No More Crunches! No More Back Pain!

The Ab Revolution
By Dr. Jolie Bookspan


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 . showing how slack ab muscles allow your back to arch. That is what crunches do for you. arch your back and let your ribs lift and your abdomen curve out. Your torso will curl and your back will round. You will even be shorter because of the increased curve in your spine. They hunch you forward. draw your two hands toward each other. Hold that position. The distance between your hands increases.The Ab RevolutionTM Still holding the top and bottom of your abs. 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. 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.

Dr. Your torso comes upright to a straightened. Jolie Bookspan To use your abs to pull you up to stand properly. 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. not arching back. taller position. they hold you from arching backward. bring your hands toward each other so the distance between your ribs and hips decreases. Use your abs at the length that holds you up in good posture. 8 . When used properly. Don’t curl so much that you round forward.

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

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

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 .

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

use the muscles in the palm of your right hand to straighten your right hand against the push of your left. 13 . That is running with your back arched and not using your abs. with your ab muscles slack. every day. 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. The stretched palm of your hand represents your abdomen. all the time. Your fingers come back up into straight line. Now bounce against your fingers quickly and hard.The Ab RevolutionTM This shows how your body weight falls on the joints of your low back when you don’t use your ab muscles to prevent arching back under gravity. 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. To represent how to use your abs to control the arch of your back and prevent too much arching: with your left hand still pressing the right fingers back. Ouch. Bounce against your fingers so that they rock back repeatedly.

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

gives exercises that effectively use and develop your abs. Just like smoking “works” to lose weight. Plenty of muscular people have poor posture. But the surveyors missed three basic concepts: • An exercise can work a muscle well. Even if an exercise activates your ab muscles. None of the exercises they tested and recommend specifically train your body for daily use the way you really need them. • • The Ab Revolution teaches a whole different approach to abdominal muscle use. but you do need to stand and walk upright without arching backward. You don’t need to hunch forward for daily activities. pain. Just strengthening a muscle does not train it for how you need to use it. and shows you how to transfer posture and back pain control skills to your daily life. Crunches don’t train that action. and are not good for the rest of you. it still may not be useful for things you need for daily life. and bad movement habits. 15 . doing crunches and other forwardrounding ab exercises “work” your abs but are not a great way to do it. Simply strengthening a muscle will not automatically change your posture for proper use in sports or recreation. Even if you don’t care about posture or back pain and want only cosmetic results. the Ab Revolution will give you a better workout. or for back pain control. Posture and muscle use is not automatic. but still promote bad posture and not be good for the rest of you.The Ab RevolutionTM What About the Ab Study? Why not just do ab exercises to prevent all the problems? A fitness industry survey at San Diego State University compared 13 of the most common abdominal exercises and ranked them from most to least effective in producing ab muscle activity.

instead of allowing you to arch back and lean your body weight onto your low back. 16 . You know how the elderly got hunched over like that? They practiced. Crunches make people — who likely spend much of their day already hunched over a work area — practice that hunched posture. bent-over person. which may be mechanically promoting the back and neck pain they think they are working their abs to prevent. This is the poor posture you’re training with crunches. Crunches don’t train you for that. Crunches promote poor posture. Jolie Bookspan What’s Wrong with Crunches? Crunches don’t work your abs the way you need for real life. Look at crunches sideways and see what it would look like to stand up like this — like an old.Dr. In life. 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. 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. Crunches don’t train you how to use your abs the rest of the day. your abs need to work isometrically — at one length — to hold your torso upright. even when done properly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

) 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. Jolie Bookspan Martial Arts You need your abs to straighten your back posture while doing many moves in martial arts.) They are not controlling their back posture. This can strain the back and will not give you good punching or kicking power Teacher is holding strong posture. Student is arching and slouching. (See pages 84 to 89 on punching and kicking for how.Dr. 30 . losing punching power and straining the back.

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

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

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

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

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

Feel the stretch move to your thigh. abs not in use. work abs. You save your back. Straighten your torso and push your behind forward. Don’t do this bad posture when stretching: back arched. Don’t pull your foot in. Try this: • • Stand on one leg and arch your back while you hold your other foot behind you. as if starting to do a crunch. Same stretch using abs to straighten posture. and get a far better quad stretch. You won’t feel much stretch in your thigh.Dr. 36 . Drop your bent knee to point to the standing knee and push your foot away into your hand. little stretch on leg. Jolie Bookspan How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Legs The quad stretch is another common stretch where you can lose the intended stretch and add to back pain by arching when you stretch.

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

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

Without taking the arch out of your back with your abs. to tilt your hips and maintain torso posture.” That is precisely what is wrong with this as an ab exercise: you never use your own abs to keep your back from arching. Try this: • Lie on your back with your legs out straight on the floor. To do leg lifts properly.The Ab RevolutionTM What About Leg Lifts? Most people allow the weight of their legs to arch and strain their low back. increase the arch by lifting your ribs so that your back lifts off your hand. To show you what arching feels like. called hip flexors. use your abs. Tight hip flexors create problems. not your hands. Put one hand under the small of your low back and feel the natural space. 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. and only works the muscles that lift your leg. Hip flexors are usually pretty strong and tight to begin with from sitting and overuse in exercise. 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. In this 39 • . This is a missed ab opportunity.

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM It’s said that a problem with Captain’s Chair is that you need equipment. 43 . You don’t need equipment — just a good friend.

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

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

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

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

stepping farther and farther away to increase the tension. Also. step away to increase tension while holding good posture. and go for the fun of the work. Use a good.Dr. Jolie Bookspan If all you want is a pivoting ab exercise to work your abs. thick band. The ab study mentioned in the beginning of this book rated stretchy tubing low on the ranking of ab exercises that produce ab muscle activation. 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. 48 . One reason is because they used the tubing while bending forward. one way to do that is to use cable pulleys or a stretchy tube or band and pivot away from it.

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.

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

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

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

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.


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

But don’t pay money for that because you burn fat 24 hours a day anyway as part of being alive. but takes a while to return to resting value. It slows when you stop exercising. because a nice run. from nervousness and grouchiness. everyone burns fat when they’re asleep — when they’re awake.” First. too. will burn more calories. Any product can truthfully claim to produce increased calorie burning after a workout. They do not selectively find your fat cells and eliminate them. skating. 59 . you increase your metabolism to meet your energy needs. or other fun ways to move around will “pick you up” more effectively and safely than taking stimulants. whether you drink miracle potion or not. A good workout of dancing. Metabolizing stored fat is part of your round-the-clock energy production for body functions. or swim will do the same. When you exercise. The pills called “fat burners” are mostly stimulants. Some products claim to give a workout so intense that you burn fat for hours after you finish. and keep you happier and healthier in the long run. and heart trouble. Other products are pills tantalizingly called “fat burners. Just don’t pay money for that. bike. These stimulants can have harmful effects. playing. They could just as honestly claim that if you stare at their special green dot that you will burn calories in your sleep. to inability to exercise safely in the heat. no matter what device you use or what potion you drink. biking.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 is just a gimmick. It has nothing to do with toning or supporting the muscles. leaving you temporarily smaller.” It is just a neoprene band to wear around the waist (or thighs).” “flab zapper. You return to normal circumference fairly quickly. Jolie Bookspan What About Neoprene Waist Bands? A fairly popular product advertised to easily take off inches is sometimes billed as a secret scuba device. 60 . weight loss.” and “waist shrinker.Dr. and other times called various intriguing names like “waist support. The band temporarily shrinks your circumference through simple compression. sweat loss. or body fat loss. Ever notice when you take off your socks that there’s a darkened dent around your leg where the sock band was? The elastic compressed your flesh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. • Try various arm exercises and movements while controlling your torso with your abs. Hold one end in each hand. Turn your back. Lift arms overhead. This is also fun to do with a partner. Step away until there is tension on the band.Dr. back arched. Bad posture. This simulates keeping your posture against gravity and loads that you carry in daily life. controlling your posture with abs. Same exercise with abs in use to straighten posture and exercise against the pull of the bands 78 . abs not in use. Don’t let your arms pull behind you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM 99 .

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

M. FACS.David Hsu. Chief Consultant. Houston.D.gulftel.The Ab RevolutionTM Well. I trust her for good sense and her solid background in exercise physiology. Dr. . Neurology. Freeing the ‘crunchers’ from the boredom of useless exercise programs that are quickly abandoned. 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. she has written an extremely interesting ‘do-ityourself’ exercise guide.Ernest Campbell.. sensible and highly effective.D. Krug Life Sciences NASA 101 . General Surgery www. The book is highly recommended to read and keep as a reference source. M.. . The program is simple. Jolie Bookspan has done it again! An expert at debunking ‘scientific’ Whenever I have a question on rehab.D.. Jolie Bookspan. Stanford If I were to say something sage about exercise I am afraid that others will die laughing since my aversion to exercise is well known! I always wanted to have you as my personal trainer because you are the only person in the world who might get me to think otherwise about exercise. . M.Caroline Fife. or want practical advice on fitness training or musculoskeletal complaints. Department of Anesthesiology. Bookspan’s Ab Revolution will find support from those of us who realize the importance of the natural use of the abs in maintaining good back posture and function. University of Texas Health Science Center. CHeCS Training Program. I turn to my friend and colleague.D.. Dr. Ph. Associate Professor.

uhms. $30.uhms. uhms@uhms.95 (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 www. Jolie Bookspan More Books by Dr. $ Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 pages. Jolie Bookspan Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of fitness. and joint pain 371 uhms@uhms. $40. including board exam questions 226 102 Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire field.00 ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 www. $24.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: www.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: www. health. illustrated. nutrition.

com Photo models for exercises are Dr.arttoday. Martin Dembitzer Angela and Andrea Fleegle Elsa Leung Rhonda McJeff Stacia Mellbourne Travis Mesman Sara Rathfon Danielle Tobin 103 . 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. Bookspan’s dedicated and hardworking students: Shelly Anthony Regina Basile Cynthia Brown Theresa Candelaria Emily Canon Louis Costa Dr. www.


and Northern Africa. As a researcher. 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. A career military scientist. where the entrance exam was getting up there without a nosebleed. and police and military training departments. she carried gear up and down the mountains and deserts of India. She doesn’t do crunches. . she has a black belt in karate and 14 fights in the ring as an amateur kickboxer. Jude of the Joints” in her private practice in sports medicine. and most of everything else in an accident. Jolie Bookspan knows abs. After serving in the Army. was advisor to The Discovery Channel. and was professor of anatomy at a college in the mountains of Mexico. Harvard clinicians have called her “The St. she rehabbed using her own methods.About the Author Dr. swam to work in an underwater laboratory. Left paralyzed after breaking her back. Nepal. neck. Asia.

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