No More Crunches! No More Back Pain!
The Ab Revolution
By Dr. Jolie Bookspan
How to Use Your ABS All the Time for Real Life
Burn calories, work your abs, and save your back while doing your everyday activities. Used by military and law enforcement and the nation’s top spine docs and rehab centers
© 2003 by Dr. Jolie Bookspan, Neck and Back Pain Sports Medicine. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author. ISBN: 1-4107-4528-7 (E-book) ISBN: 1-4107-4527-9 (Paperback) ISBN: 1-4107-4526-0 (Dust Jacket) Library of Congress Control Number: 2003092486 This book is printed on acid free paper.
Printed in the United States of America Bloomington, IN Nothing in this book is meant as specific medical advice or exercise instruction. See your physician, get training, and use your brain before attempting anything presented. The Ab Revolution™ Method, name, and information are trademarked and part of the Fitness Therapy series, including Lower Body Revolution. To teach or distribute this method in any way, contact the author for permissions and training materials.
1stBooks – rev. 7/28/03
To my Grandmother the Gypsy, who taught me to spot snake-oil, and who taught me about real exercise, posture, and health from my earliest years. She got her college degree at age 81. To her the highest things in life were education and Jack LaLane. To my mother who I promised I would find how to end back pain. To my students and patients who all really feel better and work their abs more using this method, and showed me how needed it is. To my wonderful husband and hero Paul. What beautiful abs you have, my dear.
............................................................. 1 Why Do Abs? ...... 10 How Do Abs Help Your Back? ...................................................................................................................................... 39 What About “Captain’s Chair?” ................................................................................................. 38 What About Leg Lifts? ........ 42 v
............. 34 How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Arms...... 17 But Aren’t You Supposed to Stick Your Behind Out?............................................................................................................................................. 6 Abs are Your Guy Wires from the Front ..................................................... 9 What is Lordosis? ............................... 25 How to Use Abs for Carrying Loads .............................. 32 How to Use Abs for Reaching....................................................................... 19 What Are All the Muscles Called? .......................................... 16 Doing Abs Doesn’t Automatically Change Posture or Back Pain...................................................................................................................................... iii Table of Contents .........................Table of Contents
Dedication........................................................................................... 35 How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Legs.......... 37 What About Ab Machines? ................................................................................................ 36 Real Athletes Use Abs................................... 15 What’s Wrong with Crunches?.............................................................................. 4 What Exactly Do Abs Do? ........ 23 How to Use Abs When Doing Other Exercises................................................................................................................................................... 3 Using Abs Doesn’t Mean “Sucking Them In” or Making Them “Tight” ....... v Revolution! ................................................................................................... 12 What About the Ab Study?........................................................................... 21 How to Use Your Abs When Standing Up.......................................... 5 How Do Abs Control Posture? ................................................................................
..................................................80 Using Abs for Side and Underhand Arm Activities ....52 What About Ab Isolators? ....................................................................................................................................56 What About Ab Rocking Devices? .........57 What About Electronic Ab Zapper Belts?..................................................97 vi
.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................90 Using Backpacks.........................................................................................................................79 Using Abs for Throwing and Other Overhead Arm Activities .............44 What About Abdominal Twists? ................................................................................................87 Using Abs for Kicking ........................58 What About Miracle Liquids and Fat Burners? .............. Babies..........................................91 Using Abs to Throw a Tantrum.71 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Reaching and Lifting Overhead ......Arching Isn’t the Culprit .......76 Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture When Reaching and Lifting Overhead ..................... and Bags as Oblique Ab Exercise.......82 Using Abs for Punching ....................47 What About Lower Abs and Reverse Crunches? ................................................... and Bags as Ab Exercise..........92 “Ab-Only” Exercises are Not Good .................................................84 Using Abs For Pushing.......................49 What About Exercise Balls?..............................................................96 How Do You Flatten Your Abdomen?........................................61 How Many........88 Using Backpacks...........................94 Should You Work Your Abs Every Day or Every Other Day?... Babies........... How Often? ...................................62 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Normal Standing ...........63 Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture...................59 What About Neoprene Waist Bands?........................68 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture When Using Weights ........................................................................60 What Exercises Work Your Abs the Way You Need For Real Life? ....................................................
........................................................................................How Do You Get a “Washboard?”........... 100 More Books by Dr................................. Jolie Bookspan................ 103 About the Author...................................................................... Bookspan’s Ab Revolution ................................................................................... 102 Health & Fitness in Plain English........................... 98 More Praise for Dr....... 102 Credits...................................................................
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. usual ab exercises “miss the boat” because they don’t transfer skills to real life. then stand up and walk away with arched posture and no use of abs at all.” is the root of the problem because it separates using abs from the rest of your life. It’s practically universal to see a roomful of exercisers cranking away doing ab exercise. Ab exercise has become hugely popularized as something you specially “do. and thought to be healthy when it is not healthy.” then never use the rest of the time. Shake up your entire thinking about abs. reach. you go back to your “real life” and stand. 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. or movement in real-life activities. 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. The “experts” say to do crunches for strong muscles to “support” you. Using abs is not “tightening them. “do three sets (or however many sets) of 10 crunches. and which make your neck hurt. To most people.” You can’t move or breathe properly that way. But strengthening alone does not automatically change posture. poor posture. walk. back pain. and tight muscles are a factor in headaches. and lift with no use of your abs. The very thing we regard as exercise advice. It doesn’t happen automatically just from exercising. Fitness has become “Fast Food” — stripped of real content and value. Then. how to use them when standing up or during things you do in real life.The Ab RevolutionTM
This is a revolution in ab fitness.
. The old. and back pain. Most people have no idea what abs specifically do.
Dr. what they don’t do. You’ll strengthen your body. arms. three to five times a week. and legs too. It’s a revolution. not all the time. You’ll get exercise without going to a gym. This method revolutionizes how you think about abs and how you use them.
. 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. They were told to be nice for 30 minutes. The exercises not only strengthen your abs. You’ll exercise your brain. This book gives you an understanding of what abs really do. You’ll strengthen your abs. You’ll burn calories. then throwing knives at each other the rest of the time. You’ll save your back. and how to consciously use your abs for all your daily activities — even standing up. and teach you how your muscles need to work together in your real life. It teaches specific skills to make your life better. but your back. shoulders.
They do abs in rehab programs for back pain.The Ab RevolutionTM
Why Do Abs?
More than other exercises. They think it just happens automatically. But why? It’s “something” to do with helping the back. But exactly what? It’s something vague about “support.” What does “support” really mean? Most people don’t know what abs specifically “do. or even know they are supposed to. But what exactly do “abs” do for your back? It’s “something” to do with posture.” or how. Yet 8 out of 10 people still have back pain. They do crunches in every workout. Why do the exercises so often “fail?”
. Poor posture is common. everyone seems to want to “do abs”. but never use their abs for real life.
It’s voluntary movement to change the amount of bend and arch in your spine. 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. exercise. this is new and different. and pain-free. even with “tight” abs. You can’t breathe properly that way. Tightening is not how to use abs. You didn’t tighten anything.” These are practically universal phrases to describe using abs. That’s why it’s a revolution in ab fitness. The tightening didn’t change anything. Yes. or normal daily activities. healthier. You voluntarily move your arm into the position you want by using the muscles. You can have poor posture and a terribly arched back. Try this: bend your elbow to bring your hand up to your face. Moving your torso into good posture by using your torso muscles is the same.
. and teach you exciting new skills to be fitter.” You can’t function or exercise normally that way. not tightening them. walking around with “tight” muscles is a common factor in headache and stress/strainrelated muscle pain. It wouldn’t change your posture. and it doesn’t teach you how to use your abs the way you need for sports. yet they are incorrect and outdated. Move your arm around. and are not the way to use your abs the way you need them. or any muscles. Now arch your back and make the abs tight with your back still arched. Moreover. It will change your whole way of thinking about abs. Another often-repeated instruction is: “press your navel to your spine and contract your gluteal muscles.Dr. for good posture.
It doesn’t mean holding yourself rigidly. your low back will sway. exaggerating the normal inward curve. The joints of your spine bend. The Ab Revolution shows you how to use your abs standing up to save your back and get a free built-in ab work-out. What does “support” exactly mean? When you stand up and don’t use your abdominal muscles. and irritate the joints called vertebral facets. Most people only exercise their abs by hunching forward and sideways for a bunch of “repetitions. they pull your ribs and hips closer to each other in various directions and amounts. 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. allowing their ribs to lift up. curling your torso and taking the arch out of your back. This arching allows the weight of your upper body to press down on your low back. All your different ab muscles connect your ribs to your hips. When you contract your abs. protecting your joints and soft tissue. on the front.
. and bends the joint. it pulls on the bones it attaches to. This can cause wear and tear on your soft tissues and discs. and across. sides.The Ab RevolutionTM
What Exactly Do Abs Do?
Most people use vague words like “support” to describe what abs do. it means holding yourself up easily without slouching backward or to the sides. When any muscle contracts. and their back to arch. hips to drop down. Using abs means using them like any other muscle. where each vertebra attaches to the one above and below it.” Then they stand and walk away with abs slack.
They aren’t using their muscles to prevent it. If you don’t consciously use your muscles to hold you up.Dr. Jolie Bookspan
How Do Abs Control Posture?
It’s a common assumption that doing ab exercise to strengthen your abs will help your posture and back.
To understand what abs do for your posture when you use them properly. But strengthening does not automatically “support” your back or change your posture.
You have to voluntarily use your abs to change your posture. That is one big reason people slouch. Put your other hand on the front and middle of your hip bone where your front abs begin. stand up and put one hand on the front of your ribs. you will sag under gravity. where your front ab muscles attach.
Hold that position. They hunch you forward. arch your back and let your ribs lift and your abdomen curve out. Your torso will curl and your back will round. showing how slack ab muscles allow your back to arch. Feel your body weight fall onto your low back? That is what not using your abs allows: an arched back and your weight pressing hard on your low back.
. draw your two hands toward each other. The distance between your hands increases. You will even be shorter because of the increased curve in your spine. That is what crunches do for you.The Ab RevolutionTM
Still holding the top and bottom of your abs. How much do you need this posture in real life?
Shortened abs curl you
Lengthened abs let you arch
Still holding your ribs and hip bone.
Dr. bring your hands toward each other so the distance between your ribs and hips decreases. they hold you from arching backward. Your torso comes upright to a straightened. This is what abs do to control posture.
Use your abs at the length that holds you up in good posture. not arching back. Jolie Bookspan
To use your abs to pull you up to stand properly. taller position. Don’t curl so much that you round forward. and stop the strain and wear and tear of dropping your upper body weight on your low back.
. When used properly.
They pull forward to keep your upper body weight from arching back and pressuring your low back. Just having strong muscles does not make them automatically pull the right amount at the right time. When you use them. The guy wires in back are your back muscles. you will arch backward in bad posture. You have to train your muscles for that. giving you that training. You can have strong back muscles. you will round forward in bad posture.
Use your “guy wire" muscles to keep you from sagging in bad posture.
. but if you don’t voluntarily use them to pull your shoulders back.The Ab RevolutionTM
Abs are Your Guy Wires from the Front
Like a guy wire keeping a tree from falling backward. The Ab Revolution is the missing link. and train your brain to remember. You can have strong ab muscles. abs keep you from arching backward. but if you don’t voluntarily use them to pull you forward. they keep you from slouching forward.
by retraining your posture and use of your muscles to hold you in healthy position. like human bonsai. allowing the back to sway. 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. they arch their back and thrust out their behind in dozens of exercises. It can create all kinds of back pain. but is just a bad posture habit. to bouncing around in aerobics.” but if you look at them.Dr. “Sway back” is not a structural condition you are born with or “just have” (or want to have). and to use The Ab Revolution all the time during daily activities. If you habitually stand with your back arched. Jolie Bookspan
What is Lordosis?
Many people with back pain are told they have a “condition” called lordosis. If you have a condition called spondylolisthesis. It has commonly come to mean too much inward curve. the word “lordosis” originally meant the normal inward curve of the low back. and classes. Use The Ab Revolution to avoid — even reverse — this. adding to back arching. to lifting weights. from leg lifts. or something that “just happens” to them like flu. books. The video star may say “keep neutral spine. Chronically pressuring the bones and other structures of your back with this bad posture can eventually deform them.” along with the usual (but incorrect) “tighten your abs. magazines. Technically. your back may become so tight that it gets stuck arched in the “booty-out” posture. Lordosis is usually completely controllable by using your abs to keep your hip from tipping forward. which makes one backbone slip forward on the next.
. unavoidable. They think this is something anatomic. this is all the more reason not to allow yourself to arch more this way. This is terrible posture and injurious to your back.
. Lordosis can be easily controlled by straightening your posture using your own muscles. which pressures the low back.The Ab RevolutionTM
This ancient Greek fresco shows the lordotic (overly-arched) posture.
press against the fingers of your right hand. The back of your hand (facing right) is your back. how do abs help your back? Try this: Hold your right hand up with your thumb toward you. bending your fingers back as far as they will go. Bend your fingers forward to represent your abs at work. Jolie Bookspan
How Do Abs Help Your Back?
People usually have some vague idea that abs have something to do with helping the back. But they don’t know specifically what abs do.Dr. You can have the strongest abs and never use them to do anything for your back. Your palm (facing left) is the front of your body. or that abs don’t do it automatically. So. then.
With your left hand. Try curling and straightening your body too as you do this. Keep your palm upright. Lift your fingers back up again to simulate using your back muscles to straighten up. See the pinched and folded-back crease at the knuckle joints of your right hand?
. only your fingers arch back.
The Ab RevolutionTM
This shows how your body weight falls on the joints of your low back when you don’t use your ab muscles to prevent arching back under gravity.
Bounce against your fingers so that they rock back repeatedly. That is running with your back arched and not using your abs. That is how you need to use your abs to control your posture when standing up — all day. all the time. Ouch. That shows the forces on your low back when you walk without using abs. 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. with your ab muscles slack. The stretched palm of your hand represents your abdomen. 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. Now bounce against your fingers quickly and hard. Your fingers come back up into straight line. use the muscles in the palm of your right hand to straighten your right hand against the push of your left. every day.
Dr. even when you are relaxed. you need to work on upper back strengthening and flexibility. Don’t lift your chin. Jolie Bookspan
A surprising number of people are so round-shouldered that they cannot stand up straight without arching their back.
. behind and shoulders touching the wall. Bring the back of your head against the wall. Did your ribs come up and your back arch? Fix that with your abs. That is where your head should be for healthy posture. Practice keeping your shoulders and head back without arching your back to do it. Stretch the front of your shoulder so that it doesn’t pull forward into a roundshouldered posture. they arch their back instead of straightening their shoulders. Stand against a wall or lie flat without a pillow to practice head and upper back posture. To bring their head up. too. Try this: • • Stand against a wall with your heels.
If your upper back and shoulders are so stiff that you can’t stand up straight without arching your back.
but you do need to stand and walk upright without arching backward. 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. Even if you don’t care about posture or back pain and want only cosmetic results.
. but still promote bad posture and not be good for the rest of you. pain. Crunches don’t train that action. it still may not be useful for things you need for daily life. But the surveyors missed three basic concepts: • An exercise can work a muscle well. or for back pain control. and are not good for the rest of you. You don’t need to hunch forward for daily activities. Just like smoking “works” to lose weight. and bad movement habits. Posture and muscle use is not automatic. Simply strengthening a muscle will not automatically change your posture for proper use in sports or recreation. Just strengthening a muscle does not train it for how you need to use it. Plenty of muscular people have poor posture. and shows you how to transfer posture and back pain control skills to your daily life.The Ab RevolutionTM
What About the Ab Study?
Why not just do ab exercises to prevent all the problems? A fitness industry survey at San Diego State University compared 13 of the most common abdominal exercises and ranked them from most to least effective in producing ab muscle activity.
The Ab Revolution teaches a whole different approach to abdominal muscle use. doing crunches and other forwardrounding ab exercises “work” your abs but are not a great way to do it. gives exercises that effectively use and develop your abs. the Ab Revolution will give you a better workout.
.Dr. In life. 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. bent-over person. Crunches don’t train you for that. Crunches make people — who likely spend much of their day already hunched over a work area — practice that hunched posture. Crunches promote poor posture. You know how the elderly got hunched over like that? They practiced. Did you know that the most important use of your abs is when you are standing up and reaching or lifting overhead? Most people can’t imagine how to use their abs while standing up or during normal everyday life. instead of allowing you to arch back and lean your body weight onto your low back. Look at crunches sideways and see what it would look like to stand up like this — like an old. Jolie Bookspan
What’s Wrong with Crunches?
Crunches don’t work your abs the way you need for real life. Crunches don’t train you how to use your abs the rest of the day. your abs need to work isometrically — at one length — to hold your torso upright. even when done properly. No wonder that doing 10 minutes of “abs” a day can’t counteract the other 23 hours and 50 minutes of non-use and wrong use.
strengthening your abs does not make them do anything automatically to support your back. then you hold it even when you don’t feel like it. or “support” your arm. In the same way. 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. yoga. You need to learn what to do. Doing ab exercises or core exercises is not like getting a shot of penicillin or going to confession — it doesn’t “fix” things. or how many crunches you have done. including back muscles) to adjust your posture yourself. you will still wind up with poor posture. or rehab exercises — as exercises without concepts and the knowledge to apply it during real activities — does not often work as expected. If you don’t. just like using any other voluntary muscles to move any other part of your body Using your abs is more like toilet training. You need to consciously use your ab muscles to move your torso to the right position. no matter how muscular you are. You have to deliberately use your abs (and other posture muscles. This is why doing crunches. make your mistakes until you remember.
Having tight abs doesn’t fix your posture or help your back. This is injurious to the back and loses the effectiveness of the exercise. but he is still standing in poor posture with an overly-arched back.
.Dr. His abs are plenty tight.
You’re missing a free workout of your torso muscles. smashing down on your low back. poor use. interfering with normal walking and running mechanics. It is unhealthy because it injures your back. too. Adding a barbell or overhead weights adds tremendous force.
• It changes the tilt of your hip. thinking it looks good.
. It is a sure sign that you cannot generate real force in your limbs for arm or leg activity.” they mistakenly think holding this bad posture is. even the weight of your upper body resting on your lower back bones is enough to strain soft tissue and grind bone and discs. causing a vicious cycle of tightness. Your hips will have extra wear and tear and eventually hurt too. It is sloppy technique because it does not use your posture muscles properly. eventually tightening them.The Ab RevolutionTM
But Aren’t You Supposed to Stick Your Behind Out?
Some people deliberately push their behinds out. This bad posture has become so ingrained that many people think it is normal or desirable. Without using your abs to keep your weight from arching back. poor posture. The “booty posture” is unhealthy and unsightly for several reasons: • • • It is plain bad posture. because your core muscles are not driving your limbs. Just as some people think that holding a cigarette or other drug is “cool. • It keeps the muscles in front of your hip and your low back in a shortened position. and all your weight rests on your low back bones. and discomfort.
and even used to advertise for. Jolie Bookspan
Advertisements use this bad posture because sex sells. This bad posture is accepted as normal by so many people that it is mistaken for. You will laugh often because this unfit posture is a pervasive problem in fitness.
She is not using her abs to take the large arch out of her back. unhealthy posture. So does heroin.Dr. Now you can laugh when you see “fitness” models shown standing or doing exercise with this sloppy. fitness and trimness. There’s no excuse for someone in fitness to display this lack of knowledge of health.
sometimes four intersections across it. Rectus Abdominis The muscle straight up your front is your rectus abdominis. and work in combinations together. with three. you twist to the right (or prevent twisting to the left). If you cross your arms over your abdomen. under your rectus abs. Your obliques work together in fun ways.” Your rectus abdominis starts on the front of your pelvic bone and runs up to attach where your middle ribs (fifth. which in Latin means “the straight abdominal. Your oblique abdominals go diagonally across your sides. When you contract both. Obliquus Internus Your internal obliques lie under your external obliques. The outer external obliques on each side fuse together in a tough band in a nice line down your front. You can see these lines in people trim enough. Not all the fibers run all the way up the muscle. or rectus. They begin as broad muscles on each side of your lower eight ribs. your hands line up in the direction of the outer set. The deeper external oblique fibers run almost straight down to your hip bones. abdominal muscle pulls ribs to hips to bend you forward or prevent arching backward. Obliquus Externus “Oblique” means slanted. sixth and seventh) come together in front. If you put your fingertips at the top of your pants pockets. or prevent bending backward. When you contract your left external oblique. in the opposite direction. they pull your right side closer to the middle of your pelvic bone so you twist to the left. your
. In this same manner you can use your right obliques to resist forces that would twist you to the right. They connect to each other in places. or not straight. you bend forward. Contracting your front. When the external oblique fibers on your right side contract.The Ab RevolutionTM
What Are All the Muscles Called?
Ab muscles are named for their layout in your body. called external obliques.
Moreover. Just use them like other muscles to move your bones. After all. You don’t have to tighten them. Change your posture from arching back.
. You’ll have better posture. They begin at your hip bone and angle up and in to your lower three or four ribs. twisting you to the right. So the right external and left internal oblique work together to twist you left. It’s not the case that just tightening the transversus like a girdle will support your lower back when lifting or sitting. and get a workout just standing and moving properly. goes across your abdomen to help compress it. Your right internal oblique contracts to pull the middle of your ribs to your right hip. the transversus. They all can resist forces that would make you want to slouch or twist in bad postures to the sides. The left external and right internal work together to twist right. Jolie Bookspan
fingers assume the direction of the internal fibers. you can’t breathe in fully or properly (belly breathing). You can feel it when you breathe out as completely as you can. save your back.Dr. 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. Contracting them all helps you bend forward or prevent arching backward. a major purpose of this muscle is to help full exhalation. Using Them All You don’t have to know the names of the muscles to use them. or sagging to the side during daily life and when you exercise. Transversus Abdominis Your innermost and thinnest abdominal muscle. To protect your back. The left internal oblique twists you to the left. when you hold it tightly.
but the key here is that your weight is held up on your ab muscles and not pressing back and down on your low back. not learning backward or forward. every time they reach. Many people stand with far too much lumbar curve because they are not using their abs. Your torso is straight. Did your back arch again? Did you let your hips move? Many people arch their back with no ab support. Yet this is exactly what supports your back and prevents pain and injury during daily activities. That throws weight on their low back again and again. Still reaching overhead. as if starting a crunch — just enough to reduce the large back arch. tuck your behind under. You may feel the familiar ache you often get and don’t know why. Tuck your hips under and pull your upper body forward. pay close attention to what it feels like.The Ab RevolutionTM
How to Use Your Abs When Standing Up
Most people can’t imagine using their abs standing up. try this: • Stand sideways and look in a mirror big enough to see your body. Allow your weight to press on your low back.
. Feel a new strong middle. You’ll keep a small inward curve. Reach overhead. To understand what to do to use your abs in real life. Keep this new posture all the time. (Don’t do this if you have back pain). If you don’t have a mirror. using abs to move your torso upright. Your stomach will curve out in front. Allow your body weight to sag so that you exaggerate your low back arch.
to washing your hair.
. 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. be able to lift more. improve your posture. and get a free all-day workout just from standing with your muscles in use.Dr.
People do crunches all the time. but don’t know they are supposed to use their abs in real life when standing up. to prevent over-arching. You will save your back. Jolie Bookspan
Use the Ab Revolution whenever you stand up and reach overhead — from pulling shirts off to reaching cabinets.
Sometimes you use abs to make a small adjustment.
. In either case. Back arched. Overhead Press Arching while lifting weight further compresses your low back. other times a larger one. Abs reduce the arch and control back posture. Use your abs to tuck your hips enough to take the large arch out of your back. Abs not in use.” Some people deliberately arch while exercising.
Same exercise done properly. Hard on the back. mistakenly thinking it looks good.
Bad posture.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. it is not healthy.
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. Jolie Bookspan
Triceps Curls When doing triceps curls.
Bad posture on triceps curls. people often arch their back to bring the weight back. The low back bears the weight. Back arched. Abs not in use. rather than the torso and arm muscles.
Same exercise done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture. instead of lifting arms while keeping posture neutral.Dr. You also miss the free ab workout you would get if you used abs to straighten your posture and save your back.
get an ab workout. Instead. You have to consciously use your muscles to move you into good. Abs not in use. That does not use the abs and is hard on the back. Back overly-arched.
. straight posture. Abs are often forgotten when doing yoga poses.The Ab RevolutionTM
Yoga Yoga won’t automatically “give” you good posture. use your abs to tuck your hips and reduce the arched posture to stand properly. and save your back. Some styles of yoga even teach to deliberately stand in this arched position.
Same pose done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture.
Abs not in use. Jolie Bookspan
.Dr. Back arched.
Same pose done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture.
and your back strains from hanging your weight on it in an arch. The more you tuck. You will save your back and make the pushup a terrific abs and core exercise. bad posture. heads hanging. This is common. third. You will instantly feel your abs spring into use. and last white shirt in the picture below) means your abs are not in use.The Ab RevolutionTM
Pushups Pushups with terrible arched posture (shown by the first.
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. the more you’ll use abs. Tuck your hips and straighten your back (black shirt).
. Don’t do this for pushups or for standing up. and lack of use of abs. but hold your head up too.
Dr. (See pages 84 to 89 on punching and kicking for how.
. Jolie Bookspan
Martial Arts You need your abs to straighten your back posture while doing many moves in martial arts.) They are not controlling their back posture. losing punching power and straining the back. allowing it to arch too much.)
Can you spot the students not using abs in this Karate class? (First on the left and second from the right. Student is arching and slouching. This can strain the back and will not give you good punching or kicking power
Teacher is holding strong posture.
Tuck your chest and hip as if starting a crunch to straighten up. Use abs to keep you sitting upright.The Ab RevolutionTM
Walking You need to use your abs to keep your back from folding back in an arch during normal walking. Look at illustrations in books and magazines.
. You can painfully “twang” your breast with the bowstring. It’s surprising how many fitness books and articles talk about posture for walking but still show someone walking with an overly-arched torso. don’t arch your back. Hold good straight posture to keep your chest out of the line of the bowstring. You need a small natural inward curve to keep your spinal column like a spring for shock absorption. and see how often you’ll find this bad posture in illustrations and photos from fashion to exercise. and to keep forces distributed on your discs. Archery Archery is an activity where using abs saves more than your back. Use good ab technique to keep your back from arching while leaning backward during windsurfing and water skiing. and for doing the limbo dance. for “hiking out” to counterbalance sailboats in the wind.” to be dipped while ballroom dancing. which allows body weight to grind down on the low back and decreases natural shock absorption. Other Activities In many activities you need to lean back but still not arch. If you arch when drawing a bow and arrow. your chest will protrude outward into the line of the bowstring. to dodge flying objects and fists as in the movies “The Matrix” and “Spiderman. to take photographs from certain angles. Many people allow too much arch. not arched or leaning back. You’ll get an ab workout and also get far more out of the exercise for your lats and chest. “Lat” Machines When using a weight machine to pull down a bar to your chest (lat pull-downs).
it’s more tempting to rest a carried weight on your hip and lean back. which puts the weight onto your low back.Dr.
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.
Posture is good. 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. Remember not to lean back or arch when carrying loads.
. letting your low back take the brunt. held straight and upright against the anterior load of the drum. straining the back. When your arms are weak. Maintain your posture upright against the load. You’ll feel your abs working to do that. This is avoidable.
it is a lack of using abs. Of all times to use your abs to prevent the all-too-common change in back posture and the back pain that comes with it. Instead. With posterior loads like knapsacks. Not using your abs lets you arch your back.
. relieving strain. Packages Held In Back Backpacks and other things carried on your back don’t make you arch your back. or to let the bag pull you backward into an arch. it’s common to lean forward to rest the weight on your back. Your packs become a free core muscle workout. this is it.The Ab RevolutionTM
Pregnancy Lack of use of abs is common — even deliberately exaggerated — during pregnancy. This is not an unavoidable consequence of pregnancy. creating strain on the back. use your ab and back muscles to hold your torso posture upright without leaning forward or arching back.
Back is arched in bad posture against the posterior load.
Abs are in use to keep the back from arching against the posterior load.
. Picture this: someone with shoulder pain goes to the doctor who asks them to reach overhead. Their shoulder really did not stretch that much. groceries. for shelves. But what really happened was that they arched their back to lift their arm. packages. but with easy. tucking your hip — not rigidly. You may notice that your arm doesn’t bend as high as you though because you’ve been using your back instead. and their hand points straight to the ceiling. and at the gym to lift weights. using abs to straighten back posture. abs not in use
Same reach. Use this technique to get a better reach. supported motion. and protection for your back. Don’t lean back. Instead. Now picture people arching when reaching like this all day. They reach. pulling off shirts.
Bad posture: back arched. combing hair. They are checked as having normal shoulder range of motion. straighten your torso with your abs. lifting the baby. every day.Dr. Jolie Bookspan
How to Use Abs for Reaching
People often arch their back when reaching for things. when you reach overhead. more exercise for your abs.
Don’t do this.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. Feel the stretch move to your shoulder and triceps.
. Try this: • • • Stand up and bend your arm overhead. get a free ab workout. flex your trunk as if starting a “crunch” to straighten your torso. little stretch on arm.
Same stretch. and get a far better stretch in the shoulder. abs not in use. With your arm still overhead.
Bad posture: back arched. You will save your back. Keep your elbow lifted to the ceiling. letting your back arch. using abs to straighten posture. This is also a missed opportunity to use your abs to keep the good posture you need to stretch properly.
Don’t do this bad posture when stretching: back arched.Dr. and get a far better quad stretch. little stretch on leg.
. abs not in use. Jolie Bookspan
How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Legs The quad stretch is another common stretch where you can lose the intended stretch and add to back pain by arching when you stretch. Straighten your torso and push your behind forward. Drop your bent knee to point to the standing knee and push your foot away into your hand. You save your back. Feel the stretch move to your thigh. You won’t feel much stretch in your thigh. as if starting to do a crunch. Don’t pull your foot in. Try this: • • Stand on one leg and arch your back while you hold your other foot behind you. work abs.
Same stretch using abs to straighten posture.
The white belt has not learned this yet.The Ab RevolutionTM
Real Athletes Use Abs
Here is good use of abs in basketball to hold the back posture straight. Note how he incorrectly uses an arch to “wind-up” the punch
. have properly changed the shape of their back by using their abs. and power the block.
The black belts holding the board in the photo below. drive the dunk. so the force of the punch is not levered into their low back.
and is injurious to your back. or a simple wheel. your body weight hangs on your low back vertebrae. to straighten your torso. Jolie Bookspan
What About Ab Machines?
Ab machines are often used in ways that don’t use the abs. you’ll instantly feel your abs in use.Dr. folding them like a hinge. These machines can be used so that you use your abs. Keep your head up.
If you use ab machines with an arched back (top). One way to learn the hip tuck is to use a mirror to watch your posture in side view. Don’t arch or hike your behind up in the air. Tuck your hips under as if beginning a crunch. Straightening your posture (bottom) puts abs highly in use and protects against back strain. When you do this. This is ineffective as an ab exercise. you can use two roller skates. your abs are not in good use and there is large strain. Instead of an expensive machine. When you allow your back to arch.
To do leg lifts properly. increase the arch by lifting your ribs so that your back lifts off your hand. Try this: • Lie on your back with your legs out straight on the floor. Put one hand under the small of your low back and feel the natural space. leg lifts become an exercise that strains the back.” That is precisely what is wrong with this as an ab exercise: you never use your own abs to keep your back from arching. To show you what arching feels like. and never get a real ab workout by using abs to straighten their back and control this.
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. Hip flexors are usually pretty strong and tight to begin with from sitting and overuse in exercise. Tight hip flexors create problems. called hip flexors. not your hands. Without taking the arch out of your back with your abs. and only works the muscles that lift your leg. In this
.The Ab RevolutionTM
What About Leg Lifts?
Most people allow the weight of their legs to arch and strain their low back. use your abs. to tilt your hips and maintain torso posture. This is a missed ab opportunity.
This will retrain your muscles to know what it feels like to use abs to control torso posture. Don’t let your back arch during any point of raising or lowering your legs. Try not to let them. lift your legs just an inch or two above the floor. Jolie Bookspan
arched position. Then. using your abs to flatten the arch. First curl your hips under you. put your legs back down and press your low back against your hand. You’ll learn to use your abs to control your torso posture. you’ll learn to use your abs — not your hands — to change the tilt of your torso and hips. Use The Ab Revolution to use your abs to tip your hips back under you into correct position. Chin Ups and Pulls Ups Many people stick out their behind and let their legs swing forward when doing chin ups and pull ups. You will feel your abs working. You’ll feel the weight of your legs arching your back more. • To do this exercise correctly and fix the arching problem. If your hips are tight.Dr. Hanging Leg Lifts When you do leg lifts hanging from a chinning bar. don’t allow your back to arch. Keeping your abs in use to flatten the low back curve. doing a “reverse crunch” while hanging. and to keep your legs straight while raising and lowering. Don’t let your back arch. Keep your torso posture controlled with your abs as you lower your legs too. It can be injurious and does not use abs.
With this method. while maintaining the curled position of your torso. pinching and straining your low back. lift your legs just an inch or two above the floor.) This is how many people do leg lifts. not allowing it to arch. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. you’ll feel your thighs pull up. Don’t just bend at the hip and use hip flexors with your behind stuck out. You’ll protect your back and get real ab exercise.
. lift your legs.
or from a hands-and-knees position.The Ab RevolutionTM
Back Leg Lifts Lifting your legs to the back is an excellent exercise for your back. don’t let your back arch. It can be done lying face down and lifting legs. so that you can use it for all your standing activities. lifting one leg upward. That reduces leg and back muscle involvement. standing up on one leg and lifting the other leg to the back. and can also hurt your back. Tuck your hips under to bring your back to a good straight position. and gluteal muscles.
. and far more exercise for your back and leg. Leg lifts to the back contracts and strengthens back muscles. You’ll feel an immediate shift of work to your abs. Whenever you do leg lifts. back. and use only your leg. it is often done by arching the back. use The Ab Revolution to get a far better ab workout and to learn how proper posture feels when controlling your torso. When lifting your leg to the back from a stand or from your knees. Unfortunately.
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. Imagine the forces accumulating on your low back. or “Captain’s Chair” was one of the top exercises found to produce high ab activity. They never learn to consciously use abs to control torso posture. not allowing your back to arch.
. You lift your legs with knees bent or straight. Try this: • Hang from stall bars or a Captain’s Chair stand. Then lift your legs. step after step — bang. bang. without as much use of abs as they could. The back pad makes it easier to maintain back posture without arching. Still. • First try it wrong. Use your abs throughout the entire exercise to maintain your hip tuck when you raise and lower your legs. first curl your behind under you using your abs. Then they walk around all day with the same problem. they let their back arch. (Don’t do this if you have back pain.) Arch your back and stick your behind out. People often make it easier by allowing their back to arch and using only hip flexors. Now try it right. bang — all day. the hanging leg lift. While hanging. with your back against a pad and legs dangling free. It will be fairly easy to lift your legs or knees. When they swing their legs.Dr. In a Captain’s Chair you hang in the air by your forearms on two pads on either side of you. Captain’s Chair is like the old fashioned gymnast “stall bars” which were like a chinning bar against a climbing rack.
You don’t need equipment — just a good friend.The Ab RevolutionTM
It’s said that a problem with Captain’s Chair is that you need equipment.
leaving a small natural curve. gymnastics.
Now try this to see how to arch with good range of motion and ab involvement. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. Try this again while bending your knees to tilt backward further. but use your abs to hold weight up and off your low back. and just allow their low back to fold backward under all their weight. Jolie Bookspan
Arching Isn’t the Culprit You are supposed to have a small inward curve in your low back. It should be a good-feeling stretch. to hold your weight off your back: • Begin to arch your upper body back. and other activities. is not the problem in back pain and posture control. Relax your shoulders and keep them back.
. Many people don’t know to use their abs during these kinds of moves. By holding your upper body weight with your abs. This is often confused. Arching your back. curving your abdomen out in front. The supported arch is important to use in tennis. You should feel a good ab exercise and no back pain. Don’t let your abs “go” or allow your weight to slump. stretching. Try this: • Stand up. by itself. Allow your back to arch.) Lift your weight up and off your low back by using your abs. The problem is not using muscles to keep your upper body weight off your low back. see pages 94 and 95.Dr. Take the exaggerated arch out of your back. Don’t crane or pinch your neck back. yoga. and some people think they must never arch their back. you can lean and extend back without your weight pressing onto your low back. Proper back extension is one of the most important exercises for back health. Let your upper body weight relax down until you feel your weight on your low back. For more on back extension. as if starting a crunch.
Don’t hang your weight on your back. try Roman Chair ab training.
Supported Arching With Head and Handstands Use the ab-supported arch for headstands and handstands when you do them with an arch. not your back joints. Lift up to the straight position and hold without arching before repeating. Strongly use your abs to decelerate as you extend backward.
.The Ab RevolutionTM
Supported Arching With Roman Chair Exercise As you progress. or you can make your own on a sturdy surface to hold your lower body. Hold the weight of your legs up with your muscles. There are Roman Chair seats in many gyms.
Dr. to add to your ab workout.
. pressuring it. Also practice using abs to do these poses with a straight torso. Jolie Bookspan
Don’t allow the weight of your legs to fold your low back into an angle.
For activities that require body knowledge of how to decelerate a swinging pivot. this exercise can work your muscles in the manner they need to work. This can eventually strain soft tissues. swinging limbs in martial arts . a big problem is that people stop the momentum of the weight at the end of each rotation using their vertebral joints. fray discs. not letting the rotation twist you to the end of the range your back can twist. such as swinging a bat or racquet. The idea is that torso muscles would get exercise decelerating the swinging weight.
. and to decelerate only with muscular effort. and overstretch fibrous attachments (tendons that hold muscles on bones and ligaments that hold your bones together). or during various rodeo activities. But many people do this exercise in a way that doesn’t work the abs and overtwists the back. Make sure to understand how to stop the momentum by using your ab and torso muscles.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. Beside the poor neck posture from putting a bar across the shoulder.
most people do not put much resistance on their band.
. step away to increase tension while holding good posture. stepping farther and farther away to increase the tension. and go for the fun of the work. thick band. one way to do that is to use cable pulleys or a stretchy tube or band and pivot away from it. 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.Dr. Use a good. Jolie Bookspan
If all you want is a pivoting ab exercise to work your abs. One reason is because they used the tubing while bending forward. rather than in real-life movements. There will be no momentum continuing the motion past the point where you pull the band. Also.
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.
” “balance ball.Dr. Don’t arch or round your back. It is also called “Swiss Ball. All the exercises here work your entire torso and back. Used properly. light-weight inflated ball that you can use in a large and inventive number of ways. But this does not happen automatically.” “rehab ball. chair or bench. too. with various moves that strengthen arms and legs. you use balance and stabilization muscles so that you don’t fall off. 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. 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. Because the surface of the ball is not flat and rolls under you. Jolie Bookspan
What About Exercise Balls?
The exercise ball is a large. and reinforces the same poor habits as other exercises. sports.” and any number of trade names.” Incrediball. It’s how you use it. Begin to walk your feet away and lie back until you’re lying as flat and straight as you can. Used without understanding. they are just another device that does little. but not rigidly. Sit up.” “therapy ball. exercise balls can be great.” “gym ball. This is easily avoided by using your muscles deliberately to control posture. and use more body skills and muscles than doing the same exercise on a floor. There are claims that the ball makes you sit properly or that you use more muscular effort to sit on it. Try these: • Sit on the ball with 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. Keep
. sturdy. and daily life. But you can sit on the ball with as poor posture and little effort as on most other surfaces. Based on that. expensive desk chairs are marketed with the ball as the sitting surface.” “physio-roll.
Hold as long as you can. Keep the same good posture as for proper standing. Roll onto your chest without using arms. Step your feet away until the ball cradles your head and neck. To progress. Put both hands on the top surface of the ball and push up into a pushup position. lifting upward without hunching to the front. Lie on your back on the floor. You can start with your knees on the floor and then straighten your legs. roll on the ball to lie on your side. Repeat. This works the back also. As you advance. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or your behind hike into the air. Keep the ball under your behind. roll to one side and do one arm at a time. Hold straight posture as long as you can. do pushups while holding proper posture. with the ball under your ankles. Lift your hips from the floor. Roll onto your back without using arms. Lift up one leg and hold as long as you can. Try side curls if you like.The Ab RevolutionTM
your back and neck straight.
. Roll to the other side without using your arms and repeat. Hold. lift both arms over your head. Lift one leg up straight and hold. Hold. Very advanced? Lift both legs at once. Lift your hips from the floor. Then lift one leg from the ball. • Without using your arms. legs straight. For more. not your back. biceps by ears. or with your arms already straight. not arched or bent forward. Keep straight torso posture without sagging or arching. Switch sides and repeat. Keep the side of your feet on the floor. Advanced? Hold a weight in your hands. Hold as long as you can. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the ball. This works the back also. Switch legs. Try lifting one leg at a time. and progress to being able to push up from the ball. Switch legs. and the ball close to your hip.
rolling the ball down your body to your legs. and strain on the back.
Good straight posture with abs in use to hold weight off the back.
Bad posture with back arched.Dr. Hold the pushup position as above. Do pushups. Hold as long as you can. Switch legs. Jolie Bookspan
Lie face down on the ball with both hands on the floor. Hold as long as you can. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or your behind hike up. As you progress. abs not in good use. Lift one leg off the ball. walk on your hands. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or hike up in the air. Practice until you can hold the ball at your ankles. do pushups in this position.
The Ab RevolutionTM
For a challenge, hold the pushup position with the ball under your ankles. Bend at the hip, lift your behind way up, roll onto your toes and pull your feet toward your hands with straight legs, making an inverted “V.” Return to the pushup position. Repeat all you can. Don’t let your posture arch or sag. As you progress, try with one leg lifted.
These are a very few of the many functional ab exercises you can do on the ball.
Pull in to a “V” and return to straight position.
Dr. Jolie Bookspan
What About Ab Isolators?
Several products on the market claim to better isolate your abdominal muscles, and therefore somehow give you the abdomen pictured on the package. There is nothing in an isolating device that you cannot do without it. For instance, advertising for one device claims to hold your feet and legs in the specific position required for crunches. You can do that yourself without the device, and it’s still the same bad hunched-over posture you don’t want anyway. Some of the devices add resistance to the abdominal exercises. More resistance increases the muscle activation you need to do the exercise, just like carrying extra packages adds more weight to your arms. There is nothing secret or scientific about doing more work to get more results. You can just hold a weight or your body weight, described in the Ab Revolution exercises in this book. Dr. Steven Fleck, sport physiologist formerly with the U.S. Olympic Training Center, reminds us that “the value of these devices is their novelty. If they get you to exercise areas that you wouldn’t normally exercise, they might pay for themselves.” But remember that the fine print on the packaging mentions that these products need to be combined with healthy eating and regular exercise of all kinds. Moreover, they do not work your abs the way you need or train you how to use them in daily activity. Isolating a muscle is not helpful to your real life. Life is a multisegment activity. Plenty of people with muscular backs from isolating them in gyms, injure themselves opening windows. Plenty of people who run miles on treadmills, sprain their ankle when walking on real earth. They are not used to using their body in a multi-segmental, cooperative manner the way they really need for real life. Similarly, often people who do crunches in every workout and use every ab machine, still stand with an arched back, not using their abs.
The Ab RevolutionTM
What About Ab Rocking Devices?
The various ab rocker devices on the market are portable, personal cages, in various shapes, to rock you for crunches. They attract users because they make crunches easy. The problems are all the same problems with crunches — and by making the exercise easy, educes the effectiveness. Doing crunches with or without an ab device does not train you to use your abs in a way that you need for daily life. It is not a functional exercise. The crunching motion of the devices promotes the same round-shouldered, round-backed, hunched-over poor posture as crunches. Most people already stand, walk, and exercise roundshouldered. The last thing they need is to exaggerate and practice that bad posture as a deliberate exercise. The way most people do crunches is to bend their neck first, then lift their body up “by the head.” This often occurs no matter how many instructions are given to keep the neck straight and contract the abs first. It occurs even with devices that hold your neck up for you. This entire book teaches ways to use your abs for good posture and effective use of abs during normal activity instead of crunches. Try those exercises instead. If you decide you must still do crunches, or if you are stuck in exercise classes that still do them, try this: Save money on the device and use a dumbbell. Instead of pulling your body up by your head, put a dumbbell behind your neck and press the back of your head onto the bar of the dumbbell. The pressing activates muscles in the back of your neck. This activation quiets muscular activity in the front of your neck. It will help straighten your neck and stop the muscles in front of your neck from hurting.
They made claims comparing the relative number of calories burned in a longer time frame to a shorter one.
. Jolie Bookspan
What About Electronic Ab Zapper Belts?
“Watch T. 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. That’s just your normal metabolism at work. There is muscle contraction. but not enough to produce the results claimed. used in physical therapy to passively contract muscles atrophied from paralysis or wasting diseases. These have been around for a long time. Other devices stems from electrical muscle stimulators (EMS).Dr. you would burn more calories than during the theoretical 15–30 minutes it would take to do the sit-ups. In two hours sitting in front of the television wearing the device.V. with or without a vibrator strapped to your abdomen.
but takes a while to return to resting value. whether you drink miracle potion or not. playing. When you exercise. bike. no matter what device you use or what potion you drink. and heart trouble. everyone burns fat when they’re asleep — when they’re awake. Just don’t pay money for that. biking. The pills called “fat burners” are mostly stimulants. Other products are pills tantalizingly called “fat burners.The Ab RevolutionTM
What About Miracle Liquids and Fat Burners?
Many products on the market claim to make you burn fat while you sleep. from nervousness and grouchiness. or swim will do the same. to inability to exercise safely in the heat. A good workout of dancing. These stimulants can have harmful effects. and keep you happier and healthier in the long run.
. because a nice run.” First. or other fun ways to move around will “pick you up” more effectively and safely than taking stimulants. will burn more calories. too. They do not selectively find your fat cells and eliminate them. you increase your metabolism to meet your energy needs. But don’t pay money for that because you burn fat 24 hours a day anyway as part of being alive. They could just as honestly claim that if you stare at their special green dot that you will burn calories in your sleep. Some products claim to give a workout so intense that you burn fat for hours after you finish. Any product can truthfully claim to produce increased calorie burning after a workout. skating. It slows when you stop exercising. Metabolizing stored fat is part of your round-the-clock energy production for body functions.
Dr.” “flab zapper.” and “waist shrinker. It has nothing to do with toning or supporting the muscles. sweat loss. Jolie Bookspan
What About Neoprene Waist Bands?
A fairly popular product advertised to easily take off inches is sometimes billed as a secret scuba device. 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.” It is just a neoprene band to wear around the waist (or thighs). weight loss. You return to normal circumference fairly quickly. and other times called various intriguing names like “waist support. leaving you temporarily smaller.
. The band temporarily shrinks your circumference through simple compression. It is just a gimmick.
run. do exercise. and good looks? The ab exercises you see everywhere in gyms get you good at hunching forward. They don’t have the ab strength and endurance to hold themselves straight. No wonder their posture sags so badly by the end of the day and their muscles ache. walk. don’t hold your breath. 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. The concepts and exercises follow in the next sections. You need to exercise your abs the way they normally should work. Gradually increase the time you hold good posture with these exercises. More important than how many repetitions you do is understanding the concept. You’ll learn exercises that work your abs in functional ways for postural control when you sit. stand. what else can you do to train good ab use for posture. Breathe normally and fully when doing the isometric exercises. back pain prevention. That means radically different exercises from what you commonly see in gyms and on exercise videos. Most people can’t do these exercises for more than a few seconds. or your life. your back.
. breathe in. then breathe out during the effort of the movement. Doing repetitions and sets without that will not work your abs the way you need. not bending forward. For the moving exercises. and go out and have fun.The Ab RevolutionTM
What Exercises Work Your Abs the Way You Need For Real Life?
Beside standing and reaching properly all day every day. But your abs need to work isometrically (at one length without moving) a great deal of the time in real life. activities. and won’t help your posture. carry packages.
arch-preventing. When going quickly. Start doing as many of each as you properly can. then gradually add external weight. Work up to more. achy back. their own body weight is so heavy relative to their ability that it provides enough resistance to build strength. for example pushups.
.Dr. When To Do Ab Revolution Exercises? Use these back-saving. or anything where you need your strength in a fast move. Practice your exercises both quickly and slowly to maximize your real life abilities. and just getting through the day with good posture and without a tired. It will not make you able to do fast movements needed for real life activities like throwing. Lifting a lighter weight for a long time builds your endurance. 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. Jolie Bookspan
How Many. For many people. punching. building both strength and endurance. How Often?
How Many of Each Exercise Should You Do? Depends how many you can already do. How Fast or Slow? Working your muscles slowly gets them good at slow movement. As they strengthen they can do more repetitions. That is good for carrying things and pushing cars (if you also trained to be strong enough). going about your normal day. core posture exercises all the time when you are standing up. When going slowly with weights don’t squeeze your joints or push them past their range. catching falling objects or children. and when doing exercise. don’t bang your joints around. for doing your activities. You need both for carrying things. Or Fewer Harder Ones? Regularly lifting a weight that is so heavy that you can only lift it a few times builds your strength. use muscular control to avoid injury. Many Easier Ones.
straight posture you need for standing up. so that your weight rests on your vertebrae. Wobbling after only a few seconds? These are the same posture muscles you need to stand up properly without
. including the important weak link. wrists and arms. • Don’t lock your elbows straight. don’t just mash your wrists. Holding the Pushup Position • Hold the pushup position as long as you can. This is a missed opportunity to strengthen your core and is hard on your back. Be straight as a plank. then you need to strengthen them too — not ruin your elbow joints.The Ab RevolutionTM
Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Normal Standing
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. keep them slightly bent. Keep your weight on your whole hand. If your arms are too weak to hold you. or hike your hips up in the air. Application to Daily Life: Learn and practice the easy. 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. To protect your back during the exercise and make the exercise more effective and more targeted to the abs. Hold your head up. arch your back. and have the ab strength and endurance to do it.” Take the arch out of your back and straighten your torso. not your “core” muscles. and to train them to prevent your back from arching under gravity resistance. Tuck your hips under and you’ll feel an immediate shift of the work to your abs and “core. Don’t droop down. Using The Ab Revolution. the pushup is a prize exercise for most of your body. A common mistake is letting your back arch like the back of an old horse when doing pushups.
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. back straight and head up. Keep hips tucked. Keep your whole body straight as a
. Use a lower ledge to work abs more. Hold the pushup position on your elbows. • • • Hold the pushup position and lift one leg in back and the opposite arm straight out in front. “How To Use Your Abs When Standing Up. Jolie Bookspan
sagging.Dr. Work up to increasing the time you can hold your posture as straight you would want when standing up. stand up again and relearn the posture exercise on page 23. without arching. 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.”
Tuck your hip to hold your back straight. You'll feel your abs work immediately. and a higher one to work arms more. Vary your hand positioning. No sagging. • If you can’t figure how to tuck your hips under you.
Second and third are flatter and straighter. Moving Pushups • Hold the pushup position on one arm and lift a hand weight from the floor to your chest with the other (like rowing) keeping straight body position. • Do full pushups using your abs to keep your hips tucked as if starting a crunch.The Ab RevolutionTM
plank. Weight bearing improves bone density and strength. Stay flat throughout. two more benefits of Ab Revolution exercises.
. Don’t let your upper body lift up before your lower body. and other lifts too.
First from left is holding hips slightly bent and hiked in the air. Try curls. don’t let your middle sag. The wrist is one of the three major risk sites of osteoporosis.
Tuck your hips and chest down as if starting a crunch. Have a friend sit on your back when you do pushups – carefully. Lie flat with hands on the floor. Add a weight to your back during pushups. Maintain the same posture you would want if you were standing up. Increased resistance increases your strength and adds a posture challenge. and lift straight up with your arms without letting your upper body rise first. not even a little. Jolie Bookspan
Rise from the floor in a reverse pushup. Do full pushups with your feet up on a bench or wall. Don’t arch or hike up your behind.
Adding extra weight means using more ab and other core muscles
.Dr. Keep hips tucked and prevent any arching with your abs. and elbows bent at your sides. Lower to the floor holding your body just as straight. and repeat. Don’t let your posture sag.
They are effective and safe if you protect your back with good posture and shock absorption. and leg muscles hard. See if you can jump 90 degrees (or more) with each jump to face each direction. Walking and Jumping Pushups To challenge your strength. Stay straight. forward.The Ab RevolutionTM
to keep posture good and your back protected. More Challenge Moves • As you advance. arm. try these fun and effective variations: • Walk around in the pushup position like a flat spider.” Experiment with various leg placement. Tuck your hips under as if starting a crunch to keep your back straight. Don’t allow your back to arch under the momentum of landing. balance.
“Spiders” work torso. Jump to say hello to someone.
. and posture control. Have fun. Maintain the same posture you would want if you were standing up. Walk quickly and slowly. Jump sideways across the room. Jump to the next piece of exercise equipment. backward. Walk sideways. and around. Jump in the pushup position like a flat jumping spider. sometimes called “The Flag. hard workout. while getting an effective. Use good shock absorption with arms and legs. try this move.
Lift one arm and balance on the other arm. Holding Side Pushup Position • Hold the pushup position and turn to one side. and to train them to hold your posture correctly against resistance.Dr. holding your body straight without drooping in the middle. Application to Daily Life: Learn to prevent your torso from slouching to the side when standing. Do both sides. Keep your elbow slightly bent. or hike their shoulder or hip up when carrying things on one shoulder or hip.
. don’t lock it. Learn to use your oblique abs to prevent this. or even just when standing up. and have the strength and endurance to maintain it. Many people let their bodies slump to the side. Keep your weight on your whole hand so you don’t mash your wrist. Save your elbow joint and get an arm workout. Jolie Bookspan
Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your oblique abs.
. with your bicep by your ear. raise the opposite leg too.
Hold the regular pushup position face down. with both arms on the floor. Without turning your body. or up against the wall. To progress.The Ab RevolutionTM
Progressions for Holding Position • Prop on one elbow. Don’t rotate your body. To progress. Keep straight pushup position. hold your arm straight in front of you. lift one arm behind your back. Progress to putting your feet up on a ledge or bench.
Moving in the Side Arm Position • Raise and lower your top leg from the floor as many times as you can. not drooping down. as if swinging it over a bicycle. Hold as long as you can and switch legs. Keep your leg straight and parallel to the floor. don’t drop on the floor. then try continuously switching. • Hold the side arm position and dip your hip almost to the floor and raise back up as many times as you can. Then try pushups this way. Switch arms. raise your top leg and hold as long as you can. Then bend the top leg at the hip and hold in front of you. do the same sip.Dr. Hold your weight up using abs when lowering. Next. not turned or arched. while holding one leg straight out to the side
. Lift one leg 90 degrees to the side and forward. holding your top leg off the floor. maintaining straight torso posture. Keep your body flat. Jolie Bookspan
In the side position.
Fun Challenge Moves • Hold a regular face-down pushup position.
As you advance.The Ab RevolutionTM
When you can hold your leg out straight to the side.” Experiment with leg placement. sometimes called “The Flag. try this. add lifting the opposite arm.
You need to exercise using the same movements and muscle patterns as you use in real life. biceps near your ears. Put your hand on the floor under the arch of your back. Put your other arm overhead just off the floor. • To feel how to use abs to reduce the arch and control your torso. Did your back arch off your hand again? Press it back down. just isolating your arms is not only not functional. not shoulder or low back. and use abs.
. but can teach you how to forget your torso muscles in ways that can lead to back and even shoulder injury. press your back down against your hand. Don’t lift your hips. biceps by your ear. Using Body Weight • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Contract your abs to hold your torso straight without allowing your back to arch from the floor. When you lift weights with your arms. improve shoulder range of motion. Arch your back up. To learn when you’re substituting arching your back for motion of the shoulder. Jolie Bookspan
Using Abs to Control Torso Posture When Using Weights
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. just an inch off the floor. just use your abs. This is called functional exercise. You’ll feel your abs working right under your skin. since ab muscles are shallow. lifting your ribs high so you know what it feels like. and to use them to hold correct posture against overhead resistance.Dr. as the lever when reaching overhead. Application to Daily Life: Learn and practice holding your back in good posture during overhead movement and exercise. Now put both hands overhead.
Use your abs to keep your lower back from rising off the floor at any time. Don’t let it.
Your abdominal muscles work hard on this one to control your posture against the moving weight. You get several exercises for the price of one. This simulates all the daily life activities where you will either support your body and things you carry with your muscles. • Each time the weight lowers. Moving With Hand Weights • Raise and lower the dumbbells about an inch. Holding the weights also works your arms and latissimus dorsi muscles along the sides of your back. about an inch from the floor.
Use abs to hold your back in position without arching. particularly when lowering the weights. or allow yourself to arch and let the weight drop on the joints of your back. Keep your elbows slightly bent. holding light dumbbells (5 to 10 pounds each) in each hand overhead. as many times as you can without touching the floor. Don’t let your ribs come up or your back arch.The Ab RevolutionTM
Isometric With Hand Weight This isometric exercise is excellent to learn how to use your abs to control posture when standing — because you need to hold your posture isometrically when standing. • Lie on your back. your back will want to arch. and work your body the way you need for real life movement.
which feeds a negative cycle of tight hip. and retrain your muscles to hold your body properly. • You may need to stretch your front hip muscles (flexors) so that you can straighten your legs without your low back being pulled into an arch.
. but don’t. If you allow your back to arch. and how to retrain everything for safe. how your posture needs to be.
But Shouldn’t You Keep Knees Bent? It’s commonly taught that you must keep your knees and hips bent to “protect your back” and “keep your back from arching” and “to put your back into proper position” when doing ab exercise. bent hip. then exercise that way too. You would never learn to use your muscles the way you really need them when standing up. Many people have hips so tight that they can’t straighten their legs without their back being pulled into a large arch. and. but not a large arch. Yet many people do keep their hip bent all the time when standing. control your posture with what you learned from this lying-down training exercise. strengthen. You can’t walk or move properly in real life with your knees and hips bent that much. ironically. The Ab Revolution teaches you to understand how your muscles need to move. Keep your abs contracted so that your back does not pull into an arch. Their hips get so tight that they even need a pillow under their knees to sleep. What they need is to stretch the front of their hip so their hip and legs can extend properly. But it is your own muscles that should do that for you. This is where you stretch. There will be a small space under your low back.Dr. effective movement all the time. When you do standing weight lifting. an arched back just to stand up straight. as you have practiced in this exercise above. Jolie Bookspan
To Progress • Extend your legs out straight. the force of the moving weight comes crashing down on your low back. Carry-Over to Real Life Think of all the exercises that involve lifting weights overhead — exercises where you should stand without arching. pain.
not just bending your knees to control your posture. If you use your abs for posture adjustment during all your standing movements. this exercise will not only work your abs for the moment. but all day when you really need it — standing up.
.The Ab RevolutionTM
Use your own muscles.
but not curling forward or bending your neck. when reaching and lifting overhead. lifting heavy packages onto counters. Did your ribs come up and your back arch?Tuck your hip under you to prevent over-arching. Transfer these skills to keeping healthy torso posture for common activities like lifting trays. because of that. no matter what. Keep your abs in use to prevent arching. Application to Daily Life: To train your abs and brain to hold your torso and back posture during movement and exercise. but just until your body is straight and supported. Keep your abs in use as if you were beginning a crunch. putting things on shelves. pulling shirts off. and whenever you lift and reach. Using Body Weight • Stand up and reach overhead with both hands. but not curling forward or bending your neck. and to train them to hold your back posture against resistance. Jolie Bookspan
Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Reaching and Lifting Overhead
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. putting cargo on car roof racks. and correct your posture.
. allow their upper body weight to pressure their low back many times a day: reaching. Keep your torso from increasing the arch. as if beginning a crunch. • Reach overhead again. lifting babies and children overhead. putting away groceries. Not in an exaggerated way. Wave your arms around. Keep your hip tucked under you.
Using Hand Weights and Packages • Lift weights overhead. This is when many people have no concept of abs and.Dr. and even combing and washing hair.
.The Ab RevolutionTM
All are arched in bad posture.
Same lift with abs in use to straighten posture and protect the back. Abs not in use for lifting.
Step away until there is tension on the band. This simulates keeping your posture against gravity and loads that you carry in daily life. Lift arms overhead. Don’t let your arms pull behind you.Dr.
Bad posture. This is also fun to do with a partner. Turn your back. 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.
Same exercise with abs in use to straighten posture and exercise against the pull of the bands
. back arched. abs not in use. controlling your posture with abs.
use your abs to move your body to the side. • • Move away until there is more tension on the band. Don’t pull your arms to the sides. • • • To progress. Hold your torso stable against the sideways pull of the stretchy cord. Try it with and without bands. Don’t let the band pull you into poor posture. and holding the band in front of your chest. Using Bands and Pulleys • Use a stretchy band. to get started — secured at about shoulder height. Feel how to stabilize your body using your oblique abs. and to train them to hold your back posture against resistance. Walk around keeping your torso stable against the changing pull of 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. Use a hula-hoop. Application to Daily Life: Holding your torso and back posture correctly to avoid strain and slouching to the side when reaching and lifting overhead.
Many Variations • Do side curls.
. Hold both ends and turn sideways. tubing. facing sideways to the band. Maintain good posture. pulleys — or even a pair of panty hose. hold both arms overhead with your biceps against your ears. and do side curls.
one in each hand. Don’t allow your arms to move or your neck to come forward. The fulcrum of the swing becomes the shoulder joint instead of the muscles of the abs and hip. Pivot your body from your abs. Feel how to stabilize your body and stand straight using your abs. Hold both ends. Jolie Bookspan
Using Abs for Throwing and Other Overhead Arm Activities
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs.
. But many people just arch their back and fling their arm. Turn your back. When throwing and punching properly. Application to Daily Life: Train torso and back posture during speed and power movement. and the arched posture drops much weight on the low back. • • Move away to put more tension on the band and still stand up straight. Injury can eventually develop. you can overload your shoulder or elbow. or cable pulleys. Try the action of doing crunches standing up to get the idea of initiating arm action with your abs first. without allowing the resistance to pull your back into an arch or pull your arms behind you.Dr. In baseball pitches and tennis serves. for example. by not contracting your abs first and using your torso to power the move. Using Bands or Cables • Use a stretchy band or rubber tubing with the middle secured at about shoulder height. Hold both arms overhead with your biceps to your ears. and when throwing and moving arms overhead. your torso and legs should power most of it. and to train them to hold your back posture against rapid onset resistance. Use abs to power overhead activities and to protect your shoulder and back.
not just your shoulder.
Abs in use to properly change back posture and power the throw. and contract your abs so that your torso curls. Push off your feet. and body. abs not in use. back arched. Only then does the arm come forward.The Ab RevolutionTM
Simulate throwing a ball with one arm.
Bad posture. Feel the pivot coming from your abs. turn your hip.
retraining yourself to use abs first. and to train them to hold your back posture against moving resistance. if
. or in a high brace in kayaking. Reaching over the car seat for heavy items in the back seat frequently adds to rotator cuff injury. Turning Moves • Use a stretchy band. Contract your abs. when reaching and lifting to the side.Dr. This doesn’t happen just when swinging a tennis racquet. and then initiate action with your arm. Bend your knees. keeping your torso straight as a unit. By not contracting your abs first and using your torso to power the move. stabilize the shoulder. Jolie Bookspan
Using Abs for Side and Underhand Arm Activities
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs (front and oblique). Swivel your body away from the resistance. When you use your arms to exercise on pulley machines. Keep your knees bent and turn from your hips. not twisting from your waist. Turn your hip. Turning at Varied Angles • Hold the band at a strong tension and face various angles toward and away from the band. Application to Daily Life: Learn to keep your torso and back posture correct during movement and exercise. Hold both ends if you’re using bands. All the common arm exercises with dumbbells and pulleys can be retrained to use your abs first. or cable pulleys secured at about waist height. rubber tubing. Practice moving your arms for common activities. Not using your abs for arm tasks is a common contributor to shoulder pain. and turn sideways. you overload your shoulder. Push off your feet. throw side pitches. Try the motion of combing your hair (or washing your head. or pull or push things — from laundry to dogs on a leash — use your abs.
The Ab RevolutionTM
you’re bald). writing on the board. hanging up clothes. 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. underhand and side pitches. or carrying packages and a squirming baby while trying to get in the door. and anything else you need for daily life.
That puts your chin closer for your opponent hit it.” but when you watch them you see the arched postures that injure backs.Dr.
. you hear much mention of “core” and “ab stabilization. Stretch your arm forward in punching position. In many video tapes. (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 allow your back to arch at any point. maybe a familiar ache in your low back. You’ll feel pressure. Don’t hunch forward. without bending your elbow. • Push the wall with your fist. Don’t hit the wall. Keep hips tucked under. Maintain your slightly tucked posture. Push increasingly hard. as if beginning a crunch but not curling your neck forward. just rest your knuckles as if you had just hit the wall. Training Abs for Punching • Stand near a wall. It is also a sure sign that they cannot generate punching force. with your body in a slight curl. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct and safe during punching in martial arts and boxing exercise classes. Allow the push of your arm to arch your back. Jolie Bookspan
Using Abs for Punching
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs (front and oblique) against quickly-moving resistance.) Fix your posture with your abs. Practice your punch with the new supported posture. Kickboxing classes are popular. You should feel the back pain disappear. because their main core muscles are not driving the punching arm or leg. and a new strength in your punching arm.
the arched torsos transmit force to the low back.
. turn your hips. If real fighters punched with this arched posture. 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. First tilt your hip to prevent arching by using your abs. they’d hurt their backs and not get much of a punch. but from the lower body. exhale. Push off your feet. Don’t arch your back
In both the puncher and receiver above.
Push off your feet and legs. This can be done looping your band around something behind you. turn your hip into the punch and then. or back-to-back with a partner holding bands looped around yours. Increase tension on the band and still stand up straight. with the middle secured around anything solid at shoulder height or above.
• • • •
. Turn your back.Dr. Keep your arms in front of you. Contract abs first. or cable pulleys. Breathe out. Jolie Bookspan
Train Abs for Punching Using Bands • Use a stretchy band. rubber tubing. Keep your heels down when you punch. Don’t let the cord pull you into an arch or pull your arms behind you. using your abdomen as the fulcrum. lever your arm forward into a powerful punch. still holding both ends of the cord. Feel how to stabilize your body using your abs.
tuck your hips. maybe the familiar ache in your low back. Breathe in. Allow the push of your arm to arch your back.) Fix your posture with your abs. Application to Daily Life: Good. oblique. Keep your hip tucked under you. Push increasingly hard.
Use the Ab Revolution principles when pushing heavy objects. as if beginning a crunch but not bending your neck. safe torso and back posture during pushing and slow. • Stand with both hands against a wall. so your body is in a slight curl. powerful moves. Begin pushing the wall with your hands. and breathe out as you lever your upper body forward in powerful pushing action. You will save your back and generate more pushing force. press off your feet. You’ll feel pressure. Let your back arch. You should feel the back pain disappear and a new strength. without bending your elbows.The Ab RevolutionTM
Using Abs For Pushing
Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs (front. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. use your hips and abdomen as the fulcrum. and transversus) against heavy resistance.
.Dr. People allow their back to arch and they just swing their leg around. Don’t allow your back to arch at any point in your kick. Jolie Bookspan
Using Abs for Kicking
Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs against quickly-moving resistance. You should feel the back pain disappear and a new strength in your kicking leg. With the new supported posture. Keep your hip tucked under. Maintain your slightly tucked-under posture. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. but not bending your neck forward. The fulcrum of the kick becomes the low back joints instead of the muscles of the abdomen and hip. Begin pushing the wall with your foot without allowing your knee to give way. Application to Daily Life: Correct and safe torso and back posture during kicking and leg movement. Don’t hunch forward or round your upper back. That is bad for your back and puts your chin closer to your opponent to hit you. The same problems occur in exercise and martial arts classes during kicking as with punching and pushing. when using your legs. as described in the previous sections.) Fix your posture by using your abs as if beginning a crunch. Train Abs for Kicking Using Body Weight • Stand facing a wall at a distance to swing a front kick. • Let your back arch. maybe a familiar ache in your low back from daily bad posture habits. practice kicking toward the wall and back to ready position. so that your body is in a slight curl. You’ll feel pressure. Put the bottom of your foot against the wall as if you just kicked it.
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. • Use a stretchy band. Do not curl your upper body forward. Push off your standing leg. to swimming. Feel the difference between letting your back arch. Don’t let it pull your back into an arch. as you lever your leg forward into a powerful kick. Keep your standing heel down when you kick. To train front kicks.The Ab RevolutionTM
Try the same technique for a side kick. from martial arts. Use your abs to hold your posture from arching during the kick.
. Using your abdomen as the fulcrum. secure one end of the band or tubing handle around one leg and turn your back to the resistance of the band. Contract your abs first. Step away to put tension on the band. or back to back with a partner holding bands looped around yours. rubber tubing.
Use this technique for kicks used in many sports. Put the bottom of your foot against the wall as if you had just kicked it sideways. Secure one end of the band or tubing handle around the outside leg. Train Abs for Front Kicking Using Bands These exercises can be done looping your band around something behind you. breathe out. or cable pulleys secured around anything solid at about hip height or below. Stand sideways to a wall at a distance to swing a side kick. and tucking enough to straighten your back without rounding it.
and to train them to hold your back posture when standing and carrying weight. and Bags as Ab Exercise
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. and maybe the old familiar ache in your low back.Dr. they allow their body to sag under the weight of things they carry. Babies. Shoulder bags and backpacks don’t make you arch your back or have bad posture. not using your torso muscles to counter the pull. Try this: • Stand up wearing any heavy bag or backpack. Feel your torso straighten against the pull of the bag. you’ll notice that you arch your back under the weight of the bag. You should feel the back pain disappear. and allowing your back to arch.) If you arch. If you stand without using your abs. Maintain upright posture. If you lean forward against the weight of the bag. or allowing your back to arch.
. Your bags can become a free. not hunched. Jolie Bookspan
Using Backpacks. fix your posture by tucking your hips under as if starting a crunch. Stand sideways to see your profile in a mirror. People go to a gym to strap a weight machine onto their back to pull it forward to work their muscles. is the problem. Not only do people let their posture slouch under their own body weight. built-in ab exercise.
Remember to do this all the time with everything you carry. but not bending your neck or body so much that you hunch or round forward. You’ll feel pressure. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct when carrying common daily objects. (Don’t allow this to happen if you have back pain. stand straight up and feel your abs working.
save your back. Try this while wearing a knapsack. Check your posture with a mirror. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct when carrying common daily objects on one hip or shoulder. an abnormal sideways curve. when you can. Fix your posture by engaging your oblique abs to straighten your torso against the pull of the bag. and get an ab and back workout. You could burn calories. and letting your torso sway to the side under the weight. and bags as a free workout for your oblique abs and back. you can eventually tighten your back and even deform your bones into a curve. not bent in any direction against the pull of the bag. you can get a curve just like it from bad posture.
. Practice walking around with the knapsack and maintaining your upright posture. simply by holding good posture against the pull of your bags — no matter where you wear them. 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. Even if you don’t have scoliosis. Babies. holding a baby. and Bags as Oblique Ab Exercise
Purpose of this Exercise: To work your oblique abs.
Remember to do this all the time. This is preventable. People go to a gym to press sideways against a weight machine to work their obliques. If you habitually let your back curve to the side under the weight of things you carry.The Ab RevolutionTM
Using Backpacks. babies. or hiking your shoulder up. Use packages. knapsacks. with everything you carry. instead of simply holding good posture by using your muscles.
Using Abs to Throw a Tantrum
Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs more than you ever have.” mentioned on page 15. and sheer fun.
. and to have a hilarious time doing it. It uses motions similar to those for “bicycling” but works muscles far more. The “Ab Study. or obliques.Dr. and a hard and effective one. and second most effective for your side abs. to train them to hold your back in proper position when doing vigorous movement. This is a silly and fun exercise. lists the bicycle as the top exercise for the front abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis). Also trains muscles to fight an attacker off. But it’s not a functional exercise because what else is it good for? This exercise beats it in effectiveness. functionality. calorie burning. Application to Daily Life: This exercise is directly useful to control torso posture when moving your arms and legs during any extreme activity.
Lift your arms high and back down. Don’t wrench yourself around. Yell if you want to. back and forth in all directions.
Fitness classes love this one. Lift arms. and also work the difficult-to-target posterior shoulder. Lift your arms and legs up in the air. You’ll feel your back. Vigorously pound your fists and legs up and down against the floor and up in the air. They get a fun and hard ab and back workout. hip. play loud music if it helps. Kick hard. and leave class happy and exhausted. Pound the mat. if it helps. but get a workout.
Remember that when you work your abs. • Lie on your front. back and forth.
. No wonder children use this. You’ll have had the workout of your life.The Ab RevolutionTM
Lie on your back. “No! No! No! I won’t! You can’t make me do crunches! I don’t want to…!” Again. upper body. Go fast and furiously. Lift your knees. and legs in the air. in all directions. When you finish. and kick hard. you should work your back. Vigorously move them up and down. 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. buttock.This is also useful to train for kicking and punching someone who has thrown you down. and hamstring muscles get amazing exercise. you’ll be calm and happy.
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. You need to add exercises that contract your back muscles — called back extension — to strengthen your back. which contract your abs to round you forward. adds to the “round-shoulder” problem that contributes to back pain in the first place. Next. vertebrae. Doing ab exercise does not work your back muscles. There are two serious problems with this. any more than doing kicks makes your arms strong. or attend “abonly” exercises classes.Dr. Abdominal muscles and back muscles are different muscles. Using abdominal muscles moves your torso to reduce the large arch to keep strain off your back. and spend a great portion of their day doing. But saying that ab exercise strengthens you back is not really true. doing conventional ab exercises. Just as your abs muscles. when used. Jolie Bookspan
“Ab-Only” Exercises are Not Good Many people do only abdominal muscle exercises. your back muscles. and overstretches your back muscles. This forwardslouching posture slowly puts unhealthy pressure on back muscles. when used. To strengthen your back you have to work your back muscles with specific exercises that contract them.
. and nerves that exit the vertebrae. prevents your upper body weight from slouching backward and pressuring your low back. Forward slouching slowly pressures your discs to bulge out. Keeping your back muscles. lengthened by poor posture weakens them. Slouching forward is a poor posture that people are usually very good at. keep you from slouching forward. and to train you to hold your posture from slouching forward. thinking it will make their backs injury-free. or any muscles.
that is right. move your arms from your sides to overhead. Gradually increase. Start with one or two lifts. To progress.com. Slowly lift your upper body a few inches. nutrition. lift one leg off the floor. this exercise is a mainstay of most back-strengthening and pain-reduction programs. then lower back to the floor. Keep your head in line with your body. this is much-needed progress. knee straight. do at least ten back extensions every day and when you do ab exercise. This is not an injury. you may be sore after doing these. • Lie face down. or toll free from the publisher: 1-888-229-5745. Beside giving you a beautiful back for bathing suit wear.
For your lower back.healthylearning. and full explanations of relieving back and neck pain. health and joint pain. lift both legs together. Don’t force or yank.
These exercises. If you feel pinching or electric shock pain. don’t continue the exercises. See your doctor. Don’t tilt your head back. To progress. Order online at www. Don’t force.
. hands at your sides and off the floor. Then switch legs. Lift with your muscles. Work up from there. It has thirty-one chapters on all aspects of fitness. Hold and lower. If you aren’t used to exercising your back muscles. are detailed in the new edition of the book “Health & Fitness in Plain English” also by Dr. and sells for $24. Jolie Bookspan. If you feel muscles working.The Ab RevolutionTM
Back Extension At the minimum.95 (US).
Should You Work Your Abs Every Day or Every Other Day? It’s common for people to debate fiber type and fatigue. allowing your upper body weight to press on your low back. every day. Why kill yourself working out. all the time to control your posture. Doing crunches or any other ab exercise. all-day workout.
. you need your abs working all day. then not using abs to control your posture the rest of the day. and reach well all the time.Dr. then ignore your abs the other 23 hours a day and undo all your efforts? Stand. to decide whether to exercise abs daily or intermittently. you wouldn’t need to go to a gym to do funny little crunches — not every day. like your heart beating. not just during your hour of worship. nor every few days. Using your abs is like obeying the Ten Commandments: you’re supposed to do it all the time. Flurries of articles are written on this. If you worked your abs all day. What is missed is that. is missing the whole point of what abs are supposed to do. and you’ll exercise your abs without working out. You’re also missing the easiest opportunity to burn calories and get a free. sit.
It’s not “sucking in” or “tightening”— it’s moving your torso into healthy position using Ab Revolution exercises. skate. to keep it from arching and curving your abdomen out. If spot reducing worked. Get out and have fun. skip.
. speed skaters would have small legs. walk. which burns more calories. dig. bike. including fat from your abdomen. That means to lose fat. run. and that exercises often done in gyms tighten the hip. and move in general. dance. It’s a shame that many people deliberately stand arched. ski. row. No exercise selectively removes fat from a specific part. jog.” Ab exercises alone will not remove fat from your abdomen. and the repetitive act of chewing and swallowing lots of food would make your face thin. Regular ab exercise alone won’t make you stand properly so that your back won’t arch and your abdomen won’t sag out. play. stick the behind out. Aerobic exercise burns fat. This fat comes from where it is stored. swim. you need to run. to use your abs for daily life. people would have thin mouths from talking.The Ab RevolutionTM
How Do You Flatten Your Abdomen? Use your abs to change the curve of your back. That myth is called “spot reducing. and encourage arching so that you wind up standing with your abdomen curved out — just the opposite of what you wanted. Weight training builds muscle.
check if you are standing and moving in a way that is wrecking your back by not using your abs. lifting.
. Use your abs to tip your hip back under you and lift your weight up and off your low back. and conscious use of abs all the time. Next time you are standing around noticing your back hurts. Check if your belt or waistband tilts downward in front and up in back. showing that you may be arching your back instead of holding straight posture. You’ll exercise your brain. and having fun. It’s a revolution. Doing good abdominal work will enlarge the muscles enough to poke through the facial bands. complex carbohydrates. Use the Ab Revolution to retrain your abs for ab exercise without going to a gym. Notice if you are letting your body weight. smash down on your low back. reaching. You’ll save your back. reduced fat under your skin (in order to see it all). You won’t see ripples if body fat covers everything. You’ll be straighter and taller.Dr. and the weight of everything you lift and carry. You’ll get a free. all-day workout. cutting out junk food. Get out of the gym and use your body for real life moving. balancing. The entire package of getting results includes proper abdominal exercise. healthful meals on a regular basis. You’ll be a better exerciser. continuous. giving a “washboard” or “ripple” effect. You’ll burn more calories. and water in your diet to fuel good workouts. 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.
The Ab RevolutionTM
Audrey Tannenbaum. Green Beret Lt. . SWAT Team Commander Using Dr. M. A. This is my stomach bible. C.C.. Bookspan’s revolutionary yet practical advice. Horsham. From Dr.Dr. the brightest light in popular sports medicine. Bookspan’s expertise. St. Medical Director. It’s encouraging to know that.. I have lost weight.T.Ed.Kelly Hill. Tom Millington. Bookspan’s Ab Revolution
Continued from the back cover: You’ve done it again. M. thank you for constantly discrediting the myths that are all too often forced upon us. Col. .. built muscle. From one professional to another.C.D. CA
.S.. PA Dr. Bookspan. . and eliminated chronic pain.S. by using them properly. Merck International Health Program Coordinator This is a book that everyone interested in good health and muscle tone should read — especially personal trainers! . Athletic Trainer and Maccabean Games Triathlon Gold Medalist.Joni Lawrence.. Jolie Bookspan
More Praise for Dr. M. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital.J. .D. I developed my abs more in the last 3 months than in the past 3 years doing crunches. I can develop my abs and improve my posture throughout the day.. . cuts away the myths and falsehoods to lead the reader to understanding. You’re my hero.
Dr.. sensible and highly effective.gulftel. I trust her for good sense and her solid background in exercise physiology.Caroline Fife. The book is highly recommended to read and keep as a reference source. M. Neurology. Department of Anesthesiology. General Surgery www. Houston. . .Ernest Campbell. Jolie Bookspan. FACS. 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. Freeing the ‘crunchers’ from the boredom of useless exercise programs that are quickly abandoned.. 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. Krug Life Sciences NASA
.. University of Texas Health Science Center. Jolie Bookspan has done it again! An expert at debunking ‘scientific’ bunk.com/~scubadoc/
Whenever I have a question on rehab. CHeCS Training Program.David Hsu.D.The Ab RevolutionTM
Well.D. I turn to my friend and colleague. .D. M. or want practical advice on fitness training or musculoskeletal complaints. M.D. Chief Consultant. 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. Ph.. The program is simple. Associate Professor. she has written an extremely interesting ‘do-ityourself’ exercise guide. Dr.
org Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages.healthylearning.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: www.uhms.org
. illustrated. $50.95 (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 www. $40.00 ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 www.org Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire field.uhms. health.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: www. nutrition.org firstname.lastname@example.org. including board exam questions 226 pages. illustrated.org uhms@uhms. and joint pain 371 pages.org uhms@uhms.Dr. $24. $30. Jolie Bookspan
More Books by Dr. Jolie Bookspan
Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of fitness.com Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 pages.
com Photo models for exercises are Dr.arttoday. www. Martin Dembitzer Angela and Andrea Fleegle Elsa Leung Rhonda McJeff Stacia Mellbourne Travis Mesman Sara Rathfon Danielle Tobin
.The Ab RevolutionTM
Cover model: Paul Plevakas Front cover photo: Julia Lehman. Bookspan’s dedicated and hardworking students: Shelly Anthony Regina Basile Cynthia Brown Theresa Candelaria Emily Canon Louis Costa Dr. Vision13 Photography Roman Chair and Captain’s Chair photos by Wowk Photography Author photos by Robert Troia Illustrations by Todd Sargood Some images © 2001-2002.
Nepal. 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. and Northern Africa. and most of everything else in an accident. and police and military training departments. Harvard clinicians have called her “The St. neck. Jolie Bookspan knows abs. Asia. After serving in the Army. swam to work in an underwater laboratory. As a researcher. She doesn’t do crunches. Left paralyzed after breaking her back. and was professor of anatomy at a college in the mountains of Mexico. A career military scientist.About the Author
Dr. Jude of the Joints” in her private practice in sports medicine.
. she carried gear up and down the mountains and deserts of India. where the entrance exam was getting up there without a nosebleed. she rehabbed using her own methods. she has a black belt in karate and 14 fights in the ring as an amateur kickboxer. was advisor to The Discovery Channel.