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