No More Crunches! No More Back Pain!

The Ab Revolution
By Dr. Jolie Bookspan


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

or to let the bag pull you backward into an arch. Back is arched in bad posture against the posterior load. this is it. it is a lack of using abs. Not using your abs lets you arch your back. Instead.The Ab RevolutionTM Pregnancy Lack of use of abs is common — even deliberately exaggerated — during pregnancy. . Your packs become a free core muscle workout. 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. 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. 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. relieving strain. creating strain on the back. With posterior loads like knapsacks. This is not an unavoidable consequence of pregnancy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

don’t continue the exercises. health and joint pain. knee straight. It has thirty-one chapters on all aspects of fitness. this is much-needed progress. If you feel pinching or electric shock pain. Jolie Bookspan. 95 . then lower back to the floor. Lift with your muscles.healthylearning. Don’t force or yank. Slowly lift your upper body a few inches.The Ab RevolutionTM Back Extension At the minimum. Don’t force. or toll free from the publisher: 1-888-229-5745. If you feel muscles working. These exercises. are detailed in the new edition of the book “Health & Fitness in Plain English” also by To progress. hands at your sides and off the floor. Start with one or two lifts. and full explanations of relieving back and neck pain. that is right. you may be sore after doing these. See your doctor. Keep your head in line with your body. Gradually increase. move your arms from your sides to overhead. To progress. Hold and lower. This is not an injury. nutrition. lift both legs together. Then switch legs. this exercise is a mainstay of most back-strengthening and pain-reduction programs. do at least ten back extensions every day and when you do ab exercise. Work up from there. lift one leg off the floor. Order online at www. • • For your lower back. If you aren’t used to exercising your back muscles. • Lie face down. Don’t tilt your head back. Beside giving you a beautiful back for bathing suit wear. and sells for $24.95 (US).

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM 99 .

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

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

healthylearning. $24.95 (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 www.00 ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 www. Jolie Bookspan Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of fitness.Dr.uhms. Jolie Bookspan More Books by Dr. $ 102 .org Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: www. $30. health. Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 pages. illustrated.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: uhms@uhms. nutrition. including board exam questions 226 pages. $40. and joint pain 371 pages.

Martin Dembitzer Angela and Andrea Fleegle Elsa Leung Rhonda McJeff Stacia Mellbourne Travis Mesman Sara Rathfon Danielle Tobin 103 . www.arttoday.The Ab RevolutionTM Credits Cover model: Paul Plevakas Front cover photo: Julia Lehman. Vision13 Photography Roman Chair and Captain’s Chair photos by Wowk Photography Author photos by Robert Troia Illustrations by Todd Sargood Some images © 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.


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

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