No More Crunches! No More Back Pain!

The Ab Revolution
By Dr. Jolie Bookspan


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

allowing it to arch too much.Dr. This can strain the back and will not give you good punching or kicking power Teacher is holding strong posture.) Can you spot the students not using abs in this Karate class? (First on the left and second from the right. 30 . (See pages 84 to 89 on punching and kicking for how. losing punching power and straining the back. Student is arching and slouching. 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.

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

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

Instead. Your packs become a free core muscle workout. this is it. creating strain on the back. relieving strain. Not using your abs lets you arch your back. it’s common to lean forward to rest the weight on your back. Packages Held In Back Backpacks and other things carried on your back don’t make you arch your back. This is not an unavoidable consequence of pregnancy. Back is arched in bad posture against the posterior load. use your ab and back muscles to hold your torso posture upright without leaning forward or arching back.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. 33 Abs are in use to keep the back from arching against the posterior load. With posterior loads like knapsacks. it is a lack of using abs. . 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.

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

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

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

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

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

To do leg lifts properly. to tilt your hips and maintain torso posture. 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. 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. Hip flexors are usually pretty strong and tight to begin with from sitting and overuse in exercise. use your abs. and never get a real ab workout by using abs to straighten their back and control this. To show you what arching feels like. leg lifts become an exercise that strains the back. and only works the muscles that lift your leg. Without taking the arch out of your back with your abs. increase the arch by lifting your ribs so that your back lifts off your hand. 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.” That is precisely what is wrong with this as an ab exercise: you never use your own abs to keep your back from arching. Try this: • Lie on your back with your legs out straight on the floor. called hip flexors. In this 39 • .

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM

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

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

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


Dr. Jolie Bookspan

What About Ab Isolators?

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


The Ab RevolutionTM

What About Ab Rocking Devices?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM 99 .

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

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

org uhms@uhms.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire uhms@uhms.00 ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages. Jolie Bookspan More Books by Dr.Dr. nutrition.uhms. illustrated.uhms.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: www. and joint pain 371 pages.healthylearning. Jolie Bookspan Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of fitness. including board exam questions 226 pages. $30. health.95 (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 uhms@uhms. $50. illustrated. $ 102 . $40.

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


and most of everything else in an accident. swam to work in an underwater laboratory. neck. and police and military training departments. 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. and was professor of anatomy at a college in the mountains of Mexico.About the Author Dr. After serving in the Army. and Northern Africa. where the entrance exam was getting up there without a nosebleed. she rehabbed using her own methods. Jolie Bookspan knows abs. As a researcher. she has a black belt in karate and 14 fights in the ring as an amateur kickboxer. Left paralyzed after breaking her back. Harvard clinicians have called her “The St. Jude of the Joints” in her private practice in sports medicine. Asia. was advisor to The Discovery Channel. she carried gear up and down the mountains and deserts of India. A career military scientist. . Nepal.

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