That is what crunches do for you. draw your two hands toward each other. 7 . The distance between your hands increases. Hold that position.The Ab RevolutionTM Still holding the top and bottom of your abs. arch your back and let your ribs lift and your abdomen curve out. Feel your body weight fall onto your low back? That is what not using your abs allows: an arched back and your weight pressing hard on your low back. Your torso will curl and your back will round. showing how slack ab muscles allow your back to arch. You will even be shorter because of the increased curve in your spine. They hunch you forward.

When used properly. 8 . and stop the strain and wear and tear of dropping your upper body weight on your low back. Don’t curl so much that you round forward. taller position.Dr. This is what abs do to control posture. Jolie Bookspan To use your abs to pull you up to stand properly. Your torso comes upright to a straightened. Use your abs at the length that holds you up in good posture. not arching back. bring your hands toward each other so the distance between your ribs and hips decreases. they hold you from arching backward.

abs keep you from arching backward. 9 . Use your “guy wire" muscles to keep you from sagging in bad posture. but if you don’t voluntarily use them to pull you forward. giving you that training. The guy wires in back are your back muscles. Just having strong muscles does not make them automatically pull the right amount at the right time. you will round forward in bad posture. and train your brain to remember. You can have strong back muscles.The Ab RevolutionTM Abs are Your Guy Wires from the Front Like a guy wire keeping a tree from falling backward. The Ab Revolution is the missing link. You can have strong ab muscles. but if you don’t voluntarily use them to pull your shoulders back. You have to train your muscles for that. When you use them. you will arch backward in bad posture. they keep you from slouching forward. They pull forward to keep your upper body weight from arching back and pressuring your low back.

Technically. Lordosis is usually completely controllable by using your abs to keep your hip from tipping forward. or something that “just happens” to them like flu. your back may become so tight that it gets stuck arched in the “booty-out” posture. and to reduce the overly-large arch that makes your back hurt. Jolie Bookspan What is Lordosis? Many people with back pain are told they have a “condition” called lordosis. If you have a condition called spondylolisthesis. to lifting weights. It has commonly come to mean too much inward curve. adding to back arching. Chronically pressuring the bones and other structures of your back with this bad posture can eventually deform them. this is all the more reason not to allow yourself to arch more this way. and to use The Ab Revolution all the time during daily activities. This is terrible posture and injurious to your back. It can create all kinds of back pain. “Sway back” is not a structural condition you are born with or “just have” (or want to have). they arch their back and thrust out their behind in dozens of exercises. You’ll see this overly-arched (lordotic) posture in an astonishing number of fitness videos.Dr.” but if you look at them. unavoidable. They think this is something anatomic. and classes. Use The Ab Revolution to avoid — even reverse — this. The video star may say “keep neutral spine. books.” along with the usual (but incorrect) “tighten your abs. 10 . from leg lifts. allowing the back to sway. to bouncing around in aerobics. If you habitually stand with your back arched. but is just a bad posture habit. magazines. like human bonsai. by retraining your posture and use of your muscles to hold you in healthy position. which makes one backbone slip forward on the next. the word “lordosis” originally meant the normal inward curve of the low back.

which pressures the low back. Lordosis can be easily controlled by straightening your posture using your own muscles.The Ab RevolutionTM This ancient Greek fresco shows the lordotic (overly-arched) posture. 11 .

With your left hand. Jolie Bookspan How Do Abs Help Your Back? People usually have some vague idea that abs have something to do with helping the back. See the pinched and folded-back crease at the knuckle joints of your right hand? 12 . You can have the strongest abs and never use them to do anything for your back. But they don’t know specifically what abs do. Try curling and straightening your body too as you do this.Dr. Lift your fingers back up again to simulate using your back muscles to straighten up. Your palm (facing left) is the front of your body. The back of your hand (facing right) is your back. then. or that abs don’t do it automatically. So. bending your fingers back as far as they will go. how do abs help your back? Try this: Hold your right hand up with your thumb toward you. press against the fingers of your right hand. Bend your fingers forward to represent your abs at work. only your fingers arch back. Keep your palm upright.

That shows the forces on your low back when you walk without using abs. Now bounce against your fingers quickly and hard. with your ab muscles slack. 13 . Your fingers come back up into straight line. That is running with your back arched and not using your abs. That is what you are doing to your low back every day when you don’t consciously use your abs to prevent that kind of arching. Ouch. every day.The Ab RevolutionTM This shows how your body weight falls on the joints of your low back when you don’t use your ab muscles to prevent arching back under gravity. use the muscles in the palm of your right hand to straighten your right hand against the push of your left. To represent how to use your abs to control the arch of your back and prevent too much arching: with your left hand still pressing the right fingers back. Bounce against your fingers so that they rock back repeatedly. The stretched palm of your hand represents your abdomen. all the time. That is how you need to use your abs to control your posture when standing up — all day.

Practice keeping your shoulders and head back without arching your back to do it. Bring the back of your head against the wall. Jolie Bookspan A surprising number of people are so round-shouldered that they cannot stand up straight without arching their back. Did your ribs come up and your back arch? Fix that with your abs. 14 . you need to work on upper back strengthening and flexibility. Try this: • • Stand against a wall with your heels. That is where your head should be for healthy posture.Dr. Don’t lift your chin. behind and shoulders touching the wall. they arch their back instead of straightening their shoulders. even when you are relaxed. To bring their head up. If your upper back and shoulders are so stiff that you can’t stand up straight without arching your back. Stretch the front of your shoulder so that it doesn’t pull forward into a roundshouldered posture. too. Stand against a wall or lie flat without a pillow to practice head and upper back posture.

Posture and muscle use is not automatic. But the surveyors missed three basic concepts: • An exercise can work a muscle well. • • The Ab Revolution teaches a whole different approach to abdominal muscle use. and bad movement habits. Even if an exercise activates your ab muscles. Plenty of muscular people have poor posture. None of the exercises they tested and recommend specifically train your body for daily use the way you really need them. doing crunches and other forwardrounding ab exercises “work” your abs but are not a great way to do it. but still promote bad posture and not be good for the rest of you. gives exercises that effectively use and develop your abs. Even if you don’t care about posture or back pain and want only cosmetic results. Crunches don’t train that action. but you do need to stand and walk upright without arching backward. or for back pain control. You don’t need to hunch forward for daily activities. Just strengthening a muscle does not train it for how you need to use it. 15 . the Ab Revolution will give you a better workout. and are not good for the rest of you. Just like smoking “works” to lose weight. it still may not be useful for things you need for daily life. pain. and shows you how to transfer posture and back pain control skills to your daily life.The Ab RevolutionTM What About the Ab Study? Why not just do ab exercises to prevent all the problems? A fitness industry survey at San Diego State University compared 13 of the most common abdominal exercises and ranked them from most to least effective in producing ab muscle activity. Simply strengthening a muscle will not automatically change your posture for proper use in sports or recreation.

In life. which may be mechanically promoting the back and neck pain they think they are working their abs to prevent. Crunches don’t train you for that. Jolie Bookspan What’s Wrong with Crunches? Crunches don’t work your abs the way you need for real life.Dr. even when done properly. Did you know that the most important use of your abs is when you are standing up and reaching or lifting overhead? Most people can’t imagine how to use their abs while standing up or during normal everyday life. instead of allowing you to arch back and lean your body weight onto your low back. Crunches make people — who likely spend much of their day already hunched over a work area — practice that hunched posture. bent-over person. Crunches promote poor posture. You know how the elderly got hunched over like that? They practiced. Look at crunches sideways and see what it would look like to stand up like this — like an old. No wonder that doing 10 minutes of “abs” a day can’t counteract the other 23 hours and 50 minutes of non-use and wrong use. your abs need to work isometrically — at one length — to hold your torso upright. Crunches don’t train you how to use your abs the rest of the day. This is the poor posture you’re training with crunches. 16 .

strengthening your abs does not make them do anything automatically to support your back. If you don’t.The Ab RevolutionTM Doing Abs Doesn’t Automatically Change Posture or Back Pain If you strengthen your biceps muscles. you will still wind up with poor posture. or rehab exercises — as exercises without concepts and the knowledge to apply it during real activities — does not often work as expected. no matter how muscular you are. make your mistakes until you remember. including back muscles) to adjust your posture yourself. it doesn’t automatically hold your arm up in the air. just like using any other voluntary muscles to move any other part of your body Using your abs is more like toilet training. You have to deliberately use your abs (and other posture muscles. This is why doing crunches. You need to learn what to do. 17 . Doing ab exercises or core exercises is not like getting a shot of penicillin or going to confession — it doesn’t “fix” things. or how many crunches you have done. yoga. or “support” your arm. In the same way. You need to consciously use your ab muscles to move your torso to the right position. then you hold it even when you don’t feel like it.

This is injurious to the back and loses the effectiveness of the exercise. but he is still standing in poor posture with an overly-arched back. 18 . His abs are plenty tight. Jolie Bookspan Having tight abs doesn’t fix your posture or help your back.Dr.

This bad posture has become so ingrained that many people think it is normal or desirable. because your core muscles are not driving your limbs. It is a sure sign that you cannot generate real force in your limbs for arm or leg activity. poor posture. too. Just as some people think that holding a cigarette or other drug is “cool. and discomfort. • It keeps the muscles in front of your hip and your low back in a shortened position. Your hips will have extra wear and tear and eventually hurt too. You’re missing a free workout of your torso muscles. poor use. It is unhealthy because it injures your back. interfering with normal walking and running mechanics. The “booty posture” is unhealthy and unsightly for several reasons: • • • It is plain bad posture. causing a vicious cycle of tightness.The Ab RevolutionTM But Aren’t You Supposed to Stick Your Behind Out? Some people deliberately push their behinds out. Without using your abs to keep your weight from arching back. even the weight of your upper body resting on your lower back bones is enough to strain soft tissue and grind bone and discs. eventually tightening them. smashing down on your low back. 19 • . It is sloppy technique because it does not use your posture muscles properly. • • It changes the tilt of your hip.” they mistakenly think holding this bad posture is. and all your weight rests on your low back bones. thinking it looks good. Adding a barbell or overhead weights adds tremendous force.

and even used to advertise for. She is not using her abs to take the large arch out of her back. So does heroin.Dr. fitness and trimness. There’s no excuse for someone in fitness to display this lack of knowledge of health. This bad posture is accepted as normal by so many people that it is mistaken for. Jolie Bookspan Advertisements use this bad posture because sex sells. unhealthy posture. You will laugh often because this unfit posture is a pervasive problem in fitness. Now you can laugh when you see “fitness” models shown standing or doing exercise with this sloppy. 20 .

you bend forward. You can see these lines in people trim enough. Obliquus Internus Your internal obliques lie under your external obliques. Your oblique abdominals go diagonally across your sides.” Your rectus abdominis starts on the front of your pelvic bone and runs up to attach where your middle ribs (fifth. If you put your fingertips at the top of your pants pockets. In this same manner you can use your right obliques to resist forces that would twist you to the right. They connect to each other in places. or prevent bending backward. sixth and seventh) come together in front. your 21 . in the opposite direction. abdominal muscle pulls ribs to hips to bend you forward or prevent arching backward. or rectus. If you cross your arms over your abdomen. When the external oblique fibers on your right side contract. When you contract both. under your rectus abs. They begin as broad muscles on each side of your lower eight ribs. Contracting your front. When you contract your left external oblique. your hands line up in the direction of the outer set. The outer external obliques on each side fuse together in a tough band in a nice line down your front. sometimes four intersections across it. and work in combinations together. Rectus Abdominis The muscle straight up your front is your rectus abdominis. Your obliques work together in fun ways. which in Latin means “the straight abdominal. they pull your right side closer to the middle of your pelvic bone so you twist to the left. Obliquus Externus “Oblique” means slanted. The deeper external oblique fibers run almost straight down to your hip bones. with three. called external obliques.The Ab RevolutionTM What Are All the Muscles Called? Ab muscles are named for their layout in your body. or not straight. you twist to the right (or prevent twisting to the left). Not all the fibers run all the way up the muscle.

Moreover. a major purpose of this muscle is to help full exhalation. when you hold it tightly. So the right external and left internal oblique work together to twist you left. Jolie Bookspan fingers assume the direction of the internal fibers. Contracting them all helps you bend forward or prevent arching backward. You can feel it when you breathe out as completely as you can. or sagging to the side during daily life and when you exercise. After all. goes across your abdomen to help compress it. You don’t have to tighten them. you need to voluntarily change the shape of your back using all your ab muscles so that you don’t curve and strain your back under the weight of your upper body pressing down on it. They begin at your hip bone and angle up and in to your lower three or four ribs. It’s not the case that just tightening the transversus like a girdle will support your lower back when lifting or sitting. and get a workout just standing and moving properly. Using Them All You don’t have to know the names of the muscles to use them. you can’t breathe in fully or properly (belly breathing). The left external and right internal work together to twist right. 22 . They all can resist forces that would make you want to slouch or twist in bad postures to the sides. Change your posture from arching back. You’ll have better posture. the transversus. Your right internal oblique contracts to pull the middle of your ribs to your right hip.Dr. The left internal oblique twists you to the left. To protect your back. Just use them like other muscles to move your bones. save your back. twisting you to the right. Transversus Abdominis Your innermost and thinnest abdominal muscle.

The Ab RevolutionTM How to Use Your Abs When Standing Up Most people can’t imagine using their abs standing up. That throws weight on their low back again and again. not learning backward or forward. pay close attention to what it feels like. To understand what to do to use your abs in real life. Your stomach will curve out in front. tuck your behind under. Allow your weight to press on your low back. Your torso is straight. Allow your body weight to sag so that you exaggerate your low back arch. Yet this is exactly what supports your back and prevents pain and injury during daily activities. Feel a new strong middle. Still reaching overhead. If you don’t have a mirror. Many people stand with far too much lumbar curve because they are not using their abs. • • • • 23 . but the key here is that your weight is held up on your ab muscles and not pressing back and down on your low back. using abs to move your torso upright. Did your back arch again? Did you let your hips move? Many people arch their back with no ab support. try this: • Stand sideways and look in a mirror big enough to see your body. Keep this new posture all the time. Reach overhead. every time they reach. as if starting a crunch — just enough to reduce the large back arch. (Don’t do this if you have back pain). You’ll keep a small inward curve. You may feel the familiar ache you often get and don’t know why. Tuck your hips under and pull your upper body forward.

to lifting weights and babies overhead — to take the arch out of your back so your weight doesn’t press down and strain your low back. be able to lift more. to prevent over-arching.Dr. You will save your back. and get a free all-day workout just from standing with your muscles in use. but don’t know they are supposed to use their abs in real life when standing up. Jolie Bookspan Use the Ab Revolution whenever you stand up and reach overhead — from pulling shirts off to reaching cabinets. improve your posture. to washing your hair. People do crunches all the time. 24 .

The Ab RevolutionTM How to Use Abs When Doing Other Exercises Abs are often forgotten while doing other exercises that are not usually thought of as “for abs. 25 . it is not healthy. Abs reduce the arch and control back posture. Same exercise done properly.” Some people deliberately arch while exercising. In either case. Sometimes you use abs to make a small adjustment. other times a larger one. Overhead Press Arching while lifting weight further compresses your low back. Abs not in use. mistakenly thinking it looks good. Hard on the back. Bad posture. Use your abs to tuck your hips enough to take the large arch out of your back. Back arched.

rather than the torso and arm muscles. Tuck under to straighten your back to keep the weight of your upper body plus the hand weights off your low back. Back arched. Abs not in use. You pressure your low back and get less arm exercise than you thought. 26 . Bad posture on triceps curls. The low back bears the weight.Dr. people often arch their back to bring the weight back. instead of lifting arms while keeping posture neutral. Jolie Bookspan Triceps Curls When doing triceps curls. You also miss the free ab workout you would get if you used abs to straighten your posture and save your back. Same exercise done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture.

27 . Back overly-arched. Some styles of yoga even teach to deliberately stand in this arched position. straight posture. That does not use the abs and is hard on the back. and save your back. use your abs to tuck your hips and reduce the arched posture to stand properly. Same pose done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture. Abs not in use. get an ab workout. You have to consciously use your muscles to move you into good.The Ab RevolutionTM Yoga Yoga won’t automatically “give” you good posture. Bad posture. Abs are often forgotten when doing yoga poses. Instead.

Same pose done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture. Back arched. Jolie Bookspan Bad posture. Abs not in use. 28 .Dr.

You will save your back and make the pushup a terrific abs and core exercise. but don’t tuck so much that you hunch your back or hike your hips in the air. and lack of use of abs. Look sideways at this same terrible posture and see how they would look standing up this way: overly-arched. bad posture. but hold your head up too. and your back strains from hanging your weight on it in an arch. This is common. heads hanging. the more you’ll use abs. The more you tuck.The Ab RevolutionTM Pushups Pushups with terrible arched posture (shown by the first. You will instantly feel your abs spring into use. Don’t do this for pushups or for standing up. third. Tuck your hips and straighten your back (black shirt). 29 . and last white shirt in the picture below) means your abs are not in use.

(See pages 84 to 89 on punching and kicking for how.) They are not controlling their back posture. Student is arching and slouching. This can strain the back and will not give you good punching or kicking power Teacher is holding strong posture.) Can you spot the students not using abs in this Karate class? (First on the left and second from the right. Jolie Bookspan Martial Arts You need your abs to straighten your back posture while doing many moves in martial arts.Dr. 30 . allowing it to arch too much. losing punching power and straining the back.

You’ll get an ab workout and also get far more out of the exercise for your lats and chest.” to be dipped while ballroom dancing. “Lat” Machines When using a weight machine to pull down a bar to your chest (lat pull-downs). for “hiking out” to counterbalance sailboats in the wind. and see how often you’ll find this bad posture in illustrations and photos from fashion to exercise. don’t arch your back. Look at illustrations in books and magazines. It’s surprising how many fitness books and articles talk about posture for walking but still show someone walking with an overly-arched torso. which allows body weight to grind down on the low back and decreases natural shock absorption. Use good ab technique to keep your back from arching while leaning backward during windsurfing and water skiing. not arched or leaning back. You need a small natural inward curve to keep your spinal column like a spring for shock absorption. Archery Archery is an activity where using abs saves more than your back. If you arch when drawing a bow and arrow. You can painfully “twang” your breast with the bowstring. 31 . to take photographs from certain angles. and to keep forces distributed on your discs. Other Activities In many activities you need to lean back but still not arch.The Ab RevolutionTM Walking You need to use your abs to keep your back from folding back in an arch during normal walking. Tuck your chest and hip as if starting a crunch to straighten up. Many people allow too much arch. your chest will protrude outward into the line of the bowstring. Hold good straight posture to keep your chest out of the line of the bowstring. Use abs to keep you sitting upright. to dodge flying objects and fists as in the movies “The Matrix” and “Spiderman. and for doing the limbo dance.

You’ll feel your abs working to do that. A surprising way to help your back is to strengthen your arms. Maintain your posture upright against the load. it’s common to arch back and rest the weight of the load rest on your hip. which puts the weight onto your low back. it’s more tempting to rest a carried weight on your hip and lean back. Remember not to lean back or arch when carrying loads. held straight and upright against the anterior load of the drum. letting your low back take the brunt.Dr. This is avoidable. 32 Back is arched in bad posture against the anterior load. Jolie Bookspan How to Use Abs for Carrying Loads Packages Held in Front When carrying anterior loads. When your arms are weak. . Posture is good. straining the back.

Not using your abs lets you arch your back. . it is a lack of using abs. it’s common to lean forward to rest the weight on your back. This is not an unavoidable consequence of pregnancy. Instead. Back is arched in bad posture against the posterior load. use your ab and back muscles to hold your torso posture upright without leaning forward or arching back. Your packs become a free core muscle workout. or to let the bag pull you backward into an arch. creating strain on the back. 33 Abs are in use to keep the back from arching against the posterior load.The Ab RevolutionTM Pregnancy Lack of use of abs is common — even deliberately exaggerated — during pregnancy. relieving strain. Packages Held In Back Backpacks and other things carried on your back don’t make you arch your back. this is it. Of all times to use your abs to prevent the all-too-common change in back posture and the back pain that comes with it. With posterior loads like knapsacks.

Dr. Now picture people arching when reaching like this all day. Their shoulder really did not stretch that much. Don’t lean back. tucking your hip — not rigidly. packages. abs not in use 34 Same reach. for shelves. But what really happened was that they arched their back to lift their arm. Instead. They are checked as having normal shoulder range of motion. lifting the baby. They reach. You may notice that your arm doesn’t bend as high as you though because you’ve been using your back instead. Jolie Bookspan How to Use Abs for Reaching People often arch their back when reaching for things. more exercise for your abs. when you reach overhead. Picture this: someone with shoulder pain goes to the doctor who asks them to reach overhead. . but with easy. and protection for your back. groceries. supported motion. straighten your torso with your abs. combing hair. Use this technique to get a better reach. using abs to straighten back posture. pulling off shirts. and at the gym to lift weights. Bad posture: back arched. every day. and their hand points straight to the ceiling.

letting your back arch. and get a far better stretch in the shoulder. With your arm still overhead. get a free ab workout. This is also a missed opportunity to use your abs to keep the good posture you need to stretch properly. using abs to straighten posture. Don’t do this. .The Ab RevolutionTM How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Arms People often arch their back when they stretch their arms. 35 Same stretch. You will save your back. Feel the stretch move to your shoulder and triceps. little stretch on arm. flex your trunk as if starting a “crunch” to straighten your torso. abs not in use. This adds to mysterious low back pain and never targets the area you think you stretched. Bad posture: back arched. Try this: • • • Stand up and bend your arm overhead. Keep your elbow lifted to the ceiling.

Dr. little stretch on leg. Feel the stretch move to your thigh. Try this: • • Stand on one leg and arch your back while you hold your other foot behind you. Straighten your torso and push your behind forward. Jolie Bookspan How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Legs The quad stretch is another common stretch where you can lose the intended stretch and add to back pain by arching when you stretch. as if starting to do a crunch. work abs. Don’t pull your foot in. 36 . Same stretch using abs to straighten posture. abs not in use. Drop your bent knee to point to the standing knee and push your foot away into your hand. You won’t feel much stretch in your thigh. Don’t do this bad posture when stretching: back arched. and get a far better quad stretch. You save your back.

and power the block. The white belt has not learned this yet. drive the dunk.The Ab RevolutionTM Real Athletes Use Abs Here is good use of abs in basketball to hold the back posture straight. The black belts holding the board in the photo below. so the force of the punch is not levered into their low back. have properly changed the shape of their back by using their abs. Note how he incorrectly uses an arch to “wind-up” the punch 37 .

you’ll instantly feel your abs in use. Jolie Bookspan What About Ab Machines? Ab machines are often used in ways that don’t use the abs. to straighten your torso. When you do this. Don’t arch or hike your behind up in the air. or a simple wheel. Straightening your posture (bottom) puts abs highly in use and protects against back strain. you can use two roller skates. One way to learn the hip tuck is to use a mirror to watch your posture in side view. 38 . Tuck your hips under as if beginning a crunch. Instead of an expensive machine. If you use ab machines with an arched back (top). These machines can be used so that you use your abs. Keep your head up. This is ineffective as an ab exercise. and is injurious to your back. your abs are not in good use and there is large strain. your body weight hangs on your low back vertebrae. When you allow your back to arch.Dr. folding them like a hinge.

Put one hand under the small of your low back and feel the natural space. To show you what arching feels like. leg lifts become an exercise that strains the back. called hip flexors. Leg Lifts Lying on Your Back People doing back-lying leg lifts are often taught to put their hands under their hips to “keep their back from arching. use your abs. In this 39 • . This is a missed ab opportunity. not your hands.The Ab RevolutionTM What About Leg Lifts? Most people allow the weight of their legs to arch and strain their low back. to tilt your hips and maintain torso posture. To do leg lifts properly. Without taking the arch out of your back with your abs. Try this: • Lie on your back with your legs out straight on the floor. and never get a real ab workout by using abs to straighten their back and control this. and only works the muscles that lift your leg.” That is precisely what is wrong with this as an ab exercise: you never use your own abs to keep your back from arching. Tight hip flexors create problems. increase the arch by lifting your ribs so that your back lifts off your hand. Hip flexors are usually pretty strong and tight to begin with from sitting and overuse in exercise.

) This is how many people do leg lifts. • To do this exercise correctly and fix the arching problem. Don’t let your back arch during any point of raising or lowering your legs. • With this method. while maintaining the curled position of your torso. You’ll protect your back and get real ab exercise. Use The Ab Revolution to use your abs to tip your hips back under you into correct position. lift your legs just an inch or two above the floor. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. and to keep your legs straight while raising and lowering. using your abs to flatten the arch. You will feel your abs working. You’ll learn to use your abs to control your torso posture. You’ll feel the weight of your legs arching your back more. Keep your torso posture controlled with your abs as you lower your legs too. This will retrain your muscles to know what it feels like to use abs to control torso posture. put your legs back down and press your low back against your hand. you’ll feel your thighs pull up. 40 . lift your legs just an inch or two above the floor. Keeping your abs in use to flatten the low back curve. Don’t let your back arch. First curl your hips under you. It can be injurious and does not use abs. Don’t just bend at the hip and use hip flexors with your behind stuck out. Hanging Leg Lifts When you do leg lifts hanging from a chinning bar. Chin Ups and Pulls Ups Many people stick out their behind and let their legs swing forward when doing chin ups and pull ups. Try not to let them. Then. doing a “reverse crunch” while hanging.Dr. lift your legs. pinching and straining your low back. If your hips are tight. you’ll learn to use your abs — not your hands — to change the tilt of your torso and hips. Jolie Bookspan arched position. not allowing it to arch. don’t allow your back to arch.

don’t let your back arch. and use only your leg. lifting one leg upward. standing up on one leg and lifting the other leg to the back. and can also hurt your back. You’ll feel an immediate shift of work to your abs.The Ab RevolutionTM Back Leg Lifts Lifting your legs to the back is an excellent exercise for your back. back. Tuck your hips under to bring your back to a good straight position. use The Ab Revolution to get a far better ab workout and to learn how proper posture feels when controlling your torso. and gluteal muscles. Leg lifts to the back contracts and strengthens back muscles. That reduces leg and back muscle involvement. 41 . Whenever you do leg lifts. It can be done lying face down and lifting legs. so that you can use it for all your standing activities. it is often done by arching the back. Unfortunately. When lifting your leg to the back from a stand or from your knees. and far more exercise for your back and leg. or from a hands-and-knees position.

Jolie Bookspan What About “Captain’s Chair?” In a recent survey. • • 42 . or “Captain’s Chair” was one of the top exercises found to produce high ab activity. They never learn to consciously use abs to control torso posture. the problem is that Captain’s Chair is often done in a way that prevents good use of abs.Dr. Now try it right. without as much use of abs as they could. The back pad makes it easier to maintain back posture without arching. When they swing their legs. Then they walk around all day with the same problem. People often make it easier by allowing their back to arch and using only hip flexors. the hanging leg lift. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. You lift your legs with knees bent or straight. In a Captain’s Chair you hang in the air by your forearms on two pads on either side of you.) Arch your back and stick your behind out. Imagine the forces accumulating on your low back. bang — all day. It will be fairly easy to lift your legs or knees. with your back against a pad and legs dangling free. bang. Try this: • Hang from stall bars or a Captain’s Chair stand. Then lift your legs. • First try it wrong. Captain’s Chair is like the old fashioned gymnast “stall bars” which were like a chinning bar against a climbing rack. first curl your behind under you using your abs. While hanging. Use your abs throughout the entire exercise to maintain your hip tuck when you raise and lower your legs. not allowing your back to arch. Still. step after step — bang. they let their back arch.

The Ab RevolutionTM It’s said that a problem with Captain’s Chair is that you need equipment. You don’t need equipment — just a good friend. 43 .

you can lean and extend back without your weight pressing onto your low back. by itself. • Now try this to see how to arch with good range of motion and ab involvement. Take the exaggerated arch out of your back. Many people don’t know to use their abs during these kinds of moves. and other activities. and some people think they must never arch their back. • 44 .Dr. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. This is often confused. leaving a small natural curve. gymnastics. is not the problem in back pain and posture control. curving your abdomen out in front. You should feel a good ab exercise and no back pain. Arching your back. see pages 94 and 95. Proper back extension is one of the most important exercises for back health. Try this again while bending your knees to tilt backward further. as if starting a crunch. Let your upper body weight relax down until you feel your weight on your low back. Allow your back to arch. Don’t crane or pinch your neck back. yoga.) Lift your weight up and off your low back by using your abs. Don’t let your abs “go” or allow your weight to slump. The supported arch is important to use in tennis. It should be a good-feeling stretch. stretching. By holding your upper body weight with your abs. Jolie Bookspan Arching Isn’t the Culprit You are supposed to have a small inward curve in your low back. and just allow their low back to fold backward under all their weight. Try this: • Stand up. The problem is not using muscles to keep your upper body weight off your low back. Relax your shoulders and keep them back. to hold your weight off your back: • Begin to arch your upper body back. but use your abs to hold weight up and off your low back. For more on back extension.

try Roman Chair ab training. or you can make your own on a sturdy surface to hold your lower body. not your back joints. Lift up to the straight position and hold without arching before repeating. Don’t hang your weight on your back. Supported Arching With Head and Handstands Use the ab-supported arch for headstands and handstands when you do them with an arch. There are Roman Chair seats in many gyms. Hold the weight of your legs up with your muscles. Strongly use your abs to decelerate as you extend backward. 45 .The Ab RevolutionTM Supported Arching With Roman Chair Exercise As you progress.

Jolie Bookspan Don’t allow the weight of your legs to fold your low back into an angle.Dr. Also practice using abs to do these poses with a straight torso. 46 . pressuring it. to add to your ab workout.

This can eventually strain soft tissues. and overstretch fibrous attachments (tendons that hold muscles on bones and ligaments that hold your bones together). not letting the rotation twist you to the end of the range your back can twist. and to decelerate only with muscular effort. a big problem is that people stop the momentum of the weight at the end of each rotation using their vertebral joints. such as swinging a bat or racquet. fray discs. For activities that require body knowledge of how to decelerate a swinging pivot. Beside the poor neck posture from putting a bar across the shoulder. swinging limbs in martial arts . or during various rodeo activities.The Ab RevolutionTM What About Abdominal Twists? An exercise commonly done for abs is to put a bar across the shoulders and twist from side to side. But many people do this exercise in a way that doesn’t work the abs and overtwists the back. Make sure to understand how to stop the momentum by using your ab and torso muscles. The idea is that torso muscles would get exercise decelerating the swinging weight. this exercise can work your muscles in the manner they need to work. 47 .

Jolie Bookspan If all you want is a pivoting ab exercise to work your abs. step away to increase tension while holding good posture.Dr. stepping farther and farther away to increase the tension. 48 . Also. one way to do that is to use cable pulleys or a stretchy tube or band and pivot away from it. The ab study mentioned in the beginning of this book rated stretchy tubing low on the ranking of ab exercises that produce ab muscle activation. most people do not put much resistance on their band. rather than in real-life movements. One reason is because they used the tubing while bending forward. thick band. There will be no momentum continuing the motion past the point where you pull the band. and go for the fun of the work. Use a good.

The Ab RevolutionTM

What About Lower Abs and Reverse Crunches?

There’s much talk over what determines “upper” and “lower” abs, and what exercises “work” them. Try the following to understand how your muscles produce movement, and how that changes your posture. When you understand the muscle actions, you can make your own exercises to get a good workout using each to keep good posture. Upper Abs • Stand sideways and watch your torso movement in a mirror. Allow your upper body to arch back.

Both bad postures are not using upper abs (among other muscles), allowing the upper body to slump backward and downward. • To fix this bad posture, pull yourself back to proper upright standing posture by using your abs as if you were beginning a

Dr. Jolie Bookspan

crunch. Don’t your neck or torso forward, just come to straight upright posture. In general, this is upper ab action. Notice how some people lean back this way when walking, doing biceps curls, lifting weight, reaching overhead, taking photos, and whatever else they do. They are not using upper abs, they are missing a free ab workout, and they are adding to strain and wear and tear on their back. Lower Abs • Stick your behind out and tip the top of your hips forward so that your back arches, the front of your hip drops down, your leg bends at the fold where it meets your body, and your abdomen curves out.

Not using lower abs lets the hip tilt down, abdomen curve out, and lower body jut backward. This is hard on the back and hip. • To fix this poor posture, bring your behind forward by tucking your hip under so that the front crease of your hip straightens where it meets your leg. You will feel a slight upward stretch.

The Ab RevolutionTM

Don’t lean back or jut your hips forward. Just tuck enough to pull yourself into a strong upright posture. You will feel your lower abs pulling your front hip bone forward and upward. • To train lower abs while doing pull ups and chin ups, use the hip tuck described above and in the section on leg lifts. Hang from the bar and take the arch out of your back by using your abs to curl your hips under you. Don’t allow your body to swing forward or your back to arch as you pull up. Keep your torso posture controlled as you lower down too. It’s common to see people doing pull ups with their legs bent, their ribs jutting forward, and their back arched. They are missing a great opportunity to use their lower abs.

Notice how some people stick their hip and behind out when walking, doing aerobics and step class, stretching, lifting weights, and during other activities. They are not using lower abs, they are missing a free ab workout, and they are adding to strain and wear and tear on their back. Correct this posture and you’ll use your lower abs in an all-day “reverse crunch.” Fixing Posture Using Upper Abs and Lower Abs So, there’s a “not using upper abs” bad posture, and a “not using lower abs” bad posture. Both are unhealthy for your back. It is injurious to lift weights either way. They are sloppy postures because they do not use ab muscles for proper standing. It’s a shame that they have become mistaken for an attractive stance. They’re not. Whenever you notice your back aching when you’re standing around, notice if you’re standing with either bad posture — upper body leaning back and hips forward — or back arched and your behind stuck out — or both. Fix it using the Ab Revolution repositioning exercises. Don’t over-tuck so that you push your hips forward to look like the television character Urkel on “Family Matters.” Tuck only enough to take the extra arch from your low back and get your upper body weight off your low back. Don’t lean forward. Correct and straighten your posture, and you’ll burn more calories, stand taller, and get free, all-day exercise for both your upper and lower abs.

This is easily avoided by using your muscles deliberately to control posture. chair or bench. sports. Begin to walk your feet away and lie back until you’re lying as flat and straight as you can.” “gym ball.” “balance ball. Sit up. It is also called “Swiss Ball. and reinforces the same poor habits as other exercises.Dr. They drape their arched back over the ball — minimizing the use of abs — then put their hands behind their head and round their upper back into crunches. you use balance and stabilization muscles so that you don’t fall off.” “physio-roll. and use more body skills and muscles than doing the same exercise on a floor. but not rigidly. Based on that. expensive desk chairs are marketed with the ball as the sitting surface. Don’t arch or round your back. The ball can be put to better use in a variety of functional exercises that strengthen and train your abs and other muscles to work the way you need for good posture. light-weight inflated ball that you can use in a large and inventive number of ways. People also often take this versatile tool and just do crunches or reverse crunches with all the same postural impairment and lack of application to real life. with various moves that strengthen arms and legs. they are just another device that does little.” Incrediball. There are claims that the ball makes you sit properly or that you use more muscular effort to sit on it.” “therapy ball. sturdy. too. and daily life. But you can sit on the ball with as poor posture and little effort as on most other surfaces.” and any number of trade names. Used properly. It’s how you use it. All the exercises here work your entire torso and back. But this does not happen automatically. Used without understanding. Because the surface of the ball is not flat and rolls under you. Jolie Bookspan What About Exercise Balls? The exercise ball is a large. exercise balls can be great. Try these: • Sit on the ball with good posture.” “rehab ball. Keep 52 .

Switch legs. As you advance. lifting upward without hunching to the front. Then lift one leg from the ball. roll on the ball to lie on your side. with the ball under your ankles. • Without using your arms. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the ball. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or your behind hike into the air. or with your arms already straight. Repeat. Keep the side of your feet on the floor. and the ball close to your hip. Put both hands on the top surface of the ball and push up into a pushup position. Hold as long as you can. Lift your hips from the floor. For more. To progress. do pushups while holding proper posture. Try side curls if you like. Keep the ball under your behind. Lift up one leg and hold as long as you can. and progress to being able to push up from the ball. not arched or bent forward. Hold straight posture as long as you can. Hold. 53 • • • • . Advanced? Hold a weight in your hands. Keep straight torso posture without sagging or arching. Keep the same good posture as for proper standing. Lift your hips from the floor. Switch legs. Roll to the other side without using your arms and repeat. not your back. Step your feet away until the ball cradles your head and neck. legs straight. Lie on your back on the floor. You can start with your knees on the floor and then straighten your legs.The Ab RevolutionTM your back and neck straight. Very advanced? Lift both legs at once. Roll onto your back without using arms. Roll onto your chest without using arms. This works the back also. Lift one leg up straight and hold. lift both arms over your head. Hold. Try lifting one leg at a time. This works the back also. roll to one side and do one arm at a time. biceps by ears. Switch sides and repeat. Hold as long as you can.

do pushups in this position. Good straight posture with abs in use to hold weight off the back. walk on your hands. abs not in good use.Dr. • Bad posture with back arched. Jolie Bookspan • Lie face down on the ball with both hands on the floor. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or your behind hike up. As you progress. Hold as long as you can. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or hike up in the air. Hold the pushup position as above. and strain on the back. Do pushups. rolling the ball down your body to your legs. Hold as long as you can. 54 . Switch legs. Lift one leg off the ball. Practice until you can hold the ball at your ankles.

The Ab RevolutionTM

For a challenge, hold the pushup position with the ball under your ankles. Bend at the hip, lift your behind way up, roll onto your toes and pull your feet toward your hands with straight legs, making an inverted “V.” Return to the pushup position. Repeat all you can. Don’t let your posture arch or sag. As you progress, try with one leg lifted.

These are a very few of the many functional ab exercises you can do on the ball.

Pull in to a “V” and return to straight position.


Dr. Jolie Bookspan

What About Ab Isolators?

Several products on the market claim to better isolate your abdominal muscles, and therefore somehow give you the abdomen pictured on the package. There is nothing in an isolating device that you cannot do without it. For instance, advertising for one device claims to hold your feet and legs in the specific position required for crunches. You can do that yourself without the device, and it’s still the same bad hunched-over posture you don’t want anyway. Some of the devices add resistance to the abdominal exercises. More resistance increases the muscle activation you need to do the exercise, just like carrying extra packages adds more weight to your arms. There is nothing secret or scientific about doing more work to get more results. You can just hold a weight or your body weight, described in the Ab Revolution exercises in this book. Dr. Steven Fleck, sport physiologist formerly with the U.S. Olympic Training Center, reminds us that “the value of these devices is their novelty. If they get you to exercise areas that you wouldn’t normally exercise, they might pay for themselves.” But remember that the fine print on the packaging mentions that these products need to be combined with healthy eating and regular exercise of all kinds. Moreover, they do not work your abs the way you need or train you how to use them in daily activity. Isolating a muscle is not helpful to your real life. Life is a multisegment activity. Plenty of people with muscular backs from isolating them in gyms, injure themselves opening windows. Plenty of people who run miles on treadmills, sprain their ankle when walking on real earth. They are not used to using their body in a multi-segmental, cooperative manner the way they really need for real life. Similarly, often people who do crunches in every workout and use every ab machine, still stand with an arched back, not using their abs.


The Ab RevolutionTM

What About Ab Rocking Devices?

The various ab rocker devices on the market are portable, personal cages, in various shapes, to rock you for crunches. They attract users because they make crunches easy. The problems are all the same problems with crunches — and by making the exercise easy, educes the effectiveness. Doing crunches with or without an ab device does not train you to use your abs in a way that you need for daily life. It is not a functional exercise. The crunching motion of the devices promotes the same round-shouldered, round-backed, hunched-over poor posture as crunches. Most people already stand, walk, and exercise roundshouldered. The last thing they need is to exaggerate and practice that bad posture as a deliberate exercise. The way most people do crunches is to bend their neck first, then lift their body up “by the head.” This often occurs no matter how many instructions are given to keep the neck straight and contract the abs first. It occurs even with devices that hold your neck up for you. This entire book teaches ways to use your abs for good posture and effective use of abs during normal activity instead of crunches. Try those exercises instead. If you decide you must still do crunches, or if you are stuck in exercise classes that still do them, try this: Save money on the device and use a dumbbell. Instead of pulling your body up by your head, put a dumbbell behind your neck and press the back of your head onto the bar of the dumbbell. The pressing activates muscles in the back of your neck. This activation quiets muscular activity in the front of your neck. It will help straighten your neck and stop the muscles in front of your neck from hurting.


These have been around for a long time.Dr. but not enough to produce the results claimed. That’s just your normal metabolism at work. There is muscle contraction. 58 . while motorized stomach vibrator burns more calories than 500 sit-ups a day?” “Use electronic stimulating muscle contractor to get gives more contractions than hundreds of sit ups?” Early consumer devices were little more than vibrators. Jolie Bookspan What About Electronic Ab Zapper Belts? “Watch T. with or without a vibrator strapped to your abdomen. They made claims comparing the relative number of calories burned in a longer time frame to a shorter one. used in physical therapy to passively contract muscles atrophied from paralysis or wasting diseases. you would burn more calories than during the theoretical 15–30 minutes it would take to do the sit-ups. Other devices stems from electrical muscle stimulators (EMS). In two hours sitting in front of the television wearing the device.V.

everyone burns fat when they’re asleep — when they’re awake. The pills called “fat burners” are mostly stimulants. They could just as honestly claim that if you stare at their special green dot that you will burn calories in your sleep. but takes a while to return to resting value. from nervousness and grouchiness. Metabolizing stored fat is part of your round-the-clock energy production for body functions. They do not selectively find your fat cells and eliminate them. These stimulants can have harmful effects.” First. or other fun ways to move around will “pick you up” more effectively and safely than taking stimulants. to inability to exercise safely in the heat. A good workout of dancing.The Ab RevolutionTM What About Miracle Liquids and Fat Burners? Many products on the market claim to make you burn fat while you sleep. no matter what device you use or what potion you drink. When you exercise. and keep you happier and healthier in the long run. or swim will do the same. Just don’t pay money for that. whether you drink miracle potion or not. skating. Some products claim to give a workout so intense that you burn fat for hours after you finish. too. you increase your metabolism to meet your energy needs. Any product can truthfully claim to produce increased calorie burning after a workout. playing. But don’t pay money for that because you burn fat 24 hours a day anyway as part of being alive. and heart trouble. bike. because a nice run. biking. 59 . Other products are pills tantalizingly called “fat burners. will burn more calories. It slows when you stop exercising.

” and “waist shrinker. or body fat loss. You return to normal circumference fairly quickly. sweat loss. and other times called various intriguing names like “waist support. Jolie Bookspan What About Neoprene Waist Bands? A fairly popular product advertised to easily take off inches is sometimes billed as a secret scuba device. weight loss. leaving you temporarily smaller. It has nothing to do with toning or supporting the muscles. The band temporarily shrinks your circumference through simple compression.Dr. It is just a gimmick. 60 . Ever notice when you take off your socks that there’s a darkened dent around your leg where the sock band was? The elastic compressed your flesh.” It is just a neoprene band to wear around the waist (or thighs).” “flab zapper.

The Ab RevolutionTM What Exercises Work Your Abs the Way You Need For Real Life? Beside standing and reaching properly all day every day. Doing repetitions and sets without that will not work your abs the way you need. breathe in. so that you use your abs to adjust your posture during the exercise and train your brain to transfer this body knowledge to all your daily life activities. don’t hold your breath. and won’t help your posture. Most people can’t do these exercises for more than a few seconds. That means radically different exercises from what you commonly see in gyms and on exercise videos. Gradually increase the time you hold good posture with these exercises. not bending forward. But your abs need to work isometrically (at one length without moving) a great deal of the time in real life. Breathe normally and fully when doing the isometric exercises. walk. You’ll learn exercises that work your abs in functional ways for postural control when you sit. back pain prevention. The concepts and exercises follow in the next sections. 61 . and good looks? The ab exercises you see everywhere in gyms get you good at hunching forward. You need to exercise your abs the way they normally should work. and go out and have fun. More important than how many repetitions you do is understanding the concept. No wonder their posture sags so badly by the end of the day and their muscles ache. do exercise. carry packages. then breathe out during the effort of the movement. run. activities. or your life. They don’t have the ab strength and endurance to hold themselves straight. stand. what else can you do to train good ab use for posture. your back. For the moving exercises.

That is good for carrying things and pushing cars (if you also trained to be strong enough). punching. for example pushups. Jolie Bookspan How Many. As they strengthen they can do more repetitions. When going slowly with weights don’t squeeze your joints or push them past their range. When To Do Ab Revolution Exercises? Use these back-saving. You need both for carrying things. Use your abs to fix your posture and support your body weight and the weight of what you carry all the time for a free workout. Start doing as many of each as you properly can. How Often? How Many of Each Exercise Should You Do? Depends how many you can already do.Dr. How Fast or Slow? Working your muscles slowly gets them good at slow movement. Lifting a lighter weight for a long time builds your endurance. and just getting through the day with good posture and without a tired. then gradually add external weight. When going quickly. arch-preventing. core posture exercises all the time when you are standing up. use muscular control to avoid injury. building both strength and endurance. going about your normal day. for doing your activities. their own body weight is so heavy relative to their ability that it provides enough resistance to build strength. or anything where you need your strength in a fast move. 62 . It will not make you able to do fast movements needed for real life activities like throwing. catching falling objects or children. Many Easier Ones. Practice your exercises both quickly and slowly to maximize your real life abilities. don’t bang your joints around. and when doing exercise. Or Fewer Harder Ones? Regularly lifting a weight that is so heavy that you can only lift it a few times builds your strength. achy back. For many people. Work up to more.

and have the ab strength and endurance to do it. Hold your head up. then you need to strengthen them too — not ruin your elbow joints. arch your back. the pushup is a prize exercise for most of your body. To protect your back during the exercise and make the exercise more effective and more targeted to the abs. or hike your hips up in the air. • Don’t lock your elbows straight. and to train them to prevent your back from arching under gravity resistance. keep them slightly bent. Wobbling after only a few seconds? These are the same posture muscles you need to stand up properly without 63 • . straight posture you need for standing up. Application to Daily Life: Learn and practice the easy. Don’t droop down. If your arms are too weak to hold you. not your “core” muscles. Keep your weight on your whole hand. so that your weight rests on your vertebrae. Holding the Pushup Position • Hold the pushup position as long as you can. Using The Ab Revolution. including the important weak link. Be straight as a plank. wrists and arms. This is a missed opportunity to strengthen your core and is hard on your back.” Take the arch out of your back and straighten your torso.The Ab RevolutionTM Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Normal Standing Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. don’t just mash your wrists. Don’t let your back arch during any part of your pushup and you can emphasize both core stability and upper and lower body strength. A common mistake is letting your back arch like the back of an old horse when doing pushups. Tuck your hips under and you’ll feel an immediate shift of the work to your abs and “core.

and a higher one to work arms more. Use a lower ledge to work abs more. Jolie Bookspan sagging. Hold the pushup position on your elbows. “How To Use Your Abs When Standing Up.Dr. Vary your hand positioning. Put your feet up on a bench or ledge or against a wall and hold the pushup position without sagging in the middle or arching your back. You'll feel your abs work immediately. Work up to increasing the time you can hold your posture as straight you would want when standing up. back straight and head up.” Tuck your hip to hold your back straight. Progressions For Holding Position • Hold the pushup position as long as you can and lift one leg straight up in back without arching your back. • • • Hold the pushup position and lift one leg in back and the opposite arm straight out in front. stand up again and relearn the posture exercise on page 23. without arching. Keep hips tucked. No sagging. • If you can’t figure how to tuck your hips under you. Keep your whole body straight as a 64 .

don’t let your middle sag. 65 . Try curls.The Ab RevolutionTM plank. Second and third are flatter and straighter. Don’t let your upper body lift up before your lower body. • Do full pushups using your abs to keep your hips tucked as if starting a crunch. and other lifts too. Stay flat throughout. Weight bearing improves bone density and strength. First from left is holding hips slightly bent and hiked in the air. Moving Pushups • Hold the pushup position on one arm and lift a hand weight from the floor to your chest with the other (like rowing) keeping straight body position. two more benefits of Ab Revolution exercises. The wrist is one of the three major risk sites of osteoporosis.

Maintain the same posture you would want if you were standing up.Dr. Jolie Bookspan • Rise from the floor in a reverse pushup. not even a little. Tuck your hips and chest down as if starting a crunch. Do full pushups with your feet up on a bench or wall. • • Adding extra weight means using more ab and other core muscles 66 . Don’t arch or hike up your behind. Have a friend sit on your back when you do pushups – carefully. Lie flat with hands on the floor. and elbows bent at your sides. Don’t let your posture sag. Lower to the floor holding your body just as straight. Add a weight to your back during pushups. Increased resistance increases your strength and adds a posture challenge. and lift straight up with your arms without letting your upper body rise first. and repeat. Keep hips tucked and prevent any arching with your abs.

Walking and Jumping Pushups To challenge your strength. and leg muscles hard. and posture control. Stay straight. and around. They are effective and safe if you protect your back with good posture and shock absorption. More Challenge Moves • As you advance. hard workout. Walk quickly and slowly. sometimes called “The Flag. Jump to the next piece of exercise equipment.” Experiment with various leg placement. try this move. Jump sideways across the room. arm. See if you can jump 90 degrees (or more) with each jump to face each direction. Jump in the pushup position like a flat jumping spider. Have fun.The Ab RevolutionTM to keep posture good and your back protected. Jump to say hello to someone. balance. try these fun and effective variations: • Walk around in the pushup position like a flat spider. Maintain the same posture you would want if you were standing up. backward. while getting an effective. • “Spiders” work torso. Don’t allow your back to arch under the momentum of landing. forward. Walk sideways. Use good shock absorption with arms and legs. 67 . Tuck your hips under as if starting a crunch to keep your back straight.

Keep your elbow slightly bent.Dr. Do both sides. Learn to use your oblique abs to prevent this. Holding Side Pushup Position • Hold the pushup position and turn to one side. and have the strength and endurance to maintain it. and to train them to hold your posture correctly against resistance. holding your body straight without drooping in the middle. or even just when standing up. Jolie Bookspan Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture Purpose of this Exercise: To work your oblique abs. Many people let their bodies slump to the side. 68 . Application to Daily Life: Learn to prevent your torso from slouching to the side when standing. Save your elbow joint and get an arm workout. don’t lock it. or hike their shoulder or hip up when carrying things on one shoulder or hip. Lift one arm and balance on the other arm. Keep your weight on your whole hand so you don’t mash your wrist.

with both arms on the floor. • Hold the regular pushup position face down. or up against the wall. Progress to putting your feet up on a ledge or bench. hold your arm straight in front of you. raise the opposite leg too. lift one arm behind your back.The Ab RevolutionTM Progressions for Holding Position • Prop on one elbow. Keep straight pushup position. Don’t rotate your body. Without turning your body. To progress. To progress. with your bicep by your ear. 69 .

while holding one leg straight out to the side 70 . holding your top leg off the floor. not drooping down. Jolie Bookspan • In the side position. do the same sip. Hold as long as you can and switch legs.Dr. then try continuously switching. Then bend the top leg at the hip and hold in front of you. Keep your body flat. maintaining straight torso posture. raise your top leg and hold as long as you can. • Hold the side arm position and dip your hip almost to the floor and raise back up as many times as you can. not turned or arched. Keep your leg straight and parallel to the floor. Next. Lift one leg 90 degrees to the side and forward. as if swinging it over a bicycle. Then try pushups this way. Switch arms. Moving in the Side Arm Position • Raise and lower your top leg from the floor as many times as you can. don’t drop on the floor. Fun Challenge Moves • Hold a regular face-down pushup position. Hold your weight up using abs when lowering.

” Experiment with leg placement. • As you advance. add lifting the opposite arm. 71 .The Ab RevolutionTM • When you can hold your leg out straight to the side. try this. sometimes called “The Flag.

You need to exercise using the same movements and muscle patterns as you use in real life. and to use them to hold correct posture against overhead resistance. just an inch off the floor.Dr. Did your back arch off your hand again? Press it back down. and use abs. To learn when you’re substituting arching your back for motion of the shoulder. • • 72 . press your back down against your hand. Arch your back up. Put your hand on the floor under the arch of your back. Application to Daily Life: Learn and practice holding your back in good posture during overhead movement and exercise. biceps near your ears. When you lift weights with your arms. just isolating your arms is not only not functional. not shoulder or low back. Now put both hands overhead. Don’t lift your hips. Put your other arm overhead just off the floor. just use your abs. as the lever when reaching overhead. This is called functional exercise. since ab muscles are shallow. lifting your ribs high so you know what it feels like. You’ll feel your abs working right under your skin. but can teach you how to forget your torso muscles in ways that can lead to back and even shoulder injury. improve shoulder range of motion. Contract your abs to hold your torso straight without allowing your back to arch from the floor. • To feel how to use abs to reduce the arch and control your torso. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs to Control Torso Posture When Using Weights Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. biceps by your ear. Using Body Weight • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor.

Keep your elbows slightly bent. Moving With Hand Weights • Raise and lower the dumbbells about an inch. your back will want to arch. Your abdominal muscles work hard on this one to control your posture against the moving weight. Use your abs to keep your lower back from rising off the floor at any time. Holding the weights also works your arms and latissimus dorsi muscles along the sides of your back. • Each time the weight lowers. Don’t let your ribs come up or your back arch. Don’t let it. about an inch from the floor. as many times as you can without touching the floor. This simulates all the daily life activities where you will either support your body and things you carry with your muscles. particularly when lowering the weights. holding light dumbbells (5 to 10 pounds each) in each hand overhead. You get several exercises for the price of one. and work your body the way you need for real life movement. • Lie on your back. 73 . Use abs to hold your back in position without arching.The Ab RevolutionTM Isometric With Hand Weight This isometric exercise is excellent to learn how to use your abs to control posture when standing — because you need to hold your posture isometrically when standing. or allow yourself to arch and let the weight drop on the joints of your back.

74 . an arched back just to stand up straight. This is where you stretch. then exercise that way too. control your posture with what you learned from this lying-down training exercise. but don’t. There will be a small space under your low back. effective movement all the time. as you have practiced in this exercise above. Keep your abs contracted so that your back does not pull into an arch. You can’t walk or move properly in real life with your knees and hips bent that much. Carry-Over to Real Life Think of all the exercises that involve lifting weights overhead — exercises where you should stand without arching. Yet many people do keep their hip bent all the time when standing. But it is your own muscles that should do that for you. the force of the moving weight comes crashing down on your low back.Dr. strengthen. and how to retrain everything for safe. pain. • You may need to stretch your front hip muscles (flexors) so that you can straighten your legs without your low back being pulled into an arch. If you allow your back to arch. Their hips get so tight that they even need a pillow under their knees to sleep. When you do standing weight lifting. which feeds a negative cycle of tight hip. The Ab Revolution teaches you to understand how your muscles need to move. bent hip. But Shouldn’t You Keep Knees Bent? It’s commonly taught that you must keep your knees and hips bent to “protect your back” and “keep your back from arching” and “to put your back into proper position” when doing ab exercise. ironically. Many people have hips so tight that they can’t straighten their legs without their back being pulled into a large arch. Jolie Bookspan To Progress • Extend your legs out straight. and. but not a large arch. You would never learn to use your muscles the way you really need them when standing up. and retrain your muscles to hold your body properly. What they need is to stretch the front of their hip so their hip and legs can extend properly. how your posture needs to be.

The Ab RevolutionTM Use your own muscles. If you use your abs for posture adjustment during all your standing movements. not just bending your knees to control your posture. 75 . this exercise will not only work your abs for the moment. but all day when you really need it — standing up.

but just until your body is straight and supported. lifting babies and children overhead. Keep your abs in use as if you were beginning a crunch. but not curling forward or bending your neck. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Reaching and Lifting Overhead Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. Application to Daily Life: To train your abs and brain to hold your torso and back posture during movement and exercise. and even combing and washing hair. Keep your abs in use to prevent arching. Not in an exaggerated way. Keep your hip tucked under you. but not curling forward or bending your neck. putting cargo on car roof racks. and whenever you lift and reach. Using Body Weight • Stand up and reach overhead with both hands. Using Hand Weights and Packages • Lift weights overhead. Did your ribs come up and your back arch?Tuck your hip under you to prevent over-arching. Transfer these skills to keeping healthy torso posture for common activities like lifting trays. Keep your torso from increasing the arch. This is when many people have no concept of abs and. pulling shirts off. no matter what. allow their upper body weight to pressure their low back many times a day: reaching. putting away groceries. when reaching and lifting overhead. and to train them to hold your back posture against resistance. as if beginning a crunch. • Reach overhead again. and correct your posture. because of that. 76 . putting things on shelves. lifting heavy packages onto counters. Wave your arms around.Dr.

77 . Same lift with abs in use to straighten posture and protect the back.The Ab RevolutionTM All are arched in bad posture. Abs not in use for lifting.

Step away until there is tension on the band. abs not in use. controlling your posture with abs. Bad posture. • Try various arm exercises and movements while controlling your torso with your abs.Dr. Hold one end in each hand. Same exercise with abs in use to straighten posture and exercise against the pull of the bands 78 . Don’t let your arms pull behind you. This is also fun to do with a partner. back arched. Turn your back. This simulates keeping your posture against gravity and loads that you carry in daily life. Jolie Bookspan Using Bands or Cable Pulleys • Use cable pulleys or tie the middle of a stretchy band or tube securely at head height or above. Lift arms overhead.

• • Move away until there is more tension on the band. Use a hula-hoop. Don’t let the band pull you into poor posture. tubing. 79 . • Many Variations • Do side curls. Hold your torso stable against the sideways pull of the stretchy cord. Maintain good posture. hold both arms overhead with your biceps against your ears.The Ab RevolutionTM Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture When Reaching and Lifting Overhead Purpose of this Exercise: To get a great workout for your oblique abs. Hold both ends and turn sideways. Application to Daily Life: Holding your torso and back posture correctly to avoid strain and slouching to the side when reaching and lifting overhead. use your abs to move your body to the side. Don’t pull your arms to the sides. • • • To progress. and do side curls. to get started — secured at about shoulder height. Try it with and without bands. Feel how to stabilize your body using your oblique abs. Walk around keeping your torso stable against the changing pull of the band. and to train them to hold your back posture against resistance. and holding the band in front of your chest. facing sideways to the band. Using Bands and Pulleys • Use a stretchy band. pulleys — or even a pair of panty hose.

80 . and to train them to hold your back posture against rapid onset resistance. • • Move away to put more tension on the band and still stand up straight. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Throwing and Other Overhead Arm Activities Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. and the arched posture drops much weight on the low back. Feel how to stabilize your body and stand straight using your abs. and when throwing and moving arms overhead. Use abs to power overhead activities and to protect your shoulder and back. Hold both arms overhead with your biceps to your ears.Dr. Using Bands or Cables • Use a stretchy band or rubber tubing with the middle secured at about shoulder height. Application to Daily Life: Train torso and back posture during speed and power movement. Don’t allow your arms to move or your neck to come forward. When throwing and punching properly. one in each hand. Hold both ends. by not contracting your abs first and using your torso to power the move. Injury can eventually develop. you can overload your shoulder or elbow. Turn your back. The fulcrum of the swing becomes the shoulder joint instead of the muscles of the abs and hip. In baseball pitches and tennis serves. But many people just arch their back and fling their arm. Pivot your body from your abs. or cable pulleys. Try the action of doing crunches standing up to get the idea of initiating arm action with your abs first. for example. your torso and legs should power most of it. without allowing the resistance to pull your back into an arch or pull your arms behind you.

Abs in use to properly change back posture and power the throw. not just your shoulder.The Ab RevolutionTM • Simulate throwing a ball with one arm. Push off your feet. Only then does the arm come forward. Feel the pivot coming from your abs. turn your hip. abs not in use. Bad posture. and body. back arched. 81 . and contract your abs so that your torso curls.

Reaching over the car seat for heavy items in the back seat frequently adds to rotator cuff injury.Dr. or in a high brace in kayaking. if 82 . and then initiate action with your arm. Try the motion of combing your hair (or washing your head. you overload your shoulder. not twisting from your waist. Contract your abs. Bend your knees. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Side and Underhand Arm Activities Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs (front and oblique). Turning at Varied Angles • Hold the band at a strong tension and face various angles toward and away from the band. Swivel your body away from the resistance. retraining yourself to use abs first. Application to Daily Life: Learn to keep your torso and back posture correct during movement and exercise. or pull or push things — from laundry to dogs on a leash — use your abs. Turning Moves • Use a stretchy band. and turn sideways. Push off your feet. Keep your knees bent and turn from your hips. keeping your torso straight as a unit. or cable pulleys secured at about waist height. Practice moving your arms for common activities. rubber tubing. Hold both ends if you’re using bands. stabilize the shoulder. throw side pitches. When you use your arms to exercise on pulley machines. This doesn’t happen just when swinging a tennis racquet. and to train them to hold your back posture against moving resistance. when reaching and lifting to the side. Not using your abs for arm tasks is a common contributor to shoulder pain. By not contracting your abs first and using your torso to power the move. All the common arm exercises with dumbbells and pulleys can be retrained to use your abs first. Turn your hip.

This simulates walking a dog. Moving Stabilization Drills • Have a friend hold the other end of the band and pull you in odd directions while you practice torso stabilization. underhand and side pitches. and anything else you need for daily life. or carrying packages and a squirming baby while trying to get in the door. 83 .The Ab RevolutionTM you’re bald). hanging up clothes. writing on the board. brushing teeth.

Allow the push of your arm to arch your back. without bending your elbow. Don’t hunch forward. It is also a sure sign that they cannot generate punching force. • Push the wall with your fist. Stretch your arm forward in punching position.) Fix your posture with your abs. In many video tapes. 84 • • . Don’t hit the wall. You’ll feel pressure. and a new strength in your punching arm. Practice your punch with the new supported posture. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. Training Abs for Punching • Stand near a wall. you hear much mention of “core” and “ab stabilization. Don’t allow your back to arch at any point. as if beginning a crunch but not curling your neck forward.Dr. That puts your chin closer for your opponent hit it. Maintain your slightly tucked posture. because their main core muscles are not driving the punching arm or leg. maybe a familiar ache in your low back. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct and safe during punching in martial arts and boxing exercise classes. Keep hips tucked under. just rest your knuckles as if you had just hit the wall. You should feel the back pain disappear. Push increasingly hard. Kickboxing classes are popular. with your body in a slight curl.” but when you watch them you see the arched postures that injure backs. The fulcrum of the punch becomes the low back bones instead of the muscles of the abs and hip. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Punching Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs (front and oblique) against quickly-moving resistance.

First tilt your hip to prevent arching by using your abs. they’d hurt their backs and not get much of a punch. the arched torsos transmit force to the low back. exhale. and keep the contraction coming from your abs to push your torso and arm forward. turn your hips. If real fighters punched with this arched posture. but from the lower body. 85 . Push off your feet. Don’t arch your back In both the puncher and receiver above.The Ab RevolutionTM • • Punching should not initiate from the arm or shoulder.

Jolie Bookspan Train Abs for Punching Using Bands • Use a stretchy band. Push off your feet and legs. using your abdomen as the fulcrum. This can be done looping your band around something behind you. or back-to-back with a partner holding bands looped around yours. Breathe out.Dr. Don’t let the cord pull you into an arch or pull your arms behind you. Contract abs first. with the middle secured around anything solid at shoulder height or above. Feel how to stabilize your body using your abs. Increase tension on the band and still stand up straight. rubber tubing. Keep your heels down when you punch. turn your hip into the punch and then. or cable pulleys. Turn your back. still holding both ends of the cord. lever your arm forward into a powerful punch. Keep your arms in front of you. • • • • • 86 .

Begin pushing the wall with your hands. You will save your back and generate more pushing force. You’ll feel pressure. as if beginning a crunch but not bending your neck. Keep your hip tucked under you.The Ab RevolutionTM Using Abs For Pushing Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs (front. oblique. tuck your hips. safe torso and back posture during pushing and slow.) Fix your posture with your abs. and transversus) against heavy resistance. press off your feet. Application to Daily Life: Good. 87 . Breathe in. • Stand with both hands against a wall. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. without bending your elbows. You should feel the back pain disappear and a new strength. maybe the familiar ache in your low back. powerful moves. Allow the push of your arm to arch your back. • • Use the Ab Revolution principles when pushing heavy objects. use your hips and abdomen as the fulcrum. Push increasingly hard. and breathe out as you lever your upper body forward in powerful pushing action. Let your back arch. so your body is in a slight curl.

so that your body is in a slight curl. Keep your hip tucked under. You’ll feel pressure. Train Abs for Kicking Using Body Weight • Stand facing a wall at a distance to swing a front kick. Begin pushing the wall with your foot without allowing your knee to give way. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. Put the bottom of your foot against the wall as if you just kicked it. Don’t allow your back to arch at any point in your kick. when using your legs. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Kicking Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs against quickly-moving resistance. Maintain your slightly tucked-under posture.) Fix your posture by using your abs as if beginning a crunch. practice kicking toward the wall and back to ready position. maybe a familiar ache in your low back from daily bad posture habits. People allow their back to arch and they just swing their leg around. The fulcrum of the kick becomes the low back joints instead of the muscles of the abdomen and hip. That is bad for your back and puts your chin closer to your opponent to hit you. You should feel the back pain disappear and a new strength in your kicking leg. Application to Daily Life: Correct and safe torso and back posture during kicking and leg movement. as described in the previous sections. Don’t hunch forward or round your upper back.Dr. • Let your back arch. • • 88 . The same problems occur in exercise and martial arts classes during kicking as with punching and pushing. With the new supported posture. but not bending your neck forward.

Put the bottom of your foot against the wall as if you had just kicked it sideways. Stand sideways to a wall at a distance to swing a side kick. Use your abs to hold your posture from arching during the kick. Step away to put tension on the band. Using your abdomen as the fulcrum. as you lever your leg forward into a powerful kick. Push off your standing leg. Feel the difference between letting your back arch. To train front kicks. • • Train Abs for Side Kicking Using Bands • Turn to the side against the resistance of the band. breathe out. Feel how to stabilize your body using abs to stand up straight. Don’t let it pull your back into an arch. Contract your abs first. Keep your standing heel down when you kick. • Use a stretchy band. secure one end of the band or tubing handle around one leg and turn your back to the resistance of the band. 89 . Do not curl your upper body forward. or back to back with a partner holding bands looped around yours. to soccer. from martial arts. or cable pulleys secured around anything solid at about hip height or below. to swimming. rubber tubing.The Ab RevolutionTM • Try the same technique for a side kick. Use this technique for kicks used in many sports. Train Abs for Front Kicking Using Bands These exercises can be done looping your band around something behind you. Secure one end of the band or tubing handle around the outside leg. and tucking enough to straighten your back without rounding it.

not using your torso muscles to counter the pull. (Don’t allow this to happen if you have back pain. you’ll notice that you arch your back under the weight of the bag. People go to a gym to strap a weight machine onto their back to pull it forward to work their muscles. Maintain upright posture.Dr. You should feel the back pain disappear. Babies. and maybe the old familiar ache in your low back. Shoulder bags and backpacks don’t make you arch your back or have bad posture. and Bags as Ab Exercise Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. Your bags can become a free. • Remember to do this all the time with everything you carry. or allowing your back to arch. You’ll feel pressure. Not only do people let their posture slouch under their own body weight. and to train them to hold your back posture when standing and carrying weight. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct when carrying common daily objects. but not bending your neck or body so much that you hunch or round forward. Try this: • Stand up wearing any heavy bag or backpack. stand straight up and feel your abs working. not hunched. If you stand without using your abs. Stand sideways to see your profile in a mirror. fix your posture by tucking your hips under as if starting a crunch.) If you arch. they allow their body to sag under the weight of things they carry. If you lean forward against the weight of the bag. and allowing your back to arch. Jolie Bookspan Using Backpacks. Feel your torso straighten against the pull of the bag. 90 . is the problem. built-in ab exercise.

knapsacks. or hiking your shoulder up. Fix your posture by engaging your oblique abs to straighten your torso against the pull of the bag. • • Remember to do this all the time. or carrying a heavy handbag on one shoulder or hip: • Experiment with the difference between maintaining proper posture to hold the weight. with everything you carry. Check your posture with a mirror. holding a baby. Practice walking around with the knapsack and maintaining your upright posture. 91 . Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct when carrying common daily objects on one hip or shoulder. and Bags as Oblique Ab Exercise Purpose of this Exercise: To work your oblique abs. If you habitually let your back curve to the side under the weight of things you carry. You could burn calories.The Ab RevolutionTM Using Backpacks. you can get a curve just like it from bad posture. and letting your torso sway to the side under the weight. This is preventable. simply by holding good posture against the pull of your bags — no matter where you wear them. People go to a gym to press sideways against a weight machine to work their obliques. when you can. babies. Babies. and bags as a free workout for your oblique abs and back. you can eventually tighten your back and even deform your bones into a curve. and get an ab and back workout. Even if you don’t have scoliosis. not bent in any direction against the pull of the bag. save your back. Try this while wearing a knapsack. and to train them to hold your posture when carrying weight. an abnormal sideways curve. instead of simply holding good posture by using your muscles. Use packages.

Also trains muscles to fight an attacker off. calorie burning. and to have a hilarious time doing it. and sheer fun. The “Ab Study. But it’s not a functional exercise because what else is it good for? This exercise beats it in effectiveness. and a hard and effective one.Dr. Application to Daily Life: This exercise is directly useful to control torso posture when moving your arms and legs during any extreme activity. 92 . Jolie Bookspan Using Abs to Throw a Tantrum Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs more than you ever have. functionality. and second most effective for your side abs. This is a silly and fun exercise.” mentioned on page 15. or obliques. to train them to hold your back in proper position when doing vigorous movement. lists the bicycle as the top exercise for the front abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis). It uses motions similar to those for “bicycling” but works muscles far more.

back and forth in all directions. When you finish. Lift your arms high and back down. • Lie on your front. Lift your knees. 93 . Yell if you want to: “No! No! No! I won’t do crunches! I won’t! You can’t make me! I don’t want to!” Play loud music. They get a fun and hard ab and back workout. Pound the mat.The Ab RevolutionTM • Lie on your back. Lift your arms and legs up in the air. Fitness classes love this one. you should work your back. you’ll be calm and happy. and legs in the air. and leave class happy and exhausted. Kick hard. and also work the difficult-to-target posterior shoulder. Vigorously move them up and down. back and forth. buttock. play loud music if it helps. Remember that when you work your abs. Vigorously pound your fists and legs up and down against the floor and up in the air. Don’t wrench yourself around. Lift arms. No wonder children use this. “No! No! No! I won’t! You can’t make me do crunches! I don’t want to…!” Again.This is also useful to train for kicking and punching someone who has thrown you down. Yell if you want to. and kick hard. Go fast and furiously. and hamstring muscles get amazing exercise. if it helps. but get a workout. upper body. in all directions. You’ll feel your back. hip. You’ll have had the workout of your life.

thinking it will make their backs injury-free. or any muscles. or attend “abonly” exercises classes. when used. prevents your upper body weight from slouching backward and pressuring your low back. your back muscles. But saying that ab exercise strengthens you back is not really true. and nerves that exit the vertebrae. and overstretches your back muscles. and to train you to hold your posture from slouching forward. Slouching forward is a poor posture that people are usually very good at. Jolie Bookspan “Ab-Only” Exercises are Not Good Many people do only abdominal muscle exercises. keep you from slouching forward. adds to the “round-shoulder” problem that contributes to back pain in the first place. Next. To strengthen your back you have to work your back muscles with specific exercises that contract them. any more than doing kicks makes your arms strong. When your back is weak it can become so fatigued and strained at the end of the day from trying to hold up your body weight that it aches. Using abdominal muscles moves your torso to reduce the large arch to keep strain off your back. lengthened by poor posture weakens them.Dr. Forward slouching slowly pressures your discs to bulge out. Just as your abs muscles. doing conventional ab exercises. There are two serious problems with this. Keeping your back muscles. 94 . This forwardslouching posture slowly puts unhealthy pressure on back muscles. which contract your abs to round you forward. when used. and spend a great portion of their day doing. vertebrae. You need to add exercises that contract your back muscles — called back extension — to strengthen your back. Doing ab exercise does not work your back muscles. Abdominal muscles and back muscles are different muscles.

move your arms from your sides to overhead. and sells for $24. Slowly lift your upper body a few inches. Keep your head in line with your body. Gradually increase. or toll free from the publisher: 1-888-229-5745. Jolie Bookspan. Beside giving you a beautiful back for bathing suit wear. hands at your sides and off the floor. then lower back to the floor.The Ab RevolutionTM Back Extension At the minimum. Hold and lower. are detailed in the new edition of the book “Health & Fitness in Plain English” also by Dr. do at least ten back extensions every day and when you do ab exercise.95 (US). If you feel muscles working. Lift with your muscles. Don’t force. • • For your lower back. Work up from there. that is right. you may be sore after doing these. don’t continue the exercises. nutrition. this is much-needed progress. This is not an injury. See your doctor. Don’t force or yank. knee straight. If you feel pinching or electric shock pain. Order online at www. this exercise is a mainstay of most back-strengthening and pain-reduction programs. These exercises. Don’t tilt your head back. Then switch legs. To progress. health and joint pain. If you aren’t used to exercising your back Start with one or two lifts. 95 . It has thirty-one chapters on all aspects of fitness. To progress. • Lie face down. and full explanations of relieving back and neck pain. lift both legs together. lift one leg off the floor.healthylearning.

to decide whether to exercise abs daily or intermittently. Using your abs is like obeying the Ten Commandments: you’re supposed to do it all the time. sit. Doing crunches or any other ab exercise. you wouldn’t need to go to a gym to do funny little crunches — not every day. What is missed is that. and reach well all the time. not just during your hour of worship. like your heart beating. You’re also missing the easiest opportunity to burn calories and get a free. every day. is missing the whole point of what abs are supposed to do. then ignore your abs the other 23 hours a day and undo all your efforts? Stand. Why kill yourself working out. and you’ll exercise your abs without working out. 96 . Flurries of articles are written on this. all the time to control your posture. If you worked your abs all day.Dr. nor every few days. allowing your upper body weight to press on your low back. all-day workout. Jolie Bookspan Should You Work Your Abs Every Day or Every Other Day? It’s common for people to debate fiber type and fatigue. then not using abs to control your posture the rest of the day. you need your abs working all day.

run. walk. If spot reducing worked. That means to lose fat. dig. That myth is called “spot reducing. speed skaters would have small legs. which burns more calories. Get out and have fun. and move in general. ski. and encourage arching so that you wind up standing with your abdomen curved out — just the opposite of what you wanted. row. 97 . to use your abs for daily life. Regular ab exercise alone won’t make you stand properly so that your back won’t arch and your abdomen won’t sag out. including fat from your abdomen.The Ab RevolutionTM How Do You Flatten Your Abdomen? Use your abs to change the curve of your back. jog. It’s not “sucking in” or “tightening”— it’s moving your torso into healthy position using Ab Revolution exercises. swim. you need to run. and the repetitive act of chewing and swallowing lots of food would make your face thin. bike. skate. No exercise selectively removes fat from a specific part. Weight training builds muscle. stick the behind out. Aerobic exercise burns fat. skip. This fat comes from where it is stored. to keep it from arching and curving your abdomen out. and that exercises often done in gyms tighten the hip. It’s a shame that many people deliberately stand arched. people would have thin mouths from talking.” Ab exercises alone will not remove fat from your abdomen. play. dance.

healthful meals on a regular basis. You’ll save your back. Notice if you are letting your body weight. balancing. continuous. You’ll exercise your brain. Get out of the gym and use your body for real life moving.Dr. You’ll be straighter and taller. Use the Ab Revolution to retrain your abs for ab exercise without going to a gym. reduced fat under your skin (in order to see it all). You’ll get a free. giving a “washboard” or “ripple” effect. complex carbohydrates. showing that you may be arching your back instead of holding straight posture. Jolie Bookspan How Do You Get a “Washboard?” You have bands of fibrous tissue called fascia that run across your front and side abdominal muscles at intervals. Doing good abdominal work will enlarge the muscles enough to poke through the facial bands. Check if your belt or waistband tilts downward in front and up in back. lifting. Next time you are standing around noticing your back hurts. and water in your diet to fuel good workouts. 98 . It’s a revolution. You won’t see ripples if body fat covers everything. Use your abs to tip your hip back under you and lift your weight up and off your low back. and having fun. check if you are standing and moving in a way that is wrecking your back by not using your abs. and the weight of everything you lift and carry. and conscious use of abs all the time. cutting out junk food. all-day workout. reaching. The entire package of getting results includes proper abdominal exercise. You’ll burn more calories. smash down on your low back. You’ll be a better exerciser.

The Ab RevolutionTM 99 .

.D. CA 100 . SWAT Team Commander Using Dr. Merck International Health Program Coordinator This is a book that everyone interested in good health and muscle tone should read — especially personal trainers! . It’s encouraging to know that. .. From Dr.Dr. Bookspan’s Ab Revolution Continued from the back cover: You’ve done it again. Athletic Trainer and Maccabean Games Triathlon Gold Medalist.C. St. M. thank you for constantly discrediting the myths that are all too often forced upon us. the brightest light in popular sports medicine.T.. .Ed. and eliminated chronic pain. Col. Tom Millington. A. I have lost weight. Horsham.S. Jolie Bookspan More Praise for Dr.Joni Lawrence. I developed my abs more in the last 3 months than in the past 3 years doing crunches.D.Audrey Tannenbaum.C. built muscle.. You’re my hero. PA Dr. Bookspan. cuts away the myths and falsehoods to lead the reader to understanding. .Kelly Hill. Medical Director. I can develop my abs and improve my posture throughout the day. Bookspan’s revolutionary yet practical advice.. M.. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital. M. Green Beret Lt.J. Bookspan’s expertise. by using them properly. From one professional to another. This is my stomach bible. C.S. . .

General Surgery www.gulftel. Neurology.. The program is simple. M. Department of Anesthesiology. Jolie Bookspan.Ernest Campbell.D. Freeing the ‘crunchers’ from the boredom of useless exercise programs that are quickly abandoned. M. M. sensible and highly effective.The Ab RevolutionTM Well. Stanford If I were to say something sage about exercise I am afraid that others will die laughing since my aversion to exercise is well known! I always wanted to have you as my personal trainer because you are the only person in the world who might get me to think otherwise about exercise. . she has written an extremely interesting ‘do-ityourself’ exercise guide.D. The book is highly recommended to read and keep as a reference source.David Hsu. Jolie Bookspan has done it again! An expert at debunking ‘scientific’ bunk. Krug Life Sciences NASA 101 . Ph.Caroline Fife.. Houston.. . Dr.. FACS. Bookspan’s Ab Revolution will find support from those of us who realize the importance of the natural use of the abs in maintaining good back posture and function. University of Texas Health Science Center. or want practical advice on fitness training or musculoskeletal complaints. Dr. I trust her for good sense and her solid background in exercise physiology. .D. Associate Professor. It provides a concept that can be used in every day life for the thousands (millions?) who have chronic lumbosacral pain due to poor posture and weak abdominal muscles. Chief Whenever I have a question on rehab. I turn to my friend and colleague.D. CHeCS Training Program.

Dr.uhms. and joint pain 371 pages. health. Jolie Bookspan More Books by Dr. including board exam questions 226 Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages. Jolie Bookspan Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire 102 .uhms. $30. $ Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 pages. nutrition. illustrated.uhms. $ uhms@uhms.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: uhms@uhms.95 (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 www. $40.00 ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 www. illustrated.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: www.

arttoday. www.The Ab RevolutionTM Credits Cover model: Paul Plevakas Front cover photo: Julia Lehman. Martin Dembitzer Angela and Andrea Fleegle Elsa Leung Rhonda McJeff Stacia Mellbourne Travis Mesman Sara Rathfon Danielle Tobin 103 . Bookspan’s dedicated and hardworking students: Shelly Anthony Regina Basile Cynthia Brown Theresa Candelaria Emily Canon Louis Costa Photo models for exercises are Dr. Vision13 Photography Roman Chair and Captain’s Chair photos by Wowk Photography Author photos by Robert Troia Illustrations by Todd Sargood Some images © 2001-2002.


swam to work in an underwater laboratory. Asia. She doesn’t do crunches. . she carried gear up and down the mountains and deserts of India. and Northern Africa. As a researcher. where the entrance exam was getting up there without a nosebleed. Nepal. After serving in the Army. Left paralyzed after breaking her back. and police and military training departments. and most of everything else in an accident. and was professor of anatomy at a college in the mountains of Mexico. Jolie Bookspan knows abs. neck. was advisor to The Discovery Channel. A career military scientist. Jude of the Joints” in her private practice in sports medicine. she has a black belt in karate and 14 fights in the ring as an amateur kickboxer. she rehabbed using her own methods.About the Author Dr. Harvard clinicians have called her “The St. she was research physiologist for the United States Navy studying survival in extreme environments from undersea to climbing mountains to outer space — an interest that began as a child when she watched her grandfather walk barefoot over snow and ice to go ocean swimming every day.

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