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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even if an exercise activates your ab muscles.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. 15 . it still may not be useful for things you need for daily life. Posture and muscle use is not automatic. gives exercises that effectively use and develop your abs. Crunches don’t train that action. or for back pain control. and are not good for the rest of you. Plenty of muscular people have poor posture. the Ab Revolution will give you a better workout. Just strengthening a muscle does not train it for how you need to use it. 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. doing crunches and other forwardrounding ab exercises “work” your abs but are not a great way to do it. Even if you don’t care about posture or back pain and want only cosmetic results. None of the exercises they tested and recommend specifically train your body for daily use the way you really need them. pain. Just like smoking “works” to lose weight. Simply strengthening a muscle will not automatically change your posture for proper use in sports or recreation. • • The Ab Revolution teaches a whole different approach to abdominal muscle use. You don’t need to hunch forward for daily activities. and bad movement habits. but still promote bad posture and not be good for the rest of you.

even when done properly. Did you know that the most important use of your abs is when you are standing up and reaching or lifting overhead? Most people can’t imagine how to use their abs while standing up or during normal everyday life. Crunches don’t train you how to use your abs the rest of the day. You know how the elderly got hunched over like that? They practiced. your abs need to work isometrically — at one length — to hold your torso upright. Crunches don’t train you for that. Look at crunches sideways and see what it would look like to stand up like this — like an old.Dr. This is the poor posture you’re training with crunches. 16 . Crunches promote poor 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. instead of allowing you to arch back and lean your body weight onto your low back. which may be mechanically promoting the back and neck pain they think they are working their abs to prevent. bent-over person. Crunches make people — who likely spend much of their day already hunched over a work area — practice that hunched posture. Jolie Bookspan What’s Wrong with Crunches? Crunches don’t work your abs the way you need for real life. In life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

use your abs. Try this: • Lie on your back with your legs out straight on the floor. Tight hip flexors create problems. called hip flexors. and never get a real ab workout by using abs to straighten their back and control this.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. To show you what arching feels like. leg lifts become an exercise that strains the back. Hip flexors are usually pretty strong and tight to begin with from sitting and overuse in exercise. This is a missed ab opportunity. 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. To do leg lifts properly. not your hands.” 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 • . and only works the muscles that lift your leg. Without taking the arch out of your back with your abs. Put one hand under the small of your low back and feel the natural space. to tilt your hips and maintain torso posture.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM

What About Lower Abs and Reverse Crunches?

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

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

Dr. Jolie Bookspan

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM

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

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

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

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

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

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.


used in physical therapy to passively contract muscles atrophied from paralysis or wasting diseases.Dr. 58 . In two hours sitting in front of the television wearing the device. That’s just your normal metabolism at work. 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. These have been around for a long time. 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. with or without a vibrator strapped to your abdomen. you would burn more calories than during the theoretical 15–30 minutes it would take to do the sit-ups. There is muscle contraction.V. Other devices stems from electrical muscle stimulators (EMS).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM 99 .

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

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

com Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages. illustrated. illustrated. and joint pain 371 pages. health. $24.uhms. $40.95 (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 uhms@uhms.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: www. Jolie Bookspan More Books by Dr.00 ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 www. $ 102 . including board exam questions 226 pages. nutrition. Jolie Bookspan Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of fitness. $50.Dr.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: www.

arttoday.The Ab RevolutionTM Credits Cover model: Paul Plevakas Front cover photo: Julia Lehman. 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. Photo models for exercises are Dr. 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 .


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

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