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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

taller position. not arching back. Use your abs at the length that holds you up in good posture. 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. and stop the strain and wear and tear of dropping your upper body weight on your low back. When used properly. 8 . This is what abs do to control posture. Your torso comes upright to a straightened. they hold you from arching backward.Dr. Don’t curl so much that you round forward.

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

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

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

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

That is running with your back arched and not using your abs. with your ab muscles slack. Ouch. 13 . Now bounce against your fingers quickly and hard. Bounce against your fingers so that they rock back repeatedly. use the muscles in the palm of your right hand to straighten your right hand against the push of your left.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. The stretched palm of your hand represents your abdomen. That is how you need to use your abs to control your posture when standing up — all day. every day. Your fingers come back up into straight line. 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. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

30 .Dr. 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. Student is arching and slouching.) 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. (See pages 84 to 89 on punching and kicking for how. allowing it to arch too much. losing punching power and straining the back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Put one hand under the small of your low back and feel the natural space. leg lifts become an exercise that strains the back. not your hands. Without taking the arch out of your back with your abs. Hip flexors are usually pretty strong and tight to begin with from sitting and overuse in exercise. called hip flexors. This is a missed ab opportunity. to tilt your hips and maintain torso posture. In this 39 • . use your abs. and never get a real ab workout by using abs to straighten their back and control this. To show you what arching feels like. 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. increase the arch by lifting your ribs so that your back lifts off your hand. Tight hip flexors create problems. To do leg lifts properly. and only works the muscles that lift your leg. 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.” 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 to keep your legs straight while raising and lowering. Keeping your abs in use to flatten the low back curve. First curl your hips under you. Don’t let your back arch. This will retrain your muscles to know what it feels like to use abs to control torso posture. not allowing it to arch. you’ll learn to use your abs — not your hands — to change the tilt of your torso and hips. Use The Ab Revolution to use your abs to tip your hips back under you into correct position. Chin Ups and Pulls Ups Many people stick out their behind and let their legs swing forward when doing chin ups and pull ups. using your abs to flatten the arch. Try not to let them. It can be injurious and does not use abs. lift your legs. you’ll feel your thighs pull up. pinching and straining your low back.Dr. while maintaining the curled position of your torso. Don’t just bend at the hip and use hip flexors with your behind stuck out. You’ll learn to use your abs to control your torso posture. Don’t let your back arch during any point of raising or lowering your legs. lift your legs just an inch or two above the floor. don’t allow your back to arch. Hanging Leg Lifts When you do leg lifts hanging from a chinning bar. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. lift your legs just an inch or two above the floor. doing a “reverse crunch” while hanging. Then. • With this method. You’ll feel the weight of your legs arching your back more. You’ll protect your back and get real ab exercise. If your hips are tight. put your legs back down and press your low back against your hand. You will feel your abs working. 40 . Jolie Bookspan arched position. • To do this exercise correctly and fix the arching problem. Keep your torso posture controlled with your abs as you lower your legs too.) This is how many people do leg lifts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

writing on the board.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. hanging up clothes. underhand and side pitches. 83 . or carrying packages and a squirming baby while trying to get in the door. and anything else you need for daily life. This simulates walking a dog. brushing teeth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM 99 .

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

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

nutrition.Dr. $30.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: www. $ uhms@uhms. Jolie Bookspan More Books by Dr. including board exam questions 226 Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire field. Jolie Bookspan Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of fitness.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 102 . and joint pain 371 pages. health. $ uhms@uhms.uhms. illustrated.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: www. $ Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 pages.uhms. Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages.

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


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

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