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The Ab Revolution
By Dr. Jolie Bookspan
How to Use Your ABS All the Time for Real Life
Burn calories, work your abs, and save your back while doing your everyday activities. Used by military and law enforcement and the nation’s top spine docs and rehab centers
© 2003 by Dr. Jolie Bookspan, Neck and Back Pain Sports Medicine. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author. ISBN: 1-4107-4528-7 (E-book) ISBN: 1-4107-4527-9 (Paperback) ISBN: 1-4107-4526-0 (Dust Jacket) Library of Congress Control Number: 2003092486 This book is printed on acid free paper.
Printed in the United States of America Bloomington, IN Nothing in this book is meant as specific medical advice or exercise instruction. See your physician, get training, and use your brain before attempting anything presented. The Ab Revolution™ Method, name, and information are trademarked and part of the Fitness Therapy series, including Lower Body Revolution. To teach or distribute this method in any way, contact the author for permissions and training materials.
1stBooks – rev. 7/28/03
To my Grandmother the Gypsy, who taught me to spot snake-oil, and who taught me about real exercise, posture, and health from my earliest years. She got her college degree at age 81. To her the highest things in life were education and Jack LaLane. To my mother who I promised I would find how to end back pain. To my students and patients who all really feel better and work their abs more using this method, and showed me how needed it is. To my wonderful husband and hero Paul. What beautiful abs you have, my dear.
............................ 10 How Do Abs Help Your Back? ........................................ 5 How Do Abs Control Posture? .... 15 What’s Wrong with Crunches?..................... 1 Why Do Abs? ...................................... 34 How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Arms......................................................................................................................... 19 What Are All the Muscles Called? .................................... iii Table of Contents ................................................................ 38 What About Leg Lifts? ................................ 3 Using Abs Doesn’t Mean “Sucking Them In” or Making Them “Tight” .............................. 12 What About the Ab Study?................................................................ 23 How to Use Abs When Doing Other Exercises..............Table of Contents Dedication..................................................................... 36 Real Athletes Use Abs............ 21 How to Use Your Abs When Standing Up...................... 37 What About Ab Machines? .......................................................................................................................................................... 35 How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Legs........................................ 17 But Aren’t You Supposed to Stick Your Behind Out?................................................ 9 What is Lordosis? ........................................................ v Revolution! ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 32 How to Use Abs for Reaching............ 4 What Exactly Do Abs Do? ....................... 6 Abs are Your Guy Wires from the Front . 42 v ............................................................................................................. 39 What About “Captain’s Chair?” ................................................ 16 Doing Abs Doesn’t Automatically Change Posture or Back Pain......................................................... 25 How to Use Abs for Carrying Loads .................................................
........ Babies.................................71 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Reaching and Lifting Overhead ........................................................................................................47 What About Lower Abs and Reverse Crunches? .........................76 Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture When Reaching and Lifting Overhead .........................................96 How Do You Flatten Your Abdomen?...................................................................................................44 What About Abdominal Twists? .....56 What About Ab Rocking Devices? .............................49 What About Exercise Balls?.......61 How Many........................94 Should You Work Your Abs Every Day or Every Other Day?.........................................................84 Using Abs For Pushing.......................................62 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Normal Standing ..........................................................................87 Using Abs for Kicking ..... and Bags as Oblique Ab Exercise.........................79 Using Abs for Throwing and Other Overhead Arm Activities ......................... and Bags as Ab Exercise............................63 Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture...................................................................... How Often? ..........................................................................82 Using Abs for Punching .....................80 Using Abs for Side and Underhand Arm Activities ................................91 Using Abs to Throw a Tantrum........................................................................................................Arching Isn’t the Culprit ......57 What About Electronic Ab Zapper Belts?.....................................................52 What About Ab Isolators? ................... Babies.................88 Using Backpacks.................90 Using Backpacks.................................59 What About Neoprene Waist Bands?............68 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture When Using Weights .........58 What About Miracle Liquids and Fat Burners? ............................................................................................................................................60 What Exercises Work Your Abs the Way You Need For Real Life? ............................................92 “Ab-Only” Exercises are Not Good ....................97 vi ..............................................................................................................
.................................. 100 More Books by Dr........... Jolie Bookspan....................... 98 More Praise for Dr..................... Bookspan’s Ab Revolution ...... 102 Health & Fitness in Plain English.................................................................................................................. 102 Credits................................................................ 105 vii ...........................How Do You Get a “Washboard?”...................................................................................... 103 About the Author..............................
reach. Plenty of people with strong muscles and tight abs have terrible posture and persistent back pain. or movement in real-life activities. 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. Fitness has become “Fast Food” — stripped of real content and value. how to use them when standing up or during things you do in real life. Shake up your entire thinking about abs. Then. The very thing we regard as exercise advice. or even that you are supposed to at all. To most people. you go back to your “real life” and stand. Most people have no idea what abs specifically do.” is the root of the problem because it separates using abs from the rest of your life. poor posture.” then never use the rest of the time. and tight muscles are a factor in headaches. walk. and lift with no use of your abs. Ab exercise has become hugely popularized as something you specially “do. and which make your neck hurt. 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. The old. 1 . It’s practically universal to see a roomful of exercisers cranking away doing ab exercise.” You can’t move or breathe properly that way. and thought to be healthy when it is not healthy. “do three sets (or however many sets) of 10 crunches. But strengthening alone does not automatically change posture. usual ab exercises “miss the boat” because they don’t transfer skills to real life. The “experts” say to do crunches for strong muscles to “support” you.The Ab RevolutionTM Revolution! This is a revolution in ab fitness. back pain. and back pain. It doesn’t happen automatically just from exercising. Using abs is not “tightening them. then stand up and walk away with arched posture and no use of abs at all.
Dr. You’ll strengthen your abs. and teach you how your muscles need to work together in your real life. You’ll save your back. They were told to be nice for 30 minutes. arms. not all the time. but your back. shoulders. It teaches specific skills to make your life better. This book gives you an understanding of what abs really do. The exercises not only strengthen your abs. and how to consciously use your abs for all your daily activities — even standing up. You’ll exercise your brain. 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. This method revolutionizes how you think about abs and how you use them. then throwing knives at each other the rest of the time. and legs too. You’ll strengthen your body. three to five times a week. It’s a revolution. 2 . what they don’t do. You’ll burn calories. You’ll get exercise without going to a gym.
Yet 8 out of 10 people still have back pain. but never use their abs for real life.The Ab RevolutionTM Why Do Abs? More than other exercises. Poor posture is common. or even know they are supposed to. But why? It’s “something” to do with helping the back. But exactly what? It’s something vague about “support. everyone seems to want to “do abs”. They think it just happens automatically. They do abs in rehab programs for back pain.” or how. But what exactly do “abs” do for your back? It’s “something” to do with posture. They do crunches in every workout.” What does “support” really mean? Most people don’t know what abs specifically “do. Why do the exercises so often “fail?” 3 .
Moreover. It will change your whole way of thinking about abs. or normal daily activities. Another often-repeated instruction is: “press your navel to your spine and contract your gluteal muscles. The tightening didn’t change anything. not tightening them. It wouldn’t change your posture. and are not the way to use your abs the way you need them. Yes. You didn’t tighten anything.” You can’t function or exercise normally that way.” These are practically universal phrases to describe using abs. even with “tight” abs. and it doesn’t teach you how to use your abs the way you need for sports. You voluntarily move your arm into the position you want by using the muscles. healthier. Try this: bend your elbow to bring your hand up to your face. 4 .Dr. You can’t breathe properly that way. this is new and different. yet they are incorrect and outdated. Now arch your back and make the abs tight with your back still arched. Move your arm around. walking around with “tight” muscles is a common factor in headache and stress/strainrelated muscle pain. and pain-free. or any muscles. Tightening is not how to use abs. You can have poor posture and a terribly arched back. Moving your torso into good posture by using your torso muscles is the same. exercise. It’s voluntary movement to change the amount of bend and arch in your spine. for good posture. 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. and teach you exciting new skills to be fitter. That’s why it’s a revolution in ab fitness.
where each vertebra attaches to the one above and below it. and across. 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. Using abs means using them like any other muscle. and their back to arch. This arching allows the weight of your upper body to press down on your low back. 5 . curling your torso and taking the arch out of your back. Most people only exercise their abs by hunching forward and sideways for a bunch of “repetitions. What does “support” exactly mean? When you stand up and don’t use your abdominal muscles. they pull your ribs and hips closer to each other in various directions and amounts. it pulls on the bones it attaches to. exaggerating the normal inward curve.The Ab RevolutionTM What Exactly Do Abs Do? Most people use vague words like “support” to describe what abs do. sides. it means holding yourself up easily without slouching backward or to the sides. It doesn’t mean holding yourself rigidly. and bends the joint. 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. and irritate the joints called vertebral facets. allowing their ribs to lift up. The joints of your spine bend. When any muscle contracts. All your different ab muscles connect your ribs to your hips.” Then they stand and walk away with abs slack. hips to drop down. When you contract your abs. This can cause wear and tear on your soft tissues and discs. on the front. protecting your joints and soft tissue. your low back will sway.
where your front ab muscles attach. 6 . But strengthening does not automatically “support” your back or change your posture. If you don’t consciously use your muscles to hold you up. You have to voluntarily use your abs to change your posture. That is one big reason people slouch. They aren’t using their muscles to prevent it. To understand what abs do for your posture when you use them properly. Jolie Bookspan How Do Abs Control Posture? It’s a common assumption that doing ab exercise to strengthen your abs will help your posture and back.Dr. 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. you will sag under gravity.
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. arch your back and let your ribs lift and your abdomen curve out. showing how slack ab muscles allow your back to arch. 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. draw your two hands toward each other.The Ab RevolutionTM Still holding the top and bottom of your abs. Hold that position. The distance between your hands increases. Your torso will curl and your back will round. 7 . You will even be shorter because of the increased curve in your spine. They hunch you forward. That is what crunches do for you.
not arching back.Dr. Your torso comes upright to a straightened. When used properly. This is what abs do to control posture. bring your hands toward each other so the distance between your ribs and hips decreases. Jolie Bookspan To use your abs to pull you up to stand properly. taller position. Don’t curl so much that you round forward. and stop the strain and wear and tear of dropping your upper body weight on your low back. Use your abs at the length that holds you up in good posture. 8 . they hold you from arching backward.
Just having strong muscles does not make them automatically pull the right amount at the right time. When you use them. The guy wires in back are your back muscles. but if you don’t voluntarily use them to pull you forward. You have to train your muscles for that. 9 . The Ab Revolution is the missing link. you will round forward in bad posture. they keep you from slouching forward. You can have strong ab muscles. giving you that training. abs keep you from arching backward. You can have strong back muscles. you will arch backward in bad posture. and train your brain to remember.The Ab RevolutionTM Abs are Your Guy Wires from the Front Like a guy wire keeping a tree from falling backward. but if you don’t voluntarily use them to pull your shoulders back. They pull forward to keep your upper body weight from arching back and pressuring your low back. Use your “guy wire" muscles to keep you from sagging in bad posture.
magazines. and classes. from leg lifts. Lordosis is usually completely controllable by using your abs to keep your hip from tipping forward. your back may become so tight that it gets stuck arched in the “booty-out” posture. You’ll see this overly-arched (lordotic) posture in an astonishing number of fitness videos. which makes one backbone slip forward on the next. “Sway back” is not a structural condition you are born with or “just have” (or want to have). to lifting weights. It has commonly come to mean too much inward curve. to bouncing around in aerobics. It can create all kinds of back pain. or something that “just happens” to them like flu. books. Chronically pressuring the bones and other structures of your back with this bad posture can eventually deform them. Technically. by retraining your posture and use of your muscles to hold you in healthy position. Jolie Bookspan What is Lordosis? Many people with back pain are told they have a “condition” called lordosis. Use The Ab Revolution to avoid — even reverse — this. adding to back arching. they arch their back and thrust out their behind in dozens of exercises. and to reduce the overly-large arch that makes your back hurt. allowing the back to sway.” along with the usual (but incorrect) “tighten your abs. unavoidable. like human bonsai. This is terrible posture and injurious to your back. They think this is something anatomic. If you have a condition called spondylolisthesis. the word “lordosis” originally meant the normal inward curve of the low back. but is just a bad posture habit. this is all the more reason not to allow yourself to arch more this way. If you habitually stand with your back arched.” but if you look at them.Dr. The video star may say “keep neutral spine. and to use The Ab Revolution all the time during daily activities. 10 .
11 . which pressures the low back. Lordosis can be easily controlled by straightening your posture using your own muscles.The Ab RevolutionTM This ancient Greek fresco shows the lordotic (overly-arched) posture.
With your left hand. only your fingers arch back. See the pinched and folded-back crease at the knuckle joints of your right hand? 12 . The back of your hand (facing right) is your back. Try curling and straightening your body too as you do this.Dr. press against the fingers of your right hand. But they don’t know specifically what abs do. Keep your palm upright. Your palm (facing left) is the front of your body. Bend your fingers forward to represent your abs at work. how do abs help your back? Try this: Hold your right hand up with your thumb toward you. bending your fingers back as far as they will go. or that abs don’t do it automatically. So. then. 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. Jolie Bookspan How Do Abs Help Your Back? People usually have some vague idea that abs have something to do with helping the back.
Bounce against your fingers so that they rock back repeatedly. every day. 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. use the muscles in the palm of your right hand to straighten your right hand against the push of your left. That shows the forces on your low back when you walk without using abs. The stretched palm of your hand represents your abdomen. That is how you need to use your abs to control your posture when standing up — all day. 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. Ouch. with your ab muscles slack. all the time. That is running with your back arched and not using your abs. 13 . Now bounce against your fingers quickly and hard.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.
Try this: • • Stand against a wall with your heels. To bring their head up. Don’t lift your chin. they arch their back instead of straightening their shoulders. Did your ribs come up and your back arch? Fix that with your abs. behind and shoulders touching the wall. Practice keeping your shoulders and head back without arching your back to do it. Bring the back of your head against the wall. Jolie Bookspan A surprising number of people are so round-shouldered that they cannot stand up straight without arching their back. 14 . Stretch the front of your shoulder so that it doesn’t pull forward into a roundshouldered posture. even when you are relaxed. Stand against a wall or lie flat without a pillow to practice head and upper back posture. That is where your head should be for healthy posture. you need to work on upper back strengthening and flexibility. If your upper back and shoulders are so stiff that you can’t stand up straight without arching your back. too.Dr.
it still may not be useful for things you need for daily life. gives exercises that effectively use and develop your abs. Posture and muscle use is not automatic. • • The Ab Revolution teaches a whole different approach to abdominal muscle use. and are not good for the rest of you. Just like smoking “works” to lose weight. Plenty of muscular people have poor posture. but you do need to stand and walk upright without arching backward. 15 . Simply strengthening a muscle will not automatically change your posture for proper use in sports or recreation. You don’t need to hunch forward for daily activities. but still promote bad posture and not be good for the rest of you.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. None of the exercises they tested and recommend specifically train your body for daily use the way you really need them. Even if an exercise activates your ab muscles. and bad movement habits. the Ab Revolution will give you a better workout. pain. Just strengthening a muscle does not train it for how you need to use it. and shows you how to transfer posture and back pain control skills to your daily life. or for back pain control. But the surveyors missed three basic concepts: • An exercise can work a muscle well. doing crunches and other forwardrounding ab exercises “work” your abs but are not a great way to do it.
Crunches promote poor posture. Jolie Bookspan What’s Wrong with Crunches? Crunches don’t work your abs the way you need for real life. Crunches don’t train you for that. even when done properly. Crunches make people — who likely spend much of their day already hunched over a work area — practice that hunched posture. your abs need to work isometrically — at one length — to hold your torso upright. 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. bent-over person. Look at crunches sideways and see what it would look like to stand up like this — like an old.Dr. 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. In life. which may be mechanically promoting the back and neck pain they think they are working their abs to prevent. 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. This is the poor posture you’re training with crunches.
you will still wind up with poor posture. or rehab exercises — as exercises without concepts and the knowledge to apply it during real activities — does not often work as expected. 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.The Ab RevolutionTM Doing Abs Doesn’t Automatically Change Posture or Back Pain If you strengthen your biceps muscles. or “support” your arm. You need to consciously use your ab muscles to move your torso to the right position. yoga. no matter how muscular you are. or how many crunches you have done. 17 . Doing ab exercises or core exercises is not like getting a shot of penicillin or going to confession — it doesn’t “fix” things. You have to deliberately use your abs (and other posture muscles. it doesn’t automatically hold your arm up in the air. You need to learn what to do. strengthening your abs does not make them do anything automatically to support your back. then you hold it even when you don’t feel like it. including back muscles) to adjust your posture yourself. If you don’t. In the same way. make your mistakes until you remember.
Dr. His abs are plenty tight. Jolie Bookspan Having tight abs doesn’t fix your posture or help your back. but he is still standing in poor posture with an overly-arched back. This is injurious to the back and loses the effectiveness of the exercise. 18 .
because your core muscles are not driving your limbs. You’re missing a free workout of your torso muscles. interfering with normal walking and running mechanics. even the weight of your upper body resting on your lower back bones is enough to strain soft tissue and grind bone and discs. 19 • . Adding a barbell or overhead weights adds tremendous force. smashing down on your low back. It is sloppy technique because it does not use your posture muscles properly. It is unhealthy because it injures your back. causing a vicious cycle of tightness. thinking it looks good. poor use. Without using your abs to keep your weight from arching back. too. It is a sure sign that you cannot generate real force in your limbs for arm or leg activity. poor posture.” they mistakenly think holding this bad posture is. • 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 changes the tilt of your hip.The Ab RevolutionTM But Aren’t You Supposed to Stick Your Behind Out? Some people deliberately push their behinds out. This bad posture has become so ingrained that many people think it is normal or desirable. The “booty posture” is unhealthy and unsightly for several reasons: • • • It is plain bad posture. eventually tightening them. and discomfort. Just as some people think that holding a cigarette or other drug is “cool. Your hips will have extra wear and tear and eventually hurt too.
Dr. fitness and trimness. Jolie Bookspan Advertisements use this bad posture because sex sells. and even used to advertise for. Now you can laugh when you see “fitness” models shown standing or doing exercise with this sloppy. She is not using her abs to take the large arch out of her back. unhealthy posture. This bad posture is accepted as normal by so many people that it is mistaken for. There’s no excuse for someone in fitness to display this lack of knowledge of health. So does heroin. 20 . You will laugh often because this unfit posture is a pervasive problem in fitness.
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. which in Latin means “the straight abdominal. The outer external obliques on each side fuse together in a tough band in a nice line down your front. In this same manner you can use your right obliques to resist forces that would twist you to the right. The deeper external oblique fibers run almost straight down to your hip bones. Obliquus Internus Your internal obliques lie under your external obliques. Not all the fibers run all the way up the muscle. You can see these lines in people trim enough. your 21 . or rectus.” Your rectus abdominis starts on the front of your pelvic bone and runs up to attach where your middle ribs (fifth. When the external oblique fibers on your right side contract. Your oblique abdominals go diagonally across your sides. If you cross your arms over your abdomen. When you contract both. called external obliques. When you contract your left external oblique. they pull your right side closer to the middle of your pelvic bone so you twist to the left. you bend forward. or prevent bending backward. Your obliques work together in fun ways. They connect to each other in places.The Ab RevolutionTM What Are All the Muscles Called? Ab muscles are named for their layout in your body. in the opposite direction. They begin as broad muscles on each side of your lower eight ribs. Rectus Abdominis The muscle straight up your front is your rectus abdominis. sometimes four intersections across it. and work in combinations together. with three. under your rectus abs. sixth and seventh) come together in front. If you put your fingertips at the top of your pants pockets. or not straight. Contracting your front. Obliquus Externus “Oblique” means slanted. your hands line up in the direction of the outer set.
You’ll have better posture. The left internal oblique twists you to the left. Just use them like other muscles to move your bones. Moreover. you can’t breathe in fully or properly (belly breathing). or sagging to the side during daily life and when you exercise. To protect your back. the transversus. Contracting them all helps you bend forward or prevent arching backward. After all. They all can resist forces that would make you want to slouch or twist in bad postures to the sides. Your right internal oblique contracts to pull the middle of your ribs to your right hip. you need to voluntarily change the shape of your back using all your ab muscles so that you don’t curve and strain your back under the weight of your upper body pressing down on it. a major purpose of this muscle is to help full exhalation.Dr. You don’t have to tighten them. when you hold it tightly. You can feel it when you breathe out as completely as you can. and get a workout just standing and moving properly. Jolie Bookspan fingers assume the direction of the internal fibers. It’s not the case that just tightening the transversus like a girdle will support your lower back when lifting or sitting. Transversus Abdominis Your innermost and thinnest abdominal muscle. Using Them All You don’t have to know the names of the muscles to use them. goes across your abdomen to help compress it. They begin at your hip bone and angle up and in to your lower three or four ribs. So the right external and left internal oblique work together to twist you left. The left external and right internal work together to twist right. twisting you to the right. 22 . Change your posture from arching back. save your back.
The Ab RevolutionTM How to Use Your Abs When Standing Up Most people can’t imagine using their abs standing up. pay close attention to what it feels like. Tuck your hips under and pull your upper body forward. Keep this new posture all the time. Still reaching overhead. not learning backward or forward. Many people stand with far too much lumbar curve because they are not using their abs. Reach overhead. If you don’t have a mirror. tuck your behind under. Yet this is exactly what supports your back and prevents pain and injury during daily activities. 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. (Don’t do this if you have back pain). Your torso is straight. That throws weight on their low back again and again. • • • • 23 . You’ll keep a small inward curve. Feel a new strong middle. Allow your weight to press on your low back. using abs to move your torso upright. Your stomach will curve out in front. Did your back arch again? Did you let your hips move? Many people arch their back with no ab support. You may feel the familiar ache you often get and don’t know why. as if starting a crunch — just enough to reduce the large back arch. Allow your body weight to sag so that you exaggerate your low back arch. try this: • Stand sideways and look in a mirror big enough to see your body. every time they reach. To understand what to do to use your abs in real life.
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.Dr. 24 . to prevent over-arching. improve your posture. You will save your back. Jolie Bookspan Use the Ab Revolution whenever you stand up and reach overhead — from pulling shirts off to reaching cabinets. People do crunches all the time. and get a free all-day workout just from standing with your muscles in use. be able to lift more. but don’t know they are supposed to use their abs in real life when standing up. to washing your hair.
” Some people deliberately arch while exercising. Abs not in use. Back arched. Use your abs to tuck your hips enough to take the large arch out of your back. In either case. Abs reduce the arch and control back posture. 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. 25 . mistakenly thinking it looks good. Bad posture. Hard on the back. Same exercise done properly. other times a larger one. it is not healthy. Overhead Press Arching while lifting weight further compresses your low back.
Abs not in use. people often arch their back to bring the weight back. You also miss the free ab workout you would get if you used abs to straighten your posture and save your back. The low back bears the weight. You pressure your low back and get less arm exercise than you thought. Back arched. Bad posture on triceps curls. rather than the torso and arm muscles. 26 . Same exercise done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture. instead of lifting arms while keeping posture neutral.Dr. Tuck under to straighten your back to keep the weight of your upper body plus the hand weights off your low back. Jolie Bookspan Triceps Curls When doing triceps curls.
Back overly-arched. That does not use the abs and is hard on the back. and save your back. Abs not in use. straight posture. Instead. Abs are often forgotten when doing yoga poses. 27 . Some styles of yoga even teach to deliberately stand in this arched position.The Ab RevolutionTM Yoga Yoga won’t automatically “give” you good posture. Same pose done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture. Bad posture. You have to consciously use your muscles to move you into good. use your abs to tuck your hips and reduce the arched posture to stand properly. get an ab workout.
Same pose done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture. 28 . Abs not in use.Dr. Back arched. Jolie Bookspan Bad posture.
Look sideways at this same terrible posture and see how they would look standing up this way: overly-arched. The more you tuck. You will instantly feel your abs spring into use. 29 . third. but hold your head up too. and lack of use of abs. and your back strains from hanging your weight on it in an arch. and last white shirt in the picture below) means your abs are not in use. but don’t tuck so much that you hunch your back or hike your hips in the air. Don’t do this for pushups or for standing up. heads hanging. You will save your back and make the pushup a terrific abs and core exercise.The Ab RevolutionTM Pushups Pushups with terrible arched posture (shown by the first. the more you’ll use abs. This is common. bad posture. Tuck your hips and straighten your back (black shirt).
allowing it to arch too much. This can strain the back and will not give you good punching or kicking power Teacher is holding strong posture. losing punching power and straining the back. (See pages 84 to 89 on punching and kicking for how. Student is arching and slouching.) Can you spot the students not using abs in this Karate class? (First on the left and second from the right.Dr. Jolie Bookspan Martial Arts You need your abs to straighten your back posture while doing many moves in martial arts.) They are not controlling their back posture. 30 .
Archery Archery is an activity where using abs saves more than your back.” to be dipped while ballroom dancing. You need a small natural inward curve to keep your spinal column like a spring for shock absorption. don’t arch your back. You can painfully “twang” your breast with the bowstring. to dodge flying objects and fists as in the movies “The Matrix” and “Spiderman. your chest will protrude outward into the line of the bowstring. and to keep forces distributed on your discs. and see how often you’ll find this bad posture in illustrations and photos from fashion to exercise. 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. Use good ab technique to keep your back from arching while leaning backward during windsurfing and water skiing. and for doing the limbo dance. for “hiking out” to counterbalance sailboats in the wind. not arched or leaning back. 31 . If you arch when drawing a bow and arrow.The Ab RevolutionTM Walking You need to use your abs to keep your back from folding back in an arch during normal walking. which allows body weight to grind down on the low back and decreases natural shock absorption. Other Activities In many activities you need to lean back but still not arch. Hold good straight posture to keep your chest out of the line of the bowstring. “Lat” Machines When using a weight machine to pull down a bar to your chest (lat pull-downs). Tuck your chest and hip as if starting a crunch to straighten up. Use abs to keep you sitting upright. Many people allow too much arch. You’ll get an ab workout and also get far more out of the exercise for your lats and chest. to take photographs from certain angles.
This is avoidable. Jolie Bookspan How to Use Abs for Carrying Loads Packages Held in Front When carrying anterior loads. When your arms are weak. 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.Dr. letting your low back take the brunt. which puts the weight onto your low back. Maintain your posture upright against the load. it’s more tempting to rest a carried weight on your hip and lean back. Posture is good. You’ll feel your abs working to do that. 32 Back is arched in bad posture against the anterior load. held straight and upright against the anterior load of the drum. straining the back. Remember not to lean back or arch when carrying loads. .
Back is arched in bad posture against the posterior load. relieving strain. 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. 33 Abs are in use to keep the back from arching against the posterior load. creating strain on the back. This is not an unavoidable consequence of pregnancy.The Ab RevolutionTM Pregnancy Lack of use of abs is common — even deliberately exaggerated — during pregnancy. or to let the bag pull you backward into an arch. this is it. Your packs become a free core muscle workout. Packages Held In Back Backpacks and other things carried on your back don’t make you arch your back. . use your ab and back muscles to hold your torso posture upright without leaning forward or arching back. Not using your abs lets you arch your back. Instead. it is a lack of using abs. it’s common to lean forward to rest the weight on your back.
Use this technique to get a better reach. and protection for your back. when you reach overhead. Now picture people arching when reaching like this all day. Bad posture: back arched. straighten your torso with your abs. supported motion. more exercise for your abs. You may notice that your arm doesn’t bend as high as you though because you’ve been using your back instead. tucking your hip — not rigidly. but with easy. and their hand points straight to the ceiling.Dr. Jolie Bookspan How to Use Abs for Reaching People often arch their back when reaching for things. But what really happened was that they arched their back to lift their arm. groceries. pulling off shirts. They reach. lifting the baby. Instead. packages. . combing hair. They are checked as having normal shoulder range of motion. Don’t lean back. using abs to straighten back posture. Picture this: someone with shoulder pain goes to the doctor who asks them to reach overhead. Their shoulder really did not stretch that much. and at the gym to lift weights. for shelves. abs not in use 34 Same reach. every day.
and get a far better stretch in the shoulder. letting your back arch. You will save your back. Don’t do this.The Ab RevolutionTM How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Arms People often arch their back when they stretch their arms. With your arm still overhead. flex your trunk as if starting a “crunch” to straighten your torso. little stretch on arm. get a free ab workout. Keep your elbow lifted to the ceiling. using abs to straighten posture. This adds to mysterious low back pain and never targets the area you think you stretched. Feel the stretch move to your shoulder and triceps. Bad posture: back arched. 35 Same stretch. abs not in use. . 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.
You won’t feel much stretch in your thigh. as if starting to do a crunch. and get a far better quad stretch. little stretch on leg. Straighten your torso and push your behind forward. Don’t do this bad posture when stretching: back arched. Drop your bent knee to point to the standing knee and push your foot away into your hand. abs not in use.Dr. Don’t pull your foot in. 36 . work abs. Feel the stretch move to your thigh. Try this: • • Stand on one leg and arch your back while you hold your other foot behind you. You save your back. Same stretch using abs to straighten posture. 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.
Note how he incorrectly uses an arch to “wind-up” the punch 37 . have properly changed the shape of their back by using their abs. drive the dunk.The Ab RevolutionTM Real Athletes Use Abs Here is good use of abs in basketball to hold the back posture straight. and power the block. The black belts holding the board in the photo below. The white belt has not learned this yet. so the force of the punch is not levered into their low back.
your abs are not in good use and there is large strain. and is injurious to your back. Don’t arch or hike your behind up in the air. your body weight hangs on your low back vertebrae. Straightening your posture (bottom) puts abs highly in use and protects against back strain. or a simple wheel. to straighten your torso. Keep your head up. If you use ab machines with an arched back (top). When you allow your back to arch. When you do this.Dr. folding them like a hinge. One way to learn the hip tuck is to use a mirror to watch your posture in side view. 38 . Jolie Bookspan What About Ab Machines? Ab machines are often used in ways that don’t use the abs. Tuck your hips under as if beginning a crunch. you can use two roller skates. you’ll instantly feel your abs in use. These machines can be used so that you use your abs. Instead of an expensive machine. This is ineffective as an ab exercise.
to tilt your hips and maintain torso posture. and only works the muscles that lift your leg. This is a missed ab opportunity. Put one hand under the small of your low back and feel the natural space. Tight hip flexors create problems. To show you what arching feels like. increase the arch by lifting your ribs so that your back lifts off your hand. In this 39 • . Without taking the arch out of your back with your abs. use your abs. Try this: • Lie on your back with your legs out straight on the floor. called hip flexors. leg lifts become an exercise that strains the back. and never get a real ab workout by using abs to straighten their back and control this. Hip flexors are usually pretty strong and tight to begin with from sitting and overuse in exercise. To do leg lifts properly. not your hands.The Ab RevolutionTM What About Leg Lifts? Most people allow the weight of their legs to arch and strain their low back.” That is precisely what is wrong with this as an ab exercise: you never use your own abs to keep your back from arching. Leg Lifts Lying on Your Back People doing back-lying leg lifts are often taught to put their hands under their hips to “keep their back from arching.
This will retrain your muscles to know what it feels like to use abs to control torso posture. Jolie Bookspan arched position. not allowing it to arch. You’ll learn to use your abs to control your torso posture. 40 .Dr. First curl your hips under you. Keep your torso posture controlled with your abs as you lower your legs too. Chin Ups and Pulls Ups Many people stick out their behind and let their legs swing forward when doing chin ups and pull ups. lift your legs just an inch or two above the floor. while maintaining the curled position of your torso. pinching and straining your low back.) This is how many people do leg lifts. don’t allow your back to arch. You will feel your abs working. You’ll protect your back and get real ab exercise. If your hips are tight. Then. doing a “reverse crunch” while hanging. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. It can be injurious and does not use abs. put your legs back down and press your low back against your hand. You’ll feel the weight of your legs arching your back more. using your abs to flatten the arch. Don’t let your back arch. Keeping your abs in use to flatten the low back curve. you’ll feel your thighs pull up. Use The Ab Revolution to use your abs to tip your hips back under you into correct position. Don’t let your back arch during any point of raising or lowering your legs. Hanging Leg Lifts When you do leg lifts hanging from a chinning bar. Don’t just bend at the hip and use hip flexors with your behind stuck out. lift your legs. and to keep your legs straight while raising and lowering. lift your legs just an inch or two above the floor. • To do this exercise correctly and fix the arching problem. • With this method. Try not to let them. you’ll learn to use your abs — not your hands — to change the tilt of your torso and hips.
When lifting your leg to the back from a stand or from your knees. and use only your leg. Whenever you do leg lifts. You’ll feel an immediate shift of work to your abs. it is often done by arching the back. and can also hurt your back. or from a hands-and-knees position. Unfortunately. so that you can use it for all your standing activities. 41 . Tuck your hips under to bring your back to a good straight position. That reduces leg and back muscle involvement. back. Leg lifts to the back contracts and strengthens back muscles. It can be done lying face down and lifting legs. standing up on one leg and lifting the other leg to the back. use The Ab Revolution to get a far better ab workout and to learn how proper posture feels when controlling your torso. and gluteal muscles. lifting one leg upward.The Ab RevolutionTM Back Leg Lifts Lifting your legs to the back is an excellent exercise for your back. don’t let your back arch. and far more exercise for your back and leg.
You lift your legs with knees bent or straight. • First try it wrong. the problem is that Captain’s Chair is often done in a way that prevents good use of abs. When they swing their legs. In a Captain’s Chair you hang in the air by your forearms on two pads on either side of you. People often make it easier by allowing their back to arch and using only hip flexors. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. bang — all day. Now try it right. not allowing your back to arch. Still. Imagine the forces accumulating on your low back. Then they walk around all day with the same problem. first curl your behind under you using your abs. It will be fairly easy to lift your legs or knees. they let their back arch. step after step — bang. They never learn to consciously use abs to control torso posture.Dr. Jolie Bookspan What About “Captain’s Chair?” In a recent survey. or “Captain’s Chair” was one of the top exercises found to produce high ab activity. Then lift your legs. The back pad makes it easier to maintain back posture without arching. Try this: • Hang from stall bars or a Captain’s Chair stand. bang. with your back against a pad and legs dangling free. While hanging.) Arch your back and stick your behind out. Captain’s Chair is like the old fashioned gymnast “stall bars” which were like a chinning bar against a climbing rack. without as much use of abs as they could. Use your abs throughout the entire exercise to maintain your hip tuck when you raise and lower your legs. the hanging leg lift. • • 42 .
43 .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.
Jolie Bookspan Arching Isn’t the Culprit You are supposed to have a small inward curve in your low back. but use your abs to hold weight up and off your low back.) Lift your weight up and off your low back by using your abs. Don’t crane or pinch your neck back. as if starting a crunch.Dr. You should feel a good ab exercise and no back pain. and just allow their low back to fold backward under all their weight. gymnastics. For more on back extension. curving your abdomen out in front. and other activities. The problem is not using muscles to keep your upper body weight off your low back. This is often confused. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. is not the problem in back pain and posture control. Many people don’t know to use their abs during these kinds of moves. and some people think they must never arch their back. 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. Try this: • Stand up. Proper back extension is one of the most important exercises for back health. Take the exaggerated arch out of your back. Relax your shoulders and keep them back. Try this again while bending your knees to tilt backward further. Allow your back to arch. leaving a small natural curve. see pages 94 and 95. Don’t let your abs “go” or allow your weight to slump. by itself. • 44 . The supported arch is important to use in tennis. It should be a good-feeling stretch. • Now try this to see how to arch with good range of motion and ab involvement. stretching. you can lean and extend back without your weight pressing onto your low back. yoga. to hold your weight off your back: • Begin to arch your upper body back. Arching your back.
The Ab RevolutionTM Supported Arching With Roman Chair Exercise As you progress. try Roman Chair ab training. Hold the weight of your legs up with your muscles. Strongly use your abs to decelerate as you extend backward. Don’t hang your weight on your back. 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. not your back joints. 45 . There are Roman Chair seats in many gyms. Lift up to the straight position and hold without arching before repeating.
Jolie Bookspan Don’t allow the weight of your legs to fold your low back into an angle. 46 .Dr. Also practice using abs to do these poses with a straight torso. to add to your ab workout. pressuring it.
and overstretch fibrous attachments (tendons that hold muscles on bones and ligaments that hold your bones together). and to decelerate only with muscular effort. Make sure to understand how to stop the momentum by using your ab and torso muscles. 47 . fray discs. not letting the rotation twist you to the end of the range your back can twist. The idea is that torso muscles would get exercise decelerating the swinging weight. or during various rodeo activities. This can eventually strain soft tissues. such as swinging a bat or racquet. a big problem is that people stop the momentum of the weight at the end of each rotation using their vertebral joints. But many people do this exercise in a way that doesn’t work the abs and overtwists the back. For activities that require body knowledge of how to decelerate a swinging pivot. Beside the poor neck posture from putting a bar across the shoulder. this exercise can work your muscles in the manner they need to work. swinging limbs in martial arts .The Ab RevolutionTM What About Abdominal Twists? An exercise commonly done for abs is to put a bar across the shoulders and twist from side to side.
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.Dr. Also. rather than in real-life movements. Use a good. thick band. There will be no momentum continuing the motion past the point where you pull the band. step away to increase tension while holding good posture. and go for the fun of the work. most people do not put much resistance on their band. stepping farther and farther away to increase the tension. one way to do that is to use cable pulleys or a stretchy tube or band and pivot away from it. Jolie Bookspan If all you want is a pivoting ab exercise to work your abs. One reason is because they used the tubing while bending forward. 48 .
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.
There are claims that the ball makes you sit properly or that you use more muscular effort to sit on it. with various moves that strengthen arms and legs.” Incrediball. you use balance and stabilization muscles so that you don’t fall off. This is easily avoided by using your muscles deliberately to control posture. chair or bench. Don’t arch or round your back. Because the surface of the ball is not flat and rolls under you. sturdy. Used without understanding.Dr. 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.” “rehab ball. but not rigidly. 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. they are just another device that does little. Based on that.” “gym ball. All the exercises here work your entire torso and back. light-weight inflated ball that you can use in a large and inventive number of ways. But this does not happen automatically. It’s how you use it. and daily life. expensive desk chairs are marketed with the ball as the sitting surface. Sit up. But you can sit on the ball with as poor posture and little effort as on most other surfaces. It is also called “Swiss Ball.” “therapy ball.” “balance ball. 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. Try these: • Sit on the ball with good posture.” “physio-roll. sports. and reinforces the same poor habits as other exercises. and use more body skills and muscles than doing the same exercise on a floor. Jolie Bookspan What About Exercise Balls? The exercise ball is a large. Begin to walk your feet away and lie back until you’re lying as flat and straight as you can. Used properly.” and any number of trade names. too. exercise balls can be great. Keep 52 .
not your back. Lie on your back on the floor. Roll to the other side without using your arms and repeat. Hold. Keep the side of your feet on the floor. • Without using your arms. Hold as long as you can. This works the back also. and progress to being able to push up from the ball. Roll onto your back without using arms. Hold. Switch sides and repeat. or with your arms already straight. roll to one side and do one arm at a time. To progress. roll on the ball to lie on your side. Keep straight torso posture without sagging or arching. Hold straight posture as long as you can. Advanced? Hold a weight in your hands. As you advance. For more. Repeat. biceps by ears. with the ball under your ankles. Very advanced? Lift both legs at once. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the ball. Step your feet away until the ball cradles your head and neck. Put both hands on the top surface of the ball and push up into a pushup position. Roll onto your chest without using arms. Lift up one leg and hold as long as you can. Keep the ball under your behind. This works the back also. do pushups while holding proper posture. Lift one leg up straight and hold. not arched or bent forward. lift both arms over your head. Try lifting one leg at a time. You can start with your knees on the floor and then straighten your legs. Lift your hips from the floor. and the ball close to your hip. Hold as long as you can. 53 • • • • . Lift your hips from the floor. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or your behind hike into the air. Try side curls if you like.The Ab RevolutionTM your back and neck straight. Switch legs. legs straight. lifting upward without hunching to the front. Keep the same good posture as for proper standing. Then lift one leg from the ball. Switch legs.
Switch legs. abs not in good use. Hold as long as you can. Jolie Bookspan • Lie face down on the ball with both hands on the floor. Do pushups. Practice until you can hold the ball at your ankles. 54 . Lift one leg off the ball. As you progress. do pushups in this position. Hold as long as you can. • Bad posture with back arched. Hold the pushup position as above. and strain on the back.Dr. rolling the ball down your body to your legs. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or hike up in the air. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or your behind hike up. Good straight posture with abs in use to hold weight off the back. walk on your hands.
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.
Other devices stems from electrical muscle stimulators (EMS). In two hours sitting in front of the television wearing the device. 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. Jolie Bookspan What About Electronic Ab Zapper Belts? “Watch T. That’s just your normal metabolism at work. 58 .V. used in physical therapy to passively contract muscles atrophied from paralysis or wasting diseases. you would burn more calories than during the theoretical 15–30 minutes it would take to do the sit-ups. but not enough to produce the results claimed. 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.Dr. with or without a vibrator strapped to your abdomen. There is muscle contraction.
Any product can truthfully claim to produce increased calorie burning after a workout.The Ab RevolutionTM What About Miracle Liquids and Fat Burners? Many products on the market claim to make you burn fat while you sleep. Some products claim to give a workout so intense that you burn fat for hours after you finish. playing. Just don’t pay money for that. whether you drink miracle potion or not. Other products are pills tantalizingly called “fat burners. everyone burns fat when they’re asleep — when they’re awake. because a nice run. from nervousness and grouchiness. A good workout of dancing. When you exercise. bike. will burn more calories. but takes a while to return to resting value. or other fun ways to move around will “pick you up” more effectively and safely than taking stimulants. too. It slows when you stop exercising. biking. you increase your metabolism to meet your energy needs. no matter what device you use or what potion you drink. The pills called “fat burners” are mostly stimulants. or swim will do the same.” First. But don’t pay money for that because you burn fat 24 hours a day anyway as part of being alive. and keep you happier and healthier in the long run. They could just as honestly claim that if you stare at their special green dot that you will burn calories in your sleep. They do not selectively find your fat cells and eliminate them. Metabolizing stored fat is part of your round-the-clock energy production for body functions. 59 . and heart trouble. These stimulants can have harmful effects. skating. to inability to exercise safely in the heat.
60 . or body fat loss. leaving you temporarily smaller.” “flab zapper.Dr.” and “waist shrinker. You return to normal circumference fairly quickly. weight loss.” It is just a neoprene band to wear around the waist (or thighs). It has nothing to do with toning or supporting the muscles. 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. The band temporarily shrinks your circumference through simple compression. It is just a gimmick. sweat loss. and other times called various intriguing names like “waist support. 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.
don’t hold your breath. carry packages. run. They don’t have the ab strength and endurance to hold themselves straight. stand. what else can you do to train good ab use for posture. But your abs need to work isometrically (at one length without moving) a great deal of the time in real life. Most people can’t do these exercises for more than a few seconds. The concepts and exercises follow in the next sections. not bending forward. your back. 61 . Doing repetitions and sets without that will not work your abs the way you need.The Ab RevolutionTM What Exercises Work Your Abs the Way You Need For Real Life? Beside standing and reaching properly all day every day. Breathe normally and fully when doing the isometric exercises. breathe in. then breathe out during the effort of the movement. For the moving exercises. More important than how many repetitions you do is understanding the concept. and won’t help your posture. and go out and have fun. You need to exercise your abs the way they normally should work. do exercise. You’ll learn exercises that work your abs in functional ways for postural control when you sit. back pain prevention. No wonder their posture sags so badly by the end of the day and their muscles ache. activities. or your life. so that you use your abs to adjust your posture during the exercise and train your brain to transfer this body knowledge to all your daily life activities. walk. Gradually increase the time you hold good posture with these exercises. and good looks? The ab exercises you see everywhere in gyms get you good at hunching forward. That means radically different exercises from what you commonly see in gyms and on exercise videos.
and when doing exercise. How Often? How Many of Each Exercise Should You Do? Depends how many you can already do. When To Do Ab Revolution Exercises? Use these back-saving. achy back. for doing your activities. Work up to more. for example pushups. don’t bang your joints around. Jolie Bookspan How Many. When going quickly. then gradually add external weight. It will not make you able to do fast movements needed for real life activities like throwing. their own body weight is so heavy relative to their ability that it provides enough resistance to build strength. going about your normal day. use muscular control to avoid injury. 62 . That is good for carrying things and pushing cars (if you also trained to be strong enough). Start doing as many of each as you properly can. arch-preventing. When going slowly with weights don’t squeeze your joints or push them past their range. core posture exercises all the time when you are standing up. For many people. Many Easier Ones. Lifting a lighter weight for a long time builds your endurance. punching. How Fast or Slow? Working your muscles slowly gets them good at slow movement. As they strengthen they can do more repetitions. You need both for carrying things. 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.Dr. and just getting through the day with good posture and without a tired. building both strength and endurance. Or Fewer Harder Ones? Regularly lifting a weight that is so heavy that you can only lift it a few times builds your strength. Practice your exercises both quickly and slowly to maximize your real life abilities. catching falling objects or children. or anything where you need your strength in a fast move.
This is a missed opportunity to strengthen your core and is hard on your back. 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. then you need to strengthen them too — not ruin your elbow joints. Using The Ab Revolution. don’t just mash your wrists. To protect your back during the exercise and make the exercise more effective and more targeted to the abs. wrists and arms. Application to Daily Life: Learn and practice the easy. Holding the Pushup Position • Hold the pushup position as long as you can. • Don’t lock your elbows straight. Wobbling after only a few seconds? These are the same posture muscles you need to stand up properly without 63 • . so that your weight rests on your vertebrae. Hold your head up. A common mistake is letting your back arch like the back of an old horse when doing pushups. and to train them to prevent your back from arching under gravity resistance.The Ab RevolutionTM Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Normal Standing Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. the pushup is a prize exercise for most of your body. Tuck your hips under and you’ll feel an immediate shift of the work to your abs and “core. and have the ab strength and endurance to do it. keep them slightly bent. arch your back. including the important weak link. If your arms are too weak to hold you. Don’t droop down. straight posture you need for standing up. not your “core” muscles.” Take the arch out of your back and straighten your torso. Keep your weight on your whole hand. Be straight as a plank. or hike your hips up in the air.
back straight and head up. “How To Use Your Abs When Standing Up. • If you can’t figure how to tuck your hips under you. Work up to increasing the time you can hold your posture as straight you would want when standing up.Dr. Hold the pushup position on your elbows. 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. No sagging. Keep hips tucked. without arching. Progressions For Holding Position • Hold the pushup position as long as you can and lift one leg straight up in back without arching your back. Vary your hand positioning. You'll feel your abs work immediately. stand up again and relearn the posture exercise on page 23. • • • Hold the pushup position and lift one leg in back and the opposite arm straight out in front. and a higher one to work arms more. Jolie Bookspan sagging. Use a lower ledge to work abs more.” Tuck your hip to hold your back straight. Keep your whole body straight as a 64 .
Weight bearing improves bone density and strength. First from left is holding hips slightly bent and hiked in the air. 65 . Don’t let your upper body lift up before your lower body. Try curls. • Do full pushups using your abs to keep your hips tucked as if starting a crunch. two more benefits of Ab Revolution exercises. The wrist is one of the three major risk sites of osteoporosis.The Ab RevolutionTM plank. Second and third are flatter and straighter. don’t let your middle sag. and other lifts too. Stay flat throughout. 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.
and lift straight up with your arms without letting your upper body rise first. Tuck your hips and chest down as if starting a crunch. Jolie Bookspan • Rise from the floor in a reverse pushup.Dr. Increased resistance increases your strength and adds a posture challenge. Lower to the floor holding your body just as straight. Have a friend sit on your back when you do pushups – carefully. and elbows bent at your sides. Lie flat with hands on the floor. Don’t arch or hike up your behind. Keep hips tucked and prevent any arching with your abs. • • Adding extra weight means using more ab and other core muscles 66 . and repeat. not even a little. Maintain the same posture you would want if you were standing up. Do full pushups with your feet up on a bench or wall. Add a weight to your back during pushups. Don’t let your posture sag.
Walk quickly and slowly. hard workout. Walk sideways. Tuck your hips under as if starting a crunch to keep your back straight. and around. Walking and Jumping Pushups To challenge your strength. See if you can jump 90 degrees (or more) with each jump to face each direction. try these fun and effective variations: • Walk around in the pushup position like a flat spider. Maintain the same posture you would want if you were standing up. forward. More Challenge Moves • As you advance. sometimes called “The Flag. They are effective and safe if you protect your back with good posture and shock absorption. and leg muscles hard. Stay straight. try this move. 67 . Jump to the next piece of exercise equipment. Jump to say hello to someone. backward. Don’t allow your back to arch under the momentum of landing. balance. Have fun. Jump in the pushup position like a flat jumping spider. and posture control. Jump sideways across the room.” Experiment with various leg placement. while getting an effective. arm. Use good shock absorption with arms and legs.The Ab RevolutionTM to keep posture good and your back protected. • “Spiders” work torso.
68 . and to train them to hold your posture correctly against resistance. Many people let their bodies slump to the side. or hike their shoulder or hip up when carrying things on one shoulder or hip.Dr. Save your elbow joint and get an arm workout. Application to Daily Life: Learn to prevent your torso from slouching to the side when standing. Jolie Bookspan Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture Purpose of this Exercise: To work your oblique abs. Learn to use your oblique abs to prevent this. don’t lock it. Keep your elbow slightly bent. Holding Side Pushup Position • Hold the pushup position and turn to one side. Lift one arm and balance on the other arm. or even just when standing up. Keep your weight on your whole hand so you don’t mash your wrist. Do both sides. holding your body straight without drooping in the middle. and have the strength and endurance to maintain it.
• Hold the regular pushup position face down. To progress. hold your arm straight in front of you. raise the opposite leg too. with your bicep by your ear. Don’t rotate your body. Progress to putting your feet up on a ledge or bench. with both arms on the floor.The Ab RevolutionTM Progressions for Holding Position • Prop on one elbow. lift one arm behind your back. To progress. or up against the wall. Without turning your body. Keep straight pushup position. 69 .
as if swinging it over a bicycle. Fun Challenge Moves • Hold a regular face-down pushup position. Keep your body flat.Dr. Lift one leg 90 degrees to the side and forward. Then try pushups this way. maintaining straight torso posture. holding your top leg off the floor. Then bend the top leg at the hip and hold in front of you. Next. Hold as long as you can and switch legs. Keep your leg straight and parallel to the floor. raise your top leg and hold as long as you can. while holding one leg straight out to the side 70 . Moving in the Side Arm Position • Raise and lower your top leg from the floor as many times as you can. Jolie Bookspan • In the side position. don’t drop on the floor. then try continuously switching. not drooping down. not turned or arched. Hold your weight up using abs when lowering. do the same sip. • Hold the side arm position and dip your hip almost to the floor and raise back up as many times as you can. Switch arms.
The Ab RevolutionTM • When you can hold your leg out straight to the side.” Experiment with leg placement. • As you advance. 71 . try this. add lifting the opposite arm. sometimes called “The Flag.
but can teach you how to forget your torso muscles in ways that can lead to back and even shoulder injury. • To feel how to use abs to reduce the arch and control your torso. just an inch off the floor. Did your back arch off your hand again? Press it back down. Don’t lift your hips. just isolating your arms is not only not functional. Using Body Weight • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Put your hand on the floor under the arch of your back. Application to Daily Life: Learn and practice holding your back in good posture during overhead movement and exercise. press your back down against your hand. You need to exercise using the same movements and muscle patterns as you use in real life. Arch your back up. as the lever when reaching overhead. biceps by your ear. not shoulder or low back. just use your abs. Put your other arm overhead just off the floor. lifting your ribs high so you know what it feels like. biceps near your ears. improve shoulder range of motion. and use abs. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs to Control Torso Posture When Using Weights Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. Now put both hands overhead. and to use them to hold correct posture against overhead resistance. You’ll feel your abs working right under your skin. This is called functional exercise.Dr. Contract your abs to hold your torso straight without allowing your back to arch from the floor. To learn when you’re substituting arching your back for motion of the shoulder. since ab muscles are shallow. When you lift weights with your arms. • • 72 .
or allow yourself to arch and let the weight drop on the joints of your back. your back will want to arch. Moving With Hand Weights • Raise and lower the dumbbells about an inch. • Lie on your back. about an inch from the floor. This simulates all the daily life activities where you will either support your body and things you carry with your muscles. • Each time the weight lowers. Your abdominal muscles work hard on this one to control your posture against the moving weight. particularly when lowering the weights. 73 . Use abs to hold your back in position without arching. Don’t let your ribs come up or your back arch. Don’t let it. Keep your elbows slightly bent. You get several exercises for the price of one. Holding the weights also works your arms and latissimus dorsi muscles along the sides of your back. as many times as you can without touching the floor. holding light dumbbells (5 to 10 pounds each) in each hand overhead. Use your abs to keep your lower back from rising off the floor at any time. and work your body the way you need for real life movement.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.
Jolie Bookspan To Progress • Extend your legs out straight. 74 . and. which feeds a negative cycle of tight hip. Carry-Over to Real Life Think of all the exercises that involve lifting weights overhead — exercises where you should stand without arching. but not a large arch. how your posture needs to be. but don’t. If you allow your back to arch. But it is your own muscles that should do that for you. an arched back just to stand up straight. • 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. strengthen. and how to retrain everything for safe. Their hips get so tight that they even need a pillow under their knees to sleep. Yet many people do keep their hip bent all the time when standing. bent hip. then exercise that way too. What they need is to stretch the front of their hip so their hip and legs can extend properly. and retrain your muscles to hold your body properly. There will be a small space under your low back. When you do standing weight lifting. You can’t walk or move properly in real life with your knees and hips bent that much. You would never learn to use your muscles the way you really need them when standing up. Many people have hips so tight that they can’t straighten their legs without their back being pulled into a large arch. This is where you stretch. The Ab Revolution teaches you to understand how your muscles need to move. 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. the force of the moving weight comes crashing down on your low back. pain. Keep your abs contracted so that your back does not pull into an arch. ironically. as you have practiced in this exercise above. effective movement all the time.Dr.
this exercise will not only work your abs for the moment. 75 . If you use your abs for posture adjustment during all your standing movements. but all day when you really need it — standing up.The Ab RevolutionTM Use your own muscles. not just bending your knees to control your posture.
Jolie Bookspan Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Reaching and Lifting Overhead Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. lifting heavy packages onto counters. pulling shirts off. Keep your abs in use to prevent arching. putting away groceries. Keep your abs in use as if you were beginning a crunch. but not curling forward or bending your neck. Transfer these skills to keeping healthy torso posture for common activities like lifting trays. but not curling forward or bending your neck. because of that. lifting babies and children overhead. Using Body Weight • Stand up and reach overhead with both hands. Keep your torso from increasing the arch. Using Hand Weights and Packages • Lift weights overhead. Keep your hip tucked under you. as if beginning a crunch. and to train them to hold your back posture against resistance. Wave your arms around. putting cargo on car roof racks. when reaching and lifting overhead. but just until your body is straight and supported. Application to Daily Life: To train your abs and brain to hold your torso and back posture during movement and exercise. Not in an exaggerated way. putting things on shelves. and even combing and washing hair. Did your ribs come up and your back arch?Tuck your hip under you to prevent over-arching. and correct your posture. This is when many people have no concept of abs and. and whenever you lift and reach. allow their upper body weight to pressure their low back many times a day: reaching.Dr. no matter what. 76 . • Reach overhead again.
The Ab RevolutionTM All are arched in bad posture. 77 . Abs not in use for lifting. Same lift with abs in use to straighten posture and protect the back.
Dr. This simulates keeping your posture against gravity and loads that you carry in daily life. Step away until there is tension on the band. Same exercise with abs in use to straighten posture and exercise against the pull of the bands 78 . 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. Turn your back. • Try various arm exercises and movements while controlling your torso with your abs. abs not in use. controlling your posture with abs. Hold one end in each hand. Bad posture. This is also fun to do with a partner. Lift arms overhead. Don’t let your arms pull behind you. back arched.
Application to Daily Life: Holding your torso and back posture correctly to avoid strain and slouching to the side when reaching and lifting overhead. • • Move away until there is more tension on the band. Hold your torso stable against the sideways pull of the stretchy cord. Using Bands and Pulleys • Use a stretchy band. • • • To progress. • Many Variations • Do side curls. pulleys — or even a pair of panty hose. hold both arms overhead with your biceps against your ears.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. 79 . Walk around keeping your torso stable against the changing pull of the band. Don’t pull your arms to the sides. tubing. and holding the band in front of your chest. to get started — secured at about shoulder height. use your abs to move your body to the side. Maintain good posture. facing sideways to the band. Hold both ends and turn sideways. Feel how to stabilize your body using your oblique abs. and do side curls. and to train them to hold your back posture against resistance. Use a hula-hoop. Don’t let the band pull you into poor posture. Try it with and without bands.
Dr. • • Move away to put more tension on the band and still stand up straight. your torso and legs should power most of it. Hold both arms overhead with your biceps to your ears. 80 . The fulcrum of the swing becomes the shoulder joint instead of the muscles of the abs and hip. Feel how to stabilize your body and stand straight using your abs. But many people just arch their back and fling their arm. Using Bands or Cables • Use a stretchy band or rubber tubing with the middle secured at about shoulder height. by not contracting your abs first and using your torso to power the move. When throwing and punching properly. and when throwing and moving arms overhead. and to train them to hold your back posture against rapid onset resistance. Pivot your body from your abs. Application to Daily Life: Train torso and back posture during speed and power movement. Try the action of doing crunches standing up to get the idea of initiating arm action with your abs first. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Throwing and Other Overhead Arm Activities Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. Injury can eventually develop. without allowing the resistance to pull your back into an arch or pull your arms behind you. Use abs to power overhead activities and to protect your shoulder and back. In baseball pitches and tennis serves. or cable pulleys. Don’t allow your arms to move or your neck to come forward. and the arched posture drops much weight on the low back. Hold both ends. for example. Turn your back. you can overload your shoulder or elbow. one in each hand.
abs not in use. Feel the pivot coming from your abs.The Ab RevolutionTM • Simulate throwing a ball with one arm. Abs in use to properly change back posture and power the throw. 81 . Push off your feet. and contract your abs so that your torso curls. Only then does the arm come forward. not just your shoulder. turn your hip. and body. back arched. Bad posture.
keeping your torso straight as a unit. and turn sideways. Hold both ends if you’re using bands. Practice moving your arms for common activities. or pull or push things — from laundry to dogs on a leash — use your abs. Try the motion of combing your hair (or washing your head. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Side and Underhand Arm Activities Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs (front and oblique). retraining yourself to use abs first. when reaching and lifting to the side. All the common arm exercises with dumbbells and pulleys can be retrained to use your abs first. you overload your shoulder. rubber tubing. stabilize the shoulder. or cable pulleys secured at about waist height. Keep your knees bent and turn from your hips. Contract your abs. When you use your arms to exercise on pulley machines. By not contracting your abs first and using your torso to power the move. or in a high brace in kayaking.Dr. This doesn’t happen just when swinging a tennis racquet. Reaching over the car seat for heavy items in the back seat frequently adds to rotator cuff injury. not twisting from your waist. if 82 . Swivel your body away from the resistance. Push off your feet. throw side pitches. Turn your hip. and to train them to hold your back posture against moving resistance. Turning at Varied Angles • Hold the band at a strong tension and face various angles toward and away from the band. Application to Daily Life: Learn to keep your torso and back posture correct during movement and exercise. Not using your abs for arm tasks is a common contributor to shoulder pain. and then initiate action with your arm. Turning Moves • Use a stretchy band. Bend your knees.
This simulates walking a dog. 83 . 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. writing on the board.The Ab RevolutionTM you’re bald). and anything else you need for daily life. brushing teeth. underhand and side pitches.
you hear much mention of “core” and “ab stabilization. Training Abs for Punching • Stand near a wall.Dr. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct and safe during punching in martial arts and boxing exercise classes. The fulcrum of the punch becomes the low back bones instead of the muscles of the abs and hip. Push increasingly hard. Maintain your slightly tucked posture. Stretch your arm forward in punching position. • Push the wall with your fist. Kickboxing classes are popular. You should feel the back pain disappear. It is also a sure sign that they cannot generate punching force. without bending your elbow. because their main core muscles are not driving the punching arm or leg. with your body in a slight curl. Don’t hit the wall. Keep hips tucked under. You’ll feel pressure. just rest your knuckles as if you had just hit the wall. Don’t hunch forward.” but when you watch them you see the arched postures that injure backs. 84 • • . Allow the push of your arm to arch your back. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Punching Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs (front and oblique) against quickly-moving resistance.) Fix your posture with your abs. In many video tapes. and a new strength in your punching arm. Practice your punch with the new supported posture. That puts your chin closer for your opponent hit it. as if beginning a crunch but not curling your neck forward. Don’t allow your back to arch at any point. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. maybe a familiar ache in your low back.
Push off your feet. but from the lower body. the arched torsos transmit force to the low back. and keep the contraction coming from your abs to push your torso and arm forward. they’d hurt their backs and not get much of a punch. turn your hips. Don’t arch your back In both the puncher and receiver above. If real fighters punched with this arched posture. exhale.The Ab RevolutionTM • • Punching should not initiate from the arm or shoulder. 85 . First tilt your hip to prevent arching by using your abs.
This can be done looping your band around something behind you. Contract abs first. • • • • • 86 . Keep your heels down when you punch. or cable pulleys. rubber tubing. Jolie Bookspan Train Abs for Punching Using Bands • Use a stretchy band. lever your arm forward into a powerful punch. Feel how to stabilize your body using your abs. Turn your back. Keep your arms in front of you. Breathe out. Increase tension on the band and still stand up straight.Dr. still holding both ends of the cord. Push off your feet and legs. using your abdomen as the fulcrum. or back-to-back with a partner holding bands looped around yours. turn your hip into the punch and then. with the middle secured around anything solid at shoulder height or above. Don’t let the cord pull you into an arch or pull your arms behind you.
(Don’t do this if you have back pain. • • Use the Ab Revolution principles when pushing heavy objects. tuck your hips. powerful moves. Begin pushing the wall with your hands. • Stand with both hands against a wall. Breathe in. 87 . Push increasingly hard. without bending your elbows. Allow the push of your arm to arch your back. use your hips and abdomen as the fulcrum.) Fix your posture with your abs. press off your feet. You will save your back and generate more pushing force. oblique. maybe the familiar ache in your low back. and breathe out as you lever your upper body forward in powerful pushing action. and transversus) against heavy resistance. safe torso and back posture during pushing and slow. You’ll feel pressure.The Ab RevolutionTM Using Abs For Pushing Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs (front. Application to Daily Life: Good. You should feel the back pain disappear and a new strength. as if beginning a crunch but not bending your neck. Keep your hip tucked under you. so your body is in a slight curl. Let your back arch.
That is bad for your back and puts your chin closer to your opponent to hit you. The same problems occur in exercise and martial arts classes during kicking as with punching and pushing. You’ll feel pressure. With the new supported posture. so that your body is in a slight curl. 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. as described in the previous sections. maybe a familiar ache in your low back from daily bad posture habits. • Let your back arch. Keep your hip tucked under. Maintain your slightly tucked-under posture. Don’t allow your back to arch at any point in your kick. • • 88 . You should feel the back pain disappear and a new strength in your kicking leg. Train Abs for Kicking Using Body Weight • Stand facing a wall at a distance to swing a front kick. The fulcrum of the kick becomes the low back joints instead of the muscles of the abdomen and hip.) Fix your posture by using your abs as if beginning a crunch. but not bending your neck forward. Begin pushing the wall with your foot without allowing your knee to give way. when using your legs. Don’t hunch forward or round your upper back. Application to Daily Life: Correct and safe torso and back posture during kicking and leg movement. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. practice kicking toward the wall and back to ready position.Dr. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Kicking Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs against quickly-moving resistance.
rubber tubing. and tucking enough to straighten your back without rounding it. Use this technique for kicks used in many sports. To train front kicks. breathe out. • Use a stretchy band. to swimming. Do not curl your upper body forward. to soccer. Contract your abs first. Push off your standing leg. Don’t let it pull your back into an arch. Train Abs for Front Kicking Using Bands These exercises can be done looping your band around something behind you. Keep your standing heel down when you kick. Put the bottom of your foot against the wall as if you had just kicked it sideways. Feel how to stabilize your body using abs to stand up straight. Feel the difference between letting your back arch. 89 . as you lever your leg forward into a powerful kick. Stand sideways to a wall at a distance to swing a side kick. Secure one end of the band or tubing handle around the outside leg. Using your abdomen as the fulcrum. Use your abs to hold your posture from arching during the kick. or cable pulleys secured around anything solid at about hip height or below. secure one end of the band or tubing handle around one leg and turn your back to the resistance of the band. from martial arts. Step away to put tension on the band.The Ab RevolutionTM • Try the same technique for a side kick. • • Train Abs for Side Kicking Using Bands • Turn to the side against the resistance of the band. or back to back with a partner holding bands looped around yours.
stand straight up and feel your abs working. Feel your torso straighten against the pull of the bag. (Don’t allow this to happen if you have back pain. You’ll feel pressure. not using your torso muscles to counter the pull. they allow their body to sag under the weight of things they carry. and to train them to hold your back posture when standing and carrying weight. and allowing your back to arch.Dr. you’ll notice that you arch your back under the weight of the bag. and Bags as Ab Exercise Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. or allowing your back to arch. but not bending your neck or body so much that you hunch or round forward. If you stand without using your abs. not hunched. If you lean forward against the weight of the bag. Stand sideways to see your profile in a mirror. Maintain upright posture. You should feel the back pain disappear. Try this: • Stand up wearing any heavy bag or backpack. Shoulder bags and backpacks don’t make you arch your back or have bad posture. 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. 90 . and maybe the old familiar ache in your low back. is the problem. • Remember to do this all the time with everything you carry. Jolie Bookspan Using Backpacks. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct when carrying common daily objects.) If you arch. Not only do people let their posture slouch under their own body weight. built-in ab exercise. Babies. Your bags can become a free.
instead of simply holding good posture by using your muscles. and bags as a free workout for your oblique abs and back. You could burn calories. you can eventually tighten your back and even deform your bones into a curve. when you can. and get an ab and back workout. Fix your posture by engaging your oblique abs to straighten your torso against the pull of the bag. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct when carrying common daily objects on one hip or shoulder. save your back. Try this while wearing a knapsack. or hiking your shoulder up. Even if you don’t have scoliosis.The Ab RevolutionTM Using Backpacks. not bent in any direction against the pull of the bag. Babies. This is preventable. People go to a gym to press sideways against a weight machine to work their obliques. • • Remember to do this all the time. 91 . and letting your torso sway to the side under the weight. or carrying a heavy handbag on one shoulder or hip: • Experiment with the difference between maintaining proper posture to hold the weight. holding a baby. Practice walking around with the knapsack and maintaining your upright posture. an abnormal sideways curve. and Bags as Oblique Ab Exercise Purpose of this Exercise: To work your oblique abs. Use packages. you can get a curve just like it from bad posture. Check your posture with a mirror. and to train them to hold your posture when carrying weight. with everything you carry. babies. knapsacks. If you habitually let your back curve to the side under the weight of things you carry. simply by holding good posture against the pull of your bags — no matter where you wear them.
92 . and sheer fun. It uses motions similar to those for “bicycling” but works muscles far more. 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.Dr.” mentioned on page 15. This is a silly and fun exercise. functionality. The “Ab Study. calorie burning. Also trains muscles to fight an attacker off. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs to Throw a Tantrum Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs more than you ever have. to train them to hold your back in proper position when doing vigorous movement. lists the bicycle as the top exercise for the front abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis). and to have a hilarious time doing it. and a hard and effective one. But it’s not a functional exercise because what else is it good for? This exercise beats it in effectiveness.
Pound the mat. in all directions. They get a fun and hard ab and back workout. and leave class happy and exhausted. You’ll feel your back. Remember that when you work your abs. No wonder children use this. and also work the difficult-to-target posterior shoulder. back and forth. Lift your arms high and back down. Kick hard. play loud music if it helps. “No! No! No! I won’t! You can’t make me do crunches! I don’t want to…!” Again. buttock. 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. Vigorously pound your fists and legs up and down against the floor and up in the air. 93 . you’ll be calm and happy. Don’t wrench yourself around. Fitness classes love this one. back and forth in all directions. and hamstring muscles get amazing exercise. and legs in the air. but get a workout. Lift arms.This is also useful to train for kicking and punching someone who has thrown you down.The Ab RevolutionTM • Lie on your back. Vigorously move them up and down. You’ll have had the workout of your life. you should work your back. Lift your knees. • Lie on your front. Go fast and furiously. upper body. hip. and kick hard. When you finish. if it helps. Yell if you want to. Lift your arms and legs up in the air.
Doing ab exercise does not work your back muscles. This forwardslouching posture slowly puts unhealthy pressure on back muscles. thinking it will make their backs injury-free. Using abdominal muscles moves your torso to reduce the large arch to keep strain off your back. doing conventional ab exercises. when used. prevents your upper body weight from slouching backward and pressuring your low back. when used. When your back is weak it can become so fatigued and strained at the end of the day from trying to hold up your body weight that it aches. adds to the “round-shoulder” problem that contributes to back pain in the first place. which contract your abs to round you forward. You need to add exercises that contract your back muscles — called back extension — to strengthen your back.Dr. and overstretches your back muscles. and to train you to hold your posture from slouching forward. But saying that ab exercise strengthens you back is not really true. 94 . Forward slouching slowly pressures your discs to bulge out. and nerves that exit the vertebrae. keep you from slouching forward. Keeping your back muscles. any more than doing kicks makes your arms strong. your back muscles. There are two serious problems with this. lengthened by poor posture weakens them. Abdominal muscles and back muscles are different muscles. Jolie Bookspan “Ab-Only” Exercises are Not Good Many people do only abdominal muscle exercises. To strengthen your back you have to work your back muscles with specific exercises that contract them. or any muscles. vertebrae. Just as your abs muscles. Slouching forward is a poor posture that people are usually very good at. Next. and spend a great portion of their day doing. or attend “abonly” exercises classes.
Hold and lower. • Lie face down.The Ab RevolutionTM Back Extension At the minimum. Gradually increase. Don’t tilt your head back. If you feel pinching or electric shock pain. then lower back to the floor. To progress. knee straight. do at least ten back extensions every day and when you do ab exercise. To progress. These exercises. It has thirty-one chapters on all aspects of fitness. Jolie Bookspan. are detailed in the new edition of the book “Health & Fitness in Plain English” also by Dr. Don’t force. hands at your sides and off the floor. health and joint pain. Work up from there. Slowly lift your upper body a few inches.healthylearning. move your arms from your sides to overhead. this is much-needed progress. Start with one or two lifts. this exercise is a mainstay of most back-strengthening and pain-reduction programs. If you aren’t used to exercising your back muscles. Lift with your muscles. and full explanations of relieving back and neck pain. don’t continue the exercises. This is not an injury. See your doctor. Beside giving you a beautiful back for bathing suit wear. that is right. Then switch legs. you may be sore after doing these. Don’t force or yank. Order online at www. • • For your lower back. 95 . lift one leg off the floor.95 (US). nutrition.com. lift both legs together. If you feel muscles working. Keep your head in line with your body. and sells for $24. or toll free from the publisher: 1-888-229-5745.
you need your abs working all day. Doing crunches or any other ab exercise. Why kill yourself working out. What is missed is that. every day.Dr. like your heart beating. is missing the whole point of what abs are supposed to do. sit. Flurries of articles are written on this. not just during your hour of worship. Jolie Bookspan Should You Work Your Abs Every Day or Every Other Day? It’s common for people to debate fiber type and fatigue. all-day workout. and reach well all the time. You’re also missing the easiest opportunity to burn calories and get a free. 96 . then not using abs to control your posture the rest of the day. allowing your upper body weight to press on your low back. Using your abs is like obeying the Ten Commandments: you’re supposed to do it all the time. then ignore your abs the other 23 hours a day and undo all your efforts? Stand. you wouldn’t need to go to a gym to do funny little crunches — not every day. and you’ll exercise your abs without working out. all the time to control your posture. nor every few days. to decide whether to exercise abs daily or intermittently. If you worked your abs all day.
including fat from your abdomen. and the repetitive act of chewing and swallowing lots of food would make your face thin. play. Get out and have fun. skate. Weight training builds muscle. speed skaters would have small legs. Aerobic exercise burns fat. dance.” Ab exercises alone will not remove fat from your abdomen. to keep it from arching and curving your abdomen out. and encourage arching so that you wind up standing with your abdomen curved out — just the opposite of what you wanted. skip. stick the behind out. run. jog. swim. ski. to use your abs for daily life. This fat comes from where it is stored. and that exercises often done in gyms tighten the hip. If spot reducing worked. dig. and move in general. row. Regular ab exercise alone won’t make you stand properly so that your back won’t arch and your abdomen won’t sag out. you need to run. 97 . walk. That means to lose fat. bike. which burns more calories.The Ab RevolutionTM How Do You Flatten Your Abdomen? Use your abs to change the curve of your back. people would have thin mouths from talking. That myth is called “spot reducing. No exercise selectively removes fat from a specific part. It’s a shame that many people deliberately stand arched. It’s not “sucking in” or “tightening”— it’s moving your torso into healthy position using Ab Revolution exercises.
98 . Next time you are standing around noticing your back hurts. Use the Ab Revolution to retrain your abs for ab exercise without going to a gym. Get out of the gym and use your body for real life moving. You’ll exercise your brain. You won’t see ripples if body fat covers everything. You’ll get a free. giving a “washboard” or “ripple” effect. 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. Use your abs to tip your hip back under you and lift your weight up and off your low back. The entire package of getting results includes proper abdominal exercise. and having fun. balancing. smash down on your low back. cutting out junk food. You’ll burn more calories. Doing good abdominal work will enlarge the muscles enough to poke through the facial bands. all-day workout. You’ll be a better exerciser. lifting. You’ll be straighter and taller. reaching. reduced fat under your skin (in order to see it all). and conscious use of abs all the time. It’s a revolution. continuous. and the weight of everything you lift and carry. healthful meals on a regular basis. Notice if you are letting your body weight. check if you are standing and moving in a way that is wrecking your back by not using your abs. Check if your belt or waistband tilts downward in front and up in back. You’ll save your back.Dr. complex carbohydrates. showing that you may be arching your back instead of holding straight posture. and water in your diet to fuel good workouts.
The Ab RevolutionTM 99 .
Jolie Bookspan More Praise for Dr.C.. Merck International Health Program Coordinator This is a book that everyone interested in good health and muscle tone should read — especially personal trainers! . Bookspan’s expertise..... Col. Tom Millington. It’s encouraging to know that. and eliminated chronic pain.Kelly Hill.T.D. thank you for constantly discrediting the myths that are all too often forced upon us. This is my stomach bible. Green Beret Lt. Bookspan’s Ab Revolution Continued from the back cover: You’ve done it again.J. I have lost weight. the brightest light in popular sports medicine. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital..Audrey Tannenbaum. C. . M. . M. I can develop my abs and improve my posture throughout the day. SWAT Team Commander Using Dr. . You’re my hero. Athletic Trainer and Maccabean Games Triathlon Gold Medalist. Bookspan’s revolutionary yet practical advice.C.Joni Lawrence. From Dr.D. Medical Director. Bookspan. built muscle. I developed my abs more in the last 3 months than in the past 3 years doing crunches. . PA Dr. St.S. M. cuts away the myths and falsehoods to lead the reader to understanding.Dr. A.S. CA 100 . by using them properly. From one professional to another. Horsham. .Ed.
M. Jolie Bookspan.D. Freeing the ‘crunchers’ from the boredom of useless exercise programs that are quickly abandoned. Dr.David Hsu.gulftel. Krug Life Sciences NASA 101 . The program is simple. Department of Anesthesiology. she has written an extremely interesting ‘do-ityourself’ exercise guide. Dr. .com/~scubadoc/ Whenever I have a question on rehab.D. Neurology. I turn to my friend and colleague. Stanford If I were to say something sage about exercise I am afraid that others will die laughing since my aversion to exercise is well known! I always wanted to have you as my personal trainer because you are the only person in the world who might get me to think otherwise about exercise. General Surgery www. Associate Professor. M. ..D.. M.. Chief Consultant. Jolie Bookspan has done it again! An expert at debunking ‘scientific’ bunk. I trust her for good sense and her solid background in exercise physiology. CHeCS Training Program.Ernest Campbell. 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. University of Texas Health Science Center. 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..Caroline Fife. Houston. sensible and highly effective. Ph. FACS.The Ab RevolutionTM Well. The book is highly recommended to read and keep as a reference source. .D. or want practical advice on fitness training or musculoskeletal complaints.
uhms.org uhms@uhms. illustrated.00 ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 www. and joint pain 371 pages.org uhms@uhms. $40.95 (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 www. nutrition.org uhms@uhms. $24.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: www. including board exam questions 226 pages.com Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 pages.org Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire field. Jolie Bookspan More Books by Dr.org 102 .Dr. $30. illustrated.healthylearning. Jolie Bookspan Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of fitness. health.uhms.uhms. $50.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: www.org Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages.
www.arttoday. Bookspan’s dedicated and hardworking students: Shelly Anthony Regina Basile Cynthia Brown Theresa Candelaria Emily Canon Louis Costa Dr.com Photo models for exercises are Dr. 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. Martin Dembitzer Angela and Andrea Fleegle Elsa Leung Rhonda McJeff Stacia Mellbourne Travis Mesman Sara Rathfon Danielle Tobin 103 .The Ab RevolutionTM Credits Cover model: Paul Plevakas Front cover photo: Julia Lehman.
About the Author Dr. she rehabbed using her own methods. A career military scientist. and most of everything else in an accident. and Northern Africa. As a researcher. she has a black belt in karate and 14 fights in the ring as an amateur kickboxer. . she was research physiologist for the United States Navy studying survival in extreme environments from undersea to climbing mountains to outer space — an interest that began as a child when she watched her grandfather walk barefoot over snow and ice to go ocean swimming every day. She doesn’t do crunches. was advisor to The Discovery Channel. Jolie Bookspan knows abs. After serving in the Army. and was professor of anatomy at a college in the mountains of Mexico. Harvard clinicians have called her “The St. Left paralyzed after breaking her back. she carried gear up and down the mountains and deserts of India. Asia. Jude of the Joints” in her private practice in sports medicine. and police and military training departments. swam to work in an underwater laboratory. Nepal. neck. where the entrance exam was getting up there without a nosebleed.
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