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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.
....... 23 How to Use Abs When Doing Other Exercises................................................... 3 Using Abs Doesn’t Mean “Sucking Them In” or Making Them “Tight” ........................................... 6 Abs are Your Guy Wires from the Front .......................................................... 16 Doing Abs Doesn’t Automatically Change Posture or Back Pain................................................................................................................................................... 21 How to Use Your Abs When Standing Up.......... 19 What Are All the Muscles Called? ............................. 5 How Do Abs Control Posture? .................................................................................................................. 15 What’s Wrong with Crunches?................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 10 How Do Abs Help Your Back? ........ 36 Real Athletes Use Abs........ 38 What About Leg Lifts? .................................................... 35 How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Legs................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 1 Why Do Abs? .................................................... 42 v ......Table of Contents Dedication..................... 32 How to Use Abs for Reaching.................................................... 37 What About Ab Machines? ................................................................................ v Revolution! .............................................................................. 4 What Exactly Do Abs Do? ................................................................................... iii Table of Contents ........................ 17 But Aren’t You Supposed to Stick Your Behind Out?...................................................................................................................................... 25 How to Use Abs for Carrying Loads ................................ 12 What About the Ab Study?...................................... 39 What About “Captain’s Chair?” ...................................... 34 How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Arms.......... 9 What is Lordosis? ...........
..62 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Normal Standing .......63 Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture..............................................84 Using Abs For Pushing....................60 What Exercises Work Your Abs the Way You Need For Real Life? ................... Babies....................................47 What About Lower Abs and Reverse Crunches? ........................................68 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture When Using Weights ..............................................................................................97 vi .................44 What About Abdominal Twists? ....................................................... and Bags as Oblique Ab Exercise................................................................52 What About Ab Isolators? ........................................59 What About Neoprene Waist Bands?.........................................................76 Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture When Reaching and Lifting Overhead .................................80 Using Abs for Side and Underhand Arm Activities .......................Arching Isn’t the Culprit .79 Using Abs for Throwing and Other Overhead Arm Activities .....................................................................................90 Using Backpacks.......................................... Babies...............................................................................................96 How Do You Flatten Your Abdomen?........................94 Should You Work Your Abs Every Day or Every Other Day?................................................................................................................71 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Reaching and Lifting Overhead ...................................................................... and Bags as Ab Exercise.........92 “Ab-Only” Exercises are Not Good ............................................56 What About Ab Rocking Devices? ............................82 Using Abs for Punching ................................................87 Using Abs for Kicking ..................................49 What About Exercise Balls?.......... How Often? ..............................................61 How Many.......................................................58 What About Miracle Liquids and Fat Burners? .......91 Using Abs to Throw a Tantrum.......................57 What About Electronic Ab Zapper Belts?...............................................................88 Using Backpacks............................................................
.... 98 More Praise for Dr..................How Do You Get a “Washboard?”............................................................... 102 Credits............. Jolie Bookspan................................................................................................................. 105 vii ..................... Bookspan’s Ab Revolution .............................. 100 More Books by Dr................................................................................................ 102 Health & Fitness in Plain English........................................................ 103 About the Author..
It’s practically universal to see a roomful of exercisers cranking away doing ab exercise. 1 . back pain. To most people. But strengthening alone does not automatically change posture. how to use them when standing up or during things you do in real life. walk.” then never use the rest of the time. Ab exercise has become hugely popularized as something you specially “do. Most people have no idea what abs specifically do. you go back to your “real life” and stand. and tight muscles are a factor in headaches. 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. usual ab exercises “miss the boat” because they don’t transfer skills to real life. and lift with no use of your abs.The Ab RevolutionTM Revolution! This is a revolution in ab fitness.” 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. Shake up your entire thinking about abs. and back pain. and which make your neck hurt. Fitness has become “Fast Food” — stripped of real content and value. The “experts” say to do crunches for strong muscles to “support” you. then stand up and walk away with arched posture and no use of abs at all. The old.” You can’t move or breathe properly that way. and thought to be healthy when it is not healthy. reach. Plenty of people with strong muscles and tight abs have terrible posture and persistent back pain. “do three sets (or however many sets) of 10 crunches. or movement in real-life activities. or even that you are supposed to at all. The very thing we regard as exercise advice. poor posture. Then. Using abs is not “tightening them. 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 legs too. You’ll strengthen your abs. You’ll get exercise without going to a gym. what they don’t do. You’ll save your back.Dr. This book gives you an understanding of what abs really do. The exercises not only strengthen your abs. 2 . 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. but your back. not all the time. and teach you how your muscles need to work together in your real life. You’ll burn calories. You’ll exercise your brain. and how to consciously use your abs for all your daily activities — even standing up. then throwing knives at each other the rest of the time. You’ll strengthen your body. It’s a revolution. three to five times a week. This method revolutionizes how you think about abs and how you use them. It teaches specific skills to make your life better. shoulders. arms. They were told to be nice for 30 minutes.
Poor posture is common. but never use their abs for real life. Why do the exercises so often “fail?” 3 . or even know they are supposed to. They do crunches in every workout. everyone seems to want to “do abs”. But exactly what? It’s something vague about “support. They think it just happens automatically.” or how.The Ab RevolutionTM Why Do Abs? More than other exercises. But what exactly do “abs” do for your back? It’s “something” to do with posture. They do abs in rehab programs for back pain.” What does “support” really mean? Most people don’t know what abs specifically “do. But why? It’s “something” to do with helping the back. Yet 8 out of 10 people still have back pain.
or any muscles. not tightening them. Moreover. for good posture. and it doesn’t teach you how to use your abs the way you need for sports. even with “tight” abs.Dr. yet they are incorrect and outdated. Moving your torso into good posture by using your torso muscles is the same. Yes. 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 pain-free. or normal daily activities. this is new and different. Tightening is not how to use abs. Move your arm around. You didn’t tighten anything. That’s why it’s a revolution in ab fitness. Try this: bend your elbow to bring your hand up to your face. It’s voluntary movement to change the amount of bend and arch in your spine. It wouldn’t change your posture. You voluntarily move your arm into the position you want by using the muscles. and teach you exciting new skills to be fitter. You can have poor posture and a terribly arched back. healthier. exercise.” You can’t function or exercise normally that way. It will change your whole way of thinking about abs. You can’t breathe properly that way. and are not the way to use your abs the way you need them. The tightening didn’t change anything.” 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. Now arch your back and make the abs tight with your back still arched. 4 .
exaggerating the normal inward curve. 5 . and their back to arch. and irritate the joints called vertebral facets. What does “support” exactly mean? When you stand up and don’t use your abdominal muscles. curling your torso and taking the arch out of your back. When you contract your abs.The Ab RevolutionTM What Exactly Do Abs Do? Most people use vague words like “support” to describe what abs do. This can cause wear and tear on your soft tissues and discs. on the front. Most people only exercise their abs by hunching forward and sideways for a bunch of “repetitions. they pull your ribs and hips closer to each other in various directions and amounts. your low back will sway. It doesn’t mean holding yourself rigidly. protecting your joints and soft tissue. When any muscle contracts. Using abs means using them like any other muscle. it pulls on the bones it attaches to. sides. The joints of your spine bend. 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. This arching allows the weight of your upper body to press down on your low back. All your different ab muscles connect your ribs to your hips. it means holding yourself up easily without slouching backward or to the sides. where each vertebra attaches to the one above and below it. 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. and across. and bends the joint. allowing their ribs to lift up.” Then they stand and walk away with abs slack. hips to drop down.
You have to voluntarily use your abs to change your posture. To understand what abs do for your posture when you use them properly. 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. If you don’t consciously use your muscles to hold you up. But strengthening does not automatically “support” your back or change your posture. where your front ab muscles attach. They aren’t using their muscles to prevent it. That is one big reason people slouch. Put your other hand on the front and middle of your hip bone where your front abs begin. stand up and put one hand on the front of your ribs. you will sag under gravity.Dr. 6 .
Your torso will curl and your back will round.The Ab RevolutionTM Still holding the top and bottom of your abs. How much do you need this posture in real life? Shortened abs curl you Lengthened abs let you arch Still holding your ribs and hip bone. 7 . Hold that position. 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. That is what crunches do for you. arch your back and let your ribs lift and your abdomen curve out. showing how slack ab muscles allow your back to arch. You will even be shorter because of the increased curve in your spine. draw your two hands toward each other. The distance between your hands increases. They hunch you forward.
8 . and stop the strain and wear and tear of dropping your upper body weight on your low back. they hold you from arching backward. Your torso comes upright to a straightened. Don’t curl so much that you round forward.Dr. Jolie Bookspan To use your abs to pull you up to stand properly. Use your abs at the length that holds you up in good posture. taller position. This is what abs do to control posture. bring your hands toward each other so the distance between your ribs and hips decreases. When used properly. not arching back.
Just having strong muscles does not make them automatically pull the right amount at the right time. 9 . abs keep you from arching backward. You have to train your muscles for that. and train your brain to remember. You can have strong back muscles. they keep you from slouching forward. you will arch backward in bad posture. but if you don’t voluntarily use them to pull your shoulders back. Use your “guy wire" muscles to keep you from sagging in bad posture.The Ab RevolutionTM Abs are Your Guy Wires from the Front Like a guy wire keeping a tree from falling backward. but if you don’t voluntarily use them to pull you forward. The guy wires in back are your back muscles. You can have strong ab muscles. you will round forward in bad posture. giving you that training. When you use them. The Ab Revolution is the missing link. They pull forward to keep your upper body weight from arching back and pressuring your low back.
This is terrible posture and injurious to your back. to bouncing around in aerobics. books.Dr. Chronically pressuring the bones and other structures of your back with this bad posture can eventually deform them. It has commonly come to mean too much inward curve. and to use The Ab Revolution all the time during daily activities. “Sway back” is not a structural condition you are born with or “just have” (or want to have). Use The Ab Revolution to avoid — even reverse — this. Lordosis is usually completely controllable by using your abs to keep your hip from tipping forward. but is just a bad posture habit. If you have a condition called spondylolisthesis. which makes one backbone slip forward on the next. unavoidable. Jolie Bookspan What is Lordosis? Many people with back pain are told they have a “condition” called lordosis. to lifting weights. If you habitually stand with your back arched. They think this is something anatomic. adding to back arching. You’ll see this overly-arched (lordotic) posture in an astonishing number of fitness videos. and classes. or something that “just happens” to them like flu. It can create all kinds of back pain. this is all the more reason not to allow yourself to arch more this way.” along with the usual (but incorrect) “tighten your abs. the word “lordosis” originally meant the normal inward curve of the low back. by retraining your posture and use of your muscles to hold you in healthy position. Technically. 10 . magazines. from leg lifts. allowing the back to sway. your back may become so tight that it gets stuck arched in the “booty-out” posture. and to reduce the overly-large arch that makes your back hurt. like human bonsai. they arch their back and thrust out their behind in dozens of exercises.” but if you look at them. The video star may say “keep neutral spine.
11 .The Ab RevolutionTM This ancient Greek fresco shows the lordotic (overly-arched) posture. Lordosis can be easily controlled by straightening your posture using your own muscles. which pressures the low back.
bending your fingers back as far as they will go. So. press against the fingers of your right hand. The back of your hand (facing right) is your back.Dr. See the pinched and folded-back crease at the knuckle joints of your right hand? 12 . Keep your palm upright. only your fingers arch back. With your left hand. Bend your fingers forward to represent your abs at work. But they don’t know specifically what abs do. Lift your fingers back up again to simulate using your back muscles to straighten up. Your palm (facing left) is the front of your body. You can have the strongest abs and never use them to do anything for your back. Try curling and straightening your body too as you do this. or that abs don’t do it automatically. how do abs help your back? Try this: Hold your right hand up with your thumb toward you. Jolie Bookspan How Do Abs Help Your Back? People usually have some vague idea that abs have something to do with helping the back. then.
13 . use the muscles in the palm of your right hand to straighten your right hand against the push of your left. That is how you need to use your abs to control your posture when standing up — all day. all the time. That is running with your back arched and not using your abs. The stretched palm of your hand represents your abdomen. Your fingers come back up into straight line.The Ab RevolutionTM This shows how your body weight falls on the joints of your low back when you don’t use your ab muscles to prevent arching back under gravity. 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. every day. 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. Bounce against your fingers so that they rock back repeatedly. Ouch. That shows the forces on your low back when you walk without using abs. Now bounce against your fingers quickly and hard.
Try this: • • Stand against a wall with your heels. 14 . even when you are relaxed. they arch their back instead of straightening their shoulders. If your upper back and shoulders are so stiff that you can’t stand up straight without arching your back. too. Stand against a wall or lie flat without a pillow to practice head and upper back posture. Stretch the front of your shoulder so that it doesn’t pull forward into a roundshouldered posture. you need to work on upper back strengthening and flexibility. Bring the back of your head against the wall. To bring their head up. Don’t lift your chin.Dr. Jolie Bookspan A surprising number of people are so round-shouldered that they cannot stand up straight without arching their back. Did your ribs come up and your back arch? Fix that with your abs. Practice keeping your shoulders and head back without arching your back to do it. That is where your head should be for healthy posture. behind and shoulders touching the wall.
gives exercises that effectively use and develop your abs.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. Crunches don’t train that action. Posture and muscle use is not automatic. Even if you don’t care about posture or back pain and want only cosmetic results. doing crunches and other forwardrounding ab exercises “work” your abs but are not a great way to do it. Plenty of muscular people have poor posture. But the surveyors missed three basic concepts: • An exercise can work a muscle well. Simply strengthening a muscle will not automatically change your posture for proper use in sports or recreation. and bad movement habits. the Ab Revolution will give you a better workout. it still may not be useful for things you need for daily life. pain. • • The Ab Revolution teaches a whole different approach to abdominal muscle use. None of the exercises they tested and recommend specifically train your body for daily use the way you really need them. and shows you how to transfer posture and back pain control skills to your daily life. but still promote bad posture and not be good for the rest of you. or for back pain control. 15 . Just like smoking “works” to lose weight. and are not good for the rest of you. Just strengthening a muscle does not train it for how you need to use it. Even if an exercise activates your ab muscles. but you do need to stand and walk upright without arching backward. You don’t need to hunch forward for daily activities.
Jolie Bookspan What’s Wrong with Crunches? Crunches don’t work your abs the way you need for real life. Look at crunches sideways and see what it would look like to stand up like this — like an old. Crunches promote poor posture. 16 . This is the poor posture you’re training with crunches. In life.Dr. Crunches make people — who likely spend much of their day already hunched over a work area — practice that hunched posture. You know how the elderly got hunched over like that? They practiced. 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. 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. even when done properly. Crunches don’t train you how to use your abs the rest of the day. which may be mechanically promoting the back and neck pain they think they are working their abs to prevent. Crunches don’t train you for that. instead of allowing you to arch back and lean your body weight onto your low back. your abs need to work isometrically — at one length — to hold your torso upright. bent-over person.
you will still wind up with poor posture. then you hold it even when you don’t feel like it. strengthening your abs does not make them do anything automatically to support your back. including back muscles) to adjust your posture yourself. make your mistakes until you remember. or how many crunches you have done. 17 .The Ab RevolutionTM Doing Abs Doesn’t Automatically Change Posture or Back Pain If you strengthen your biceps muscles. Doing ab exercises or core exercises is not like getting a shot of penicillin or going to confession — it doesn’t “fix” things. If you don’t. it doesn’t automatically hold your arm up in the air. This is why doing crunches. or rehab exercises — as exercises without concepts and the knowledge to apply it during real activities — does not often work as expected. You have to deliberately use your abs (and other posture muscles. You need to learn what to do. no matter how muscular you are. yoga. just like using any other voluntary muscles to move any other part of your body Using your abs is more like toilet training. or “support” your arm. In the same way. You need to consciously use your ab muscles to move your torso to the right position.
Dr. Jolie Bookspan Having tight abs doesn’t fix your posture or help your back. This is injurious to the back and loses the effectiveness of the exercise. His abs are plenty tight. 18 . but he is still standing in poor posture with an overly-arched back.
and all your weight rests on your low back bones. and discomfort. It is sloppy technique because it does not use your posture muscles properly. smashing down on your low back. Adding a barbell or overhead weights adds tremendous force. You’re missing a free workout of your torso muscles.” they mistakenly think holding this bad posture is. Just as some people think that holding a cigarette or other drug is “cool. eventually tightening them. too. The “booty posture” is unhealthy and unsightly for several reasons: • • • It is plain bad posture. even the weight of your upper body resting on your lower back bones is enough to strain soft tissue and grind bone and discs. causing a vicious cycle of tightness. Without using your abs to keep your weight from arching back. It is a sure sign that you cannot generate real force in your limbs for arm or leg activity. poor posture.The Ab RevolutionTM But Aren’t You Supposed to Stick Your Behind Out? Some people deliberately push their behinds out. interfering with normal walking and running mechanics. because your core muscles are not driving your limbs. • It keeps the muscles in front of your hip and your low back in a shortened position. thinking it looks good. Your hips will have extra wear and tear and eventually hurt too. This bad posture has become so ingrained that many people think it is normal or desirable. It is unhealthy because it injures your back. • • It changes the tilt of your hip. poor use. 19 • .
20 . So does heroin. unhealthy posture.Dr. fitness and trimness. There’s no excuse for someone in fitness to display this lack of knowledge of health. Jolie Bookspan Advertisements use this bad posture because sex sells. Now you can laugh when you see “fitness” models shown standing or doing exercise with this sloppy. This bad posture is accepted as normal by so many people that it is mistaken for. You will laugh often because this unfit posture is a pervasive problem in fitness. She is not using her abs to take the large arch out of her back. and even used to advertise for.
If you cross your arms over your abdomen. your hands line up in the direction of the outer set. you twist to the right (or prevent twisting to the left). The outer external obliques on each side fuse together in a tough band in a nice line down your front. They connect to each other in places. Your oblique abdominals go diagonally across your sides. If you put your fingertips at the top of your pants pockets. or not straight. Obliquus Internus Your internal obliques lie under your external obliques. When the external oblique fibers on your right side contract. The deeper external oblique fibers run almost straight down to your hip bones. sometimes four intersections across it. you bend forward. Obliquus Externus “Oblique” means slanted. called external obliques.” Your rectus abdominis starts on the front of your pelvic bone and runs up to attach where your middle ribs (fifth.The Ab RevolutionTM What Are All the Muscles Called? Ab muscles are named for their layout in your body. which in Latin means “the straight abdominal. sixth and seventh) come together in front. When you contract both. They begin as broad muscles on each side of your lower eight ribs. Rectus Abdominis The muscle straight up your front is your rectus abdominis. You can see these lines in people trim enough. abdominal muscle pulls ribs to hips to bend you forward or prevent arching backward. in the opposite direction. Contracting your front. under your rectus abs. they pull your right side closer to the middle of your pelvic bone so you twist to the left. with three. When you contract your left external oblique. your 21 . In this same manner you can use your right obliques to resist forces that would twist you to the right. or prevent bending backward. or rectus. and work in combinations together. Not all the fibers run all the way up the muscle. Your obliques work together in fun ways.
22 . 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 don’t have to tighten them. You can feel it when you breathe out as completely as you can. you can’t breathe in fully or properly (belly breathing). Transversus Abdominis Your innermost and thinnest abdominal muscle. the transversus. and get a workout just standing and moving properly. The left internal oblique twists you to the left. Moreover. Just use them like other muscles to move your bones. save your back. a major purpose of this muscle is to help full exhalation. goes across your abdomen to help compress it. They begin at your hip bone and angle up and in to your lower three or four ribs. Contracting them all helps you bend forward or prevent arching backward. when you hold it tightly. To protect your back. or sagging to the side during daily life and when you exercise. twisting you to the right. After all. you need to voluntarily change the shape of your back using all your ab muscles so that you don’t curve and strain your back under the weight of your upper body pressing down on it.Dr. So the right external and left internal oblique work together to twist you left. The left external and right internal work together to twist right. It’s not the case that just tightening the transversus like a girdle will support your lower back when lifting or sitting. Change your posture from arching back. 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. You’ll have better posture.
You may feel the familiar ache you often get and don’t know why. • • • • 23 . pay close attention to what it feels like. Your torso is straight. (Don’t do this if you have back pain). tuck your behind under. If you don’t have a mirror. Reach overhead. Allow your body weight to sag so that you exaggerate your low back arch. Tuck your hips under and pull your upper body forward. You’ll keep a small inward curve. To understand what to do to use your abs in real life. as if starting a crunch — just enough to reduce the large back arch. That throws weight on their low back again and again. Yet this is exactly what supports your back and prevents pain and injury during daily activities. using abs to move your torso upright. every time they reach.The Ab RevolutionTM How to Use Your Abs When Standing Up Most people can’t imagine using their abs standing up. 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. Feel a new strong middle. Your stomach will curve out in front. Still reaching overhead. 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. Did your back arch again? Did you let your hips move? Many people arch their back with no ab support. not learning backward or forward. Keep this new posture all the time. Allow your weight to press on your low back.
Jolie Bookspan Use the Ab Revolution whenever you stand up and reach overhead — from pulling shirts off to reaching cabinets. 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. and get a free all-day workout just from standing with your muscles in use. You will save your back.Dr. to washing your hair. People do crunches all the time. but don’t know they are supposed to use their abs in real life when standing up. improve your posture. be able to lift more. to prevent over-arching. 24 .
25 . Abs reduce the arch and control back posture. Hard on the back. Sometimes you use abs to make a small adjustment.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. it is not healthy. Bad posture. Overhead Press Arching while lifting weight further compresses your low back. Back arched. Abs not in use. other times a larger one. In either case.” Some people deliberately arch while exercising. Same exercise done properly. mistakenly thinking it looks good. Use your abs to tuck your hips enough to take the large arch out of your back.
You also miss the free ab workout you would get if you used abs to straighten your posture and save your back. Bad posture on triceps curls. Abs not in use.Dr. 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. instead of lifting arms while keeping posture neutral. Same exercise done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture. The low back bears the weight. You pressure your low back and get less arm exercise than you thought. Back arched. rather than the torso and arm muscles. 26 . people often arch their back to bring the weight back.
You have to consciously use your muscles to move you into good. and save your back.The Ab RevolutionTM Yoga Yoga won’t automatically “give” you good posture. Abs not in use. Bad posture. straight posture. Back overly-arched. use your abs to tuck your hips and reduce the arched posture to stand properly. That does not use the abs and is hard on the back. get an ab workout. Some styles of yoga even teach to deliberately stand in this arched position. Abs are often forgotten when doing yoga poses. Instead. Same pose done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture. 27 .
Abs not in use.Dr. Back arched. 28 . Same pose done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture. Jolie Bookspan Bad posture.
and your back strains from hanging your weight on it in an arch.The Ab RevolutionTM Pushups Pushups with terrible arched posture (shown by the first. third. You will save your back and make the pushup a terrific abs and core exercise. Tuck your hips and straighten your back (black shirt). heads hanging. and lack of use of abs. 29 . Look sideways at this same terrible posture and see how they would look standing up this way: overly-arched. bad posture. the more you’ll use abs. but don’t tuck so much that you hunch your back or hike your hips in the air. This is common. You will instantly feel your abs spring into use. but hold your head up too. and last white shirt in the picture below) means your abs are not in use. Don’t do this for pushups or for standing up. The more you tuck.
(See pages 84 to 89 on punching and kicking for how. Student is arching and slouching.Dr. 30 . allowing it to arch too much.) They are not controlling their back posture.) Can you spot the students not using abs in this Karate class? (First on the left and second from the right. Jolie Bookspan Martial Arts You need your abs to straighten your back posture while doing many moves in martial arts. losing punching power and straining the back. This can strain the back and will not give you good punching or kicking power Teacher is holding strong posture.
It’s surprising how many fitness books and articles talk about posture for walking but still show someone walking with an overly-arched torso. Use good ab technique to keep your back from arching while leaning backward during windsurfing and water skiing. Use abs to keep you sitting upright. not arched or leaning back. don’t arch your back.The Ab RevolutionTM Walking You need to use your abs to keep your back from folding back in an arch during normal walking. Hold good straight posture to keep your chest out of the line of the bowstring. and for doing the limbo dance. for “hiking out” to counterbalance sailboats in the wind. You can painfully “twang” your breast with the bowstring. You need a small natural inward curve to keep your spinal column like a spring for shock absorption. and see how often you’ll find this bad posture in illustrations and photos from fashion to exercise. to dodge flying objects and fists as in the movies “The Matrix” and “Spiderman. You’ll get an ab workout and also get far more out of the exercise for your lats and chest. Archery Archery is an activity where using abs saves more than your back. your chest will protrude outward into the line of the bowstring.” to be dipped while ballroom dancing. Tuck your chest and hip as if starting a crunch to straighten up. Look at illustrations in books and magazines. and to keep forces distributed on your discs. 31 . If you arch when drawing a bow and arrow. Many people allow too much arch. “Lat” Machines When using a weight machine to pull down a bar to your chest (lat pull-downs). which allows body weight to grind down on the low back and decreases natural shock absorption. to take photographs from certain angles. Other Activities In many activities you need to lean back but still not arch.
Dr. Jolie Bookspan How to Use Abs for Carrying Loads Packages Held in Front When carrying anterior loads. . When your arms are weak. Maintain your posture upright against the load. held straight and upright against the anterior load of the drum. Posture is good. straining the back. A surprising way to help your back is to strengthen your arms. 32 Back is arched in bad posture against the anterior load. it’s common to arch back and rest the weight of the load rest on your hip. which puts the weight onto your low back. Remember not to lean back or arch when carrying loads. letting your low back take the brunt. You’ll feel your abs working to do that. it’s more tempting to rest a carried weight on your hip and lean back. This is avoidable.
Not using your abs lets you arch your back. creating strain on the back. it’s common to lean forward to rest the weight on your back. Packages Held In Back Backpacks and other things carried on your back don’t make you arch your back. With posterior loads like knapsacks. relieving strain. or to let the bag pull you backward into an arch. it is a lack of using abs.The Ab RevolutionTM Pregnancy Lack of use of abs is common — even deliberately exaggerated — during pregnancy. use your ab and back muscles to hold your torso posture upright without leaning forward or arching back. 33 Abs are in use to keep the back from arching against the posterior load. Back is arched in bad posture against the posterior load. Your packs become a free core muscle workout. . 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. This is not an unavoidable consequence of pregnancy. Instead. this is it.
Use this technique to get a better reach. Now picture people arching when reaching like this all day. Instead. . using abs to straighten back posture. groceries. and their hand points straight to the ceiling. when you reach overhead. You may notice that your arm doesn’t bend as high as you though because you’ve been using your back instead. They are checked as having normal shoulder range of motion. Picture this: someone with shoulder pain goes to the doctor who asks them to reach overhead. But what really happened was that they arched their back to lift their arm. pulling off shirts. more exercise for your abs. tucking your hip — not rigidly. straighten your torso with your abs.Dr. abs not in use 34 Same reach. and at the gym to lift weights. Don’t lean back. Their shoulder really did not stretch that much. and protection for your back. supported motion. They reach. Jolie Bookspan How to Use Abs for Reaching People often arch their back when reaching for things. but with easy. lifting the baby. combing hair. Bad posture: back arched. for shelves. packages. every day.
Feel the stretch move to your shoulder and triceps.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. abs not in use. flex your trunk as if starting a “crunch” to straighten your torso. get a free ab workout. . using abs to straighten posture. This is also a missed opportunity to use your abs to keep the good posture you need to stretch properly. This adds to mysterious low back pain and never targets the area you think you stretched. Bad posture: back arched. You will save your back. and get a far better stretch in the shoulder. With your arm still overhead. Don’t do this. Keep your elbow lifted to the ceiling. Try this: • • • Stand up and bend your arm overhead. little stretch on arm. 35 Same stretch.
Don’t pull your foot in. work abs. Feel the stretch move to your thigh. little stretch on leg. abs not in use. 36 . Same stretch using abs to straighten posture.Dr. Don’t do this bad posture when stretching: back arched. You save your back. You won’t feel much stretch in your thigh. Drop your bent knee to point to the standing knee and push your foot away into your hand. Try this: • • Stand on one leg and arch your back while you hold your other foot behind you. Straighten your torso and push your behind forward. Jolie Bookspan How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Legs The quad stretch is another common stretch where you can lose the intended stretch and add to back pain by arching when you stretch. and get a far better quad stretch. as if starting to do a crunch.
Note how he incorrectly uses an arch to “wind-up” the punch 37 . so the force of the punch is not levered into their low back. The white belt has not learned this yet. The black belts holding the board in the photo below.The Ab RevolutionTM Real Athletes Use Abs Here is good use of abs in basketball to hold the back posture straight. have properly changed the shape of their back by using their abs. drive the dunk. and power the block.
Tuck your hips under as if beginning a crunch. Don’t arch or hike your behind up in the air. or a simple wheel. Straightening your posture (bottom) puts abs highly in use and protects against back strain. 38 . your body weight hangs on your low back vertebrae. This is ineffective as an ab exercise. folding them like a hinge. Keep your head up. One way to learn the hip tuck is to use a mirror to watch your posture in side view. Jolie Bookspan What About Ab Machines? Ab machines are often used in ways that don’t use the abs. you’ll instantly feel your abs in use. and is injurious to your back. you can use two roller skates. If you use ab machines with an arched back (top). When you allow your back to arch. your abs are not in good use and there is large strain.Dr. to straighten your torso. These machines can be used so that you use your abs. When you do this. Instead of an expensive machine.
Try this: • Lie on your back with your legs out straight on the floor.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. Tight hip flexors create problems.” That is precisely what is wrong with this as an ab exercise: you never use your own abs to keep your back from arching. To show you what arching feels like. Hip flexors are usually pretty strong and tight to begin with from sitting and overuse in exercise. to tilt your hips and maintain torso posture. Without taking the arch out of your back with your abs. use your abs. Leg Lifts Lying on Your Back People doing back-lying leg lifts are often taught to put their hands under their hips to “keep their back from arching. This is a missed ab opportunity. and never get a real ab workout by using abs to straighten their back and control this. Put one hand under the small of your low back and feel the natural space. To do leg lifts properly. leg lifts become an exercise that strains the back. In this 39 • . and only works the muscles that lift your leg. called hip flexors. not your hands.
(Don’t do this if you have back pain. Don’t let your back arch. Chin Ups and Pulls Ups Many people stick out their behind and let their legs swing forward when doing chin ups and pull ups. You will feel your abs working. while maintaining the curled position of your torso. Don’t let your back arch during any point of raising or lowering your legs. Jolie Bookspan arched position. not allowing it to arch. You’ll protect your back and get real ab exercise. Don’t just bend at the hip and use hip flexors with your behind stuck out. pinching and straining your low back. you’ll learn to use your abs — not your hands — to change the tilt of your torso and hips. This will retrain your muscles to know what it feels like to use abs to control torso posture. It can be injurious and does not use abs. lift your legs just an inch or two above the floor. Hanging Leg Lifts When you do leg lifts hanging from a chinning bar. • To do this exercise correctly and fix the arching problem. Keep your torso posture controlled with your abs as you lower your legs too.Dr. using your abs to flatten the arch. doing a “reverse crunch” while hanging. and to keep your legs straight while raising and lowering. 40 . lift your legs just an inch or two above the floor. you’ll feel your thighs pull up. lift your legs. You’ll feel the weight of your legs arching your back more. If your hips are tight. Use The Ab Revolution to use your abs to tip your hips back under you into correct position. Keeping your abs in use to flatten the low back curve. don’t allow your back to arch. put your legs back down and press your low back against your hand. You’ll learn to use your abs to control your torso posture. Try not to let them. • With this method. First curl your hips under you. Then.) This is how many people do leg lifts.
don’t let your back arch. Tuck your hips under to bring your back to a good straight position. so that you can use it for all your standing activities. When lifting your leg to the back from a stand or from your knees. lifting one leg upward. use The Ab Revolution to get a far better ab workout and to learn how proper posture feels when controlling your torso. Whenever you do leg lifts. it is often done by arching the back. and far more exercise for your back and leg. and gluteal muscles. and can also hurt your back. or from a hands-and-knees position. back. Leg lifts to the back contracts and strengthens back muscles. standing up on one leg and lifting the other leg to the back.The Ab RevolutionTM Back Leg Lifts Lifting your legs to the back is an excellent exercise for your back. It can be done lying face down and lifting legs. Unfortunately. and use only your leg. 41 . That reduces leg and back muscle involvement. You’ll feel an immediate shift of work to your abs.
When they swing their legs. the hanging leg lift. bang. • First try it wrong. While hanging. You lift your legs with knees bent or straight. In a Captain’s Chair you hang in the air by your forearms on two pads on either side of you. bang — all day. Still. Use your abs throughout the entire exercise to maintain your hip tuck when you raise and lower your legs.) Arch your back and stick your behind out. step after step — bang.Dr. They never learn to consciously use abs to control torso posture. Then lift your legs. not allowing your back to arch. with your back against a pad and legs dangling free. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. Imagine the forces accumulating on your low back. first curl your behind under you using your abs. It will be fairly easy to lift your legs or knees. Jolie Bookspan What About “Captain’s Chair?” In a recent survey. Then they walk around all day with the same problem. the problem is that Captain’s Chair is often done in a way that prevents good use of abs. without as much use of abs as they could. The back pad makes it easier to maintain back posture without arching. Captain’s Chair is like the old fashioned gymnast “stall bars” which were like a chinning bar against a climbing rack. Now try it right. or “Captain’s Chair” was one of the top exercises found to produce high ab activity. Try this: • Hang from stall bars or a Captain’s Chair stand. People often make it easier by allowing their back to arch and using only hip flexors. • • 42 . they let their back arch.
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. 43 .
Try this: • Stand up. as if starting a crunch. by itself. Allow your back to arch. see pages 94 and 95. and other activities. and just allow their low back to fold backward under all their weight. Many people don’t know to use their abs during these kinds of moves. You should feel a good ab exercise and no back pain. to hold your weight off your back: • Begin to arch your upper body back.) Lift your weight up and off your low back by using your abs. Take the exaggerated arch out of your back. and some people think they must never arch their back. Let your upper body weight relax down until you feel your weight on your low back. Arching your back. It should be a good-feeling stretch. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. • Now try this to see how to arch with good range of motion and ab involvement. stretching. curving your abdomen out in front. you can lean and extend back without your weight pressing onto your low back. yoga. leaving a small natural curve. Jolie Bookspan Arching Isn’t the Culprit You are supposed to have a small inward curve in your low back.Dr. For more on back extension. • 44 . Don’t crane or pinch your neck back. Don’t let your abs “go” or allow your weight to slump. Proper back extension is one of the most important exercises for back health. The problem is not using muscles to keep your upper body weight off your low back. This is often confused. is not the problem in back pain and posture control. Try this again while bending your knees to tilt backward further. gymnastics. but use your abs to hold weight up and off your low back. Relax your shoulders and keep them back. The supported arch is important to use in tennis. By holding your upper body weight with your abs.
Hold the weight of your legs up with your muscles. try Roman Chair ab training. or you can make your own on a sturdy surface to hold your lower body. 45 . Don’t hang your weight on your back. There are Roman Chair seats in many gyms. Strongly use your abs to decelerate as you extend backward.The Ab RevolutionTM Supported Arching With Roman Chair Exercise As you progress. Lift up to the straight position and hold without arching before repeating. Supported Arching With Head and Handstands Use the ab-supported arch for headstands and handstands when you do them with an arch. not your back joints.
Also practice using abs to do these poses with a straight torso. 46 .Dr. pressuring it. Jolie Bookspan Don’t allow the weight of your legs to fold your low back into an angle. to add to your ab workout.
a big problem is that people stop the momentum of the weight at the end of each rotation using their vertebral joints. such as swinging a bat or racquet. But many people do this exercise in a way that doesn’t work the abs and overtwists the back. Make sure to understand how to stop the momentum by using your ab and torso muscles. The idea is that torso muscles would get exercise decelerating the swinging weight. or during various rodeo activities. Beside the poor neck posture from putting a bar across the shoulder. swinging limbs in martial arts .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. This can eventually strain soft tissues. For activities that require body knowledge of how to decelerate a swinging pivot. and to decelerate only with muscular effort. not letting the rotation twist you to the end of the range your back can twist. 47 . fray discs. this exercise can work your muscles in the manner they need to work. and overstretch fibrous attachments (tendons that hold muscles on bones and ligaments that hold your bones together).
48 . thick band. The ab study mentioned in the beginning of this book rated stretchy tubing low on the ranking of ab exercises that produce ab muscle activation. most people do not put much resistance on their band. Also. 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. One reason is because they used the tubing while bending forward.Dr. and go for the fun of the work. one way to do that is to use cable pulleys or a stretchy tube or band and pivot away from it. step away to increase tension while holding good posture. Use a good. rather than in real-life movements. Jolie Bookspan If all you want is a pivoting ab exercise to work your abs.
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.
chair or bench. 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. But you can sit on the ball with as poor posture and little effort as on most other surfaces.” “balance ball.” and any number of trade names. exercise balls can be great. Keep 52 . It’s how you use it. Jolie Bookspan What About Exercise Balls? The exercise ball is a large. Sit up. This is easily avoided by using your muscles deliberately to control posture. but not rigidly.” Incrediball. light-weight inflated ball that you can use in a large and inventive number of ways. Based on that. It is also called “Swiss Ball. Don’t arch or round your back. with various moves that strengthen arms and legs. sturdy. Begin to walk your feet away and lie back until you’re lying as flat and straight as you can.” “therapy ball. Used properly. they are just another device that does little. All the exercises here work your entire torso and back. Because the surface of the ball is not flat and rolls under you. you use balance and stabilization muscles so that you don’t fall off. 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. There are claims that the ball makes you sit properly or that you use more muscular effort to sit on it. and use more body skills and muscles than doing the same exercise on a floor. sports. too. But this does not happen automatically.Dr. and daily life.” “rehab ball. Try these: • Sit on the ball with good posture.” “physio-roll. Used without understanding. 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. expensive desk chairs are marketed with the ball as the sitting surface. and reinforces the same poor habits as other exercises.” “gym ball.
Lie on your back on the floor. Put both hands on the top surface of the ball and push up into a pushup position. roll to one side and do one arm at a time. lifting upward without hunching to the front. Lift up one leg and hold as long as you can. and the ball close to your hip. Roll onto your chest without using arms. not your back. Hold as long as you can. with the ball under your ankles. or with your arms already straight. Switch sides and repeat. Keep straight torso posture without sagging or arching. You can start with your knees on the floor and then straighten your legs. Keep the side of your feet on the floor. Switch legs. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or your behind hike into the air. For more. do pushups while holding proper posture. not arched or bent forward. Hold as long as you can. Keep the same good posture as for proper standing. legs straight. This works the back also. Then lift one leg from the ball. To progress.The Ab RevolutionTM your back and neck straight. Very advanced? Lift both legs at once. Step your feet away until the ball cradles your head and neck. As you advance. Roll onto your back without using arms. Try lifting one leg at a time. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the ball. Keep the ball under your behind. 53 • • • • . Try side curls if you like. Roll to the other side without using your arms and repeat. biceps by ears. Hold. Lift your hips from the floor. and progress to being able to push up from the ball. Hold straight posture as long as you can. Lift one leg up straight and hold. Lift your hips from the floor. Switch legs. roll on the ball to lie on your side. lift both arms over your head. Hold. • Without using your arms. Advanced? Hold a weight in your hands. Repeat. This works the back also.
Hold as long as you can. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or hike up in the air. walk on your hands. 54 . and strain on the back. • Bad posture with back arched. abs not in good use.Dr. Practice until you can hold the ball at your ankles. Good straight posture with abs in use to hold weight off the back. Lift one leg off the ball. rolling the ball down your body to your legs. Hold the pushup position as above. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or your behind hike up. do pushups in this position. Jolie Bookspan • Lie face down on the ball with both hands on the floor. As you progress. Hold as long as you can. Switch legs. Do pushups.
The Ab RevolutionTM
For a challenge, hold the pushup position with the ball under your ankles. Bend at the hip, lift your behind way up, roll onto your toes and pull your feet toward your hands with straight legs, making an inverted “V.” Return to the pushup position. Repeat all you can. Don’t let your posture arch or sag. As you progress, try with one leg lifted.
These are a very few of the many functional ab exercises you can do on the ball.
Pull in to a “V” and return to straight position.
Dr. Jolie Bookspan
What About Ab Isolators?
Several products on the market claim to better isolate your abdominal muscles, and therefore somehow give you the abdomen pictured on the package. There is nothing in an isolating device that you cannot do without it. For instance, advertising for one device claims to hold your feet and legs in the specific position required for crunches. You can do that yourself without the device, and it’s still the same bad hunched-over posture you don’t want anyway. Some of the devices add resistance to the abdominal exercises. More resistance increases the muscle activation you need to do the exercise, just like carrying extra packages adds more weight to your arms. There is nothing secret or scientific about doing more work to get more results. You can just hold a weight or your body weight, described in the Ab Revolution exercises in this book. Dr. Steven Fleck, sport physiologist formerly with the U.S. Olympic Training Center, reminds us that “the value of these devices is their novelty. If they get you to exercise areas that you wouldn’t normally exercise, they might pay for themselves.” But remember that the fine print on the packaging mentions that these products need to be combined with healthy eating and regular exercise of all kinds. Moreover, they do not work your abs the way you need or train you how to use them in daily activity. Isolating a muscle is not helpful to your real life. Life is a multisegment activity. Plenty of people with muscular backs from isolating them in gyms, injure themselves opening windows. Plenty of people who run miles on treadmills, sprain their ankle when walking on real earth. They are not used to using their body in a multi-segmental, cooperative manner the way they really need for real life. Similarly, often people who do crunches in every workout and use every ab machine, still stand with an arched back, not using their abs.
The Ab RevolutionTM
What About Ab Rocking Devices?
The various ab rocker devices on the market are portable, personal cages, in various shapes, to rock you for crunches. They attract users because they make crunches easy. The problems are all the same problems with crunches — and by making the exercise easy, educes the effectiveness. Doing crunches with or without an ab device does not train you to use your abs in a way that you need for daily life. It is not a functional exercise. The crunching motion of the devices promotes the same round-shouldered, round-backed, hunched-over poor posture as crunches. Most people already stand, walk, and exercise roundshouldered. The last thing they need is to exaggerate and practice that bad posture as a deliberate exercise. The way most people do crunches is to bend their neck first, then lift their body up “by the head.” This often occurs no matter how many instructions are given to keep the neck straight and contract the abs first. It occurs even with devices that hold your neck up for you. This entire book teaches ways to use your abs for good posture and effective use of abs during normal activity instead of crunches. Try those exercises instead. If you decide you must still do crunches, or if you are stuck in exercise classes that still do them, try this: Save money on the device and use a dumbbell. Instead of pulling your body up by your head, put a dumbbell behind your neck and press the back of your head onto the bar of the dumbbell. The pressing activates muscles in the back of your neck. This activation quiets muscular activity in the front of your neck. It will help straighten your neck and stop the muscles in front of your neck from hurting.
but not enough to produce the results claimed. 58 . These have been around for a long time. 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. Jolie Bookspan What About Electronic Ab Zapper Belts? “Watch T. In two hours sitting in front of the television wearing the device. Other devices stems from electrical muscle stimulators (EMS). with or without a vibrator strapped to your abdomen. used in physical therapy to passively contract muscles atrophied from paralysis or wasting diseases. There is muscle contraction.V. you would burn more calories than during the theoretical 15–30 minutes it would take to do the sit-ups.Dr. while motorized stomach vibrator burns more calories than 500 sit-ups a day?” “Use electronic stimulating muscle contractor to get gives more contractions than hundreds of sit ups?” Early consumer devices were little more than vibrators.
whether you drink miracle potion or not. A good workout of dancing. will burn more calories. and keep you happier and healthier in the long run. but takes a while to return to resting value. too. playing. Some products claim to give a workout so intense that you burn fat for hours after you finish. They do not selectively find your fat cells and eliminate them. The pills called “fat burners” are mostly stimulants. no matter what device you use or what potion you drink.” First. It slows when you stop exercising. and heart trouble. to inability to exercise safely in the heat. because a nice run. But don’t pay money for that because you burn fat 24 hours a day anyway as part of being alive. These stimulants can have harmful effects.The Ab RevolutionTM What About Miracle Liquids and Fat Burners? Many products on the market claim to make you burn fat while you sleep. When you exercise. Any product can truthfully claim to produce increased calorie burning after a workout. Other products are pills tantalizingly called “fat burners. They could just as honestly claim that if you stare at their special green dot that you will burn calories in your sleep. everyone burns fat when they’re asleep — when they’re awake. from nervousness and grouchiness. bike. skating. 59 . Metabolizing stored fat is part of your round-the-clock energy production for body functions. you increase your metabolism to meet your energy needs. biking. or swim will do the same. or other fun ways to move around will “pick you up” more effectively and safely than taking stimulants. Just don’t pay money for that.
” “flab zapper. or body fat loss. sweat loss. 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. weight loss. You return to normal circumference fairly quickly.Dr.” and “waist shrinker. It is just a gimmick. 60 . 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. and other times called various intriguing names like “waist support.” It is just a neoprene band to wear around the waist (or thighs). The band temporarily shrinks your circumference through simple compression. It has nothing to do with toning or supporting the muscles. leaving you temporarily smaller.
You’ll learn exercises that work your abs in functional ways for postural control when you sit. For the moving exercises. But your abs need to work isometrically (at one length without moving) a great deal of the time in real life. breathe in. That means radically different exercises from what you commonly see in gyms and on exercise videos. stand. and good looks? The ab exercises you see everywhere in gyms get you good at hunching forward. walk. 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. and go out and have fun. not bending forward. and won’t help your posture. Most people can’t do these exercises for more than a few seconds. then breathe out during the effort of the movement. The concepts and exercises follow in the next sections. You need to exercise your abs the way they normally should work. your back. Breathe normally and fully when doing the isometric exercises. More important than how many repetitions you do is understanding the concept. Gradually increase the time you hold good posture with these exercises. Doing repetitions and sets without that will not work your abs the way you need. They don’t have the ab strength and endurance to hold themselves straight. don’t hold your breath. what else can you do to train good ab use for posture. carry packages. or your life. No wonder their posture sags so badly by the end of the day and their muscles ache. back pain prevention. 61 . do exercise.The Ab RevolutionTM What Exercises Work Your Abs the Way You Need For Real Life? Beside standing and reaching properly all day every day. activities. run.
When going quickly. catching falling objects or children. punching. You need both for carrying things. How Often? How Many of Each Exercise Should You Do? Depends how many you can already do. 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. Practice your exercises both quickly and slowly to maximize your real life abilities. core posture exercises all the time when you are standing up. Many Easier Ones. When going slowly with weights don’t squeeze your joints or push them past their range. As they strengthen they can do more repetitions. Start doing as many of each as you properly can. Lifting a lighter weight for a long time builds your endurance. building both strength and endurance. and when doing exercise. for doing your activities. then gradually add external weight. arch-preventing. Jolie Bookspan How Many. their own body weight is so heavy relative to their ability that it provides enough resistance to build strength. don’t bang your joints around. and just getting through the day with good posture and without a tired.Dr. Work up to more. That is good for carrying things and pushing cars (if you also trained to be strong enough). When To Do Ab Revolution Exercises? Use these back-saving. Or Fewer Harder Ones? Regularly lifting a weight that is so heavy that you can only lift it a few times builds your strength. How Fast or Slow? Working your muscles slowly gets them good at slow movement. achy back. or anything where you need your strength in a fast move. use muscular control to avoid injury. 62 . going about your normal day. It will not make you able to do fast movements needed for real life activities like throwing. For many people. for example pushups.
straight posture you need for standing up.The Ab RevolutionTM Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Normal Standing Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. 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. Using The Ab Revolution. A common mistake is letting your back arch like the back of an old horse when doing pushups. Wobbling after only a few seconds? These are the same posture muscles you need to stand up properly without 63 • . the pushup is a prize exercise for most of your body. If your arms are too weak to hold you. and have the ab strength and endurance to do it. Hold your head up. including the important weak link. arch your back. Be straight as a plank. Application to Daily Life: Learn and practice the easy. Tuck your hips under and you’ll feel an immediate shift of the work to your abs and “core. or hike your hips up in the air. Holding the Pushup Position • Hold the pushup position as long as you can. Don’t droop down.” Take the arch out of your back and straighten your torso. so that your weight rests on your vertebrae. not your “core” muscles. • Don’t lock your elbows straight. and to train them to prevent your back from arching under gravity resistance. keep them slightly bent. To protect your back during the exercise and make the exercise more effective and more targeted to the abs. then you need to strengthen them too — not ruin your elbow joints. don’t just mash your wrists. This is a missed opportunity to strengthen your core and is hard on your back. wrists and arms.
You'll feel your abs work immediately. and a higher one to work arms more. Keep hips tucked. Jolie Bookspan sagging.” Tuck your hip to hold your back straight. “How To Use Your Abs When Standing 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. back straight and head up. • • • Hold the pushup position and lift one leg in back and the opposite arm straight out in front. Vary your hand positioning. Put your feet up on a bench or ledge or against a wall and hold the pushup position without sagging in the middle or arching your back.Dr. Hold the pushup position on your elbows. • If you can’t figure how to tuck your hips under you. Use a lower ledge to work abs more. stand up again and relearn the posture exercise on page 23. without arching. Keep your whole body straight as a 64 . Work up to increasing the time you can hold your posture as straight you would want when standing up.
65 . The wrist is one of the three major risk sites of osteoporosis. Second and third are flatter and straighter. 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. don’t let your middle sag.The Ab RevolutionTM plank. • Do full pushups using your abs to keep your hips tucked as if starting a crunch. Stay flat throughout. Try curls. Weight bearing improves bone density and strength. and other lifts too. two more benefits of Ab Revolution exercises. 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.
Tuck your hips and chest down as if starting a crunch. Add a weight to your back during pushups. Lie flat with hands on the floor. Maintain the same posture you would want if you were standing up. Keep hips tucked and prevent any arching with your abs. not even a little. Lower to the floor holding your body just as straight. Don’t let your posture sag. • • Adding extra weight means using more ab and other core muscles 66 . and repeat. Do full pushups with your feet up on a bench or wall. Don’t arch or hike up your behind. Increased resistance increases your strength and adds a posture challenge.Dr. Jolie Bookspan • Rise from the floor in a reverse pushup. and elbows bent at your sides. Have a friend sit on your back when you do pushups – carefully. and lift straight up with your arms without letting your upper body rise first.
and posture control. forward. Stay straight. See if you can jump 90 degrees (or more) with each jump to face each direction. More Challenge Moves • As you advance. arm. Jump to say hello to someone. Use good shock absorption with arms and legs. backward. Jump in the pushup position like a flat jumping spider. Walk quickly and slowly. while getting an effective. balance. Maintain the same posture you would want if you were standing up. Jump to the next piece of exercise equipment. and around.The Ab RevolutionTM to keep posture good and your back protected. Don’t allow your back to arch under the momentum of landing. • “Spiders” work torso. Walk sideways. hard workout. They are effective and safe if you protect your back with good posture and shock absorption. Walking and Jumping Pushups To challenge your strength. and leg muscles hard.” Experiment with various leg placement. Jump sideways across the room. try this move. Tuck your hips under as if starting a crunch to keep your back straight. sometimes called “The Flag. 67 . try these fun and effective variations: • Walk around in the pushup position like a flat spider. Have fun.
don’t lock it. holding your body straight without drooping in the middle. Lift one arm and balance on the other arm. Jolie Bookspan Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture Purpose of this Exercise: To work your oblique abs. Save your elbow joint and get an arm workout.Dr. Learn to use your oblique abs to prevent this. and have the strength and endurance to maintain it. Application to Daily Life: Learn to prevent your torso from slouching to the side when standing. Do both sides. Many people let their bodies slump to the side. or even just when standing up. or hike their shoulder or hip up when carrying things on one shoulder or hip. Keep your weight on your whole hand so you don’t mash your wrist. Holding Side Pushup Position • Hold the pushup position and turn to one side. and to train them to hold your posture correctly against resistance. 68 . Keep your elbow slightly bent.
To progress. raise the opposite leg too. Without turning your body. Progress to putting your feet up on a ledge or bench. Don’t rotate your body. Keep straight pushup position.The Ab RevolutionTM Progressions for Holding Position • Prop on one elbow. • Hold the regular pushup position face down. To progress. 69 . or up against the wall. hold your arm straight in front of you. lift one arm behind your back. with your bicep by your ear. with both arms on the floor.
don’t drop on the floor. Then bend the top leg at the hip and hold in front of you. Switch arms. Hold your weight up using abs when lowering. Lift one leg 90 degrees to the side and forward. • Hold the side arm position and dip your hip almost to the floor and raise back up as many times as you can. Fun Challenge Moves • Hold a regular face-down pushup position. Keep your body flat. not turned or arched.Dr. not drooping down. raise your top leg and hold as long as you can. Keep your leg straight and parallel to the floor. Next. Moving in the Side Arm Position • Raise and lower your top leg from the floor as many times as you can. while holding one leg straight out to the side 70 . Hold as long as you can and switch legs. holding your top leg off the floor. then try continuously switching. Then try pushups this way. as if swinging it over a bicycle. Jolie Bookspan • In the side position. do the same sip. maintaining straight torso posture.
” Experiment with leg placement.The Ab RevolutionTM • When you can hold your leg out straight to the side. 71 . sometimes called “The Flag. add lifting the opposite arm. try this. • As you advance.
You’ll feel your abs working right under your skin. just use your abs. lifting your ribs high so you know what it feels like. and to use them to hold correct posture against overhead resistance. • • 72 . just isolating your arms is not only not functional. just an inch off the floor. Arch your back up. not shoulder or low back. Using Body Weight • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Put your other arm overhead just off the floor. improve shoulder range of motion. You need to exercise using the same movements and muscle patterns as you use in real life. Application to Daily Life: Learn and practice holding your back in good posture during overhead movement and exercise. Did your back arch off your hand again? Press it back down. since ab muscles are shallow.Dr. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs to Control Torso Posture When Using Weights Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. Now put both hands overhead. To learn when you’re substituting arching your back for motion of the shoulder. When you lift weights with your arms. as the lever when reaching overhead. Contract your abs to hold your torso straight without allowing your back to arch from the floor. but can teach you how to forget your torso muscles in ways that can lead to back and even shoulder injury. biceps near your ears. and use abs. • To feel how to use abs to reduce the arch and control your torso. This is called functional exercise. Don’t lift your hips. biceps by your ear. Put your hand on the floor under the arch of your back. press your back down against your hand.
• Each time the weight lowers. 73 . You get several exercises for the price of one. Keep your elbows slightly bent. Don’t let your ribs come up or your back arch. your back will want to arch. as many times as you can without touching the floor. Use abs to hold your back in position without arching.The Ab RevolutionTM Isometric With Hand Weight This isometric exercise is excellent to learn how to use your abs to control posture when standing — because you need to hold your posture isometrically when standing. about an inch from the floor. particularly when lowering the weights. holding light dumbbells (5 to 10 pounds each) in each hand overhead. or allow yourself to arch and let the weight drop on the joints of your back. and work your body the way you need for real life movement. Don’t let it. This simulates all the daily life activities where you will either support your body and things you carry with your muscles. • Lie on your back. Holding the weights also works your arms and latissimus dorsi muscles along the sides of your back. Your abdominal muscles work hard on this one to control your posture against the moving weight. Moving With Hand Weights • Raise and lower the dumbbells about an inch. Use your abs to keep your lower back from rising off the floor at any time.
The Ab Revolution teaches you to understand how your muscles need to move. 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. but not a large arch. There will be a small space under your low back. You can’t walk or move properly in real life with your knees and hips bent that much. an arched back just to stand up straight. and. bent hip. Keep your abs contracted so that your back does not pull into an arch. effective movement all the time. and retrain your muscles to hold your body properly. When you do standing weight lifting. If you allow your back to arch. This is where you stretch. 74 . 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. What they need is to stretch the front of their hip so their hip and legs can extend properly. and how to retrain everything for safe. strengthen. as you have practiced in this exercise above. then exercise that way too. control your posture with what you learned from this lying-down training exercise. • 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. Jolie Bookspan To Progress • Extend your legs out straight. Yet many people do keep their hip bent all the time when standing. But it is your own muscles that should do that for you.Dr. Many people have hips so tight that they can’t straighten their legs without their back being pulled into a large arch. Carry-Over to Real Life Think of all the exercises that involve lifting weights overhead — exercises where you should stand without arching. which feeds a negative cycle of tight hip. but don’t. pain. You would never learn to use your muscles the way you really need them when standing up. ironically. how your posture needs to be.
75 . but all day when you really need it — standing up. this exercise will not only work your abs for the moment. not just bending your knees to control your posture.The Ab RevolutionTM Use your own muscles. If you use your abs for posture adjustment during all your standing movements.
Keep your torso from increasing the arch. and correct your posture. but not curling forward or bending your neck. putting away groceries. This is when many people have no concept of abs and. Keep your abs in use to prevent arching. as if beginning a crunch. but not curling forward or bending your neck. Using Body Weight • Stand up and reach overhead with both hands. but just until your body is straight and supported. allow their upper body weight to pressure their low back many times a day: reaching. putting cargo on car roof racks. no matter what. lifting heavy packages onto counters. • Reach overhead again. Application to Daily Life: To train your abs and brain to hold your torso and back posture during movement and exercise. and whenever you lift and reach. putting things on shelves. because of that. Wave your arms around. Not in an exaggerated way. 76 . Keep your abs in use as if you were beginning a crunch. when reaching and lifting overhead. pulling shirts off. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Reaching and Lifting Overhead Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. and to train them to hold your back posture against resistance. and even combing and washing hair. Using Hand Weights and Packages • Lift weights overhead. Keep your hip tucked under you. lifting babies and children overhead.Dr. Did your ribs come up and your back arch?Tuck your hip under you to prevent over-arching. Transfer these skills to keeping healthy torso posture for common activities like lifting trays.
Abs not in use for lifting.The Ab RevolutionTM All are arched in bad posture. 77 . Same lift with abs in use to straighten posture and protect the back.
back arched.Dr. This is also fun to do with a partner. • Try various arm exercises and movements while controlling your torso with your abs. This simulates keeping your posture against gravity and loads that you carry in daily life. Jolie Bookspan Using Bands or Cable Pulleys • Use cable pulleys or tie the middle of a stretchy band or tube securely at head height or above. Step away until there is tension on the band. Don’t let your arms pull behind you. abs not in use. controlling your posture with abs. Hold one end in each hand. Same exercise with abs in use to straighten posture and exercise against the pull of the bands 78 . Lift arms overhead. Bad posture. Turn your back.
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. Try it with and without bands. to get started — secured at about shoulder height. tubing. Don’t let the band pull you into poor posture. Hold both ends and turn sideways. pulleys — or even a pair of panty hose. and to train them to hold your back posture against resistance. use your abs to move your body to the side. hold both arms overhead with your biceps against your ears. Application to Daily Life: Holding your torso and back posture correctly to avoid strain and slouching to the side when reaching and lifting overhead. • • Move away until there is more tension on the band. 79 . Feel how to stabilize your body using your oblique abs. and do side curls. Using Bands and Pulleys • Use a stretchy band. Use a hula-hoop. • • • To progress. and holding the band in front of your chest. Maintain good posture. Hold your torso stable against the sideways pull of the stretchy cord. facing sideways to the band. Walk around keeping your torso stable against the changing pull of the band. Don’t pull your arms to the sides. • Many Variations • Do side curls.
Use abs to power overhead activities and to protect your shoulder and back. Hold both arms overhead with your biceps to your ears. Hold both ends. one in each hand. But many people just arch their back and fling their arm. Try the action of doing crunches standing up to get the idea of initiating arm action with your abs first. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Throwing and Other Overhead Arm Activities Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. • • Move away to put more tension on the band and still stand up straight. Turn your back. or cable pulleys. 80 . and when throwing and moving arms overhead. Application to Daily Life: Train torso and back posture during speed and power movement. Using Bands or Cables • Use a stretchy band or rubber tubing with the middle secured at about shoulder height. by not contracting your abs first and using your torso to power the move. without allowing the resistance to pull your back into an arch or pull your arms behind you. Don’t allow your arms to move or your neck to come forward. and the arched posture drops much weight on the low back. and to train them to hold your back posture against rapid onset resistance. your torso and legs should power most of it. you can overload your shoulder or elbow. Injury can eventually develop. for example.Dr. The fulcrum of the swing becomes the shoulder joint instead of the muscles of the abs and hip. Pivot your body from your abs. In baseball pitches and tennis serves. When throwing and punching properly. Feel how to stabilize your body and stand straight using your abs.
back arched. Bad posture. Push off your feet. 81 . abs not in use. Abs in use to properly change back posture and power the throw.The Ab RevolutionTM • Simulate throwing a ball with one arm. not just your shoulder. and contract your abs so that your torso curls. Only then does the arm come forward. Feel the pivot coming from your abs. and body. turn your hip.
retraining yourself to use abs first. if 82 . Try the motion of combing your hair (or washing your head.Dr. when reaching and lifting to the side. and then initiate action with your arm. and turn sideways. When you use your arms to exercise on pulley machines. rubber tubing. you overload your shoulder. and to train them to hold your back posture against moving resistance. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Side and Underhand Arm Activities Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs (front and oblique). Reaching over the car seat for heavy items in the back seat frequently adds to rotator cuff injury. keeping your torso straight as a unit. Practice moving your arms for common activities. Contract your abs. or in a high brace in kayaking. not twisting from your waist. Keep your knees bent and turn from your hips. Bend your knees. stabilize the shoulder. By not contracting your abs first and using your torso to power the move. or cable pulleys secured at about waist height. Turn your hip. All the common arm exercises with dumbbells and pulleys can be retrained to use your abs first. Not using your abs for arm tasks is a common contributor to shoulder pain. Push off your feet. Turning Moves • Use a stretchy band. throw side pitches. Swivel your body away from the resistance. Hold both ends if you’re using bands. or pull or push things — from laundry to dogs on a leash — use your abs. This doesn’t happen just when swinging a tennis racquet. Turning at Varied Angles • Hold the band at a strong tension and face various angles toward and away from the band. Application to Daily Life: Learn to keep your torso and back posture correct during movement and exercise.
brushing teeth. or carrying packages and a squirming baby while trying to get in the door. hanging up clothes. Moving Stabilization Drills • Have a friend hold the other end of the band and pull you in odd directions while you practice torso stabilization.The Ab RevolutionTM you’re bald). and anything else you need for daily life. This simulates walking a dog. writing on the board. underhand and side pitches. 83 .
The fulcrum of the punch becomes the low back bones instead of the muscles of the abs and hip. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. Training Abs for Punching • Stand near a wall. with your body in a slight curl. Kickboxing classes are popular. It is also a sure sign that they cannot generate punching force.Dr. Keep hips tucked under. and a new strength in your punching arm.” but when you watch them you see the arched postures that injure backs. 84 • • . Don’t allow your back to arch at any point. Allow the push of your arm to arch your back. Don’t hunch forward. You should feel the back pain disappear. • Push the wall with your fist. Maintain your slightly tucked posture. maybe a familiar ache in your low back. just rest your knuckles as if you had just hit the wall. as if beginning a crunch but not curling your neck forward. Don’t hit the wall. Practice your punch with the new supported posture. That puts your chin closer for your opponent hit it. Stretch your arm forward in punching position. In many video tapes. because their main core muscles are not driving the punching arm or leg.) Fix your posture with your abs. without bending your elbow. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Punching Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs (front and oblique) against quickly-moving resistance. You’ll feel pressure. Push increasingly hard. you hear much mention of “core” and “ab stabilization. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct and safe during punching in martial arts and boxing exercise classes.
Push off your feet. Don’t arch your back In both the puncher and receiver above. and keep the contraction coming from your abs to push your torso and arm forward. First tilt your hip to prevent arching by using your abs.The Ab RevolutionTM • • Punching should not initiate from the arm or shoulder. but from the lower body. turn your hips. 85 . the arched torsos transmit force to the low back. they’d hurt their backs and not get much of a punch. exhale. If real fighters punched with this arched posture.
turn your hip into the punch and then. Keep your heels down when you punch. still holding both ends of the cord. This can be done looping your band around something behind you. Feel how to stabilize your body using your abs. or back-to-back with a partner holding bands looped around yours. Breathe out. Keep your arms in front of you. rubber tubing.Dr. • • • • • 86 . Push off your feet and legs. Don’t let the cord pull you into an arch or pull your arms behind you. or cable pulleys. Contract abs first. Turn your back. Jolie Bookspan Train Abs for Punching Using Bands • Use a stretchy band. lever your arm forward into a powerful punch. Increase tension on the band and still stand up straight. with the middle secured around anything solid at shoulder height or above. using your abdomen as the fulcrum.
• • Use the Ab Revolution principles when pushing heavy objects. Push increasingly hard. • Stand with both hands against a wall. Begin pushing the wall with your hands. Allow the push of your arm to arch your back. safe torso and back posture during pushing and slow. 87 .The Ab RevolutionTM Using Abs For Pushing Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs (front. Application to Daily Life: Good.) Fix your posture with your abs. tuck your hips. You should feel the back pain disappear and a new strength. powerful moves. Let your back arch. use your hips and abdomen as the fulcrum. and transversus) against heavy resistance. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. maybe the familiar ache in your low back. You’ll feel pressure. press off your feet. without bending your elbows. Breathe in. Keep your hip tucked under you. You will save your back and generate more pushing force. as if beginning a crunch but not bending your neck. so your body is in a slight curl. and breathe out as you lever your upper body forward in powerful pushing action. oblique.
Don’t allow your back to arch at any point in your kick. practice kicking toward the wall and back to ready position. The fulcrum of the kick becomes the low back joints instead of the muscles of the abdomen and hip. Put the bottom of your foot against the wall as if you just kicked it. You should feel the back pain disappear and a new strength in your kicking leg. The same problems occur in exercise and martial arts classes during kicking as with punching and pushing. That is bad for your back and puts your chin closer to your opponent to hit you.Dr. People allow their back to arch and they just swing their leg around. You’ll feel pressure. Application to Daily Life: Correct and safe torso and back posture during kicking and leg movement. Maintain your slightly tucked-under posture. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Kicking Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs against quickly-moving resistance. With the new supported posture. so that your body is in a slight curl. • • 88 . Keep your hip tucked under. Begin pushing the wall with your foot without allowing your knee to give way. Don’t hunch forward or round your upper back. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. when using your legs. as described in the previous sections.) Fix your posture by using your abs as if beginning a crunch. maybe a familiar ache in your low back from daily bad posture habits. but not bending your neck forward. • Let your back arch. Train Abs for Kicking Using Body Weight • Stand facing a wall at a distance to swing a front kick.
breathe out. Put the bottom of your foot against the wall as if you had just kicked it sideways. Don’t let it pull your back into an arch. Push off your standing leg. • Use a stretchy band.The Ab RevolutionTM • Try the same technique for a side kick. secure one end of the band or tubing handle around one leg and turn your back to the resistance of the band. rubber tubing. 89 . to soccer. Feel the difference between letting your back arch. Use your abs to hold your posture from arching during the kick. from martial arts. Feel how to stabilize your body using abs to stand up straight. and tucking enough to straighten your back without rounding it. Using your abdomen as the fulcrum. Do not curl your upper body forward. Use this technique for kicks used in many sports. To train front kicks. to swimming. • • Train Abs for Side Kicking Using Bands • Turn to the side against the resistance of the band. as you lever your leg forward into a powerful kick. Stand sideways to a wall at a distance to swing a side kick. Secure one end of the band or tubing handle around the outside leg. or cable pulleys secured around anything solid at about hip height or below. Keep your standing heel down when you kick. Contract your abs first. Step away to put tension on the band. or back to back with a partner holding bands looped around yours. Train Abs for Front Kicking Using Bands These exercises can be done looping your band around something behind you.
Jolie Bookspan Using Backpacks. Try this: • Stand up wearing any heavy bag or backpack. fix your posture by tucking your hips under as if starting a crunch. and maybe the old familiar ache in your low back. you’ll notice that you arch your back under the weight of the bag. and to train them to hold your back posture when standing and carrying weight. People go to a gym to strap a weight machine onto their back to pull it forward to work their muscles. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct when carrying common daily objects. If you stand without using your abs. and Bags as Ab Exercise Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. not hunched. built-in ab exercise.Dr. Not only do people let their posture slouch under their own body weight. • Remember to do this all the time with everything you carry. You should feel the back pain disappear. If you lean forward against the weight of the bag. You’ll feel pressure. and allowing your back to arch. (Don’t allow this to happen if you have back pain. Maintain upright posture. not using your torso muscles to counter the pull. Feel your torso straighten against the pull of the bag. Your bags can become a free. Babies. or allowing your back to arch. but not bending your neck or body so much that you hunch or round forward.) If you arch. 90 . they allow their body to sag under the weight of things they carry. is the problem. Shoulder bags and backpacks don’t make you arch your back or have bad posture. stand straight up and feel your abs working. Stand sideways to see your profile in a mirror.
babies. and get an ab and back workout. not bent in any direction against the pull of the bag. • • Remember to do this all the time. holding a baby. an abnormal sideways curve. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct when carrying common daily objects on one hip or shoulder. This is preventable. instead of simply holding good posture by using your muscles. and bags as a free workout for your oblique abs and back. knapsacks. Babies. and Bags as Oblique Ab Exercise Purpose of this Exercise: To work your oblique abs. when you can. you can get a curve just like it from bad posture. Check your posture with a mirror. Even if you don’t have scoliosis. and letting your torso sway to the side under the weight. You could burn calories. simply by holding good posture against the pull of your bags — no matter where you wear them. save your back. with everything you carry. or hiking your shoulder up. and to train them to hold your posture when carrying weight. Use packages. Practice walking around with the knapsack and maintaining your upright posture. Fix your posture by engaging your oblique abs to straighten your torso against the pull of the bag. 91 . or carrying a heavy handbag on one shoulder or hip: • Experiment with the difference between maintaining proper posture to hold the weight. If you habitually let your back curve to the side under the weight of things you carry. People go to a gym to press sideways against a weight machine to work their obliques. Try this while wearing a knapsack.The Ab RevolutionTM Using Backpacks. you can eventually tighten your back and even deform your bones into a curve.
calorie burning. It uses motions similar to those for “bicycling” but works muscles far more. or obliques. to train them to hold your back in proper position when doing vigorous movement. The “Ab Study. and a hard and effective one. lists the bicycle as the top exercise for the front abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis). and sheer fun. and second most effective for your side abs.” mentioned on page 15. But it’s not a functional exercise because what else is it good for? This exercise beats it in effectiveness. Application to Daily Life: This exercise is directly useful to control torso posture when moving your arms and legs during any extreme activity. Also trains muscles to fight an attacker off. This is a silly and fun exercise.Dr. and to have a hilarious time doing it. 92 . Jolie Bookspan Using Abs to Throw a Tantrum Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs more than you ever have. functionality.
Pound the mat. Yell if you want to. Remember that when you work your abs.This is also useful to train for kicking and punching someone who has thrown you down. Don’t wrench yourself around. but get a workout. You’ll have had the workout of your life. “No! No! No! I won’t! You can’t make me do crunches! I don’t want to…!” Again. Lift your arms and legs up in the air. Kick hard. Yell if you want to: “No! No! No! I won’t do crunches! I won’t! You can’t make me! I don’t want to!” Play loud music. and also work the difficult-to-target posterior shoulder. in all directions. buttock. They get a fun and hard ab and back workout. hip. Fitness classes love this one. Lift arms. back and forth. and legs in the air. upper body. 93 . play loud music if it helps. Go fast and furiously. you’ll be calm and happy. back and forth in all directions. and leave class happy and exhausted. You’ll feel your back. No wonder children use this. Vigorously pound your fists and legs up and down against the floor and up in the air. Vigorously move them up and down. Lift your arms high and back down.The Ab RevolutionTM • Lie on your back. and hamstring muscles get amazing exercise. Lift your knees. When you finish. and kick hard. • Lie on your front. you should work your back. if it helps.
doing conventional ab exercises. keep you from slouching forward. lengthened by poor posture weakens them. But saying that ab exercise strengthens you back is not really true. adds to the “round-shoulder” problem that contributes to back pain in the first place. any more than doing kicks makes your arms strong. To strengthen your back you have to work your back muscles with specific exercises that contract them.Dr. when used. Next. and overstretches your back muscles. or attend “abonly” exercises classes. Forward slouching slowly pressures your discs to bulge out. which contract your abs to round you forward. Doing ab exercise does not work your back muscles. Just as your abs muscles. Jolie Bookspan “Ab-Only” Exercises are Not Good Many people do only abdominal muscle exercises. prevents your upper body weight from slouching backward and pressuring your low back. and to train you to hold your posture from slouching forward. and spend a great portion of their day doing. and nerves that exit the vertebrae. 94 . Using abdominal muscles moves your torso to reduce the large arch to keep strain off your back. when used. 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. thinking it will make their backs injury-free. vertebrae. This forwardslouching posture slowly puts unhealthy pressure on back muscles. Slouching forward is a poor posture that people are usually very good at. There are two serious problems with this. Abdominal muscles and back muscles are different muscles. your back muscles. Keeping your back muscles. or any muscles. You need to add exercises that contract your back muscles — called back extension — to strengthen your back.
If you feel muscles working. Hold and lower. and full explanations of relieving back and neck pain. To progress. don’t continue the exercises. move your arms from your sides to overhead. To progress. Gradually increase. Start with one or two lifts. Slowly lift your upper body a few inches. are detailed in the new edition of the book “Health & Fitness in Plain English” also by Dr. Don’t force or yank.healthylearning. this is much-needed progress. that is right. If you feel pinching or electric shock pain.The Ab RevolutionTM Back Extension At the minimum. nutrition. See your doctor. Don’t force. lift both legs together. Order online at www. If you aren’t used to exercising your back muscles.95 (US). Then switch legs. 95 . and sells for $24. It has thirty-one chapters on all aspects of fitness. health and joint pain. do at least ten back extensions every day and when you do ab exercise. Beside giving you a beautiful back for bathing suit wear. Work up from there. or toll free from the publisher: 1-888-229-5745. Jolie Bookspan. These exercises.com. • • For your lower back. Lift with your muscles. then lower back to the floor. lift one leg off the floor. • Lie face down. this exercise is a mainstay of most back-strengthening and pain-reduction programs. hands at your sides and off the floor. Don’t tilt your head back. knee straight. Keep your head in line with your body. you may be sore after doing these. This is not an injury.
What is missed is that. Flurries of articles are written on this. like your heart beating. If you worked your abs all day. to decide whether to exercise abs daily or intermittently. all-day workout. and you’ll exercise your abs without working out.Dr. all the time to control your posture. Jolie Bookspan Should You Work Your Abs Every Day or Every Other Day? It’s common for people to debate fiber type and fatigue. you wouldn’t need to go to a gym to do funny little crunches — not every day. every day. allowing your upper body weight to press on your low back. Doing crunches or any other ab exercise. not just during your hour of worship. Why kill yourself working out. You’re also missing the easiest opportunity to burn calories and get a free. 96 . you need your abs working all day. then ignore your abs the other 23 hours a day and undo all your efforts? Stand. and reach well all the time. then not using abs to control your posture the rest of the day. Using your abs is like obeying the Ten Commandments: you’re supposed to do it all the time. nor every few days. is missing the whole point of what abs are supposed to do. sit.
Regular ab exercise alone won’t make you stand properly so that your back won’t arch and your abdomen won’t sag out. That means to lose fat. bike. swim. run. skate.The Ab RevolutionTM How Do You Flatten Your Abdomen? Use your abs to change the curve of your back. Aerobic exercise burns fat. skip. and that exercises often done in gyms tighten the hip. speed skaters would have small legs. dig. This fat comes from where it is stored.” Ab exercises alone will not remove fat from your abdomen. which burns more calories. stick the behind out. It’s a shame that many people deliberately stand arched. to keep it from arching and curving your abdomen out. walk. and move in general. No exercise selectively removes fat from a specific part. people would have thin mouths from talking. jog. Weight training builds muscle. including fat from your abdomen. If spot reducing worked. row. That myth is called “spot reducing. 97 . to use your abs for daily life. dance. 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. Get out and have fun. play. ski. It’s not “sucking in” or “tightening”— it’s moving your torso into healthy position using Ab Revolution exercises. you need to run.
healthful meals on a regular basis. lifting. all-day workout. You’ll get a free. complex carbohydrates. 98 . Notice if you are letting your body weight. Doing good abdominal work will enlarge the muscles enough to poke through the facial bands. cutting out junk food. continuous. You’ll be a better exerciser. check if you are standing and moving in a way that is wrecking your back by not using your abs. Get out of the gym and use your body for real life moving. balancing. and having fun. and conscious use of abs all the time. Next time you are standing around noticing your back hurts. You won’t see ripples if body fat covers everything.Dr. You’ll be straighter and taller. You’ll exercise your brain. showing that you may be arching your back instead of holding straight posture. giving a “washboard” or “ripple” effect. and the weight of everything you lift and carry. smash down on your low back. reaching. The entire package of getting results includes proper abdominal exercise. Check if your belt or waistband tilts downward in front and up in back. You’ll save your back. and water in your diet to fuel good workouts. 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. reduced fat under your skin (in order to see it all). Use the Ab Revolution to retrain your abs for ab exercise without going to a gym. Use your abs to tip your hip back under you and lift your weight up and off your low back. It’s a revolution. You’ll burn more calories.
The Ab RevolutionTM 99 .
. I can develop my abs and improve my posture throughout the day. thank you for constantly discrediting the myths that are all too often forced upon us. and eliminated chronic pain.Ed.D. This is my stomach bible. Bookspan’s Ab Revolution Continued from the back cover: You’ve done it again.Kelly Hill. St. M. . .S. cuts away the myths and falsehoods to lead the reader to understanding. Horsham. the brightest light in popular sports medicine.Dr. From Dr. Bookspan..C. M.D..S..Audrey Tannenbaum. Bookspan’s expertise.J. You’re my hero. I have lost weight. Green Beret Lt. SWAT Team Commander Using Dr. PA Dr. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital. by using them properly. Col. M.Joni Lawrence. CA 100 . Merck International Health Program Coordinator This is a book that everyone interested in good health and muscle tone should read — especially personal trainers! . Bookspan’s revolutionary yet practical advice. .T. C. Athletic Trainer and Maccabean Games Triathlon Gold Medalist. Jolie Bookspan More Praise for Dr. . A. Medical Director. It’s encouraging to know that... built muscle. . Tom Millington. From one professional to another.C. I developed my abs more in the last 3 months than in the past 3 years doing crunches.
Ph. 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.Ernest Campbell. Krug Life Sciences NASA 101 .. Freeing the ‘crunchers’ from the boredom of useless exercise programs that are quickly abandoned..D. M. Dr.David Hsu. 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. sensible and highly effective. The book is highly recommended to read and keep as a reference source.D. The program is simple. Houston. Dr. M. Neurology. Jolie Bookspan has done it again! An expert at debunking ‘scientific’ bunk. FACS.com/~scubadoc/ Whenever I have a question on rehab.D. 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. I trust her for good sense and her solid background in exercise physiology. she has written an extremely interesting ‘do-ityourself’ exercise guide. . CHeCS Training Program. or want practical advice on fitness training or musculoskeletal complaints. Jolie Bookspan. M. General Surgery www. University of Texas Health Science Center.The Ab RevolutionTM Well.. Chief Consultant. .Caroline Fife. I turn to my friend and colleague. Department of Anesthesiology. Associate Professor.D.gulftel.. .
Jolie Bookspan Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of fitness.healthylearning.00 ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 www.com Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 pages. illustrated.org Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages.95 (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 www.org Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire field. illustrated.uhms.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: www.org uhms@uhms. nutrition. including board exam questions 226 pages.Dr.org email@example.com. health.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: www. $30.uhms.org firstname.lastname@example.org 102 . $50. $40. Jolie Bookspan More Books by Dr. $24. and joint pain 371 pages.
The Ab RevolutionTM Credits Cover model: Paul Plevakas Front cover photo: Julia Lehman. Martin Dembitzer Angela and Andrea Fleegle Elsa Leung Rhonda McJeff Stacia Mellbourne Travis Mesman Sara Rathfon Danielle Tobin 103 . 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. www.arttoday.com 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.
A career military scientist. She doesn’t do crunches. where the entrance exam was getting up there without a nosebleed. and was professor of anatomy at a college in the mountains of Mexico. she carried gear up and down the mountains and deserts of India.About the Author Dr. and Northern Africa. Jude of the Joints” in her private practice in sports medicine. After serving in the Army. Asia. and police and military training departments. swam to work in an underwater laboratory. she rehabbed using her own methods. 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. was advisor to The Discovery Channel. she has a black belt in karate and 14 fights in the ring as an amateur kickboxer. Nepal. and most of everything else in an accident. . Left paralyzed after breaking her back. neck. Jolie Bookspan knows abs. Harvard clinicians have called her “The St. As a researcher.
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