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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. showing how slack ab muscles allow your back to arch. 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. 7 . They hunch you forward.The Ab RevolutionTM Still holding the top and bottom of your abs. draw your two hands toward each other. The distance between your hands increases. arch your back and let your ribs lift and your abdomen curve out. Your torso will curl and your back will round. Hold that position. You will even be shorter because of the increased curve in your spine. That is what crunches do for you.

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

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

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

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

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

Bounce against your fingers so that they rock back repeatedly. every day. That shows the forces on your low back when you walk without using abs. Your fingers come back up into straight line.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. The stretched palm of your hand represents your abdomen. with your ab muscles slack. That is how you need to use your abs to control your posture when standing up — all day. Ouch. 13 . That is running with your back arched and not using your abs. all the time. 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. 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. Now bounce against your fingers quickly and hard.

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

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

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 . Crunches make people — who likely spend much of their day already hunched over a work area — practice that hunched posture. 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. even when done properly. Look at crunches sideways and see what it would look like to stand up like this — like an old. Jolie Bookspan What’s Wrong with Crunches? Crunches don’t work your abs the way you need for real life. 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. Crunches promote poor posture. In life.Dr. Crunches don’t train you for that. You know how the elderly got hunched over like that? They practiced. bent-over person. which may be mechanically promoting the back and neck pain they think they are working their abs to prevent. instead of allowing you to arch back and lean your body weight onto your low back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

other times a larger one. Sometimes you use abs to make a small adjustment. Hard on the back. 25 . In either case. Same exercise done properly. Abs not in use. it is not healthy. Back arched. Use your abs to tuck your hips enough to take the large arch out of your back. Overhead Press Arching while lifting weight further compresses your low back. mistakenly thinking it looks good. Abs reduce the arch and control back posture.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.” Some people deliberately arch while exercising. Bad posture.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feel the stretch move to your thigh. You save your back. You won’t feel much stretch in your thigh. 36 . Try this: • • Stand on one leg and arch your back while you hold your other foot behind you. abs not in use. Drop your bent knee to point to the standing knee and push your foot away into your hand. Don’t do this bad posture when stretching: back arched. Don’t pull your foot in. as if starting to do a crunch. Same stretch using abs to straighten posture. and get a far better quad stretch.Dr. little stretch on leg. Straighten your torso and push your behind forward. work abs. 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.

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

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

and never get a real ab workout by using abs to straighten their back and control this.” That is precisely what is wrong with this as an ab exercise: you never use your own abs to keep your back from arching. In this 39 • . leg lifts become an exercise that strains the back. Tight hip flexors create problems. to tilt your hips and maintain torso posture. not your hands. use your abs. To do leg lifts properly. called hip flexors. Try this: • Lie on your back with your legs out straight on the floor. Put one hand under the small of your low back and feel the natural space. To show you what arching feels like. This is a missed ab opportunity. Without taking the arch out of your back with your abs. 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.The Ab RevolutionTM What About Leg Lifts? Most people allow the weight of their legs to arch and strain their low back. 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. and only works the muscles that lift your leg.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

one way to do that is to use cable pulleys or a stretchy tube or band and pivot away from it. most people do not put much resistance on their band. One reason is because they used the tubing while bending forward. 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. 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. There will be no momentum continuing the motion past the point where you pull the band. thick band. and go for the fun of the work. Also. stepping farther and farther away to increase the tension. 48 . rather than in real-life movements. 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.

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

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

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

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.


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

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

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. and other times called various intriguing names like “waist support. You return to normal circumference fairly quickly. weight loss. 60 . It is just a gimmick. 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.Dr. or body fat loss. sweat loss. The band temporarily shrinks your circumference through simple compression. leaving you temporarily smaller.” “flab zapper.” and “waist shrinker. It has nothing to do with toning or supporting the muscles.” It is just a neoprene band to wear around the waist (or thighs).

then breathe out during the effort of the movement. For the moving exercises. what else can you do to train good ab use for posture. They don’t have the ab strength and endurance to hold themselves straight. do exercise. activities. 61 . 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.The Ab RevolutionTM What Exercises Work Your Abs the Way You Need For Real Life? Beside standing and reaching properly all day every day. run. That means radically different exercises from what you commonly see in gyms and on exercise videos. Doing repetitions and sets without that will not work your abs the way you need. Gradually increase the time you hold good posture with these exercises. breathe in. 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. or your life. The concepts and exercises follow in the next sections. Most people can’t do these exercises for more than a few seconds. stand. not bending forward. You need to exercise your abs the way they normally should work. and good looks? The ab exercises you see everywhere in gyms get you good at hunching forward. and won’t help your posture. walk. your back. But your abs need to work isometrically (at one length without moving) a great deal of the time in real life. carry packages. Breathe normally and fully when doing the isometric exercises. You’ll learn exercises that work your abs in functional ways for postural control when you sit. back pain prevention.

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

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

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

two more benefits of Ab Revolution exercises. don’t let your middle sag. • Do full pushups using your abs to keep your hips tucked as if starting a crunch. 65 . Weight bearing improves bone density and strength. The wrist is one of the three major risk sites of osteoporosis.The Ab RevolutionTM plank. and other lifts too. Don’t let your upper body lift up before your lower body. Try curls. 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. Stay flat throughout. Second and third are flatter and straighter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hold one end in each hand. This simulates keeping your posture against gravity and loads that you carry in daily life. Same exercise with abs in use to straighten posture and exercise against the pull of the bands 78 .Dr. abs not in use. This is also fun to do with a partner. Don’t let your arms pull behind you. 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. Bad posture. Step away until there is tension on the band. Lift arms overhead. controlling your posture with abs. Turn your back. back arched. • Try various arm exercises and movements while controlling your torso with your abs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM 99 .

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

Department of Anesthesiology. 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. CHeCS Training Program. M.D. I trust her for good sense and her solid background in exercise physiology. The book is highly recommended to read and keep as a reference source. . Associate Professor. .The Ab RevolutionTM Well.gulftel. or want practical advice on fitness training or musculoskeletal complaints. Ph. 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. FACS. Chief Consultant. Jolie Bookspan. General Surgery www. I turn to my friend and colleague. Krug Life Sciences NASA 101 . Freeing the ‘crunchers’ from the boredom of useless exercise programs that are quickly abandoned.David Hsu. Whenever I have a question on rehab. M.Ernest Campbell. she has written an extremely interesting ‘do-ityourself’ exercise guide.Caroline Fife.. The program is simple. sensible and highly effective. Neurology. . Dr. M.D. 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.D. Dr.. Jolie Bookspan has done it again! An expert at debunking ‘scientific’ bunk. University of Texas Health Science Center..D..

health.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire field. 102 .healthylearning. Jolie Bookspan More Books by Dr. $ Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages.uhms.00 ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 www.Dr.uhms. illustrated. $40. including board exam questions 226 Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 pages. and joint pain 371 pages.95 (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 uhms@uhms.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: www. $50. $ uhms@uhms. nutrition. Jolie Bookspan Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of fitness.

The Ab RevolutionTM Credits Cover model: Paul Plevakas Front cover photo: Julia Photo models for exercises are Dr. www. Bookspan’s dedicated and hardworking students: Shelly Anthony Regina Basile Cynthia Brown Theresa Candelaria Emily Canon Louis Costa Dr. Martin Dembitzer Angela and Andrea Fleegle Elsa Leung Rhonda McJeff Stacia Mellbourne Travis Mesman Sara Rathfon Danielle Tobin 103 . 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.arttoday.


swam to work in an underwater laboratory. neck. After serving in the Army. and was professor of anatomy at a college in the mountains of Mexico. 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. Left paralyzed after breaking her back. She doesn’t do crunches. she carried gear up and down the mountains and deserts of India. she has a black belt in karate and 14 fights in the ring as an amateur kickboxer. she rehabbed using her own methods. and most of everything else in an accident. Jude of the Joints” in her private practice in sports medicine. Harvard clinicians have called her “The St.About the Author Dr. Jolie Bookspan knows abs. Asia. and Northern Africa. . A career military scientist. and police and military training departments. As a researcher. Nepal. where the entrance exam was getting up there without a nosebleed. was advisor to The Discovery Channel.

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