No More Crunches! No More Back Pain!
The Ab Revolution
By Dr. Jolie Bookspan
How to Use Your ABS All the Time for Real Life
Burn calories, work your abs, and save your back while doing your everyday activities. Used by military and law enforcement and the nation’s top spine docs and rehab centers
© 2003 by Dr. Jolie Bookspan, Neck and Back Pain Sports Medicine. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author. ISBN: 1-4107-4528-7 (E-book) ISBN: 1-4107-4527-9 (Paperback) ISBN: 1-4107-4526-0 (Dust Jacket) Library of Congress Control Number: 2003092486 This book is printed on acid free paper.
Printed in the United States of America Bloomington, IN Nothing in this book is meant as specific medical advice or exercise instruction. See your physician, get training, and use your brain before attempting anything presented. The Ab Revolution™ Method, name, and information are trademarked and part of the Fitness Therapy series, including Lower Body Revolution. To teach or distribute this method in any way, contact the author for permissions and training materials.
1stBooks – rev. 7/28/03
To my Grandmother the Gypsy, who taught me to spot snake-oil, and who taught me about real exercise, posture, and health from my earliest years. She got her college degree at age 81. To her the highest things in life were education and Jack LaLane. To my mother who I promised I would find how to end back pain. To my students and patients who all really feel better and work their abs more using this method, and showed me how needed it is. To my wonderful husband and hero Paul. What beautiful abs you have, my dear.
......................................... 1 Why Do Abs? ..................................... 4 What Exactly Do Abs Do? .... 32 How to Use Abs for Reaching...................................................Table of Contents
Dedication.......................... iii Table of Contents ....................... 39 What About “Captain’s Chair?” .............. 3 Using Abs Doesn’t Mean “Sucking Them In” or Making Them “Tight” .................................................................. 15 What’s Wrong with Crunches?...................... 23 How to Use Abs When Doing Other Exercises.................................................................................................................................................................................................... 16 Doing Abs Doesn’t Automatically Change Posture or Back Pain.............................. 25 How to Use Abs for Carrying Loads ............. 21 How to Use Your Abs When Standing Up... 17 But Aren’t You Supposed to Stick Your Behind Out?.................................................................... 12 What About the Ab Study?....... 5 How Do Abs Control Posture? ............................................ 42 v
......... 38 What About Leg Lifts? ................. 34 How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Arms........................................................................................................................ 6 Abs are Your Guy Wires from the Front ........................................................................................................... 37 What About Ab Machines? ............................................................................................... 35 How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Legs.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... v Revolution! ........................................................ 36 Real Athletes Use Abs................................................... 10 How Do Abs Help Your Back? ....................................... 19 What Are All the Muscles Called? ................................... 9 What is Lordosis? ....................................................................................................................................................................................
...............................................................................57 What About Electronic Ab Zapper Belts?...................................................................................................... Babies........49 What About Exercise Balls?.....................................................................................76 Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture When Reaching and Lifting Overhead .............................................61 How Many..............................................................................90 Using Backpacks..............................96 How Do You Flatten Your Abdomen?...................................... How Often? ............................................... and Bags as Ab Exercise......................................................52 What About Ab Isolators? ................................................80 Using Abs for Side and Underhand Arm Activities ...........................................................................59 What About Neoprene Waist Bands?..........79 Using Abs for Throwing and Other Overhead Arm Activities .........................87 Using Abs for Kicking ......71 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Reaching and Lifting Overhead ..................92 “Ab-Only” Exercises are Not Good ......63 Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture.........84 Using Abs For Pushing... Babies..............91 Using Abs to Throw a Tantrum....97 vi
.......................................................................................................................62 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Normal Standing ..................................................................................................................................................................88 Using Backpacks.............................................................................94 Should You Work Your Abs Every Day or Every Other Day?........................................ and Bags as Oblique Ab Exercise...............47 What About Lower Abs and Reverse Crunches? ............56 What About Ab Rocking Devices? .............44 What About Abdominal Twists? ...........60 What Exercises Work Your Abs the Way You Need For Real Life? .................................................................................58 What About Miracle Liquids and Fat Burners? ............................................Arching Isn’t the Culprit ..................68 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture When Using Weights ........82 Using Abs for Punching .........................
............................How Do You Get a “Washboard?”... Bookspan’s Ab Revolution .................................................................................................................................. 102 Credits.... Jolie Bookspan.. 105
......... 100 More Books by Dr..................................................................................................................................... 102 Health & Fitness in Plain English. 98 More Praise for Dr....................................... 103 About the Author...................................................................
back pain. 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. It doesn’t happen automatically just from exercising. Plenty of people with strong muscles and tight abs have terrible posture and persistent back pain.The Ab RevolutionTM
This is a revolution in ab fitness. It’s practically universal to see a roomful of exercisers cranking away doing ab exercise. The Ab Revolution shows you how to work your abs to correct your posture and keep strain off your back all the time during your daily activities while standing up.” You can’t move or breathe properly that way. Then. usual ab exercises “miss the boat” because they don’t transfer skills to real life. Using abs is not “tightening them.” then never use the rest of the time. and back pain. then stand up and walk away with arched posture and no use of abs at all. or even that you are supposed to at all. or movement in real-life activities. To most people. Ab exercise has become hugely popularized as something you specially “do. “do three sets (or however many sets) of 10 crunches. But strengthening alone does not automatically change posture. and which make your neck hurt. Most people have no idea what abs specifically do. The old. poor posture. and thought to be healthy when it is not healthy. Shake up your entire thinking about abs. walk.
. reach. and lift with no use of your abs. you go back to your “real life” and stand. Fitness has become “Fast Food” — stripped of real content and value. and tight muscles are a factor in headaches. how to use them when standing up or during things you do in real life. The very thing we regard as exercise advice. The “experts” say to do crunches for strong muscles to “support” you.” is the root of the problem because it separates using abs from the rest of your life.
You’ll exercise your brain. shoulders. then throwing knives at each other the rest of the time.
. It teaches specific skills to make your life better. You’ll get exercise without going to a gym. three to five times a week. They were told to be nice for 30 minutes. 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. what they don’t do. but your back. You’ll save your back. arms. This book gives you an understanding of what abs really do. You’ll strengthen your body. not all the time. This method revolutionizes how you think about abs and how you use them. and teach you how your muscles need to work together in your real life. It’s a revolution. You’ll burn calories. and how to consciously use your abs for all your daily activities — even standing up. The exercises not only strengthen your abs.Dr. You’ll strengthen your abs. and legs too.
everyone seems to want to “do abs”.” What does “support” really mean? Most people don’t know what abs specifically “do. They do crunches in every workout. They do abs in rehab programs for back pain. Yet 8 out of 10 people still have back pain. Poor posture is common.” or how. But why? It’s “something” to do with helping the back. Why do the exercises so often “fail?”
. But exactly what? It’s something vague about “support.The Ab RevolutionTM
Why Do Abs?
More than other exercises. But what exactly do “abs” do for your back? It’s “something” to do with posture. or even know they are supposed to. They think it just happens automatically. but never use their abs for real life.
You voluntarily move your arm into the position you want by using the muscles. and it doesn’t teach you how to use your abs the way you need for sports. Yes. for good posture. The tightening didn’t change anything. It will change your whole way of thinking about abs.
. You can have poor posture and a terribly arched back. Jolie Bookspan
Using Abs Doesn’t Mean “Sucking Them In” or Making Them “Tight”
Using your abs does not mean “sucking them in” or “tightening them” or “pressing your navel to your spine.” You can’t function or exercise normally that way. Tightening is not how to use abs. yet they are incorrect and outdated. and teach you exciting new skills to be fitter.Dr. or normal daily activities. and are not the way to use your abs the way you need them. walking around with “tight” muscles is a common factor in headache and stress/strainrelated muscle pain. and pain-free. Now arch your back and make the abs tight with your back still arched. Moreover. That’s why it’s a revolution in ab fitness. healthier. exercise. not tightening them. You can’t breathe properly that way. It wouldn’t change your posture. Move your arm around. or any muscles. Moving your torso into good posture by using your torso muscles is the same. Try this: bend your elbow to bring your hand up to your face.” These are practically universal phrases to describe using abs. You didn’t tighten anything. Another often-repeated instruction is: “press your navel to your spine and contract your gluteal muscles. this is new and different. even with “tight” abs. It’s voluntary movement to change the amount of bend and arch in your spine.
where each vertebra attaches to the one above and below it. on the front.The Ab RevolutionTM
What Exactly Do Abs Do?
Most people use vague words like “support” to describe what abs do.” Then they stand and walk away with abs slack. What does “support” exactly mean? When you stand up and don’t use your abdominal muscles. and bends the joint. it means holding yourself up easily without slouching backward or to the sides. curling your torso and taking the arch out of your back. exaggerating the normal inward curve. It doesn’t mean holding yourself rigidly. protecting your joints and soft tissue. sides. 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. allowing their ribs to lift up. When any muscle contracts.
. Using abs means using them like any other muscle. hips to drop down. and irritate the joints called vertebral facets. it pulls on the bones it attaches to. 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. This arching allows the weight of your upper body to press down on your low back. All your different ab muscles connect your ribs to your hips. and their back to arch. they pull your ribs and hips closer to each other in various directions and amounts. This can cause wear and tear on your soft tissues and discs. The joints of your spine bend. Contracting your abs just enough to take out excess arching when you’re standing up keeps your upper body weight from slumping onto your low back. and across.
Dr. Jolie Bookspan
How Do Abs Control Posture?
It’s a common assumption that doing ab exercise to strengthen your abs will help your posture and back. where your front ab muscles attach.
You have to voluntarily use your abs to change your posture. Put your other hand on the front and middle of your hip bone where your front abs begin.
To understand what abs do for your posture when you use them properly. you will sag under gravity. But strengthening does not automatically “support” your back or change your posture.
. stand up and put one hand on the front of your ribs. They aren’t using their muscles to prevent it. If you don’t consciously use your muscles to hold you up. That is one big reason people slouch.
showing how slack ab muscles allow your back to arch. Hold that position. You will even be shorter because of the increased curve in your spine. They hunch you forward. The distance between your hands increases.The Ab RevolutionTM
Still holding the top and bottom of your abs. Your torso will curl and your back will round. How much do you need this posture in real life?
Shortened abs curl you
Lengthened abs let you arch
Still holding your ribs and hip bone. draw your two hands toward each other. That is what crunches do for you. arch your back and let your ribs lift and your abdomen curve out. Feel your body weight fall onto your low back? That is what not using your abs allows: an arched back and your weight pressing hard on your low back.
When used properly. and stop the strain and wear and tear of dropping your upper body weight on your low back. bring your hands toward each other so the distance between your ribs and hips decreases. Your torso comes upright to a straightened.
Use your abs at the length that holds you up in good posture. Jolie Bookspan
To use your abs to pull you up to stand properly. not arching back. Don’t curl so much that you round forward. This is what abs do to control posture. they hold you from arching backward.
. taller position.Dr.
. When you use them. abs keep you from arching backward. You can have strong ab muscles. giving you that training. and train your brain to remember. they keep you from slouching forward.
Use your “guy wire" muscles to keep you from sagging in bad posture. You have to train your muscles for that. but if you don’t voluntarily use them to pull you forward.The Ab RevolutionTM
Abs are Your Guy Wires from the Front
Like a guy wire keeping a tree from falling backward. They pull forward to keep your upper body weight from arching back and pressuring your low back. but if you don’t voluntarily use them to pull your shoulders back. You can have strong back muscles. The Ab Revolution is the missing link. you will round forward in bad posture. The guy wires in back are your back muscles. you will arch backward in bad posture. Just having strong muscles does not make them automatically pull the right amount at the right time.
” along with the usual (but incorrect) “tighten your abs. your back may become so tight that it gets stuck arched in the “booty-out” posture. and classes. or something that “just happens” to them like flu. they arch their back and thrust out their behind in dozens of exercises. from leg lifts.
. which makes one backbone slip forward on the next. by retraining your posture and use of your muscles to hold you in healthy position. Jolie Bookspan
What is Lordosis?
Many people with back pain are told they have a “condition” called lordosis. It can create all kinds of back pain. The video star may say “keep neutral spine. but is just a bad posture habit. this is all the more reason not to allow yourself to arch more this way. books. and to reduce the overly-large arch that makes your back hurt. unavoidable. “Sway back” is not a structural condition you are born with or “just have” (or want to have). to bouncing around in aerobics.Dr. This is terrible posture and injurious to your back. You’ll see this overly-arched (lordotic) posture in an astonishing number of fitness videos. magazines. the word “lordosis” originally meant the normal inward curve of the low back. Chronically pressuring the bones and other structures of your back with this bad posture can eventually deform them. It has commonly come to mean too much inward curve. Use The Ab Revolution to avoid — even reverse — this. allowing the back to sway.” but if you look at them. If you have a condition called spondylolisthesis. Technically. They think this is something anatomic. like human bonsai. adding to back arching. Lordosis is usually completely controllable by using your abs to keep your hip from tipping forward. to lifting weights. If you habitually stand with your back arched. and to use The Ab Revolution all the time during daily activities.
which pressures the low back.
. Lordosis can be easily controlled by straightening your posture using your own muscles.The Ab RevolutionTM
This ancient Greek fresco shows the lordotic (overly-arched) posture.
then. bending your fingers back as far as they will go. So.
With your left hand. Lift your fingers back up again to simulate using your back muscles to straighten up. Try curling and straightening your body too as you do this. You can have the strongest abs and never use them to do anything for your back. how do abs help your back? Try this: Hold your right hand up with your thumb toward you. or that abs don’t do it automatically. Your palm (facing left) is the front of your body. The back of your hand (facing right) is your back. Jolie Bookspan
How Do Abs Help Your Back?
People usually have some vague idea that abs have something to do with helping the back. But they don’t know specifically what abs do. Bend your fingers forward to represent your abs at work. only your fingers arch back. Keep your palm upright.Dr. See the pinched and folded-back crease at the knuckle joints of your right hand?
. press against the fingers of your right hand.
with your ab muscles slack.
Bounce against your fingers so that they rock back repeatedly. use the muscles in the palm of your right hand to straighten your right hand against the push of your left.
. To represent how to use your abs to control the arch of your back and prevent too much arching: with your left hand still pressing the right fingers back. all the time. Now bounce against your fingers quickly and hard. Your fingers come back up into straight line. That is what you are doing to your low back every day when you don’t consciously use your abs to prevent that kind of arching. That is running with your back arched and not using your abs. The stretched palm of your hand represents your abdomen. Ouch. That is how you need to use your abs to control your posture when standing up — all day.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. every day. That shows the forces on your low back when you walk without using abs.
To bring their head up. Try this: • • Stand against a wall with your heels. Stretch the front of your shoulder so that it doesn’t pull forward into a roundshouldered posture. Jolie Bookspan
A surprising number of people are so round-shouldered that they cannot stand up straight without arching their back. Don’t lift your chin. Stand against a wall or lie flat without a pillow to practice head and upper back posture. Did your ribs come up and your back arch? Fix that with your abs.
If your upper back and shoulders are so stiff that you can’t stand up straight without arching your back. behind and shoulders touching the wall. Practice keeping your shoulders and head back without arching your back to do it. they arch their back instead of straightening their shoulders. even when you are relaxed.Dr. That is where your head should be for healthy posture.
. too. you need to work on upper back strengthening and flexibility. Bring the back of your head against the wall.
None of the exercises they tested and recommend specifically train your body for daily use the way you really need them. Just like smoking “works” to lose weight. and shows you how to transfer posture and back pain control skills to your daily life. doing crunches and other forwardrounding ab exercises “work” your abs but are not a great way to do it. But the surveyors missed three basic concepts: • An exercise can work a muscle well.
. Simply strengthening a muscle will not automatically change your posture for proper use in sports or recreation. it still may not be useful for things you need for daily life.The Ab RevolutionTM
What About the Ab Study?
Why not just do ab exercises to prevent all the problems? A fitness industry survey at San Diego State University compared 13 of the most common abdominal exercises and ranked them from most to least effective in producing ab muscle activity. and bad movement habits. gives exercises that effectively use and develop your abs. but you do need to stand and walk upright without arching backward. pain. Even if an exercise activates your ab muscles. You don’t need to hunch forward for daily activities. Crunches don’t train that action. Plenty of muscular people have poor posture. and are not good for the rest of you. but still promote bad posture and not be good for the rest of you.
The Ab Revolution teaches a whole different approach to abdominal muscle use. the Ab Revolution will give you a better workout. or for back pain control. Posture and muscle use is not automatic. Even if you don’t care about posture or back pain and want only cosmetic results. Just strengthening a muscle does not train it for how you need to use it.
Look at crunches sideways and see what it would look like to stand up like this — like an old. your abs need to work isometrically — at one length — to hold your torso upright.Dr. Crunches promote poor posture. Jolie Bookspan
What’s Wrong with Crunches?
Crunches don’t work your abs the way you need for real life. Crunches make people — who likely spend much of their day already hunched over a work area — practice that hunched posture. instead of allowing you to arch back and lean your body weight onto your low back. In life. You know how the elderly got hunched over like that? They practiced. bent-over person. 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.
. 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. even when done properly. Crunches don’t train you how to use your abs the rest of the day. This is the poor posture you’re training with crunches. Crunches don’t train you for that.
including back muscles) to adjust your posture yourself. you will still wind up with poor posture. no matter how muscular you are. This is why doing crunches. In the same way. You have to deliberately use your abs (and other posture muscles. just like using any other voluntary muscles to move any other part of your body Using your abs is more like toilet training. yoga. it doesn’t automatically hold your arm up in the air. Doing ab exercises or core exercises is not like getting a shot of penicillin or going to confession — it doesn’t “fix” things. You need to learn what to do. or rehab exercises — as exercises without concepts and the knowledge to apply it during real activities — does not often work as expected. then you hold it even when you don’t feel like it. or “support” your arm. or how many crunches you have done. strengthening your abs does not make them do anything automatically to support your back.
. make your mistakes until you remember. You need to consciously use your ab muscles to move your torso to the right position.The Ab RevolutionTM
Doing Abs Doesn’t Automatically Change Posture or Back Pain
If you strengthen your biceps muscles. If you don’t.
Having tight abs doesn’t fix your posture or help your back.Dr. This is injurious to the back and loses the effectiveness of the exercise. but he is still standing in poor posture with an overly-arched back. His abs are plenty tight.
• It keeps the muscles in front of your hip and your low back in a shortened position. eventually tightening them. poor use.
• It changes the tilt of your hip. too. causing a vicious cycle of tightness. Without using your abs to keep your weight from arching back. and all your weight rests on your low back bones. and discomfort. Adding a barbell or overhead weights adds tremendous force. It is a sure sign that you cannot generate real force in your limbs for arm or leg activity. because your core muscles are not driving your limbs. It is unhealthy because it injures your back. smashing down on your low back. Just as some people think that holding a cigarette or other drug is “cool. This bad posture has become so ingrained that many people think it is normal or desirable. interfering with normal walking and running mechanics. The “booty posture” is unhealthy and unsightly for several reasons: • • • It is plain bad posture.The Ab RevolutionTM
But Aren’t You Supposed to Stick Your Behind Out?
Some people deliberately push their behinds out.
. It is sloppy technique because it does not use your posture muscles properly. even the weight of your upper body resting on your lower back bones is enough to strain soft tissue and grind bone and discs. thinking it looks good.” they mistakenly think holding this bad posture is. poor posture. You’re missing a free workout of your torso muscles. Your hips will have extra wear and tear and eventually hurt too.
and even used to advertise for. So does heroin. There’s no excuse for someone in fitness to display this lack of knowledge of health.
She is not using her abs to take the large arch out of her back. Now you can laugh when you see “fitness” models shown standing or doing exercise with this sloppy. unhealthy posture.Dr. This bad posture is accepted as normal by so many people that it is mistaken for. fitness and trimness.
. You will laugh often because this unfit posture is a pervasive problem in fitness. Jolie Bookspan
Advertisements use this bad posture because sex sells.
They connect to each other in places. When you contract your left external oblique. you bend forward. which in Latin means “the straight abdominal. Contracting your front. The outer external obliques on each side fuse together in a tough band in a nice line down your front. they pull your right side closer to the middle of your pelvic bone so you twist to the left. you twist to the right (or prevent twisting to the left).” Your rectus abdominis starts on the front of your pelvic bone and runs up to attach where your middle ribs (fifth. your
. You can see these lines in people trim enough. If you cross your arms over your abdomen. or prevent bending backward. under your rectus abs. or not straight. Obliquus Externus “Oblique” means slanted. your hands line up in the direction of the outer set. Your oblique abdominals go diagonally across your sides. abdominal muscle pulls ribs to hips to bend you forward or prevent arching backward. Your obliques work together in fun ways. They begin as broad muscles on each side of your lower eight ribs. called external obliques. If you put your fingertips at the top of your pants pockets. The deeper external oblique fibers run almost straight down to your hip bones. When you contract both. sixth and seventh) come together in front. with three. and work in combinations together. Not all the fibers run all the way up the muscle. In this same manner you can use your right obliques to resist forces that would twist you to the right. in the opposite direction. sometimes four intersections across it. or rectus.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. Rectus Abdominis The muscle straight up your front is your rectus abdominis. Obliquus Internus Your internal obliques lie under your external obliques.
You can feel it when you breathe out as completely as you can. the transversus.Dr. Your right internal oblique contracts to pull the middle of your ribs to your right hip. They begin at your hip bone and angle up and in to your lower three or four ribs. a major purpose of this muscle is to help full exhalation. Moreover. Jolie Bookspan
fingers assume the direction of the internal fibers. It’s not the case that just tightening the transversus like a girdle will support your lower back when lifting or sitting.
. Transversus Abdominis Your innermost and thinnest abdominal muscle. The left internal oblique twists you to the left. when you hold it tightly. After all. Contracting them all helps you bend forward or prevent arching backward. twisting you to the right. You’ll have better posture. Using Them All You don’t have to know the names of the muscles to use them. you need to voluntarily change the shape of your back using all your ab muscles so that you don’t curve and strain your back under the weight of your upper body pressing down on it. save your back. you can’t breathe in fully or properly (belly breathing). To protect your back. You don’t have to tighten them. So the right external and left internal oblique work together to twist you left. The left external and right internal work together to twist right. goes across your abdomen to help compress it. and get a workout just standing and moving properly. or sagging to the side during daily life and when you exercise. Just use them like other muscles to move your bones. They all can resist forces that would make you want to slouch or twist in bad postures to the sides. Change your posture from arching back.
. Allow your body weight to sag so that you exaggerate your low 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. Tuck your hips under and pull your upper body forward.The Ab RevolutionTM
How to Use Your Abs When Standing Up
Most people can’t imagine using their abs standing up. If you don’t have a mirror. (Don’t do this if you have back pain). Your torso is straight. Feel a new strong middle. using abs to move your torso upright. You may feel the familiar ache you often get and don’t know why. Did your back arch again? Did you let your hips move? Many people arch their back with no ab support. pay close attention to what it feels like. That throws weight on their low back again and again. You’ll keep a small inward curve. tuck your behind under. as if starting a crunch — just enough to reduce the large back arch. not learning backward or forward. Allow your weight to press on your low back. Keep this new posture all the time. Your stomach will curve out in front. try this: • Stand sideways and look in a mirror big enough to see your body. To understand what to do to use your abs in real life. Still reaching overhead. Yet this is exactly what supports your back and prevents pain and injury during daily activities. Reach overhead. Many people stand with far too much lumbar curve because they are not using their abs. every time they reach.
be able to lift more. You will save your back. to washing your hair. but don’t know they are supposed to use their abs in real life when standing up.Dr. and get a free all-day workout just from standing with your muscles in use. 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. improve your posture. to prevent over-arching. Jolie Bookspan
Use the Ab Revolution whenever you stand up and reach overhead — from pulling shirts off to reaching cabinets.
People do crunches all the time.
Back arched.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. mistakenly thinking it looks good. Overhead Press Arching while lifting weight further compresses your low back. other times a larger one. Hard on the back.
Bad posture. Sometimes you use abs to make a small adjustment. Abs reduce the arch and control back posture. Use your abs to tuck your hips enough to take the large arch out of your back. it is not healthy. Abs not in use.” Some people deliberately arch while exercising. In either case.
Same exercise done properly.
Same exercise done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture. The low back bears the weight.
. You also miss the free ab workout you would get if you used abs to straighten your posture and save your back. Abs not in use. Tuck under to straighten your back to keep the weight of your upper body plus the hand weights off your low back. Jolie Bookspan
Triceps Curls When doing triceps curls.
Bad posture on triceps curls. instead of lifting arms while keeping posture neutral. Back arched.Dr. You pressure your low back and get less arm exercise than you thought. rather than the torso and arm muscles. people often arch their back to bring the weight back.
and save your back.
Bad posture. straight posture. Back overly-arched. Abs are often forgotten when doing yoga poses. use your abs to tuck your hips and reduce the arched posture to stand properly. Abs not in use. That does not use the abs and is hard on the back.
Same pose done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture.
. Instead. get an ab workout. Some styles of yoga even teach to deliberately stand in this arched position.The Ab RevolutionTM
Yoga Yoga won’t automatically “give” you good posture. You have to consciously use your muscles to move you into good.
Dr. Back arched. Jolie Bookspan
Same pose done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture.
. Abs not in use.
The Ab RevolutionTM
Pushups Pushups with terrible arched posture (shown by the first. You will save your back and make the pushup a terrific abs and core exercise. and last white shirt in the picture below) means your abs are not in use. heads hanging. Don’t do this for pushups or for standing up.
Look sideways at this same terrible posture and see how they would look standing up this way: overly-arched. You will instantly feel your abs spring into use. the more you’ll use abs.
. The more you tuck. and your back strains from hanging your weight on it in an arch. but hold your head up too. and lack of use of abs. bad posture. third. This is common. Tuck your hips and straighten your back (black shirt). but don’t tuck so much that you hunch your back or hike your hips in the air.
.Dr. allowing it to arch too much. (See pages 84 to 89 on punching and kicking for how. This can strain the back and will not give you good punching or kicking power
Teacher is holding strong posture. losing punching power and straining the back.) They are not controlling their back posture. Student is arching and slouching. Jolie Bookspan
Martial Arts You need your abs to straighten your back posture while doing many moves in martial arts.)
Can you spot the students not using abs in this Karate class? (First on the left and second from the right.
If you arch when drawing a bow and arrow. Use abs to keep you sitting upright. don’t arch your back. Other Activities In many activities you need to lean back but still not arch.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. Tuck your chest and hip as if starting a crunch to straighten up. not arched or leaning back. for “hiking out” to counterbalance sailboats in the wind. You can painfully “twang” your breast with the bowstring. “Lat” Machines When using a weight machine to pull down a bar to your chest (lat pull-downs). Look at illustrations in books and magazines. and to keep forces distributed on your discs. to dodge flying objects and fists as in the movies “The Matrix” and “Spiderman. and see how often you’ll find this bad posture in illustrations and photos from fashion to exercise.
.” to be dipped while ballroom dancing. Use good ab technique to keep your back from arching while leaning backward during windsurfing and water skiing. which allows body weight to grind down on the low back and decreases natural shock absorption. your chest will protrude outward into the line of the bowstring. and for doing the limbo dance. Archery Archery is an activity where using abs saves more than your back. You’ll get an ab workout and also get far more out of the exercise for your lats and chest. Hold good straight posture to keep your chest out of the line of the bowstring. It’s surprising how many fitness books and articles talk about posture for walking but still show someone walking with an overly-arched torso. Many people allow too much arch. to take photographs from certain angles.
Back is arched in bad posture against the anterior load. straining the back. which puts the weight onto your low back. Jolie Bookspan
How to Use Abs for Carrying Loads
Packages Held in Front When carrying anterior loads. When your arms are weak.Dr. A surprising way to help your back is to strengthen your arms.
Posture is good. it’s common to arch back and rest the weight of the load rest on your hip. letting your low back take the brunt.
. Remember not to lean back or arch when carrying loads. held straight and upright against the anterior load of the drum. Maintain your posture upright against the load. You’ll feel your abs working to do that. This is avoidable. it’s more tempting to rest a carried weight on your hip and lean back.
creating strain on the back. or to let the bag pull you backward into an arch. it is a lack of using abs. With posterior loads like knapsacks. relieving strain. Instead. use your ab and back muscles to hold your torso posture upright without leaning forward or arching back. Your packs become a free core muscle workout.
Abs are in use to keep the back from arching against the posterior load. it’s common to lean forward to rest the weight on your back. Packages Held In Back Backpacks and other things carried on your back don’t make you arch your back. this is it.The Ab RevolutionTM
Pregnancy Lack of use of abs is common — even deliberately exaggerated — during pregnancy. This is not an unavoidable consequence of pregnancy. 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. Not using your abs lets you arch your back.
Back is arched in bad posture against the posterior load.
when you reach overhead. groceries. Use this technique to get a better reach. Jolie Bookspan
How to Use Abs for Reaching
People often arch their back when reaching for things. for shelves. and at the gym to lift weights.
. and their hand points straight to the ceiling. Instead.
Bad posture: back arched. Picture this: someone with shoulder pain goes to the doctor who asks them to reach overhead. Now picture people arching when reaching like this all day. Don’t lean back. more exercise for your abs. They reach. They are checked as having normal shoulder range of motion. using abs to straighten back posture. Their shoulder really did not stretch that much. pulling off shirts. lifting the baby. combing hair. abs not in use
Same reach. and protection for your back. packages. supported motion. tucking your hip — not rigidly.Dr. You may notice that your arm doesn’t bend as high as you though because you’ve been using your back instead. But what really happened was that they arched their back to lift their arm. straighten your torso with your abs. every day. but with easy.
get a free ab workout. abs not in use. Don’t do this. Keep your elbow lifted to the ceiling. You will save your back.
Same stretch. Feel the stretch move to your shoulder and triceps. With your arm still overhead. This adds to mysterious low back pain and never targets the area you think you stretched.
. using abs to straighten posture. and get a far better stretch in the shoulder.The Ab RevolutionTM
How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Arms People often arch their back when they stretch their arms. letting your back arch. Try this: • • • Stand up and bend your arm overhead. little stretch on arm. This is also a missed opportunity to use your abs to keep the good posture you need to stretch properly.
Bad posture: back arched. flex your trunk as if starting a “crunch” to straighten your torso.
Straighten your torso and push your behind forward. You won’t feel much stretch in your thigh. as if starting to do a crunch. little stretch on leg. 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.
Don’t do this bad posture when stretching: back arched. work abs.
. Feel the stretch move to your thigh. abs not in use. You save your back.Dr. Drop your bent knee to point to the standing knee and push your foot away into your hand.
Same stretch using abs to straighten posture. Don’t pull your foot in. Try this: • • Stand on one leg and arch your back while you hold your other foot behind you. and get a far better quad stretch.
drive the dunk. The white belt has not learned this yet. so the force of the punch is not levered into their low back. and power the block. have properly changed the shape of their back by using their abs.The Ab RevolutionTM
Real Athletes Use Abs
Here is good use of abs in basketball to hold the back posture straight.
The black belts holding the board in the photo below. Note how he incorrectly uses an arch to “wind-up” the punch
your abs are not in good use and there is large strain. you can use two roller skates. and is injurious to your back. One way to learn the hip tuck is to use a mirror to watch your posture in side view. These machines can be used so that you use your abs.
. Straightening your posture (bottom) puts abs highly in use and protects against back strain. Keep your head up. your body weight hangs on your low back vertebrae. Tuck your hips under as if beginning a crunch. When you do this. or a simple wheel. Instead of an expensive machine. folding them like a hinge. This is ineffective as an ab exercise. to straighten your torso.Dr. When you allow your back to arch. you’ll instantly feel your abs in use. Don’t arch or hike your behind up in the air.
If you use ab machines with an arched back (top). Jolie Bookspan
What About Ab Machines?
Ab machines are often used in ways that don’t use the abs.
Without taking the arch out of your back with your abs. increase the arch by lifting your ribs so that your back lifts off your hand. In this
. Tight hip flexors create problems. not your hands. Try this: • Lie on your back with your legs out straight on the floor. and only works the muscles that lift your leg.The Ab RevolutionTM
What About Leg Lifts?
Most people allow the weight of their legs to arch and strain their low back. and never get a real ab workout by using abs to straighten their back and control this. To show you what arching feels like.
Leg Lifts Lying on Your Back People doing back-lying leg lifts are often taught to put their hands under their hips to “keep their back from arching. To do leg lifts properly. Hip flexors are usually pretty strong and tight to begin with from sitting and overuse in exercise. leg lifts become an exercise that strains the back. Put one hand under the small of your low back and feel the natural space. use your abs. This is a missed ab opportunity. called hip flexors.” That is precisely what is wrong with this as an ab exercise: you never use your own abs to keep your back from arching. to tilt your hips and maintain torso posture.
First curl your hips under you. Use The Ab Revolution to use your abs to tip your hips back under you into correct position. lift your legs just an inch or two above the floor. Hanging Leg Lifts When you do leg lifts hanging from a chinning bar. It can be injurious and does not use abs. You’ll feel the weight of your legs arching your back more. doing a “reverse crunch” while hanging. Keep your torso posture controlled with your abs as you lower your legs too. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. Don’t let your back arch. You will feel your abs working. • To do this exercise correctly and fix the arching problem. Don’t just bend at the hip and use hip flexors with your behind stuck out. Chin Ups and Pulls Ups Many people stick out their behind and let their legs swing forward when doing chin ups and pull ups.
With this method. You’ll protect your back and get real ab exercise. don’t allow your back to arch.Dr. Don’t let your back arch during any point of raising or lowering your legs. put your legs back down and press your low back against your hand.) This is how many people do leg lifts. lift your legs just an inch or two above the floor. Keeping your abs in use to flatten the low back curve. using your abs to flatten the arch. Then. while maintaining the curled position of your torso. not allowing it to arch. you’ll feel your thighs pull up. pinching and straining your low back. Try not to let them. lift your legs. You’ll learn to use your abs to control your torso posture. Jolie Bookspan
arched position. This will retrain your muscles to know what it feels like to use abs to control torso posture. and to keep your legs straight while raising and lowering.
. you’ll learn to use your abs — not your hands — to change the tilt of your torso and hips. If your hips are tight.
. it is often done by arching the back. back. lifting one leg upward. and far more exercise for your back and leg. It can be done lying face down and lifting legs. Tuck your hips under to bring your back to a good straight position. and use only your leg. don’t let your back arch. Whenever you do leg lifts. You’ll feel an immediate shift of work to your abs. so that you can use it for all your standing activities. and gluteal muscles. Leg lifts to the back contracts and strengthens back muscles. standing up on one leg and lifting the other leg to the back.The Ab RevolutionTM
Back Leg Lifts Lifting your legs to the back is an excellent exercise for your back. and can also hurt your back. use The Ab Revolution to get a far better ab workout and to learn how proper posture feels when controlling your torso. That reduces leg and back muscle involvement. or from a hands-and-knees position. When lifting your leg to the back from a stand or from your knees.
The back pad makes it easier to maintain back posture without arching. the problem is that Captain’s Chair is often done in a way that prevents good use of abs. You lift your legs with knees bent or straight. People often make it easier by allowing their back to arch and using only hip flexors. the hanging leg lift. they let their back arch. not allowing your back to arch. Try this: • Hang from stall bars or a Captain’s Chair stand. It will be fairly easy to lift your legs or knees. When they swing their legs.Dr. Use your abs throughout the entire exercise to maintain your hip tuck when you raise and lower your legs.) Arch your back and stick your behind out. Captain’s Chair is like the old fashioned gymnast “stall bars” which were like a chinning bar against a climbing rack. first curl your behind under you using your abs. Then lift your legs. Still. bang. They never learn to consciously use abs to control torso posture.
. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. bang — all day. step after step — bang. Imagine the forces accumulating on your low back. Now try it right. or “Captain’s Chair” was one of the top exercises found to produce high ab activity. In a Captain’s Chair you hang in the air by your forearms on two pads on either side of you. with your back against a pad and legs dangling free. without as much use of abs as they could. • First try it wrong. Jolie Bookspan
What About “Captain’s Chair?”
In a recent survey. While hanging. Then they walk around all day with the same problem.
.The Ab RevolutionTM
It’s said that a problem with Captain’s Chair is that you need equipment. You don’t need equipment — just a good friend.
This is often confused. Proper back extension is one of the most important exercises for back health. You should feel a good ab exercise and no back pain. The problem is not using muscles to keep your upper body weight off your low back. gymnastics. Don’t crane or pinch your neck back. see pages 94 and 95. and some people think they must never arch their back. By holding your upper body weight with your abs. curving your abdomen out in front. is not the problem in back pain and posture control. and other activities. by itself.
Now try this to see how to arch with good range of motion and ab involvement. Relax your shoulders and keep them back. leaving a small natural curve. Take the exaggerated arch out of your back. yoga. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. as if starting a crunch.) Lift your weight up and off your low back by using your abs. The supported arch is important to use in tennis. Jolie Bookspan
Arching Isn’t the Culprit You are supposed to have a small inward curve in your low back.Dr. It should be a good-feeling stretch. Try this again while bending your knees to tilt backward further. Try this: • Stand up. Let your upper body weight relax down until you feel your weight on your low back. Allow your back to arch. and just allow their low back to fold backward under all their weight. 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. stretching. to hold your weight off your back: • Begin to arch your upper body back.
. Arching your back. you can lean and extend back without your weight pressing onto your low back. Many people don’t know to use their abs during these kinds of moves.
not your back joints. Strongly use your abs to decelerate as you extend backward. or you can make your own on a sturdy surface to hold your lower body.
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. try Roman Chair ab training.The Ab RevolutionTM
Supported Arching With Roman Chair Exercise As you progress. Don’t hang your weight on your back.
. There are Roman Chair seats in many gyms. Hold the weight of your legs up with your muscles.
. Also practice using abs to do these poses with a straight torso. to add to your ab workout. pressuring it. Jolie Bookspan
Don’t allow the weight of your legs to fold your low back into an angle.
and overstretch fibrous attachments (tendons that hold muscles on bones and ligaments that hold your bones together).
. not letting the rotation twist you to the end of the range your back can twist. swinging limbs in martial arts . Make sure to understand how to stop the momentum by using your ab and torso muscles. For activities that require body knowledge of how to decelerate a swinging pivot. a big problem is that people stop the momentum of the weight at the end of each rotation using their vertebral joints. Beside the poor neck posture from putting a bar across the shoulder. fray discs. such as swinging a bat or racquet. This can eventually strain soft tissues. The idea is that torso muscles would get exercise decelerating the swinging weight. or during various rodeo activities. this exercise can work your muscles in the manner they need to work.The Ab RevolutionTM
What About Abdominal Twists?
An exercise commonly done for abs is to put a bar across the shoulders and twist from side to side. and to decelerate only with muscular effort. But many people do this exercise in a way that doesn’t work the abs and overtwists the back.
rather than in real-life movements. stepping farther and farther away to increase the tension. and go for the fun of the work. Also. most people do not put much resistance on their band. Use a good. thick band. step away to increase tension while holding good posture. One reason is because they used the tubing while bending forward. There will be no momentum continuing the motion past the point where you pull the band.Dr. one way to do that is to use cable pulleys or a stretchy tube or band and pivot away from it. Jolie Bookspan
If all you want is a pivoting ab exercise to work your abs.
. 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.
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.
” Incrediball. 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. light-weight inflated ball that you can use in a large and inventive number of ways. Sit up. Try these: • Sit on the ball with good posture. with various moves that strengthen arms and legs. 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. expensive desk chairs are marketed with the ball as the sitting surface.Dr. you use balance and stabilization muscles so that you don’t fall off. they are just another device that does little. All the exercises here work your entire torso and back.” “rehab ball. But you can sit on the ball with as poor posture and little effort as on most other surfaces. Used properly. It is also called “Swiss Ball. sturdy.” “gym ball. Don’t arch or round your back. But this does not happen automatically.” “balance ball. Keep
. Used without understanding. It’s how you use it. chair or bench. and reinforces the same poor habits as other exercises.” “physio-roll. Because the surface of the ball is not flat and rolls under you. and daily life.” and any number of trade names. exercise balls can be great. too. but not rigidly. and use more body skills and muscles than doing the same exercise on a floor. Begin to walk your feet away and lie back until you’re lying as flat and straight as you can.” “therapy ball. Jolie Bookspan
What About Exercise Balls?
The exercise ball is a large. 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. There are claims that the ball makes you sit properly or that you use more muscular effort to sit on it. sports. Based on that. This is easily avoided by using your muscles deliberately to control posture.
Repeat. To progress. Roll to the other side without using your arms and repeat. and progress to being able to push up from the ball. not your back. This works the back also. with the ball under your ankles. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the ball. Try lifting one leg at a time. Keep the same good posture as for proper standing. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or your behind hike into the air. Hold as long as you can. or with your arms already straight. Lift one leg up straight and hold. Lift up one leg and hold as long as you can. Hold as long as you can. legs straight. Put both hands on the top surface of the ball and push up into a pushup position. Keep straight torso posture without sagging or arching. Lift your hips from the floor. Try side curls if you like. Lie on your back on the floor. and the ball close to your hip. not arched or bent forward.The Ab RevolutionTM
your back and neck straight. Advanced? Hold a weight in your hands. Switch legs. biceps by ears. Very advanced? Lift both legs at once. do pushups while holding proper posture. • Without using your arms. roll to one side and do one arm at a time. For more. Hold.
. lift both arms over your head. Then lift one leg from the ball. This works the back also. roll on the ball to lie on your side. Switch legs. As you advance. Step your feet away until the ball cradles your head and neck. Roll onto your back without using arms. Lift your hips from the floor. Hold. You can start with your knees on the floor and then straighten your legs. Roll onto your chest without using arms. lifting upward without hunching to the front. Keep the side of your feet on the floor. Hold straight posture as long as you can. Switch sides and repeat. Keep the ball under your behind.
Keep good posture without letting your back arch or hike up in the air. Lift one leg off the ball. Practice until you can hold the ball at your ankles.
Bad posture with back arched. and strain on the back.
. do pushups in this position. rolling the ball down your body to your legs. walk on your hands.
Good straight posture with abs in use to hold weight off the back. Hold the pushup position as above. Hold as long as you can. As you progress. abs not in good use. Jolie Bookspan
Lie face down on the ball with both hands on the floor. Switch legs. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or your behind hike up.Dr. Do pushups. 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.
What About Electronic Ab Zapper Belts?
“Watch T. These have been around for a long time.Dr.V. used in physical therapy to passively contract muscles atrophied from paralysis or wasting diseases. 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. There is muscle contraction. That’s just your normal metabolism at work. 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. but not enough to produce the results claimed.
. They made claims comparing the relative number of calories burned in a longer time frame to a shorter one. with or without a vibrator strapped to your abdomen. In two hours sitting in front of the television wearing the device.
biking. or other fun ways to move around will “pick you up” more effectively and safely than taking stimulants. Just don’t pay money for that. When you exercise. These stimulants can have harmful effects.” First. They could just as honestly claim that if you stare at their special green dot that you will burn calories in your sleep. and keep you happier and healthier in the long run. and heart trouble. to inability to exercise safely in the heat. It slows when you stop exercising. skating. They do not selectively find your fat cells and eliminate them. because a nice run. playing.
.The Ab RevolutionTM
What About Miracle Liquids and Fat Burners?
Many products on the market claim to make you burn fat while you sleep. Any product can truthfully claim to produce increased calorie burning after a workout. you increase your metabolism to meet your energy needs. bike. from nervousness and grouchiness. The pills called “fat burners” are mostly stimulants. Some products claim to give a workout so intense that you burn fat for hours after you finish. Other products are pills tantalizingly called “fat burners. or swim will do the same. Metabolizing stored fat is part of your round-the-clock energy production for body functions. A good workout of dancing. everyone burns fat when they’re asleep — when they’re awake. will burn more calories. but takes a while to return to resting value. But don’t pay money for that because you burn fat 24 hours a day anyway as part of being alive. too. no matter what device you use or what potion you drink. whether you drink miracle potion or not.
The band temporarily shrinks your circumference through simple compression. leaving you temporarily smaller.Dr.” “flab zapper.
. 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. It is just a gimmick.” and “waist shrinker. or body fat loss. Jolie Bookspan
What About Neoprene Waist Bands?
A fairly popular product advertised to easily take off inches is sometimes billed as a secret scuba device. weight loss.” It is just a neoprene band to wear around the waist (or thighs). It has nothing to do with toning or supporting the muscles. and other times called various intriguing names like “waist support. sweat loss. You return to normal circumference fairly quickly.
and won’t help your posture. stand. or your life. not bending forward. You need to exercise your abs the way they normally should work. activities. But your abs need to work isometrically (at one length without moving) a great deal of the time in real life. and good looks? The ab exercises you see everywhere in gyms get you good at hunching forward. That means radically different exercises from what you commonly see in gyms and on exercise videos. For the moving exercises. Most people can’t do these exercises for more than a few seconds. They don’t have the ab strength and endurance to hold themselves straight. don’t hold your breath. No wonder their posture sags so badly by the end of the day and their muscles ache. carry packages. do exercise.The Ab RevolutionTM
What Exercises Work Your Abs the Way You Need For Real Life?
Beside standing and reaching properly all day every day. breathe in. The concepts and exercises follow in the next sections.
. Gradually increase the time you hold good posture with these exercises. More important than how many repetitions you do is understanding the concept. run. your back. what else can you do to train good ab use for posture. You’ll learn exercises that work your abs in functional ways for postural control when you sit. then breathe out during the effort of the movement. Doing repetitions and sets without that will not work your abs the way you need. Breathe normally and fully when doing the isometric exercises. back pain prevention. and go out and have fun. walk. 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.
and just getting through the day with good posture and without a tired. Lifting a lighter weight for a long time builds your endurance. catching falling objects or children. and when doing exercise. How Fast or Slow? Working your muscles slowly gets them good at slow movement. Or Fewer Harder Ones? Regularly lifting a weight that is so heavy that you can only lift it a few times builds your strength. When To Do Ab Revolution Exercises? Use these back-saving.Dr. for doing your activities. for example pushups. then gradually add external weight. It will not make you able to do fast movements needed for real life activities like throwing. arch-preventing.
. Jolie Bookspan
How Many. When going quickly. or anything where you need your strength in a fast move. core posture exercises all the time when you are standing up. As they strengthen they can do more repetitions. achy back. their own body weight is so heavy relative to their ability that it provides enough resistance to build strength. When going slowly with weights don’t squeeze your joints or push them past their range. building both strength and endurance. going about your normal day. How Often?
How Many of Each Exercise Should You Do? Depends how many you can already do. Many Easier Ones. That is good for carrying things and pushing cars (if you also trained to be strong enough). For many people. don’t bang your joints around. Start doing as many of each as you properly can. punching. use muscular control to avoid injury. Work up to more. You need both for carrying things. Practice your exercises both quickly and slowly to maximize your real life abilities. 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.
arch your back. the pushup is a prize exercise for most of your body. Hold your head up. Tuck your hips under and you’ll feel an immediate shift of the work to your abs and “core. not your “core” muscles. then you need to strengthen them too — not ruin your elbow joints. Don’t let your back arch during any part of your pushup and you can emphasize both core stability and upper and lower body strength. wrists and arms. including the important weak link. This is a missed opportunity to strengthen your core and is hard on your back. • Don’t lock your elbows straight. Holding the Pushup Position • Hold the pushup position as long as you can. If your arms are too weak to hold you. and to train them to prevent your back from arching under gravity resistance. A common mistake is letting your back arch like the back of an old horse when doing pushups. Be straight as a plank. straight posture you need for standing up. so that your weight rests on your vertebrae. Keep your weight on your whole hand. or hike your hips up in the air. keep them slightly bent. and have the ab strength and endurance to do it.” Take the arch out of your back and straighten your torso. Wobbling after only a few seconds? These are the same posture muscles you need to stand up properly without
. Don’t droop down. Application to Daily Life: Learn and practice the easy. To protect your back during the exercise and make the exercise more effective and more targeted to the abs. don’t just mash your wrists. Using The Ab Revolution.The Ab RevolutionTM
Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Normal Standing
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs.
No sagging. Keep your whole body straight as a
. “How To Use Your Abs When Standing Up. • • • Hold the pushup position and lift one leg in back and the opposite arm straight out in front. without arching.Dr. Keep hips tucked. You'll feel your abs work immediately. stand up again and relearn the posture exercise on page 23. back straight and head up. Put your feet up on a bench or ledge or against a wall and hold the pushup position without sagging in the middle or arching your back. Vary your hand positioning. and a higher one to work arms more. Jolie Bookspan
sagging. • If you can’t figure how to tuck your hips under you. Hold the pushup position on your elbows.”
Tuck your hip to hold your back straight. Work up to increasing the time you can hold your posture as straight you would want 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. Use a lower ledge to work abs more.
The Ab RevolutionTM
plank. The wrist is one of the three major risk sites of osteoporosis.
First from left is holding hips slightly bent and hiked in the air. two more benefits of Ab Revolution exercises. Don’t let your upper body lift up before your lower body. • Do full pushups using your abs to keep your hips tucked as if starting a crunch. Try curls. Second and third are flatter and straighter.
. Moving Pushups • Hold the pushup position on one arm and lift a hand weight from the floor to your chest with the other (like rowing) keeping straight body position. Weight bearing improves bone density and strength. don’t let your middle sag. Stay flat throughout. and other lifts too.
Add a weight to your back during pushups. Don’t arch or hike up your behind. Increased resistance increases your strength and adds a posture challenge. not even a little. Jolie Bookspan
Rise from the floor in a reverse pushup. Lower to the floor holding your body just as straight.Dr. Have a friend sit on your back when you do pushups – carefully. Keep hips tucked and prevent any arching with your abs. and lift straight up with your arms without letting your upper body rise first. Tuck your hips and chest down as if starting a crunch. Don’t let your posture sag. and repeat.
Adding extra weight means using more ab and other core muscles
. and elbows bent at your sides. Do full pushups with your feet up on a bench or wall. Lie flat with hands on the floor. Maintain the same posture you would want if you were standing up.
Jump sideways across the room. Walk sideways. Maintain the same posture you would want if you were standing up. Don’t allow your back to arch under the momentum of landing. forward. Have fun. balance. and posture control. Jump to say hello to someone. Walk quickly and slowly. Jump to the next piece of exercise equipment.
“Spiders” work torso. Walking and Jumping Pushups To challenge your strength.” Experiment with various leg placement. Jump in the pushup position like a flat jumping spider. arm. try these fun and effective variations: • Walk around in the pushup position like a flat spider. backward. and leg muscles hard. Stay straight. They are effective and safe if you protect your back with good posture and shock absorption. and around. More Challenge Moves • As you advance. See if you can jump 90 degrees (or more) with each jump to face each direction. sometimes called “The Flag.
. Use good shock absorption with arms and legs. try this move. Tuck your hips under as if starting a crunch to keep your back straight. while getting an effective. hard workout.The Ab RevolutionTM
to keep posture good and your back protected.
Keep your weight on your whole hand so you don’t mash your wrist. Lift one arm and balance on the other arm. Keep your elbow slightly bent. Many people let their bodies slump to the side. Do both sides. Learn to use your oblique abs to prevent this. don’t lock it.
. and have the strength and endurance to maintain it. Holding Side Pushup Position • Hold the pushup position and turn to one side. Application to Daily Life: Learn to prevent your torso from slouching to the side when standing. or even just when standing up.Dr. and to train them to hold your posture correctly against resistance. Jolie Bookspan
Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your oblique abs. Save your elbow joint and get an arm workout. holding your body straight without drooping in the middle. or hike their shoulder or hip up when carrying things on one shoulder or hip.
or up against the wall.
Hold the regular pushup position face down. with both arms on the floor. lift one arm behind your back. To progress. To progress. hold your arm straight in front of you. Keep straight pushup position. with your bicep by your ear. Don’t rotate your body. Without turning your body. raise the opposite leg too. Progress to putting your feet up on a ledge or bench.
.The Ab RevolutionTM
Progressions for Holding Position • Prop on one elbow.
Fun Challenge Moves • Hold a regular face-down pushup position. Next. Lift one leg 90 degrees to the side and forward. raise your top leg and hold as long as you can. don’t drop on the floor. Jolie Bookspan
In the side position. not drooping down. Keep your leg straight and parallel to the floor. Then bend the top leg at the hip and hold in front of you.
Moving in the Side Arm Position • Raise and lower your top leg from the floor as many times as you can.Dr. then try continuously switching. do the same sip. Hold your weight up using abs when lowering. while holding one leg straight out to the side
. Switch arms. not turned or arched. as if swinging it over a bicycle. maintaining straight torso posture. Hold as long as you can and switch legs. Then try pushups this way. • 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. holding your top leg off the floor.
As you advance. try this. add lifting the opposite arm. sometimes called “The Flag.
.The Ab RevolutionTM
When you can hold your leg out straight to the side.” Experiment with leg placement.
Contract your abs to hold your torso straight without allowing your back to arch from the floor. just an inch off the floor. You need to exercise using the same movements and muscle patterns as you use in real life. Application to Daily Life: Learn and practice holding your back in good posture during overhead movement and exercise. Using Body Weight • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. since ab muscles are shallow. lifting your ribs high so you know what it feels like. just isolating your arms is not only not functional. biceps near your ears. press your back down against your hand.
. just use your abs. not shoulder or low back. Did your back arch off your hand again? Press it back down. • To feel how to use abs to reduce the arch and control your torso. Now put both hands overhead. You’ll feel your abs working right under your skin. When you lift weights with your arms.Dr. but can teach you how to forget your torso muscles in ways that can lead to back and even shoulder injury. Put your other arm overhead just off the floor. improve shoulder range of motion. Arch your back up. This is called functional exercise. Put your hand on the floor under the arch of your back. Jolie Bookspan
Using Abs to Control Torso Posture When Using Weights
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. and to use them to hold correct posture against overhead resistance. biceps by your ear. To learn when you’re substituting arching your back for motion of the shoulder. Don’t lift your hips. and use abs. as the lever when reaching overhead.
particularly when lowering the weights. Keep your elbows slightly bent. 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. Holding the weights also works your arms and latissimus dorsi muscles along the sides of your back. or allow yourself to arch and let the weight drop on the joints of your back. about an inch from the floor. This simulates all the daily life activities where you will either support your body and things you carry with your muscles. Don’t let it. • Each time the weight lowers.
Your abdominal muscles work hard on this one to control your posture against the moving weight.
Use abs to hold your back in position without arching. You get several exercises for the price of one. and work your body the way you need for real life movement. • Lie on your back. as many times as you can without touching the floor. your back will want to arch.
.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. Don’t let your ribs come up or your back arch. Moving With Hand Weights • Raise and lower the dumbbells about an inch.
The Ab Revolution teaches you to understand how your muscles need to move. and. the force of the moving weight comes crashing down on your low back. When you do standing weight lifting. effective movement all the time. If you allow your back to arch. You can’t walk or move properly in real life with your knees and hips bent that much. but not a large arch. Carry-Over to Real Life Think of all the exercises that involve lifting weights overhead — exercises where you should stand without arching. control your posture with what you learned from this lying-down training exercise. bent hip. Many people have hips so tight that they can’t straighten their legs without their back being pulled into a large arch. as you have practiced in this exercise above. Yet many people do keep their hip bent all the time when standing. You would never learn to use your muscles the way you really need them when standing up. pain. Keep your abs contracted so that your back does not pull into an arch. Jolie Bookspan
To Progress • Extend your legs out straight. then exercise that way too. But it is your own muscles that should do that for you. This is where you stretch. Their hips get so tight that they even need a pillow under their knees to sleep. which feeds a negative cycle of tight hip. and how to retrain everything for safe.
. and retrain your muscles to hold your body properly. ironically. but don’t. • 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. an arched back just to stand up straight. how your posture needs to be.
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. strengthen. There will be a small space under your low back. What they need is to stretch the front of their hip so their hip and legs can extend properly.Dr.
The Ab RevolutionTM
Use your own muscles. not just bending your knees to control your posture. this exercise will not only work your abs for the moment. If you use your abs for posture adjustment during all your standing movements.
. but all day when you really need it — standing up.
Application to Daily Life: To train your abs and brain to hold your torso and back posture during movement and exercise.
. and whenever you lift and reach. putting away groceries. lifting heavy packages onto counters. when reaching and lifting overhead. Did your ribs come up and your back arch?Tuck your hip under you to prevent over-arching. but just until your body is straight and supported. because of that. as if beginning a crunch.Dr. putting cargo on car roof racks. allow their upper body weight to pressure their low back many times a day: reaching. Transfer these skills to keeping healthy torso posture for common activities like lifting trays. but not curling forward or bending your neck. This is when many people have no concept of abs and. and even combing and washing hair. and correct your posture. Not in an exaggerated way. and to train them to hold your back posture against resistance. Keep your abs in use as if you were beginning a crunch. Wave your arms around. but not curling forward or bending your neck.
Using Hand Weights and Packages • Lift weights overhead. pulling shirts off. Using Body Weight • Stand up and reach overhead with both hands. putting things on shelves. Jolie Bookspan
Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Reaching and Lifting Overhead
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. Keep your torso from increasing the arch. lifting babies and children overhead. • Reach overhead again. Keep your hip tucked under you. no matter what. Keep your abs in use to prevent arching.
The Ab RevolutionTM
All are arched in bad posture. Abs not in use for lifting.
Same lift with abs in use to straighten posture and protect the back.
back arched. controlling your posture with abs. 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. 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. Lift arms overhead. Hold one end in each hand.
Same exercise with abs in use to straighten posture and exercise against the pull of the bands
.Dr. abs not in use.
Bad posture. This is also fun to do with a partner. Don’t let your arms pull behind you. Step away until there is tension on the band. Turn your back.
facing sideways to the band. • • • To progress.The Ab RevolutionTM
Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture When Reaching and Lifting Overhead
Purpose of this Exercise: To get a great workout for your oblique abs. use your abs to move your body to the side. to get started — secured at about shoulder height.
. Use a hula-hoop. and to train them to hold your back posture against resistance. • • Move away until there is more tension on the band. Feel how to stabilize your body using your oblique abs. Hold both ends and turn sideways. Maintain good posture. pulleys — or even a pair of panty hose. and do side curls. Don’t pull your arms to the sides. tubing.
Many Variations • Do side curls. Don’t let the band pull you into poor posture. Application to Daily Life: Holding your torso and back posture correctly to avoid strain and slouching to the side when reaching and lifting overhead. Using Bands and Pulleys • Use a stretchy band. Walk around keeping your torso stable against the changing pull of the band. Hold your torso stable against the sideways pull of the stretchy cord. Try it with and without bands. hold both arms overhead with your biceps against your ears. and holding the band in front of your chest.
your torso and legs should power most of it. Hold both arms overhead with your biceps to your ears. by not contracting your abs first and using your torso to power the move. • • Move away to put more tension on the band and still stand up straight. without allowing the resistance to pull your back into an arch or pull your arms behind you. you can overload your shoulder or elbow. Injury can eventually develop. But many people just arch their back and fling their arm. The fulcrum of the swing becomes the shoulder joint instead of the muscles of the abs and hip. Jolie Bookspan
Using Abs for Throwing and Other Overhead Arm Activities
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. When throwing and punching properly. Don’t allow your arms to move or your neck to come forward. or cable pulleys.
. Using Bands or Cables • Use a stretchy band or rubber tubing with the middle secured at about shoulder height. Feel how to stabilize your body and stand straight using your abs. for example. Application to Daily Life: Train torso and back posture during speed and power movement. Turn your back. and when throwing and moving arms overhead. Hold both ends. In baseball pitches and tennis serves. and to train them to hold your back posture against rapid onset resistance. Pivot your body from your abs. and the arched posture drops much weight on the low back. one in each hand. Try the action of doing crunches standing up to get the idea of initiating arm action with your abs first. Use abs to power overhead activities and to protect your shoulder and back.Dr.
not just your shoulder.The Ab RevolutionTM
Simulate throwing a ball with one arm. and contract your abs so that your torso curls. abs not in use. Feel the pivot coming from your abs. back arched. and body.
Abs in use to properly change back posture and power the throw.
Bad posture. Only then does the arm come forward.
. turn your hip. Push off your feet.
Keep your knees bent and turn from your hips. Jolie Bookspan
Using Abs for Side and Underhand Arm Activities
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs (front and oblique). when reaching and lifting to the side. When you use your arms to exercise on pulley machines. Turning Moves • Use a stretchy band. or pull or push things — from laundry to dogs on a leash — use your abs.Dr. Turning at Varied Angles • Hold the band at a strong tension and face various angles toward and away from the band. Not using your abs for arm tasks is a common contributor to shoulder pain. retraining yourself to use abs first. or in a high brace in kayaking. and then initiate action with your arm. if
. All the common arm exercises with dumbbells and pulleys can be retrained to use your abs first. Contract your abs. Practice moving your arms for common activities. Turn your hip. and to train them to hold your back posture against moving resistance. Application to Daily Life: Learn to keep your torso and back posture correct during movement and exercise. Swivel your body away from the resistance. and turn sideways. or cable pulleys secured at about waist height. throw side pitches. Bend your knees. This doesn’t happen just when swinging a tennis racquet. Try the motion of combing your hair (or washing your head. you overload your shoulder. rubber tubing. Reaching over the car seat for heavy items in the back seat frequently adds to rotator cuff injury. stabilize the shoulder. Hold both ends if you’re using bands. keeping your torso straight as a unit. By not contracting your abs first and using your torso to power the move. not twisting from your waist. Push off your feet.
hanging up clothes. This simulates walking a dog. brushing teeth. writing on the board. Moving Stabilization Drills • Have a friend hold the other end of the band and pull you in odd directions while you practice torso stabilization.The Ab RevolutionTM
you’re bald). underhand and side pitches.
. or carrying packages and a squirming baby while trying to get in the door. and anything else you need for daily life.
You should feel the back pain disappear. Kickboxing classes are popular.) Fix your posture with your abs. with your body in a slight curl. Jolie Bookspan
Using Abs for Punching
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs (front and oblique) against quickly-moving resistance. just rest your knuckles as if you had just hit the wall. Allow the push of your arm to arch your back. Push increasingly hard. and a new strength in your punching arm. Practice your punch with the new supported posture. Don’t hunch forward. That puts your chin closer for your opponent hit it. as if beginning a crunch but not curling your neck forward. • Push the wall with your fist. You’ll feel pressure. Training Abs for Punching • Stand near a wall. without bending your elbow. Maintain your slightly tucked posture.
. (Don’t do this if you have back pain.” 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.Dr. Stretch your arm forward in punching position. because their main core muscles are not driving the punching arm or leg. Don’t hit the wall. maybe a familiar ache in your low back. The fulcrum of the punch becomes the low back bones instead of the muscles of the abs and hip. Keep hips tucked under. In many video tapes. It is also a sure sign that they cannot generate punching force. you hear much mention of “core” and “ab stabilization. Don’t allow your back to arch at any point.
and keep the contraction coming from your abs to push your torso and arm forward. If real fighters punched with this arched posture. they’d hurt their backs and not get much of a punch. turn your hips. Don’t arch your back
In both the puncher and receiver above. exhale.
. First tilt your hip to prevent arching by using your abs. but from the lower body. the arched torsos transmit force to the low back. Push off your feet.The Ab RevolutionTM
Punching should not initiate from the arm or shoulder.
lever your arm forward into a powerful punch.Dr. Breathe out. turn your hip into the punch and then.
• • • •
. rubber tubing. Jolie Bookspan
Train Abs for Punching Using Bands • Use a stretchy band. Increase tension on the band and still stand up straight. Feel how to stabilize your body using your abs. Keep your heels down when you punch. Turn your back. Contract abs first. Push off your feet and legs. or back-to-back with a partner holding bands looped around yours. Don’t let the cord pull you into an arch or pull your arms behind you. This can be done looping your band around something behind you. using your abdomen as the fulcrum. Keep your arms in front of you. still holding both ends of the cord. or cable pulleys. with the middle secured around anything solid at shoulder height or above.
oblique. safe torso and back posture during pushing and slow. Keep your hip tucked under you. Breathe in. Push increasingly hard. and breathe out as you lever your upper body forward in powerful pushing action. maybe the familiar ache in your low back. Application to Daily Life: Good. Begin pushing the wall with your hands.
. tuck your hips. as if beginning a crunch but not bending your neck. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. Allow the push of your arm to arch your back.
Use the Ab Revolution principles when pushing heavy objects. You will save your back and generate more pushing force.The Ab RevolutionTM
Using Abs For Pushing
Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs (front. use your hips and abdomen as the fulcrum. Let your back arch. powerful moves. without bending your elbows. and transversus) against heavy resistance.) Fix your posture with your abs. • Stand with both hands against a wall. press off your feet. so your body is in a slight curl. You should feel the back pain disappear and a new strength. You’ll feel pressure.
when using your legs. so that your body is in a slight curl.Dr. Keep your hip tucked under. Begin pushing the wall with your foot without allowing your knee to give way. Put the bottom of your foot against the wall as if you just kicked it. You’ll feel pressure. Train Abs for Kicking Using Body Weight • Stand facing a wall at a distance to swing a front kick. That is bad for your back and puts your chin closer to your opponent to hit you. The same problems occur in exercise and martial arts classes during kicking as with punching and pushing. With the new supported posture. maybe a familiar ache in your low back from daily bad posture habits.) Fix your posture by using your abs as if beginning a crunch. Don’t allow your back to arch at any point in your kick. You should feel the back pain disappear and a new strength in your kicking leg. Maintain your slightly tucked-under posture. as described in the previous sections. Don’t hunch forward or round your upper back. Jolie Bookspan
Using Abs for Kicking
Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs against quickly-moving resistance. People allow their back to arch and they just swing their leg around. The fulcrum of the kick becomes the low back joints instead of the muscles of the abdomen and hip. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. • Let your back arch. Application to Daily Life: Correct and safe torso and back posture during kicking and leg movement.
. but not bending your neck forward. practice kicking toward the wall and back to ready position.
and tucking enough to straighten your back without rounding it. Train Abs for Front Kicking Using Bands These exercises can be done looping your band around something behind you. Don’t let it pull your back into an arch. • Use a stretchy band.
Train Abs for Side Kicking Using Bands • Turn to the side against the resistance of the band. or back to back with a partner holding bands looped around yours. Feel the difference between letting your back arch.The Ab RevolutionTM
Try the same technique for a side kick. or cable pulleys secured around anything solid at about hip height or below.
Use this technique for kicks used in many sports. Secure one end of the band or tubing handle around the outside leg. breathe out. Using your abdomen as the fulcrum. from martial arts. To train front kicks. Contract your abs first. to swimming. Stand sideways to a wall at a distance to swing a side kick.
. Do not curl your upper body forward. Keep your standing heel down when you kick. to soccer. rubber tubing. Use your abs to hold your posture from arching during the kick. Put the bottom of your foot against the wall as if you had just kicked it sideways. Push off your standing leg. secure one end of the band or tubing handle around one leg and turn your back to the resistance of the band. Feel how to stabilize your body using abs to stand up straight. as you lever your leg forward into a powerful kick. Step away to put tension on the band.
they allow their body to sag under the weight of things they carry. you’ll notice that you arch your back under the weight of the bag. Shoulder bags and backpacks don’t make you arch your back or have bad posture. built-in ab exercise. but not bending your neck or body so much that you hunch or round forward. or allowing your back to arch. If you lean forward against the weight of the bag. You’ll feel pressure. (Don’t allow this to happen if you have back pain. and maybe the old familiar ache in your low back.) If you arch. fix your posture by tucking your hips under as if starting a crunch. Your bags can become a free. and Bags as Ab Exercise
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. Jolie Bookspan
Using Backpacks. You should feel the back pain disappear. is the problem. and to train them to hold your back posture when standing and carrying weight. 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. and allowing your back to arch. If you stand without using your abs. Babies.
. Feel your torso straighten against the pull of the bag. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct when carrying common daily objects. not hunched. Try this: • Stand up wearing any heavy bag or backpack.Dr. stand straight up and feel your abs working. Stand sideways to see your profile in a mirror. not using your torso muscles to counter the pull. Maintain upright posture.
Remember to do this all the time with everything you carry.
and letting your torso sway to the side under the weight. instead of simply holding good posture by using your muscles. when you can. babies. Try this while wearing a knapsack. and get an ab and back workout. not bent in any direction against the pull of the bag. Check your posture with a mirror. Babies. Practice walking around with the knapsack and maintaining your upright posture. with everything you carry. you can get a curve just like it from bad posture. or carrying a heavy handbag on one shoulder or hip: • Experiment with the difference between maintaining proper posture to hold the weight. and Bags as Oblique Ab Exercise
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your oblique abs. Fix your posture by engaging your oblique abs to straighten your torso against the pull of the bag. Use packages.
Remember to do this all the time. If you habitually let your back curve to the side under the weight of things you carry. or hiking your shoulder up. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct when carrying common daily objects on one hip or shoulder.
. holding a baby. an abnormal sideways curve. You could burn calories. simply by holding good posture against the pull of your bags — no matter where you wear them. Even if you don’t have scoliosis. This is preventable. knapsacks. save your back. People go to a gym to press sideways against a weight machine to work their obliques. you can eventually tighten your back and even deform your bones into a curve.The Ab RevolutionTM
Using Backpacks. and to train them to hold your posture when carrying weight. and bags as a free workout for your oblique abs and back.
This is a silly and fun exercise. functionality. calorie burning. lists the bicycle as the top exercise for the front abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis). and second most effective for your side abs. It uses motions similar to those for “bicycling” but works muscles far more. But it’s not a functional exercise because what else is it good for? This exercise beats it in effectiveness. The “Ab Study. and to have a hilarious time doing it. Also trains muscles to fight an attacker off. or obliques.
. Jolie Bookspan
Using Abs to Throw a Tantrum
Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs more than you ever have. Application to Daily Life: This exercise is directly useful to control torso posture when moving your arms and legs during any extreme activity.Dr. and sheer fun. to train them to hold your back in proper position when doing vigorous movement. and a hard and effective one.” mentioned on page 15.
“No! No! No! I won’t! You can’t make me do crunches! I don’t want to…!” Again.The Ab RevolutionTM
Lie on your back.
Fitness classes love this one. and kick hard. play loud music if it helps. Vigorously move them up and down. You’ll have had the workout of your life. Lift your arms and legs up in the air. back and forth. When you finish. 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. No wonder children use this.
. Lift your arms high and back down. but get a workout. Lift arms. upper body. Don’t wrench yourself around. if it helps.
Remember that when you work your abs. and also work the difficult-to-target posterior shoulder. Yell if you want to. back and forth in all directions. Lift your knees. and legs in the air. buttock. Go fast and furiously. Pound the mat. You’ll feel your back. They get a fun and hard ab and back workout.This is also useful to train for kicking and punching someone who has thrown you down. and hamstring muscles get amazing exercise. in all directions. you should work your back. and leave class happy and exhausted. you’ll be calm and happy. hip. Kick hard. Vigorously pound your fists and legs up and down against the floor and up in the air. • Lie on your front.
Keeping your back muscles. and overstretches your back muscles. You need to add exercises that contract your back muscles — called back extension — to strengthen your back. Using abdominal muscles moves your torso to reduce the large arch to keep strain off your back. and to train you to hold your posture from slouching forward. when used. doing conventional ab exercises. when used. which contract your abs to round you 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. or attend “abonly” exercises classes.Dr. thinking it will make their backs injury-free. Jolie Bookspan
“Ab-Only” Exercises are Not Good Many people do only abdominal muscle exercises.
. But saying that ab exercise strengthens you back is not really true. This forwardslouching posture slowly puts unhealthy pressure on back muscles. or any muscles. There are two serious problems with this. vertebrae. your back muscles. Just as your abs muscles. Doing ab exercise does not work your back muscles. Slouching forward is a poor posture that people are usually very good at. To strengthen your back you have to work your back muscles with specific exercises that contract them. Next. prevents your upper body weight from slouching backward and pressuring your low back. and spend a great portion of their day doing. adds to the “round-shoulder” problem that contributes to back pain in the first place. any more than doing kicks makes your arms strong. keep you from slouching forward. Forward slouching slowly pressures your discs to bulge out. lengthened by poor posture weakens them. and nerves that exit the vertebrae. Abdominal muscles and back muscles are different muscles.
lift one leg off the floor. Order online at www. Hold and lower. Gradually increase. If you feel pinching or electric shock pain. Then switch legs. and sells for $24.The Ab RevolutionTM
Back Extension At the minimum. See your doctor. lift both legs together.95 (US). Beside giving you a beautiful back for bathing suit wear. this is much-needed progress. Don’t force or yank. If you feel muscles working. do at least ten back extensions every day and when you do ab exercise. hands at your sides and off the floor. Don’t force. this exercise is a mainstay of most back-strengthening and pain-reduction programs. To progress. don’t continue the exercises. are detailed in the new edition of the book “Health & Fitness in Plain English” also by Dr. Slowly lift your upper body a few inches. knee straight. This is not an injury. and full explanations of relieving back and neck pain. Keep your head in line with your body.healthylearning. Work up from there. • Lie face down. then lower back to the floor. you may be sore after doing these. Don’t tilt your head back.com.
. health and joint pain. Jolie Bookspan. If you aren’t used to exercising your back muscles. that is right. move your arms from your sides to overhead. or toll free from the publisher: 1-888-229-5745. Lift with your muscles. It has thirty-one chapters on all aspects of fitness.
These exercises. Start with one or two lifts. To progress.
For your lower back. nutrition.
sit. Jolie Bookspan
Should You Work Your Abs Every Day or Every Other Day? It’s common for people to debate fiber type and fatigue. You’re also missing the easiest opportunity to burn calories and get a free. is missing the whole point of what abs are supposed to do. to decide whether to exercise abs daily or intermittently. Using your abs is like obeying the Ten Commandments: you’re supposed to do it all the time. allowing your upper body weight to press on your low back. all the time to control your posture. Why kill yourself working out. What is missed is that. like your heart beating. nor every few days. then ignore your abs the other 23 hours a day and undo all your efforts? Stand. all-day workout. and reach well all the time. If you worked your abs all day. you need your abs working all day. then not using abs to control your posture the rest of the day. not just during your hour of worship. you wouldn’t need to go to a gym to do funny little crunches — not every day.
. every day. Flurries of articles are written on this. Doing crunches or any other ab exercise. and you’ll exercise your abs without working out.Dr.
This fat comes from where it is stored. and move in general.
. and encourage arching so that you wind up standing with your abdomen curved out — just the opposite of what you wanted. and that exercises often done in gyms tighten the hip. No exercise selectively removes fat from a specific part. That means to lose fat. skate. jog.” Ab exercises alone will not remove fat from your abdomen. to keep it from arching and curving your abdomen out. Get out and have fun. play. walk. speed skaters would have small legs. run. which burns more calories. Aerobic exercise burns fat. If spot reducing worked. people would have thin mouths from talking. Regular ab exercise alone won’t make you stand properly so that your back won’t arch and your abdomen won’t sag out. ski. skip. you need to run. dig. bike. swim.The Ab RevolutionTM
How Do You Flatten Your Abdomen? Use your abs to change the curve of your back. including fat from your abdomen. It’s a shame that many people deliberately stand arched. Weight training builds muscle. and the repetitive act of chewing and swallowing lots of food would make your face thin. row. dance. It’s not “sucking in” or “tightening”— it’s moving your torso into healthy position using Ab Revolution exercises. stick the behind out. to use your abs for daily life. That myth is called “spot reducing.
The entire package of getting results includes proper abdominal exercise. giving a “washboard” or “ripple” effect. healthful meals on a regular basis. You’ll be a better exerciser. Jolie Bookspan
How Do You Get a “Washboard?” You have bands of fibrous tissue called fascia that run across your front and side abdominal muscles at intervals. You’ll exercise your brain. and conscious use of abs all the time. Use your abs to tip your hip back under you and lift your weight up and off your low back.Dr. showing that you may be arching your back instead of holding straight posture. It’s a revolution. You’ll save your back. Use the Ab Revolution to retrain your abs for ab exercise without going to a gym. lifting. cutting out junk food. You’ll be straighter and taller. reduced fat under your skin (in order to see it all). You’ll get a free. Doing good abdominal work will enlarge the muscles enough to poke through the facial bands. balancing. and the weight of everything you lift and carry. and having fun. reaching. complex carbohydrates. check if you are standing and moving in a way that is wrecking your back by not using your abs.
. Next time you are standing around noticing your back hurts. smash down on your low back. Notice if you are letting your body weight. continuous. 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. all-day workout. You’ll burn more calories. You won’t see ripples if body fat covers everything. and water in your diet to fuel good workouts.
The Ab RevolutionTM
. It’s encouraging to know that. Horsham. cuts away the myths and falsehoods to lead the reader to understanding. M.Kelly Hill.. SWAT Team Commander Using Dr.. I can develop my abs and improve my posture throughout the day. Tom Millington. I developed my abs more in the last 3 months than in the past 3 years doing crunches. the brightest light in popular sports medicine.. thank you for constantly discrediting the myths that are all too often forced upon us.J. Bookspan’s Ab Revolution
Continued from the back cover: You’ve done it again.. M. You’re my hero. Bookspan’s expertise. C. .S.. M. Jolie Bookspan
More Praise for Dr.T.Ed.Joni Lawrence. . From Dr. I have lost weight. built muscle.C.. PA Dr. Merck International Health Program Coordinator This is a book that everyone interested in good health and muscle tone should read — especially personal trainers! . and eliminated chronic pain. Athletic Trainer and Maccabean Games Triathlon Gold Medalist. Green Beret Lt. A. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital.Audrey Tannenbaum. by using them properly. Bookspan.D. Bookspan’s revolutionary yet practical advice.C. . From one professional to another. CA
. This is my stomach bible.D. St. . Col.Dr.S. Medical Director.
. .D.Caroline Fife. University of Texas Health Science Center. Associate Professor. 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. 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.David Hsu.gulftel. . Jolie Bookspan has done it again! An expert at debunking ‘scientific’ bunk. Ph. 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. M. Jolie Bookspan.. sensible and highly effective. I trust her for good sense and her solid background in exercise physiology.D. Dr. FACS. The book is highly recommended to read and keep as a reference source.D. Houston. I turn to my friend and colleague.. The program is simple. Dr. General Surgery www.D. she has written an extremely interesting ‘do-ityourself’ exercise guide. Chief Consultant.. Freeing the ‘crunchers’ from the boredom of useless exercise programs that are quickly abandoned. Neurology. .Ernest Campbell.The Ab RevolutionTM
Well. Department of Anesthesiology. M. M.com/~scubadoc/
Whenever I have a question on rehab. or want practical advice on fitness training or musculoskeletal complaints. CHeCS Training Program. Krug Life Sciences NASA
including board exam questions 226 pages. illustrated.org
.com Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 pages.uhms.healthylearning. and joint pain 371 pages. $50. $24. Jolie Bookspan
More Books by Dr.org firstname.lastname@example.org Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire field.Dr. nutrition. Jolie Bookspan
Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of fitness.uhms. $40.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: www.org Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages.org email@example.com ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 www. illustrated.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: www. $30.uhms. health.org firstname.lastname@example.org (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 www.
arttoday.The Ab RevolutionTM
Cover model: Paul Plevakas Front cover photo: Julia Lehman. Martin Dembitzer Angela and Andrea Fleegle Elsa Leung Rhonda McJeff Stacia Mellbourne Travis Mesman Sara Rathfon Danielle Tobin
. Bookspan’s dedicated and hardworking students: Shelly Anthony Regina Basile Cynthia Brown Theresa Candelaria Emily Canon Louis Costa Dr. www.com Photo models for exercises are Dr. Vision13 Photography Roman Chair and Captain’s Chair photos by Wowk Photography Author photos by Robert Troia Illustrations by Todd Sargood Some images © 2001-2002.
Jolie Bookspan knows abs. After serving in the Army. and was professor of anatomy at a college in the mountains of Mexico. Jude of the Joints” in her private practice in sports medicine. A career military scientist. she has a black belt in karate and 14 fights in the ring as an amateur kickboxer. and most of everything else in an accident. Asia. and police and military training departments. she rehabbed using her own methods. As a researcher. Left paralyzed after breaking her back. Harvard clinicians have called her “The St.About the Author
Dr. and Northern Africa. was advisor to The Discovery Channel. swam to work in an underwater laboratory. where the entrance exam was getting up there without a nosebleed. she was research physiologist for the United States Navy studying survival in extreme environments from undersea to climbing mountains to outer space — an interest that began as a child when she watched her grandfather walk barefoot over snow and ice to go ocean swimming every day.
. Nepal. neck. She doesn’t do crunches. she carried gear up and down the mountains and deserts of India.