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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

unhealthy posture. and even used to advertise for. You will laugh often because this unfit posture is a pervasive problem in fitness. fitness and trimness.Dr. Now you can laugh when you see “fitness” models shown standing or doing exercise with this sloppy. So does heroin. This bad posture is accepted as normal by so many people that it is mistaken for. 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. 20 . There’s no excuse for someone in fitness to display this lack of knowledge of health.

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

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

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

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

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

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

straight posture. Bad posture. Instead. use your abs to tuck your hips and reduce the arched posture to stand properly. 27 . You have to consciously use your muscles to move you into good. and save your back. 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 not in use. That does not use the abs and is hard on the back. get an ab workout. Same pose done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture. Abs are often forgotten when doing yoga poses.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM

What About Lower Abs and Reverse Crunches?

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

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

Dr. Jolie Bookspan

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM

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

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

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM

For a challenge, hold the pushup position with the ball under your ankles. Bend at the hip, lift your behind way up, roll onto your toes and pull your feet toward your hands with straight legs, making an inverted “V.” Return to the pushup position. Repeat all you can. Don’t let your posture arch or sag. As you progress, try with one leg lifted.

These are a very few of the many functional ab exercises you can do on the ball.

Pull in to a “V” and return to straight position.


Dr. Jolie Bookspan

What About Ab Isolators?

Several products on the market claim to better isolate your abdominal muscles, and therefore somehow give you the abdomen pictured on the package. There is nothing in an isolating device that you cannot do without it. For instance, advertising for one device claims to hold your feet and legs in the specific position required for crunches. You can do that yourself without the device, and it’s still the same bad hunched-over posture you don’t want anyway. Some of the devices add resistance to the abdominal exercises. More resistance increases the muscle activation you need to do the exercise, just like carrying extra packages adds more weight to your arms. There is nothing secret or scientific about doing more work to get more results. You can just hold a weight or your body weight, described in the Ab Revolution exercises in this book. Dr. Steven Fleck, sport physiologist formerly with the U.S. Olympic Training Center, reminds us that “the value of these devices is their novelty. If they get you to exercise areas that you wouldn’t normally exercise, they might pay for themselves.” But remember that the fine print on the packaging mentions that these products need to be combined with healthy eating and regular exercise of all kinds. Moreover, they do not work your abs the way you need or train you how to use them in daily activity. Isolating a muscle is not helpful to your real life. Life is a multisegment activity. Plenty of people with muscular backs from isolating them in gyms, injure themselves opening windows. Plenty of people who run miles on treadmills, sprain their ankle when walking on real earth. They are not used to using their body in a multi-segmental, cooperative manner the way they really need for real life. Similarly, often people who do crunches in every workout and use every ab machine, still stand with an arched back, not using their abs.


The Ab RevolutionTM

What About Ab Rocking Devices?

The various ab rocker devices on the market are portable, personal cages, in various shapes, to rock you for crunches. They attract users because they make crunches easy. The problems are all the same problems with crunches — and by making the exercise easy, educes the effectiveness. Doing crunches with or without an ab device does not train you to use your abs in a way that you need for daily life. It is not a functional exercise. The crunching motion of the devices promotes the same round-shouldered, round-backed, hunched-over poor posture as crunches. Most people already stand, walk, and exercise roundshouldered. The last thing they need is to exaggerate and practice that bad posture as a deliberate exercise. The way most people do crunches is to bend their neck first, then lift their body up “by the head.” This often occurs no matter how many instructions are given to keep the neck straight and contract the abs first. It occurs even with devices that hold your neck up for you. This entire book teaches ways to use your abs for good posture and effective use of abs during normal activity instead of crunches. Try those exercises instead. If you decide you must still do crunches, or if you are stuck in exercise classes that still do them, try this: Save money on the device and use a dumbbell. Instead of pulling your body up by your head, put a dumbbell behind your neck and press the back of your head onto the bar of the dumbbell. The pressing activates muscles in the back of your neck. This activation quiets muscular activity in the front of your neck. It will help straighten your neck and stop the muscles in front of your neck from hurting.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also trains muscles to fight an attacker off. and a hard and effective one. lists the bicycle as the top exercise for the front abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis). This is a silly and fun exercise. calorie burning. and sheer fun.Dr. 92 . functionality. to train them to hold your back in proper position when doing vigorous movement.” mentioned on page 15. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs to Throw a Tantrum Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs more than you ever have. 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. Application to Daily Life: This exercise is directly useful to control torso posture when moving your arms and legs during any extreme activity. or obliques. and second most effective for your side abs. It uses motions similar to those for “bicycling” but works muscles far more. The “Ab Study.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM 99 .

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

I turn to my friend and colleague. FACS. M. M. Dr. . 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. The book is highly recommended to read and keep as a reference source.D. The program is simple. Krug Life Sciences NASA 101 .Caroline Fife. Houston. ..D..The Ab RevolutionTM Well. Department of Whenever I have a question on rehab.D. sensible and highly effective. .D. Ph. General Surgery www. Dr. Jolie Bookspan has done it again! An expert at debunking ‘scientific’ bunk. Neurology. 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. M. Associate Professor. CHeCS Training Program. she has written an extremely interesting ‘do-ityourself’ exercise guide.David Hsu.. University of Texas Health Science Center.. or want practical advice on fitness training or musculoskeletal complaints. Jolie Bookspan.gulftel. Freeing the ‘crunchers’ from the boredom of useless exercise programs that are quickly abandoned. Stanford If I were to say something sage about exercise I am afraid that others will die laughing since my aversion to exercise is well known! I always wanted to have you as my personal trainer because you are the only person in the world who might get me to think otherwise about exercise. I trust her for good sense and her solid background in exercise physiology.Ernest Campbell. Chief Consultant.

00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: www. Jolie Bookspan Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of fitness. nutrition. Jolie Bookspan More Books by 102 . $ Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 pages. illustrated. Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire field. including board exam questions 226 pages.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: uhms@uhms. and joint pain 371 pages. $40. $24.00 ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages. illustrated.95 (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 www.healthylearning. $50.

The Ab RevolutionTM Credits Cover model: Paul Plevakas Front cover photo: Julia Lehman. Bookspan’s dedicated and hardworking students: Shelly Anthony Regina Basile Cynthia Brown Theresa Candelaria Emily Canon Louis Costa Photo models for exercises are Dr.arttoday. 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.


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