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The Ab Revolution
By Dr. Jolie Bookspan
How to Use Your ABS All the Time for Real Life
Burn calories, work your abs, and save your back while doing your everyday activities. Used by military and law enforcement and the nation’s top spine docs and rehab centers
© 2003 by Dr. Jolie Bookspan, Neck and Back Pain Sports Medicine. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author. ISBN: 1-4107-4528-7 (E-book) ISBN: 1-4107-4527-9 (Paperback) ISBN: 1-4107-4526-0 (Dust Jacket) Library of Congress Control Number: 2003092486 This book is printed on acid free paper.
Printed in the United States of America Bloomington, IN Nothing in this book is meant as specific medical advice or exercise instruction. See your physician, get training, and use your brain before attempting anything presented. The Ab Revolution™ Method, name, and information are trademarked and part of the Fitness Therapy series, including Lower Body Revolution. To teach or distribute this method in any way, contact the author for permissions and training materials.
1stBooks – rev. 7/28/03
To my Grandmother the Gypsy, who taught me to spot snake-oil, and who taught me about real exercise, posture, and health from my earliest years. She got her college degree at age 81. To her the highest things in life were education and Jack LaLane. To my mother who I promised I would find how to end back pain. To my students and patients who all really feel better and work their abs more using this method, and showed me how needed it is. To my wonderful husband and hero Paul. What beautiful abs you have, my dear.
.................................. 35 How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Legs........................................................................................... 25 How to Use Abs for Carrying Loads ...................................................... 9 What is Lordosis? ............................................................ 21 How to Use Your Abs When Standing Up................................................................................... 3 Using Abs Doesn’t Mean “Sucking Them In” or Making Them “Tight” ...................................... 19 What Are All the Muscles Called? ........................................ 17 But Aren’t You Supposed to Stick Your Behind Out?............................................................ 1 Why Do Abs? ............................................................................ iii Table of Contents ..................................................................................................................................................................................................... v Revolution! .................................................................................... 10 How Do Abs Help Your Back? .................. 4 What Exactly Do Abs Do? ......................................................................................................................... 36 Real Athletes Use Abs................................................ 12 What About the Ab Study?.......... 37 What About Ab Machines? ..........................Table of Contents Dedication.. 6 Abs are Your Guy Wires from the Front ..................................................................... 5 How Do Abs Control Posture? . 16 Doing Abs Doesn’t Automatically Change Posture or Back Pain................ 42 v ........ 34 How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Arms.......................... 23 How to Use Abs When Doing Other Exercises.................... 38 What About Leg Lifts? .................................. 32 How to Use Abs for Reaching................................................................................................................ 15 What’s Wrong with Crunches?........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 39 What About “Captain’s Chair?” .........................................
....................................................................................................76 Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture When Reaching and Lifting Overhead ................................................................................. and Bags as Oblique Ab Exercise........................................96 How Do You Flatten Your Abdomen?............90 Using Backpacks.....................................................................................................................................................91 Using Abs to Throw a Tantrum.................94 Should You Work Your Abs Every Day or Every Other Day?.................. Babies...................63 Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture.........................97 vi ...............61 How Many........................... Babies................................................................................... and Bags as Ab Exercise..............49 What About Exercise Balls?...................................60 What Exercises Work Your Abs the Way You Need For Real Life? ..........................................................................56 What About Ab Rocking Devices? ....58 What About Miracle Liquids and Fat Burners? ....................68 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture When Using Weights .................................................................................................47 What About Lower Abs and Reverse Crunches? ..88 Using Backpacks............................59 What About Neoprene Waist Bands?.....................................................................................................................................82 Using Abs for Punching ........................................................................62 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Normal Standing .....................87 Using Abs for Kicking .........71 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Reaching and Lifting Overhead ........................ How Often? ....................80 Using Abs for Side and Underhand Arm Activities ...............................92 “Ab-Only” Exercises are Not Good ...79 Using Abs for Throwing and Other Overhead Arm Activities ..................................................................Arching Isn’t the Culprit ..84 Using Abs For Pushing.....................................................................57 What About Electronic Ab Zapper Belts?........52 What About Ab Isolators? ...................44 What About Abdominal Twists? ........................................................................
...................................................................................................................... 98 More Praise for Dr.......................................................... 103 About the Author.........How Do You Get a “Washboard?”..... Bookspan’s Ab Revolution .... Jolie Bookspan.............................................................................................................................. 105 vii .. 100 More Books by Dr...... 102 Health & Fitness in Plain English.................................................................. 102 Credits......................
The old. Using abs is not “tightening them. But strengthening alone does not automatically change posture. It doesn’t happen automatically just from exercising. 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. Plenty of people with strong muscles and tight abs have terrible posture and persistent back pain. and thought to be healthy when it is not healthy. and which make your neck hurt. Most people have no idea what abs specifically do.The Ab RevolutionTM Revolution! This is a revolution in ab fitness. The very thing we regard as exercise advice. Shake up your entire thinking about abs.” You can’t move or breathe properly that way. “do three sets (or however many sets) of 10 crunches. and back pain. or even that you are supposed to at all. 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. poor posture. back pain. and tight muscles are a factor in headaches. you go back to your “real life” and stand. reach.” then never use the rest of the time. and lift with no use of your abs. Ab exercise has become hugely popularized as something you specially “do.” is the root of the problem because it separates using abs from the rest of your life. To most people. walk. usual ab exercises “miss the boat” because they don’t transfer skills to real life. The “experts” say to do crunches for strong muscles to “support” you. or movement in real-life activities. how to use them when standing up or during things you do in real life. 1 . Fitness has become “Fast Food” — stripped of real content and value. then stand up and walk away with arched posture and no use of abs at all. Then. It’s practically universal to see a roomful of exercisers cranking away doing ab exercise.
shoulders. You’ll burn calories.Dr. and legs too. arms. what they don’t do. three to five times a week. It teaches specific skills to make your life better. This book gives you an understanding of what abs really do. and teach you how your muscles need to work together in your real life. You’ll save your back. 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. This method revolutionizes how you think about abs and how you use them. but your back. You’ll strengthen your abs. not all the time. then throwing knives at each other the rest of the time. You’ll get exercise without going to a gym. It’s a revolution. You’ll exercise your brain. 2 . You’ll strengthen your body. They were told to be nice for 30 minutes. The exercises not only strengthen your abs.
Yet 8 out of 10 people still have back pain. or even know they are supposed to. But why? It’s “something” to do with helping the back. but never use their abs for real life. But exactly what? It’s something vague about “support. Poor posture is common.” or how. But what exactly do “abs” do for your back? It’s “something” to do with posture. everyone seems to want to “do abs”. They do abs in rehab programs for back pain.” What does “support” really mean? Most people don’t know what abs specifically “do.The Ab RevolutionTM Why Do Abs? More than other exercises. Why do the exercises so often “fail?” 3 . They think it just happens automatically. They do crunches in every workout.
even with “tight” abs. Move your arm around. It will change your whole way of thinking about abs. Try this: bend your elbow to bring your hand up to your face. Tightening is not how to use abs. yet they are incorrect and outdated. The tightening didn’t change anything. and it doesn’t teach you how to use your abs the way you need for sports. and are not the way to use your abs the way you need them. It wouldn’t change your posture. You voluntarily move your arm into the position you want by using the muscles. or normal daily activities. and pain-free. healthier.” You can’t function or exercise normally that way. Another often-repeated instruction is: “press your navel to your spine and contract your gluteal muscles. That’s why it’s a revolution in ab fitness. Moving your torso into good posture by using your torso muscles is the same. for good posture.” These are practically universal phrases to describe using abs. this is new and different. You can have poor posture and a terribly arched back. You didn’t tighten anything. Moreover.Dr. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs Doesn’t Mean “Sucking Them In” or Making Them “Tight” Using your abs does not mean “sucking them in” or “tightening them” or “pressing your navel to your spine. It’s voluntary movement to change the amount of bend and arch in your spine. Yes. not tightening them. exercise. or any muscles. Now arch your back and make the abs tight with your back still arched. walking around with “tight” muscles is a common factor in headache and stress/strainrelated muscle pain. and teach you exciting new skills to be fitter. You can’t breathe properly that way. 4 .
exaggerating the normal inward curve. 5 . your low back will sway. Most people only exercise their abs by hunching forward and sideways for a bunch of “repetitions. When you contract your abs. they pull your ribs and hips closer to each other in various directions and amounts. curling your torso and taking the arch out of your back. It doesn’t mean holding yourself rigidly. What does “support” exactly mean? When you stand up and don’t use your abdominal muscles. and across. The joints of your spine bend. it pulls on the bones it attaches to. allowing their ribs to lift up. on the front.” Then they stand and walk away with abs slack. and bends the joint. The Ab Revolution shows you how to use your abs standing up to save your back and get a free built-in ab work-out. When any muscle contracts. where each vertebra attaches to the one above and below it. and their back to arch.The Ab RevolutionTM What Exactly Do Abs Do? Most people use vague words like “support” to describe what abs do. and irritate the joints called vertebral facets. All your different ab muscles connect your ribs to your hips. sides. it means holding yourself up easily without slouching backward or to the sides. Contracting your abs just enough to take out excess arching when you’re standing up keeps your upper body weight from slumping onto your low back. protecting your joints and soft tissue. This can cause wear and tear on your soft tissues and discs. hips to drop down. Using abs means using them like any other muscle. This arching allows the weight of your upper body to press down on your low back.
But strengthening does not automatically “support” your back or change your posture. That is one big reason people slouch. where your front ab muscles attach. To understand what abs do for your posture when you use them properly. stand up and put one hand on the front of your ribs. Put your other hand on the front and middle of your hip bone where your front abs begin. 6 . If you don’t consciously use your muscles to hold you up. 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. They aren’t using their muscles to prevent it. you will sag under gravity. You have to voluntarily use your abs to change your posture.Dr.
The Ab RevolutionTM Still holding the top and bottom of your abs. That is what crunches do for you. draw your two hands toward each other. 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. They hunch you forward. You will even be shorter because of the increased curve in your spine. showing how slack ab muscles allow your back to arch. 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 distance between your hands increases. Your torso will curl and your back will round. Hold that position. arch your back and let your ribs lift and your abdomen curve out. 7 .
Jolie Bookspan To use your abs to pull you up to stand properly. not arching back. taller position. and stop the strain and wear and tear of dropping your upper body weight on your low back. they hold you from arching backward. When used properly. This is what abs do to control posture. Don’t curl so much that you round forward.Dr. 8 . bring your hands toward each other so the distance between your ribs and hips decreases. Use your abs at the length that holds you up in good posture. Your torso comes upright to a straightened.
but if you don’t voluntarily use them to pull you forward. You can have strong ab muscles. Just having strong muscles does not make them automatically pull the right amount at the right time. Use your “guy wire" muscles to keep you from sagging in bad posture. You can have strong back muscles. you will round forward in bad posture. you will arch backward in bad posture. They pull forward to keep your upper body weight from arching back and pressuring your low back. giving you that training. and train your brain to remember. they keep you from slouching forward. The Ab Revolution is the missing link. but if you don’t voluntarily use them to pull your shoulders back.The Ab RevolutionTM Abs are Your Guy Wires from the Front Like a guy wire keeping a tree from falling backward. 9 . The guy wires in back are your back muscles. When you use them. You have to train your muscles for that. abs keep you from arching backward.
Technically. and to use The Ab Revolution all the time during daily activities. and to reduce the overly-large arch that makes your back hurt. but is just a bad posture habit. If you habitually stand with your back arched. the word “lordosis” originally meant the normal inward curve of the low back.Dr. to bouncing around in aerobics. like human bonsai. by retraining your posture and use of your muscles to hold you in healthy position. unavoidable. “Sway back” is not a structural condition you are born with or “just have” (or want to have).” but if you look at them.” along with the usual (but incorrect) “tighten your abs. adding to back arching. from leg lifts. You’ll see this overly-arched (lordotic) posture in an astonishing number of fitness videos. They think this is something anatomic. It can create all kinds of back pain. which makes one backbone slip forward on the next. allowing the back to sway. If you have a condition called spondylolisthesis. 10 . or something that “just happens” to them like flu. to lifting weights. This is terrible posture and injurious to your back. this is all the more reason not to allow yourself to arch more this way. books. The video star may say “keep neutral spine. and classes. It has commonly come to mean too much inward curve. magazines. they arch their back and thrust out their behind in dozens of exercises. Lordosis is usually completely controllable by using your abs to keep your hip from tipping forward. Jolie Bookspan What is Lordosis? Many people with back pain are told they have a “condition” called lordosis. Chronically pressuring the bones and other structures of your back with this bad posture can eventually deform them. Use The Ab Revolution to avoid — even reverse — this. your back may become so tight that it gets stuck arched in the “booty-out” posture.
Lordosis can be easily controlled by straightening your posture using your own muscles. 11 . which pressures the low back.The Ab RevolutionTM This ancient Greek fresco shows the lordotic (overly-arched) posture.
Dr. Jolie Bookspan How Do Abs Help Your Back? People usually have some vague idea that abs have something to do with helping the back. Keep your palm upright. So. Try curling and straightening your body too as you do this. then. See the pinched and folded-back crease at the knuckle joints of your right hand? 12 . only your fingers arch back. bending your fingers back as far as they will go. But they don’t know specifically what abs do. or that abs don’t do it automatically. The back of your hand (facing right) is your back. With your left hand. You can have the strongest abs and never use them to do anything for your back. Bend your fingers forward to represent your abs at work. Lift your fingers back up again to simulate using your back muscles to straighten up. press against the fingers of your right hand. Your palm (facing left) is the front of your body. how do abs help your back? Try this: Hold your right hand up with your thumb toward you.
all the time. That is how you need to use your abs to control your posture when standing up — all day. 13 . Your fingers come back up into straight line. That shows the forces on your low back when you walk without using abs. every day. That is running with your back arched and not using your abs. with your ab muscles slack. The stretched palm of your hand represents your abdomen. use the muscles in the palm of your right hand to straighten your right hand against the push of your left. 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. 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. 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. Now bounce against your fingers quickly and hard. Ouch.
Did your ribs come up and your back arch? Fix that with your abs. they arch their back instead of straightening their shoulders. even when you are relaxed. To bring their head up. Stand against a wall or lie flat without a pillow to practice head and upper back posture. you need to work on upper back strengthening and flexibility. 14 . That is where your head should be for healthy posture. If your upper back and shoulders are so stiff that you can’t stand up straight without arching your back. too. Bring the back of your head against the wall. behind and shoulders touching the wall.Dr. Stretch the front of your shoulder so that it doesn’t pull forward into a roundshouldered posture. Jolie Bookspan A surprising number of people are so round-shouldered that they cannot stand up straight without arching their back. Try this: • • Stand against a wall with your heels. Don’t lift your chin. Practice keeping your shoulders and head back without arching your back to do it.
gives exercises that effectively use and develop your abs. None of the exercises they tested and recommend specifically train your body for daily use the way you really need them. Crunches don’t train that action. Posture and muscle use is not automatic. and shows you how to transfer posture and back pain control skills to your daily life. • • The Ab Revolution teaches a whole different approach to abdominal muscle use. pain. doing crunches and other forwardrounding ab exercises “work” your abs but are not a great way to do it. Simply strengthening a muscle will not automatically change your posture for proper use in sports or recreation.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. But the surveyors missed three basic concepts: • An exercise can work a muscle well. You don’t need to hunch forward for daily activities. Plenty of muscular people have poor posture. Just like smoking “works” to lose weight. but you do need to stand and walk upright without arching backward. Even if an exercise activates your ab muscles. Just strengthening a muscle does not train it for how you need to use it. 15 . Even if you don’t care about posture or back pain and want only cosmetic results. and bad movement habits. or for back pain control. but still promote bad posture and not be good for the rest of you. and are not good for the rest of you. the Ab Revolution will give you a better workout. it still may not be useful for things you need for daily life.
Look at crunches sideways and see what it would look like to stand up like this — like an old.Dr. In life. This is the poor posture you’re training with crunches. Crunches make people — who likely spend much of their day already hunched over a work area — practice that hunched posture. No wonder that doing 10 minutes of “abs” a day can’t counteract the other 23 hours and 50 minutes of non-use and wrong use. which may be mechanically promoting the back and neck pain they think they are working their abs to prevent. Crunches don’t train you how to use your abs the rest of the day. You know how the elderly got hunched over like that? They practiced. Jolie Bookspan What’s Wrong with Crunches? Crunches don’t work your abs the way you need for real life. Crunches promote poor posture. 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. Crunches don’t train you for that. bent-over person. even when done properly. 16 . instead of allowing you to arch back and lean your body weight onto your low back. your abs need to work isometrically — at one length — to hold your torso upright.
strengthening your abs does not make them do anything automatically to support your back. 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. including back muscles) to adjust your posture yourself. In the same way. or how many crunches you have done. no matter how muscular you are. 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 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. This is why doing crunches. You have to deliberately use your abs (and other posture muscles. make your mistakes until you remember. then you hold it even when you don’t feel like it. 17 . If you don’t. or rehab exercises — as exercises without concepts and the knowledge to apply it during real activities — does not often work as expected. You need to learn what to do. or “support” your arm. yoga. it doesn’t automatically hold your arm up in the air.
but he is still standing in poor posture with an overly-arched back.Dr. This is injurious to the back and loses the effectiveness of the exercise. Jolie Bookspan Having tight abs doesn’t fix your posture or help your back. 18 . His abs are plenty tight.
The Ab RevolutionTM But Aren’t You Supposed to Stick Your Behind Out? Some people deliberately push their behinds out. and discomfort. It is a sure sign that you cannot generate real force in your limbs for arm or leg activity. too. because your core muscles are not driving your limbs. interfering with normal walking and running mechanics. • • It changes the tilt of your hip. poor posture. poor use. eventually tightening them. Adding a barbell or overhead weights adds tremendous force. This bad posture has become so ingrained that many people think it is normal or desirable. smashing down on your low back. causing a vicious cycle of tightness. Without using your abs to keep your weight from arching back. You’re missing a free workout of your torso muscles. • It keeps the muscles in front of your hip and your low back in a shortened position. Just as some people think that holding a cigarette or other drug is “cool. even the weight of your upper body resting on your lower back bones is enough to strain soft tissue and grind bone and discs. thinking it looks good. and all your weight rests on your low back bones. 19 • . The “booty posture” is unhealthy and unsightly for several reasons: • • • It is plain bad posture. It is sloppy technique because it does not use your posture muscles properly. Your hips will have extra wear and tear and eventually hurt too.” they mistakenly think holding this bad posture is. It is unhealthy because it injures your back.
You will laugh often because this unfit posture is a pervasive problem in fitness. fitness and trimness. 20 . and even used to advertise for.Dr. Jolie Bookspan Advertisements use this bad posture because sex sells. Now you can laugh when you see “fitness” models shown standing or doing exercise with this sloppy. There’s no excuse for someone in fitness to display this lack of knowledge of health. 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. unhealthy posture. So does heroin.
Your oblique abdominals go diagonally across your sides. Rectus Abdominis The muscle straight up your front is your rectus abdominis. called external obliques. If you cross your arms over your abdomen. They connect to each other in places. your hands line up in the direction of the outer set.” 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. Not all the fibers run all the way up the muscle. or prevent bending backward. with three. Obliquus Externus “Oblique” means slanted. Your obliques work together in fun ways. abdominal muscle pulls ribs to hips to bend you forward or prevent arching backward. and work in combinations together. The outer external obliques on each side fuse together in a tough band in a nice line down your front. you bend forward. When you contract both. Contracting your front. in the opposite direction. They begin as broad muscles on each side of your lower eight ribs. or not straight. your 21 . under your rectus abs. When you contract your left external oblique. you twist to the right (or prevent twisting to the left). sometimes four intersections across it.The Ab RevolutionTM What Are All the Muscles Called? Ab muscles are named for their layout in your body. When the external oblique fibers on your right side contract. In this same manner you can use your right obliques to resist forces that would twist you to the right. which in Latin means “the straight abdominal. You can see these lines in people trim enough. or rectus. sixth and seventh) come together in front. they pull your right side closer to the middle of your pelvic bone so you twist to the left. If you put your fingertips at the top of your pants pockets. Obliquus Internus Your internal obliques lie under your external obliques.
22 . They begin at your hip bone and angle up and in to your lower three or four ribs. You can feel it when you breathe out as completely as you can. The left internal oblique twists you to the left. You don’t have to tighten them. So the right external and left internal oblique work together to twist you left. Just use them like other muscles to move your bones. Using Them All You don’t have to know the names of the muscles to use them. the transversus. Change your posture from arching back. a major purpose of this muscle is to help full exhalation. when you hold it tightly. you can’t breathe in fully or properly (belly breathing). goes across your abdomen to help compress it. save your back. After all. and get a workout just standing and moving properly. Moreover. You’ll have better posture. or sagging to the side during daily life and when you exercise. To protect your back. Your right internal oblique contracts to pull the middle of your ribs to your right hip. It’s not the case that just tightening the transversus like a girdle will support your lower back when lifting or sitting. Jolie Bookspan fingers assume the direction of the internal fibers. twisting you to the right. 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. Transversus Abdominis Your innermost and thinnest abdominal muscle. They all can resist forces that would make you want to slouch or twist in bad postures to the sides. Contracting them all helps you bend forward or prevent arching backward.Dr. The left external and right internal work together to twist right.
as if starting a crunch — just enough to reduce the large back arch. 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. You may feel the familiar ache you often get and don’t know why. That throws weight on their low back again and again. If you don’t have a mirror. You’ll keep a small inward curve.The Ab RevolutionTM How to Use Your Abs When Standing Up Most people can’t imagine using their abs standing up. • • • • 23 . try this: • Stand sideways and look in a mirror big enough to see your body. Allow your body weight to sag so that you exaggerate your low back arch. To understand what to do to use your abs in real life. using abs to move your torso upright. Keep this new posture all the time. Your stomach will curve out in front. every time they reach. tuck your behind under. Your torso is straight. Tuck your hips under and pull your upper body forward. Reach overhead. (Don’t do this if you have back pain). Feel a new strong middle. Allow your weight to press on your low back. Yet this is exactly what supports your back and prevents pain and injury during daily activities. Still reaching overhead. Many people stand with far too much lumbar curve because they are not using their abs. Did your back arch again? Did you let your hips move? Many people arch their back with no ab support. not learning backward or forward. pay close attention to what it feels like.
to washing your hair. 24 . improve your posture. to prevent over-arching.Dr. but don’t know they are supposed to use their abs in real life when standing up. be able to lift more. 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. Jolie Bookspan Use the Ab Revolution whenever you stand up and reach overhead — from pulling shirts off to reaching cabinets. You will save your back. and get a free all-day workout just from standing with your muscles in use. People do crunches all the time.
25 . other times a larger one. Same exercise done properly. Use your abs to tuck your hips enough to take the large arch out of your back. mistakenly thinking it looks good. Abs reduce the arch and control back posture. In either case. Hard on the back. Overhead Press Arching while lifting weight further compresses your low back.” Some people deliberately arch while exercising.The Ab RevolutionTM How to Use Abs When Doing Other Exercises Abs are often forgotten while doing other exercises that are not usually thought of as “for abs. Sometimes you use abs to make a small adjustment. Back arched. Abs not in use. it is not healthy. Bad posture.
Same exercise done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture. Bad posture on triceps curls. Jolie Bookspan Triceps Curls When doing triceps curls. Tuck under to straighten your back to keep the weight of your upper body plus the hand weights off your low back. instead of lifting arms while keeping posture neutral. You also miss the free ab workout you would get if you used abs to straighten your posture and save your back. people often arch their back to bring the weight back. You pressure your low back and get less arm exercise than you thought. The low back bears the weight. rather than the torso and arm muscles.Dr. Back arched. Abs not in use. 26 .
and save your back. 27 . Bad posture. That does not use the abs and is hard on the back.The Ab RevolutionTM Yoga Yoga won’t automatically “give” you good posture. use your abs to tuck your hips and reduce the arched posture to stand properly. Abs are often forgotten when doing yoga poses. Instead. Some styles of yoga even teach to deliberately stand in this arched position. Abs not in use. You have to consciously use your muscles to move you into good. get an ab workout. straight posture. Back overly-arched. Same pose done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture.
Abs not in use. Jolie Bookspan Bad posture.Dr. 28 . Back arched. Same pose done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture.
heads hanging. Tuck your hips and straighten your back (black shirt). The more you tuck. bad posture. and last white shirt in the picture below) means your abs are not in use. third.The Ab RevolutionTM Pushups Pushups with terrible arched posture (shown by the first. but don’t tuck so much that you hunch your back or hike your hips in the air. and lack of use of abs. and your back strains from hanging your weight on it in an arch. 29 . 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. Don’t do this for pushups or for standing up. the more you’ll use abs. This is common. but hold your head up too. You will save your back and make the pushup a terrific abs and core exercise.
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. Student is arching and slouching. losing punching power and straining the back.) They are not controlling their back posture. Jolie Bookspan Martial Arts You need your abs to straighten your back posture while doing many moves in martial arts. allowing it to arch too much. (See pages 84 to 89 on punching and kicking for how. 30 .
31 . and for doing the limbo dance. “Lat” Machines When using a weight machine to pull down a bar to your chest (lat pull-downs). to dodge flying objects and fists as in the movies “The Matrix” and “Spiderman. to take photographs from certain angles. It’s surprising how many fitness books and articles talk about posture for walking but still show someone walking with an overly-arched torso. Look at illustrations in books and magazines. You’ll get an ab workout and also get far more out of the exercise for your lats and chest. Many people allow too much arch. and see how often you’ll find this bad posture in illustrations and photos from fashion to exercise. Tuck your chest and hip as if starting a crunch to straighten up. Other Activities In many activities you need to lean back but still not arch. your chest will protrude outward into the line of the bowstring. Use abs to keep you sitting upright.The Ab RevolutionTM Walking You need to use your abs to keep your back from folding back in an arch during normal walking. You need a small natural inward curve to keep your spinal column like a spring for shock absorption. Archery Archery is an activity where using abs saves more than your back. and to keep forces distributed on your discs. You can painfully “twang” your breast with the bowstring.” to be dipped while ballroom dancing. If you arch when drawing a bow and arrow. Use good ab technique to keep your back from arching while leaning backward during windsurfing and water skiing. Hold good straight posture to keep your chest out of the line of the bowstring. which allows body weight to grind down on the low back and decreases natural shock absorption. not arched or leaning back. don’t arch your back. for “hiking out” to counterbalance sailboats in the wind.
Posture is good. . A surprising way to help your back is to strengthen your arms. straining the back. Remember not to lean back or arch when carrying loads. When your arms are weak. which puts the weight onto your low back. letting your low back take the brunt. it’s more tempting to rest a carried weight on your hip and lean back. You’ll feel your abs working to do that. This is avoidable. 32 Back is arched in bad posture against the anterior load. Maintain your posture upright against the load.Dr. it’s common to arch back and rest the weight of the load rest on your hip. Jolie Bookspan How to Use Abs for Carrying Loads Packages Held in Front When carrying anterior loads. held straight and upright against the anterior load of the drum.
it is a lack of using abs. relieving strain. this is it. Your packs become a free core muscle workout. creating strain on the back. Not using your abs lets you arch your back.The Ab RevolutionTM Pregnancy Lack of use of abs is common — even deliberately exaggerated — during pregnancy. Instead. With posterior loads like knapsacks. use your ab and back muscles to hold your torso posture upright without leaning forward or arching back. This is not an unavoidable consequence of pregnancy. or to let the bag pull you backward into an arch. it’s common to lean forward to rest the weight on your back. Of all times to use your abs to prevent the all-too-common change in back posture and the back pain that comes with it. Packages Held In Back Backpacks and other things carried on your back don’t make you arch your back. Back is arched in bad posture against the posterior load. . 33 Abs are in use to keep the back from arching against the posterior load.
and protection for your back. but with easy. Now picture people arching when reaching like this all day. Bad posture: back arched. Use this technique to get a better reach. packages. Jolie Bookspan How to Use Abs for Reaching People often arch their back when reaching for things. But what really happened was that they arched their back to lift their arm. and their hand points straight to the ceiling. . lifting the baby. supported motion. groceries. when you reach overhead. more exercise for your abs.Dr. You may notice that your arm doesn’t bend as high as you though because you’ve been using your back instead. They are checked as having normal shoulder range of motion. Picture this: someone with shoulder pain goes to the doctor who asks them to reach overhead. for shelves. They reach. using abs to straighten back posture. every day. Don’t lean back. Their shoulder really did not stretch that much. abs not in use 34 Same reach. pulling off shirts. combing hair. and at the gym to lift weights. Instead. straighten your torso with your abs. tucking your hip — not rigidly.
little stretch on arm. get a free ab workout. This adds to mysterious low back pain and never targets the area you think you stretched. using abs to straighten posture. Bad posture: back arched. and get a far better stretch in the shoulder. 35 Same stretch. . Keep your elbow lifted to the ceiling. With your arm still overhead. Try this: • • • Stand up and bend your arm overhead. This is also a missed opportunity to use your abs to keep the good posture you need to stretch properly. abs not in use. Don’t do this. letting your back arch. Feel the stretch move to your shoulder and triceps. You will save your back.The Ab RevolutionTM How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Arms People often arch their back when they stretch their arms. flex your trunk as if starting a “crunch” to straighten your torso.
Same stretch using abs to straighten posture. as if starting to do a crunch. Don’t do this bad posture when stretching: back arched. Try this: • • Stand on one leg and arch your back while you hold your other foot behind you. Jolie Bookspan How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Legs The quad stretch is another common stretch where you can lose the intended stretch and add to back pain by arching when you stretch. You won’t feel much stretch in your thigh. 36 . Drop your bent knee to point to the standing knee and push your foot away into your hand. Straighten your torso and push your behind forward. Don’t pull your foot in. work abs. Feel the stretch move to your thigh. little stretch on leg.Dr. and get a far better quad stretch. You save your back. abs not in use.
so the force of the punch is not levered into their low back.The Ab RevolutionTM Real Athletes Use Abs Here is good use of abs in basketball to hold the back posture straight. The white belt has not learned this yet. have properly changed the shape of their back by using their abs. 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. and power the block.
Tuck your hips under as if beginning a crunch. When you do this. Straightening your posture (bottom) puts abs highly in use and protects against back strain. and is injurious to your back. folding them like a hinge. Jolie Bookspan What About Ab Machines? Ab machines are often used in ways that don’t use the abs. Instead of an expensive machine. These machines can be used so that you use your abs. you can use two roller skates. you’ll instantly feel your abs in use. Don’t arch or hike your behind up in the air. or a simple wheel. to straighten your torso. If you use ab machines with an arched back (top). When you allow your back to arch. your body weight hangs on your low back vertebrae. 38 .Dr. This is ineffective as an ab exercise. your abs are not in good use and there is large strain. Keep your head up. One way to learn the hip tuck is to use a mirror to watch your posture in side view.
use your abs. leg lifts become an exercise that strains the back. increase the arch by lifting your ribs so that your back lifts off your hand. not your hands.” 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.The Ab RevolutionTM What About Leg Lifts? Most people allow the weight of their legs to arch and strain their low back. and only works the muscles that lift your leg. Leg Lifts Lying on Your Back People doing back-lying leg lifts are often taught to put their hands under their hips to “keep their back from arching. This is a missed ab opportunity. Without taking the arch out of your back with your abs. and never get a real ab workout by using abs to straighten their back and control this. In this 39 • . Put one hand under the small of your low back and feel the natural space. To show you what arching feels like. To do leg lifts properly. Tight hip flexors create problems. Hip flexors are usually pretty strong and tight to begin with from sitting and overuse in exercise. called hip flexors. to tilt your hips and maintain torso posture.
You will feel your abs working. you’ll learn to use your abs — not your hands — to change the tilt of your torso and hips. Try not to let them. Use The Ab Revolution to use your abs to tip your hips back under you into correct position. If your hips are tight. Keeping your abs in use to flatten the low back curve. Jolie Bookspan arched position. It can be injurious and does not use abs. • With this method. Chin Ups and Pulls Ups Many people stick out their behind and let their legs swing forward when doing chin ups and pull ups. 40 . Don’t let your back arch during any point of raising or lowering your legs. not allowing it to arch. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. pinching and straining your low back. Don’t let your back arch. Then. put your legs back down and press your low back against your hand. • 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. you’ll feel your thighs pull up. Hanging Leg Lifts When you do leg lifts hanging from a chinning bar. lift your legs just an inch or two above the floor. You’ll feel the weight of your legs arching your back more. doing a “reverse crunch” while hanging. lift your legs just an inch or two above the floor. First curl your hips under you. You’ll learn to use your abs to control your torso posture. don’t allow your back to arch. using your abs to flatten the arch. Don’t just bend at the hip and use hip flexors with your behind stuck out.) This is how many people do leg lifts. You’ll protect your back and get real ab exercise. while maintaining the curled position of your torso. lift your legs. and to keep your legs straight while raising and lowering.Dr. Keep your torso posture controlled with your abs as you lower your legs too.
so that you can use it for all your standing activities. When lifting your leg to the back from a stand or from your knees. Unfortunately. lifting one leg upward. Whenever you do leg lifts. It can be done lying face down and lifting legs. and use only your leg. or from a hands-and-knees position. use The Ab Revolution to get a far better ab workout and to learn how proper posture feels when controlling your torso. don’t let your back arch. back. and can also hurt your back. That reduces leg and back muscle involvement.The Ab RevolutionTM Back Leg Lifts Lifting your legs to the back is an excellent exercise for your back. standing up on one leg and lifting the other leg to the back. it is often done by arching the back. and gluteal muscles. 41 . and far more exercise for your back and leg. Leg lifts to the back contracts and strengthens back muscles. You’ll feel an immediate shift of work to your abs. Tuck your hips under to bring your back to a good straight position.
step after step — bang. Still. or “Captain’s Chair” was one of the top exercises found to produce high ab activity.) Arch your back and stick your behind out. The back pad makes it easier to maintain back posture without arching. Jolie Bookspan What About “Captain’s Chair?” In a recent survey. Now try it right. the problem is that Captain’s Chair is often done in a way that prevents good use of abs. In a Captain’s Chair you hang in the air by your forearms on two pads on either side of you. Captain’s Chair is like the old fashioned gymnast “stall bars” which were like a chinning bar against a climbing rack. Try this: • Hang from stall bars or a Captain’s Chair stand. Then they walk around all day with the same problem. Use your abs throughout the entire exercise to maintain your hip tuck when you raise and lower your legs. bang — all day. the hanging leg lift.Dr. bang. While hanging. When they swing their legs. They never learn to consciously use abs to control torso posture. without as much use of abs as they could. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. • First try it wrong. • • 42 . first curl your behind under you using your abs. You lift your legs with knees bent or straight. It will be fairly easy to lift your legs or knees. with your back against a pad and legs dangling free. Then lift your legs. People often make it easier by allowing their back to arch and using only hip flexors. they let their back arch. not allowing your back to arch. Imagine the forces accumulating on your low back.
You don’t need equipment — just a good friend. 43 .The Ab RevolutionTM It’s said that a problem with Captain’s Chair is that you need equipment.
Don’t crane or pinch your neck back. Jolie Bookspan Arching Isn’t the Culprit You are supposed to have a small inward curve in your low back. Try this: • Stand up. gymnastics. Let your upper body weight relax down until you feel your weight on your low back. Take the exaggerated arch out of your back. yoga. to hold your weight off your back: • Begin to arch your upper body back. but use your abs to hold weight up and off your low back. Don’t let your abs “go” or allow your weight to slump. For more on back extension. The problem is not using muscles to keep your upper body weight off your low back. as if starting a crunch. By holding your upper body weight with your abs. curving your abdomen out in front. you can lean and extend back without your weight pressing onto your low back. is not the problem in back pain and posture control. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. Allow your back to arch. The supported arch is important to use in tennis. and some people think they must never arch their back. It should be a good-feeling stretch. Relax your shoulders and keep them back. Many people don’t know to use their abs during these kinds of moves. by itself.Dr. and just allow their low back to fold backward under all their weight. and other activities. Try this again while bending your knees to tilt backward further. • Now try this to see how to arch with good range of motion and ab involvement. stretching. This is often confused. leaving a small natural curve. see pages 94 and 95.) Lift your weight up and off your low back by using your abs. Proper back extension is one of the most important exercises for back health. Arching your back. You should feel a good ab exercise and no back pain. • 44 .
Hold the weight of your legs up with your muscles. not your back joints. try Roman Chair ab training. 45 . or you can make your own on a sturdy surface to hold your lower body. Don’t hang your weight on your back. There are Roman Chair seats in many gyms. Strongly use your abs to decelerate as you extend backward. Supported Arching With Head and Handstands Use the ab-supported arch for headstands and handstands when you do them with an arch. Lift up to the straight position and hold without arching before repeating.The Ab RevolutionTM Supported Arching With Roman Chair Exercise As you progress.
Dr. Also practice using abs to do these poses with a straight torso. 46 . Jolie Bookspan Don’t allow the weight of your legs to fold your low back into an angle. to add to your ab workout. pressuring it.
Beside the poor neck posture from putting a bar across the shoulder. But many people do this exercise in a way that doesn’t work the abs and overtwists the back. such as swinging a bat or racquet. this exercise can work your muscles in the manner they need to work. This can eventually strain soft tissues. and overstretch fibrous attachments (tendons that hold muscles on bones and ligaments that hold your bones together). and to decelerate only with muscular effort.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. not letting the rotation twist you to the end of the range your back can twist. 47 . fray discs. a big problem is that people stop the momentum of the weight at the end of each rotation using their vertebral joints. For activities that require body knowledge of how to decelerate a swinging pivot. swinging limbs in martial arts . Make sure to understand how to stop the momentum by using your ab and torso muscles. or during various rodeo activities. The idea is that torso muscles would get exercise decelerating the swinging weight.
and go for the fun of the work. rather than in real-life movements. one way to do that is to use cable pulleys or a stretchy tube or band and pivot away from it. most people do not put much resistance on their band. 48 . thick band. One reason is because they used the tubing while bending forward. step away to increase tension while holding good posture. Also. Use a good. Jolie Bookspan If all you want is a pivoting ab exercise to work your abs. stepping farther and farther away to increase the tension. 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. There will be no momentum continuing the motion past the point where you pull the band.Dr.
The Ab RevolutionTM
What About Lower Abs and Reverse Crunches?
There’s much talk over what determines “upper” and “lower” abs, and what exercises “work” them. Try the following to understand how your muscles produce movement, and how that changes your posture. When you understand the muscle actions, you can make your own exercises to get a good workout using each to keep good posture. Upper Abs • Stand sideways and watch your torso movement in a mirror. Allow your upper body to arch back.
Both bad postures are not using upper abs (among other muscles), allowing the upper body to slump backward and downward. • To fix this bad posture, pull yourself back to proper upright standing posture by using your abs as if you were beginning a
Dr. Jolie Bookspan
crunch. Don’t your neck or torso forward, just come to straight upright posture. In general, this is upper ab action. Notice how some people lean back this way when walking, doing biceps curls, lifting weight, reaching overhead, taking photos, and whatever else they do. They are not using upper abs, they are missing a free ab workout, and they are adding to strain and wear and tear on their back. Lower Abs • Stick your behind out and tip the top of your hips forward so that your back arches, the front of your hip drops down, your leg bends at the fold where it meets your body, and your abdomen curves out.
Not using lower abs lets the hip tilt down, abdomen curve out, and lower body jut backward. This is hard on the back and hip. • To fix this poor posture, bring your behind forward by tucking your hip under so that the front crease of your hip straightens where it meets your leg. You will feel a slight upward stretch.
The Ab RevolutionTM
Don’t lean back or jut your hips forward. Just tuck enough to pull yourself into a strong upright posture. You will feel your lower abs pulling your front hip bone forward and upward. • To train lower abs while doing pull ups and chin ups, use the hip tuck described above and in the section on leg lifts. Hang from the bar and take the arch out of your back by using your abs to curl your hips under you. Don’t allow your body to swing forward or your back to arch as you pull up. Keep your torso posture controlled as you lower down too. It’s common to see people doing pull ups with their legs bent, their ribs jutting forward, and their back arched. They are missing a great opportunity to use their lower abs.
Notice how some people stick their hip and behind out when walking, doing aerobics and step class, stretching, lifting weights, and during other activities. They are not using lower abs, they are missing a free ab workout, and they are adding to strain and wear and tear on their back. Correct this posture and you’ll use your lower abs in an all-day “reverse crunch.” Fixing Posture Using Upper Abs and Lower Abs So, there’s a “not using upper abs” bad posture, and a “not using lower abs” bad posture. Both are unhealthy for your back. It is injurious to lift weights either way. They are sloppy postures because they do not use ab muscles for proper standing. It’s a shame that they have become mistaken for an attractive stance. They’re not. Whenever you notice your back aching when you’re standing around, notice if you’re standing with either bad posture — upper body leaning back and hips forward — or back arched and your behind stuck out — or both. Fix it using the Ab Revolution repositioning exercises. Don’t over-tuck so that you push your hips forward to look like the television character Urkel on “Family Matters.” Tuck only enough to take the extra arch from your low back and get your upper body weight off your low back. Don’t lean forward. Correct and straighten your posture, and you’ll burn more calories, stand taller, and get free, all-day exercise for both your upper and lower abs.
It’s how you use it. you use balance and stabilization muscles so that you don’t fall off.” “physio-roll. Based on that. and daily life. sturdy. It is also called “Swiss Ball. sports. Sit up. too.” and any number of trade names. Used without understanding. This is easily avoided by using your muscles deliberately to control posture. All the exercises here work your entire torso and back.” “therapy ball. Used properly. light-weight inflated ball that you can use in a large and inventive number of ways. Begin to walk your feet away and lie back until you’re lying as flat and straight as you can. with various moves that strengthen arms and legs.” “gym ball. The ball can be put to better use in a variety of functional exercises that strengthen and train your abs and other muscles to work the way you need for good posture. and use more body skills and muscles than doing the same exercise on a floor. and reinforces the same poor habits as other exercises. they are just another device that does little. Keep 52 .” Incrediball.Dr. exercise balls can be great. Try these: • Sit on the ball with good posture. Don’t arch or round your back. But you can sit on the ball with as poor posture and little effort as on most other surfaces. Because the surface of the ball is not flat and rolls under you. But this does not happen automatically. but not rigidly. expensive desk chairs are marketed with the ball as the sitting surface.” “rehab ball.” “balance ball. There are claims that the ball makes you sit properly or that you use more muscular effort to sit on it. 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. Jolie Bookspan What About Exercise Balls? The exercise ball is a large. chair or bench. 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.
Repeat. Hold as long as you can. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the ball. Hold. This works the back also. Roll to the other side without using your arms and repeat. Lie on your back on the floor. roll to one side and do one arm at a time. Step your feet away until the ball cradles your head and neck. Put both hands on the top surface of the ball and push up into a pushup position. biceps by ears. Lift your hips from the floor. Switch sides and repeat. and progress to being able to push up from the ball. Try side curls if you like. not your back. legs straight. Lift your hips from the floor. or with your arms already straight. As you advance. Keep straight torso posture without sagging or arching. Lift up one leg and hold as long as you can. Switch legs. For more. Roll onto your chest without using arms.The Ab RevolutionTM your back and neck straight. lifting upward without hunching to the front. 53 • • • • . You can start with your knees on the floor and then straighten your legs. lift both arms over your head. Keep the side of your feet on the floor. with the ball under your ankles. • Without using your arms. do pushups while holding proper posture. roll on the ball to lie on your side. Keep the same good posture as for proper standing. Roll onto your back without using arms. Keep the ball under your behind. Hold as long as you can. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or your behind hike into the air. Switch legs. Hold. Then lift one leg from the ball. and the ball close to your hip. To progress. Try lifting one leg at a time. Hold straight posture as long as you can. Very advanced? Lift both legs at once. not arched or bent forward. Lift one leg up straight and hold. This works the back also. Advanced? Hold a weight in your hands.
Lift one leg off the ball. Switch legs. 54 .Dr. Jolie Bookspan • Lie face down on the ball with both hands on the floor. abs not in good use. and strain on the back. Hold as long as you can. • Bad posture with back arched. walk on your hands. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or hike up in the air. Practice until you can hold the ball at your ankles. Hold the pushup position as above. do pushups in this position. Do pushups. rolling the ball down your body to your legs. As you progress. Good straight posture with abs in use to hold weight off the back. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or your behind hike up. Hold as long as you can.
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.
Jolie Bookspan What About Electronic Ab Zapper Belts? “Watch T. used in physical therapy to passively contract muscles atrophied from paralysis or wasting diseases. That’s just your normal metabolism at work. Other devices stems from electrical muscle stimulators (EMS). you would burn more calories than during the theoretical 15–30 minutes it would take to do the sit-ups.V. while motorized stomach vibrator burns more calories than 500 sit-ups a day?” “Use electronic stimulating muscle contractor to get gives more contractions than hundreds of sit ups?” Early consumer devices were little more than vibrators. They made claims comparing the relative number of calories burned in a longer time frame to a shorter one. with or without a vibrator strapped to your abdomen. but not enough to produce the results claimed. There is muscle contraction. These have been around for a long time.Dr. 58 . In two hours sitting in front of the television wearing the device.
When you exercise. biking. but takes a while to return to resting value. you increase your metabolism to meet your energy needs. Some products claim to give a workout so intense that you burn fat for hours after you finish. bike. Just don’t pay money for that. skating. They do not selectively find your fat cells and eliminate them. 59 . will burn more calories. and keep you happier and healthier in the long run. playing. Any product can truthfully claim to produce increased calorie burning after a workout. A good workout of dancing. no matter what device you use or what potion you drink. or swim will do the same. It slows when you stop exercising. because a nice run. whether you drink miracle potion or not.” First. Other products are pills tantalizingly called “fat burners. too. and heart trouble. The pills called “fat burners” are mostly stimulants. Metabolizing stored fat is part of your round-the-clock energy production for body functions. from nervousness and grouchiness. But don’t pay money for that because you burn fat 24 hours a day anyway as part of being alive.The Ab RevolutionTM What About Miracle Liquids and Fat Burners? Many products on the market claim to make you burn fat while you sleep. These stimulants can have harmful effects. to inability to exercise safely in the heat. everyone burns fat when they’re asleep — when they’re awake. 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.
leaving you temporarily smaller.” “flab zapper. You return to normal circumference fairly quickly. It has nothing to do with toning or supporting the muscles. 60 . or body fat loss.Dr.” and “waist shrinker. sweat loss. and other times called various intriguing names like “waist support. Jolie Bookspan What About Neoprene Waist Bands? A fairly popular product advertised to easily take off inches is sometimes billed as a secret scuba device. 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 is just a gimmick.” It is just a neoprene band to wear around the waist (or thighs). The band temporarily shrinks your circumference through simple compression.
and won’t help your posture. 61 . stand. or your life. what else can you do to train good ab use for posture. Most people can’t do these exercises for more than a few seconds. not bending forward. breathe in. then breathe out during the effort of the movement.The Ab RevolutionTM What Exercises Work Your Abs the Way You Need For Real Life? Beside standing and reaching properly all day every day. and good looks? The ab exercises you see everywhere in gyms get you good at hunching forward. But your abs need to work isometrically (at one length without moving) a great deal of the time in real life. No wonder their posture sags so badly by the end of the day and their muscles ache. You’ll learn exercises that work your abs in functional ways for postural control when you sit. More important than how many repetitions you do is understanding the concept. your back. run. and go out and have fun. don’t hold your breath. walk. They don’t have the ab strength and endurance to hold themselves straight. carry packages. back pain prevention. Doing repetitions and sets without that will not work your abs the way you need. do exercise. Gradually increase the time you hold good posture with these exercises. For the moving exercises. Breathe normally and fully when doing the isometric exercises. activities. The concepts and exercises follow in the next sections. You need to exercise your abs the way they normally should work. 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. That means radically different exercises from what you commonly see in gyms and on exercise videos.
their own body weight is so heavy relative to their ability that it provides enough resistance to build strength. don’t bang your joints around. use muscular control to avoid injury. for doing your activities. As they strengthen they can do more repetitions. Jolie Bookspan How Many. achy back. going about your normal day. Lifting a lighter weight for a long time builds your endurance. Or Fewer Harder Ones? Regularly lifting a weight that is so heavy that you can only lift it a few times builds your strength. for example pushups. 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. For many people. How Fast or Slow? Working your muscles slowly gets them good at slow movement. then gradually add external weight. That is good for carrying things and pushing cars (if you also trained to be strong enough). arch-preventing. Many Easier Ones. 62 . building both strength and endurance. and just getting through the day with good posture and without a tired. Start doing as many of each as you properly can. Practice your exercises both quickly and slowly to maximize your real life abilities. When going quickly. You need both for carrying things. Work up to more. How Often? How Many of Each Exercise Should You Do? Depends how many you can already do. catching falling objects or children. When To Do Ab Revolution Exercises? Use these back-saving. punching. It will not make you able to do fast movements needed for real life activities like throwing. When going slowly with weights don’t squeeze your joints or push them past their range.Dr. and when doing exercise. or anything where you need your strength in a fast move. core posture exercises all the time when you are standing up.
then you need to strengthen them too — not ruin your elbow joints.” Take the arch out of your back and straighten your torso. so that your weight rests on your vertebrae. Tuck your hips under and you’ll feel an immediate shift of the work to your abs and “core. straight posture you need for standing up. If your arms are too weak to hold you. including the important weak link. Using The Ab Revolution. Don’t let your back arch during any part of your pushup and you can emphasize both core stability and upper and lower body strength. keep them slightly bent. arch your back. and to train them to prevent your back from arching under gravity resistance. not your “core” muscles. Application to Daily Life: Learn and practice the easy. Wobbling after only a few seconds? These are the same posture muscles you need to stand up properly without 63 • . To protect your back during the exercise and make the exercise more effective and more targeted to the abs. This is a missed opportunity to strengthen your core and is hard on your back. Hold your head up. Keep your weight on your whole hand. and have the ab strength and endurance to do it. the pushup is a prize exercise for most of your body. or hike your hips up in the air. wrists and arms. don’t just mash your wrists. Holding the Pushup Position • Hold the pushup position as long as you can. Be straight as a plank. A common mistake is letting your back arch like the back of an old horse when doing pushups.The Ab RevolutionTM Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Normal Standing Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. • Don’t lock your elbows straight. Don’t droop down.
Jolie Bookspan sagging. back straight and head up. • • • Hold the pushup position and lift one leg in back and the opposite arm straight out in front. You'll feel your abs work immediately. “How To Use Your Abs When Standing Up. Progressions For Holding Position • Hold the pushup position as long as you can and lift one leg straight up in back without arching your back. Work up to increasing the time you can hold your posture as straight you would want when standing up. No sagging. Keep your whole body straight as a 64 . Use a lower ledge to work abs more. 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. Vary your hand positioning. and a higher one to work arms more. Keep hips tucked.” Tuck your hip to hold your back straight. without arching. Hold the pushup position on your elbows. • If you can’t figure how to tuck your hips under you. stand up again and relearn the posture exercise on page 23.Dr.
The Ab RevolutionTM plank. 65 . don’t let your middle sag. Stay flat throughout. Don’t let your upper body lift up before your lower body. Try curls. Second and third are flatter and straighter. and other lifts too. • Do full pushups using your abs to keep your hips tucked as if starting a crunch. The wrist is one of the three major risk sites of osteoporosis. two more benefits of Ab Revolution exercises. Weight bearing improves bone density and strength. Moving Pushups • Hold the pushup position on one arm and lift a hand weight from the floor to your chest with the other (like rowing) keeping straight body position. First from left is holding hips slightly bent and hiked in the air.
Tuck your hips and chest down as if starting a crunch. Do full pushups with your feet up on a bench or wall. Keep hips tucked and prevent any arching with your abs. Lower to the floor holding your body just as straight. Jolie Bookspan • Rise from the floor in a reverse pushup. • • Adding extra weight means using more ab and other core muscles 66 . and elbows bent at your sides. Don’t let your posture sag. Add a weight to your back during pushups. Lie flat with hands on the floor. Have a friend sit on your back when you do pushups – carefully. Maintain the same posture you would want if you were standing up. Increased resistance increases your strength and adds a posture challenge.Dr. and repeat. and lift straight up with your arms without letting your upper body rise first. not even a little. Don’t arch or hike up your behind.
Jump to say hello to someone.” Experiment with various leg placement. balance. Walk sideways. while getting an effective. Jump sideways across the room. More Challenge Moves • As you advance. Jump to the next piece of exercise equipment. Don’t allow your back to arch under the momentum of landing. and leg muscles hard. See if you can jump 90 degrees (or more) with each jump to face each direction. Have fun. Use good shock absorption with arms and legs. Tuck your hips under as if starting a crunch to keep your back straight. sometimes called “The Flag. • “Spiders” work torso. Maintain the same posture you would want if you were standing up.The Ab RevolutionTM to keep posture good and your back protected. Walking and Jumping Pushups To challenge your strength. Stay straight. forward. and posture control. Jump in the pushup position like a flat jumping spider. hard workout. Walk quickly and slowly. They are effective and safe if you protect your back with good posture and shock absorption. try this move. arm. and around. 67 . backward. try these fun and effective variations: • Walk around in the pushup position like a flat spider.
Many people let their bodies slump to the side. 68 . Learn to use your oblique abs to prevent this. holding your body straight without drooping in the middle. Holding Side Pushup Position • Hold the pushup position and turn to one side. Jolie Bookspan Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture Purpose of this Exercise: To work your oblique abs.Dr. Do both sides. and have the strength and endurance to maintain it. Keep your elbow slightly bent. and to train them to hold your posture correctly against resistance. don’t lock it. Lift one arm and balance on the other arm. or hike their shoulder or hip up when carrying things on one shoulder or hip. Keep your weight on your whole hand so you don’t mash your wrist. or even just when standing up. Save your elbow joint and get an arm workout. Application to Daily Life: Learn to prevent your torso from slouching to the side when standing.
The Ab RevolutionTM Progressions for Holding Position • Prop on one elbow. Don’t rotate your body. with your bicep by your ear. To progress. hold your arm straight in front of you. or up against the wall. lift one arm behind your back. Keep straight pushup position. 69 . To progress. Without turning your body. Progress to putting your feet up on a ledge or bench. with both arms on the floor. • Hold the regular pushup position face down. raise the opposite leg too.
while holding one leg straight out to the side 70 . not turned or arched. Moving in the Side Arm Position • Raise and lower your top leg from the floor as many times as you can. Hold your weight up using abs when lowering. Next. Hold as long as you can and switch legs. not drooping down. Then bend the top leg at the hip and hold in front of you. Fun Challenge Moves • Hold a regular face-down pushup position. do the same sip. • Hold the side arm position and dip your hip almost to the floor and raise back up as many times as you can. Keep your body flat. as if swinging it over a bicycle. Switch arms.Dr. raise your top leg and hold as long as you can. holding your top leg off the floor. don’t drop on the floor. Then try pushups this way. Jolie Bookspan • In the side position. maintaining straight torso posture. Keep your leg straight and parallel to the floor. then try continuously switching. Lift one leg 90 degrees to the side and forward.
• As you advance. 71 .” Experiment with leg placement. add lifting the opposite arm. sometimes called “The Flag.The Ab RevolutionTM • When you can hold your leg out straight to the side. try this.
but can teach you how to forget your torso muscles in ways that can lead to back and even shoulder injury. This is called functional exercise. Don’t lift your hips.Dr. Contract your abs to hold your torso straight without allowing your back to arch from the floor. Arch your back up. You need to exercise using the same movements and muscle patterns as you use in real life. Did your back arch off your hand again? Press it back down. You’ll feel your abs working right under your skin. improve shoulder range of motion. • • 72 . Put your other arm overhead just off the floor. just isolating your arms is not only not functional. • To feel how to use abs to reduce the arch and control your torso. and use abs. since ab muscles are shallow. biceps near your ears. biceps by your ear. Application to Daily Life: Learn and practice holding your back in good posture during overhead movement and exercise. press your back down against your hand. as the lever when reaching overhead. just an inch off the floor. Put your hand on the floor under the arch of your back. not shoulder or low back. When you lift weights with your arms. Using Body Weight • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. and to use them to hold correct posture against overhead resistance. To learn when you’re substituting arching your back for motion of the shoulder. Now put both hands overhead. just use your abs. lifting your ribs high so you know what it feels like. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs to Control Torso Posture When Using Weights Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs.
particularly when lowering the weights. Don’t let it. holding light dumbbells (5 to 10 pounds each) in each hand overhead. Use your abs to keep your lower back from rising off the floor at any time. or allow yourself to arch and let the weight drop on the joints of your back. • Each time the weight lowers. 73 . and work your body the way you need for real life movement. This simulates all the daily life activities where you will either support your body and things you carry with your muscles. your back will want to arch. Use abs to hold your back in position without arching. Keep your elbows slightly bent.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. about an inch from the floor. as many times as you can without touching the floor. Don’t let your ribs come up or your back arch. Holding the weights also works your arms and latissimus dorsi muscles along the sides of your back. • Lie on your back. Your abdominal muscles work hard on this one to control your posture against the moving weight. Moving With Hand Weights • Raise and lower the dumbbells about an inch. You get several exercises for the price of one.
and retrain your muscles to hold your body properly. There will be a small space under your low back. Jolie Bookspan To Progress • Extend your legs out straight. bent hip. but not a large arch. control your posture with what you learned from this lying-down training exercise. Their hips get so tight that they even need a pillow under their knees to sleep. strengthen. What they need is to stretch the front of their hip so their hip and legs can extend properly. then exercise that way too. You can’t walk or move properly in real life with your knees and hips bent that much. Many people have hips so tight that they can’t straighten their legs without their back being pulled into a large arch. This is where you stretch. When you do standing weight lifting. If you allow your back to arch.Dr. the force of the moving weight comes crashing down on your low back. and. Keep your abs contracted so that your back does not pull into an arch. and how to retrain everything for safe. but don’t. pain. effective movement all the time. an arched back just to stand up straight. as you have practiced in this exercise above. But it is your own muscles that should do that for you. You would never learn to use your muscles the way you really need them when standing up. 74 . Yet many people do keep their hip bent all the time when standing. how your posture needs to be. • You may need to stretch your front hip muscles (flexors) so that you can straighten your legs without your low back being pulled into an arch. 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 Ab Revolution teaches you to understand how your muscles need to move. Carry-Over to Real Life Think of all the exercises that involve lifting weights overhead — exercises where you should stand without arching. which feeds a negative cycle of tight hip. ironically.
The Ab RevolutionTM Use your own muscles. 75 . but all day when you really need it — standing up. If you use your abs for posture adjustment during all your standing movements. not just bending your knees to control your posture. this exercise will not only work your abs for the moment.
putting cargo on car roof racks.Dr. Keep your abs in use to prevent arching. • Reach overhead again. but not curling forward or bending your neck. Using Body Weight • Stand up and reach overhead with both hands. Keep your hip tucked under you. allow their upper body weight to pressure their low back many times a day: reaching. This is when many people have no concept of abs and. Using Hand Weights and Packages • Lift weights overhead. and whenever you lift and reach. putting things on shelves. but just until your body is straight and supported. lifting heavy packages onto counters. when reaching and lifting overhead. pulling shirts off. but not curling forward or bending your neck. and even combing and washing hair. Keep your torso from increasing the arch. lifting babies and children overhead. 76 . putting away groceries. Not in an exaggerated way. Application to Daily Life: To train your abs and brain to hold your torso and back posture during movement and exercise. as if beginning a crunch. Did your ribs come up and your back arch?Tuck your hip under you to prevent over-arching. because of that. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Reaching and Lifting Overhead Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. no matter what. Transfer these skills to keeping healthy torso posture for common activities like lifting trays. and correct your posture. Wave your arms around. and to train them to hold your back posture against resistance. Keep your abs in use as if you were beginning a crunch.
Same lift with abs in use to straighten posture and protect the back. 77 . Abs not in use for lifting.The Ab RevolutionTM All are arched in bad posture.
Lift arms overhead. Same exercise with abs in use to straighten posture and exercise against the pull of the bands 78 . Bad posture.Dr. controlling your posture with abs. Hold one end in each hand. abs not in use. Jolie Bookspan Using Bands or Cable Pulleys • Use cable pulleys or tie the middle of a stretchy band or tube securely at head height or above. Don’t let your arms pull behind you. back arched. This is also fun to do with a partner. This simulates keeping your posture against gravity and loads that you carry in daily life. • Try various arm exercises and movements while controlling your torso with your abs. Step away until there is tension on the band. Turn your back.
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. • Many Variations • Do side curls. Hold your torso stable against the sideways pull of the stretchy cord. • • Move away until there is more tension on the band. facing sideways to the band. Walk around keeping your torso stable against the changing pull of the band. Using Bands and Pulleys • Use a stretchy band. Don’t pull your arms to the sides. Hold both ends and turn sideways. Try it with and without bands. and holding the band in front of your chest. and to train them to hold your back posture against resistance. to get started — secured at about shoulder height. 79 . tubing. Use a hula-hoop. use your abs to move your body to the side. Maintain good posture. Feel how to stabilize your body using your oblique abs. and do side curls. pulleys — or even a pair of panty hose. Don’t let the band pull you into poor posture. hold both arms overhead with your biceps against your ears. • • • To progress. Application to Daily Life: Holding your torso and back posture correctly to avoid strain and slouching to the side when reaching and lifting overhead.
Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Throwing and Other Overhead Arm Activities Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. your torso and legs should power most of it. for example. Injury can eventually develop. The fulcrum of the swing becomes the shoulder joint instead of the muscles of the abs and hip. by not contracting your abs first and using your torso to power the move. Turn your back. one in each hand. Hold both ends. But many people just arch their back and fling their arm. and the arched posture drops much weight on the low back. Hold both arms overhead with your biceps to your ears. Pivot your body from your abs. In baseball pitches and tennis serves. When throwing and punching properly. Application to Daily Life: Train torso and back posture during speed and power movement. you can overload your shoulder or elbow.Dr. and when throwing and moving arms overhead. • • Move away to put more tension on the band and still stand up straight. Try the action of doing crunches standing up to get the idea of initiating arm action with your abs first. 80 . Don’t allow your arms to move or your neck to come forward. Use abs to power overhead activities and to protect your shoulder and back. or cable pulleys. and to train them to hold your back posture against rapid onset resistance. Feel how to stabilize your body and stand straight using your abs. Using Bands or Cables • Use a stretchy band or rubber tubing with the middle secured at about shoulder height. without allowing the resistance to pull your back into an arch or pull your arms behind you.
abs not in use. and contract your abs so that your torso curls. not just your shoulder. Abs in use to properly change back posture and power the throw. 81 . and body. Feel the pivot coming from your abs. turn your hip. Push off your feet.The Ab RevolutionTM • Simulate throwing a ball with one arm. Only then does the arm come forward. back arched. Bad posture.
stabilize the shoulder. not twisting from your waist. Hold both ends if you’re using bands. or cable pulleys secured at about waist height. All the common arm exercises with dumbbells and pulleys can be retrained to use your abs first. Turning at Varied Angles • Hold the band at a strong tension and face various angles toward and away from the band. Practice moving your arms for common activities. rubber tubing. and turn sideways. Bend your knees. or in a high brace in kayaking. retraining yourself to use abs first. and then initiate action with your arm. when reaching and lifting to the side. Not using your abs for arm tasks is a common contributor to shoulder pain. throw side pitches. Try the motion of combing your hair (or washing your head. keeping your torso straight as a unit. you overload your shoulder.Dr. When you use your arms to exercise on pulley machines. Contract your abs. By not contracting your abs first and using your torso to power the move. Turning Moves • Use a stretchy band. and to train them to hold your back posture against moving resistance. if 82 . Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Side and Underhand Arm Activities Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs (front and oblique). or pull or push things — from laundry to dogs on a leash — use your abs. Push off your feet. Swivel your body away from the resistance. Turn your hip. Reaching over the car seat for heavy items in the back seat frequently adds to rotator cuff injury. This doesn’t happen just when swinging a tennis racquet. Application to Daily Life: Learn to keep your torso and back posture correct during movement and exercise. Keep your knees bent and turn from your hips.
hanging up clothes.The Ab RevolutionTM you’re bald). underhand and side pitches. This simulates walking a dog. Moving Stabilization Drills • Have a friend hold the other end of the band and pull you in odd directions while you practice torso stabilization. and anything else you need for daily life. brushing teeth. writing on the board. or carrying packages and a squirming baby while trying to get in the door. 83 .
Kickboxing classes are popular. That puts your chin closer for your opponent hit it. Keep hips tucked under. Practice your punch with the new supported posture. Training Abs for Punching • Stand near a wall. Allow the push of your arm to arch your back. maybe a familiar ache in your low back. just rest your knuckles as if you had just hit the wall. Push increasingly hard. It is also a sure sign that they cannot generate punching force. without bending your elbow.Dr. You should feel the back pain disappear. You’ll feel pressure. as if beginning a crunch but not curling your neck forward. Maintain your slightly tucked posture. Stretch your arm forward in punching position.) Fix your posture with your abs. and a new strength in your punching arm. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Punching Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs (front and oblique) against quickly-moving resistance. with your body in a slight curl. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. Don’t hit the wall. Don’t allow your back to arch at any point. In many video tapes. Don’t hunch forward. The fulcrum of the punch becomes the low back bones instead of the muscles of the abs and hip.” but when you watch them you see the arched postures that injure backs. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct and safe during punching in martial arts and boxing exercise classes. 84 • • . • Push the wall with your fist. because their main core muscles are not driving the punching arm or leg. you hear much mention of “core” and “ab stabilization.
85 . the arched torsos transmit force to the low back. and keep the contraction coming from your abs to push your torso and arm forward. Don’t arch your back In both the puncher and receiver above.The Ab RevolutionTM • • Punching should not initiate from the arm or shoulder. turn your hips. but from the lower body. they’d hurt their backs and not get much of a punch. First tilt your hip to prevent arching by using your abs. exhale. Push off your feet. If real fighters punched with this arched posture.
or cable pulleys. rubber tubing. still holding both ends of the cord. Increase tension on the band and still stand up straight. This can be done looping your band around something behind you. Feel how to stabilize your body using your abs. lever your arm forward into a powerful punch. turn your hip into the punch and then.Dr. Keep your heels down when you punch. Contract abs first. • • • • • 86 . Jolie Bookspan Train Abs for Punching Using Bands • Use a stretchy band. Push off your feet and legs. or back-to-back with a partner holding bands looped around yours. Turn your back. Keep your arms in front of you. with the middle secured around anything solid at shoulder height or above. Breathe out. using your abdomen as the fulcrum. Don’t let the cord pull you into an arch or pull your arms behind you.
87 . Keep your hip tucked under you. powerful moves. use your hips and abdomen as the fulcrum. tuck your hips. maybe the familiar ache in your low back. as if beginning a crunch but not bending your neck. and breathe out as you lever your upper body forward in powerful pushing action. You’ll feel pressure. Let your back arch. Begin pushing the wall with your hands. oblique. press off your feet.The Ab RevolutionTM Using Abs For Pushing Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs (front. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. so your body is in a slight curl. Allow the push of your arm to arch your back. Breathe in.) Fix your posture with your abs. Application to Daily Life: Good. • • Use the Ab Revolution principles when pushing heavy objects. Push increasingly hard. You should feel the back pain disappear and a new strength. safe torso and back posture during pushing and slow. • Stand with both hands against a wall. without bending your elbows. You will save your back and generate more pushing force. and transversus) against heavy resistance.
Maintain your slightly tucked-under posture. The same problems occur in exercise and martial arts classes during kicking as with punching and pushing. but not bending your neck forward. Train Abs for Kicking Using Body Weight • Stand facing a wall at a distance to swing a front kick. when using your legs. You’ll feel pressure. People allow their back to arch and they just swing their leg around. Begin pushing the wall with your foot without allowing your knee to give way. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. practice kicking toward the wall and back to ready position.) Fix your posture by using your abs as if beginning a crunch. Application to Daily Life: Correct and safe torso and back posture during kicking and leg movement. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Kicking Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs against quickly-moving resistance. so that your body is in a slight curl. • Let your back arch. Keep your hip tucked under. Put the bottom of your foot against the wall as if you just kicked it. maybe a familiar ache in your low back from daily bad posture habits. Don’t hunch forward or round your upper back. The fulcrum of the kick becomes the low back joints instead of the muscles of the abdomen and hip. With the new supported posture. You should feel the back pain disappear and a new strength in your kicking leg. • • 88 . Don’t allow your back to arch at any point in your kick.Dr. as described in the previous sections. That is bad for your back and puts your chin closer to your opponent to hit you.
as you lever your leg forward into a powerful kick. Use this technique for kicks used in many sports. secure one end of the band or tubing handle around one leg and turn your back to the resistance of the band. or cable pulleys secured around anything solid at about hip height or below. from martial arts.The Ab RevolutionTM • Try the same technique for a side kick. 89 . to swimming. • • Train Abs for Side Kicking Using Bands • Turn to the side against the resistance of the band. to soccer. Do not curl your upper body forward. or back to back with a partner holding bands looped around yours. Feel the difference between letting your back arch. Secure one end of the band or tubing handle around the outside leg. Use your abs to hold your posture from arching during the kick. To train front kicks. Train Abs for Front Kicking Using Bands These exercises can be done looping your band around something behind you. Using your abdomen as the fulcrum. rubber tubing. Push off your standing leg. breathe out. and tucking enough to straighten your back without rounding it. Keep your standing heel down when you kick. Put the bottom of your foot against the wall as if you had just kicked it sideways. Stand sideways to a wall at a distance to swing a side kick. Feel how to stabilize your body using abs to stand up straight. Step away to put tension on the band. • Use a stretchy band. Contract your abs first. Don’t let it pull your back into an arch.
but not bending your neck or body so much that you hunch or round forward. you’ll notice that you arch your back under the weight of the bag. and allowing your back to arch. Babies. built-in ab exercise. stand straight up and feel your abs working. or allowing your back to arch. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct when carrying common daily objects. You’ll feel pressure. (Don’t allow this to happen if you have back pain. Stand sideways to see your profile in a mirror. Feel your torso straighten against the pull of the bag. they allow their body to sag under the weight of things they carry. 90 . Your bags can become a free. Try this: • Stand up wearing any heavy bag or backpack. If you stand without using your abs. and maybe the old familiar ache in your low back. Jolie Bookspan Using Backpacks. and to train them to hold your back posture when standing and carrying weight. and Bags as Ab Exercise Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs.Dr. not hunched. If you lean forward against the weight of the bag. You should feel the back pain disappear. is the problem. Maintain upright posture. Shoulder bags and backpacks don’t make you arch your back or have bad posture. not using your torso muscles to counter the pull. Not only do people let their posture slouch under their own body weight. People go to a gym to strap a weight machine onto their back to pull it forward to work their muscles. fix your posture by tucking your hips under as if starting a crunch. • Remember to do this all the time with everything you carry.) If you arch.
simply by holding good posture against the pull of your bags — no matter where you wear them. knapsacks. Try this while wearing a knapsack. You could burn calories. and Bags as Oblique Ab Exercise Purpose of this Exercise: To work your oblique abs. 91 . and get an ab and back workout. People go to a gym to press sideways against a weight machine to work their obliques. save your back. with everything you carry. • • Remember to do this all the time. If you habitually let your back curve to the side under the weight of things you carry. babies. not bent in any direction against the pull of the bag. and letting your torso sway to the side under the weight. Check your posture with a mirror. you can get a curve just like it from bad posture. and bags as a free workout for your oblique abs and back. Use packages. an abnormal sideways curve. you can eventually tighten your back and even deform your bones into a curve. holding a baby. instead of simply holding good posture by using your muscles. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct when carrying common daily objects on one hip or shoulder. when you can. Even if you don’t have scoliosis. Practice walking around with the knapsack and maintaining your upright posture. and to train them to hold your posture when carrying weight. Babies. This is preventable. or hiking your shoulder up.The Ab RevolutionTM Using Backpacks. Fix your posture by engaging your oblique abs to straighten your torso against the pull of the bag. or carrying a heavy handbag on one shoulder or hip: • Experiment with the difference between maintaining proper posture to hold the weight.
to train them to hold your back in proper position when doing vigorous movement. and second most effective for your side abs.” mentioned on page 15. This is a silly and fun exercise. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs to Throw a Tantrum Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs more than you ever have. It uses motions similar to those for “bicycling” but works muscles far more. or obliques. and a hard and effective one. and to have a hilarious time doing it. But it’s not a functional exercise because what else is it good for? This exercise beats it in effectiveness. Application to Daily Life: This exercise is directly useful to control torso posture when moving your arms and legs during any extreme activity. functionality. calorie burning. 92 . lists the bicycle as the top exercise for the front abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis). The “Ab Study.Dr. and sheer fun. Also trains muscles to fight an attacker off.
The Ab RevolutionTM • Lie on your back. No wonder children use this. Don’t wrench yourself around. and kick hard. and legs in the air. You’ll have had the workout of your life. upper body. back and forth. hip. Fitness classes love this one. you’ll be calm and happy. Vigorously pound your fists and legs up and down against the floor and up in the air. Go fast and furiously. Lift your knees. 93 . back and forth in all directions. Remember that when you work your abs. and hamstring muscles get amazing exercise. Pound the mat. play loud music if it helps. in all directions. Lift arms. Lift your arms high and back down. Yell if you want to. Kick hard. Lift your arms and legs up in the air. When you finish. but get a workout. Vigorously move them up and down. you should work your back. buttock. Yell if you want to: “No! No! No! I won’t do crunches! I won’t! You can’t make me! I don’t want to!” Play loud music. and also work the difficult-to-target posterior shoulder. if it helps. • Lie on your front. They get a fun and hard ab and back workout. and leave class happy and exhausted. “No! No! No! I won’t! You can’t make me do crunches! I don’t want to…!” Again. You’ll feel your back.This is also useful to train for kicking and punching someone who has thrown you down.
Abdominal muscles and back muscles are different muscles. Forward slouching slowly pressures your discs to bulge out. prevents your upper body weight from slouching backward and pressuring your low back. keep you from slouching forward. and spend a great portion of their day doing. your back muscles. adds to the “round-shoulder” problem that contributes to back pain in the first place. any more than doing kicks makes your arms strong. Just as your abs muscles. or any muscles. vertebrae. when used. This forwardslouching posture slowly puts unhealthy pressure on back muscles. which contract your abs to round you forward. You need to add exercises that contract your back muscles — called back extension — to strengthen your back.Dr. There are two serious problems with this. and to train you to hold your posture from slouching forward. When your back is weak it can become so fatigued and strained at the end of the day from trying to hold up your body weight that it aches. lengthened by poor posture weakens them. But saying that ab exercise strengthens you back is not really true. 94 . Jolie Bookspan “Ab-Only” Exercises are Not Good Many people do only abdominal muscle exercises. Slouching forward is a poor posture that people are usually very good at. doing conventional ab exercises. or attend “abonly” exercises classes. thinking it will make their backs injury-free. Keeping your back muscles. Doing ab exercise does not work your back muscles. and nerves that exit the vertebrae. and overstretches your back muscles. Next. when used. Using abdominal muscles moves your torso to reduce the large arch to keep strain off your back. To strengthen your back you have to work your back muscles with specific exercises that contract them.
This is not an injury. Don’t force. If you aren’t used to exercising your back muscles. Gradually increase. nutrition. Then switch legs. 95 . you may be sore after doing these. and full explanations of relieving back and neck pain. Don’t force or yank. See your doctor. this is much-needed progress. are detailed in the new edition of the book “Health & Fitness in Plain English” also by Dr. Beside giving you a beautiful back for bathing suit wear. lift one leg off the floor. To progress. hands at your sides and off the floor.com. It has thirty-one chapters on all aspects of fitness. and sells for $24. Order online at www. that is right. If you feel pinching or electric shock pain. Lift with your muscles.The Ab RevolutionTM Back Extension At the minimum. move your arms from your sides to overhead. health and joint pain.healthylearning. lift both legs together. To progress. don’t continue the exercises. this exercise is a mainstay of most back-strengthening and pain-reduction programs. Slowly lift your upper body a few inches. Hold and lower. knee straight.95 (US). Keep your head in line with your body. Start with one or two lifts. • • For your lower back. • Lie face down. These exercises. then lower back to the floor. Work up from there. If you feel muscles working. Don’t tilt your head back. Jolie Bookspan. do at least ten back extensions every day and when you do ab exercise. or toll free from the publisher: 1-888-229-5745.
and you’ll exercise your abs without working out. Doing crunches or any other ab exercise. then ignore your abs the other 23 hours a day and undo all your efforts? Stand. is missing the whole point of what abs are supposed to do. every day. and reach well all the time. 96 . Jolie Bookspan Should You Work Your Abs Every Day or Every Other Day? It’s common for people to debate fiber type and fatigue. If you worked your abs all day. to decide whether to exercise abs daily or intermittently.Dr. sit. nor every few days. What is missed is that. You’re also missing the easiest opportunity to burn calories and get a free. not just during your hour of worship. you need your abs working all day. all-day workout. allowing your upper body weight to press on your low back. you wouldn’t need to go to a gym to do funny little crunches — not every day. then not using abs to control your posture the rest of the day. all the time to control your posture. Flurries of articles are written on this. Using your abs is like obeying the Ten Commandments: you’re supposed to do it all the time. like your heart beating. Why kill yourself working out.
swim. That means to lose fat. play. and move in general. bike. and encourage arching so that you wind up standing with your abdomen curved out — just the opposite of what you wanted. It’s not “sucking in” or “tightening”— it’s moving your torso into healthy position using Ab Revolution exercises. people would have thin mouths from talking. No exercise selectively removes fat from a specific part. If spot reducing worked. That myth is called “spot reducing. Get out and have fun. speed skaters would have small legs. dance. Regular ab exercise alone won’t make you stand properly so that your back won’t arch and your abdomen won’t sag out. It’s a shame that many people deliberately stand arched. dig. and that exercises often done in gyms tighten the hip. to use your abs for daily life. Aerobic exercise burns fat.The Ab RevolutionTM How Do You Flatten Your Abdomen? Use your abs to change the curve of your back. to keep it from arching and curving your abdomen out. and the repetitive act of chewing and swallowing lots of food would make your face thin. ski. row. you need to run. which burns more calories. skip. walk. run. This fat comes from where it is stored. including fat from your abdomen. stick the behind out.” Ab exercises alone will not remove fat from your abdomen. skate. Weight training builds muscle. jog. 97 .
balancing. smash down on your low back. check if you are standing and moving in a way that is wrecking your back by not using your abs. cutting out junk food. Doing good abdominal work will enlarge the muscles enough to poke through the facial bands. giving a “washboard” or “ripple” effect. You’ll get a free. reduced fat under your skin (in order to see it all). You’ll save your back. Use the Ab Revolution to retrain your abs for ab exercise without going to a gym. Notice if you are letting your body weight. showing that you may be arching your back instead of holding straight posture. all-day workout. It’s a revolution. 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. Get out of the gym and use your body for real life moving. Check if your belt or waistband tilts downward in front and up in back.Dr. continuous. 98 . and conscious use of abs all the time. You’ll be straighter and taller. lifting. complex carbohydrates. and the weight of everything you lift and carry. Use your abs to tip your hip back under you and lift your weight up and off your low back. and having fun. You’ll be a better exerciser. You’ll burn more calories. reaching. Next time you are standing around noticing your back hurts. You won’t see ripples if body fat covers everything. The entire package of getting results includes proper abdominal exercise. healthful meals on a regular basis. You’ll exercise your brain. and water in your diet to fuel good workouts.
The Ab RevolutionTM 99 .
thank you for constantly discrediting the myths that are all too often forced upon us. Horsham. A. CA 100 . Col. cuts away the myths and falsehoods to lead the reader to understanding. From Dr.. M.S.T. Bookspan’s Ab Revolution Continued from the back cover: You’ve done it again. I developed my abs more in the last 3 months than in the past 3 years doing crunches. M. St. C. Medical Director.Audrey Tannenbaum. 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. built muscle. PA Dr. You’re my hero.Joni Lawrence.D. From one professional to another. I can develop my abs and improve my posture throughout the day.C.. the brightest light in popular sports medicine. It’s encouraging to know that. This is my stomach bible. Bookspan’s expertise. I have lost weight. Jolie Bookspan More Praise for Dr.J..Ed. Bookspan’s revolutionary yet practical advice. by using them properly.D.. . and eliminated chronic pain. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital.C. . Tom Millington.. Bookspan.S. . .Dr. M. Athletic Trainer and Maccabean Games Triathlon Gold Medalist..Kelly Hill. SWAT Team Commander Using Dr.
Neurology. Houston. I turn to my friend and colleague.. General Surgery www.Ernest Campbell. she has written an extremely interesting ‘do-ityourself’ exercise guide. Jolie Bookspan has done it again! An expert at debunking ‘scientific’ bunk. M. University of Texas Health Science Center.D. or want practical advice on fitness training or musculoskeletal complaints. 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. Dr. M. 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. sensible and highly effective. .D. Dr.com/~scubadoc/ Whenever I have a question on rehab. The book is highly recommended to read and keep as a reference source. The program is simple.. Chief Consultant. I trust her for good sense and her solid background in exercise physiology. Jolie Bookspan. CHeCS Training Program. .D.The Ab RevolutionTM Well. FACS. . M. 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. Department of Anesthesiology. Associate Professor.gulftel..David Hsu.D. Freeing the ‘crunchers’ from the boredom of useless exercise programs that are quickly abandoned. Krug Life Sciences NASA 101 .Caroline Fife.. Ph.
Dr.uhms.org Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire field.uhms. $40. $24.org firstname.lastname@example.org Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 pages. $30.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: www. health.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: www. and joint pain 371 pages.00 ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 www. illustrated. $50. nutrition.healthylearning.org email@example.com. Jolie Bookspan More Books by Dr.org Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages. illustrated.org 102 .95 (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 www.org uhms@uhms. including board exam questions 226 pages. Jolie Bookspan Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of fitness.
www.The Ab RevolutionTM Credits Cover model: Paul Plevakas Front cover photo: Julia Lehman. Bookspan’s dedicated and hardworking students: Shelly Anthony Regina Basile Cynthia Brown Theresa Candelaria Emily Canon Louis Costa Dr. Vision13 Photography Roman Chair and Captain’s Chair photos by Wowk Photography Author photos by Robert Troia Illustrations by Todd Sargood Some images © 2001-2002. Martin Dembitzer Angela and Andrea Fleegle Elsa Leung Rhonda McJeff Stacia Mellbourne Travis Mesman Sara Rathfon Danielle Tobin 103 .com Photo models for exercises are Dr.arttoday.
she carried gear up and down the mountains and deserts of India. she has a black belt in karate and 14 fights in the ring as an amateur kickboxer. neck. and was professor of anatomy at a college in the mountains of Mexico. and Northern Africa. Jolie Bookspan knows abs. 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. where the entrance exam was getting up there without a nosebleed. and police and military training departments. and most of everything else in an accident. As a researcher. After serving in the Army. she rehabbed using her own methods. Nepal. swam to work in an underwater laboratory. Asia. She doesn’t do crunches. A career military scientist. Left paralyzed after breaking her back. .About the Author Dr. Jude of the Joints” in her private practice in sports medicine. Harvard clinicians have called her “The St. was advisor to The Discovery Channel.
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