No More Crunches! No More Back Pain!

The Ab Revolution
By Dr. Jolie Bookspan


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. If you don’t consciously use your muscles to hold you up. 6 . That is one big reason people slouch. where your front ab muscles attach. You have to voluntarily use your abs to change your posture. They aren’t using their muscles to prevent it. But strengthening does not automatically “support” your back or change your posture. 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.Dr.

draw your two hands toward each other. 7 . They hunch you forward. How much do you need this posture in real life? Shortened abs curl you Lengthened abs let you arch Still holding your ribs and hip bone. Your torso will curl and your back will round. You will even be shorter because of the increased curve in your spine.The Ab RevolutionTM Still holding the top and bottom of your abs. Feel your body weight fall onto your low back? That is what not using your abs allows: an arched back and your weight pressing hard on your low back. The distance between your hands increases. Hold that position. That is what crunches do for you. arch your back and let your ribs lift and your abdomen curve out. showing how slack ab muscles allow your back to arch.

Use your abs at the length that holds you up in good posture. This is what abs do to control posture. Don’t curl so much that you round forward. 8 . Your torso comes upright to a straightened. bring your hands toward each other so the distance between your ribs and hips decreases.Dr. not arching back. taller position. Jolie Bookspan To use your abs to pull you up to stand properly. and stop the strain and wear and tear of dropping your upper body weight on your low back. When used properly. they hold you from arching backward.

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

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

11 . which pressures the low back. Lordosis can be easily controlled by straightening your posture using your own muscles.The Ab RevolutionTM This ancient Greek fresco shows the lordotic (overly-arched) posture.

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

Now bounce against your fingers quickly and hard. That shows the forces on your low back when you walk without using abs. That is how you need to use your abs to control your posture when standing up — all day. That is running with your back arched and not using your abs. use the muscles in the palm of your right hand to straighten your right hand against the push of your left. The stretched palm of your hand represents your abdomen. Your fingers come back up into straight line. all the time. every day. To represent how to use your abs to control the arch of your back and prevent too much arching: with your left hand still pressing the right fingers back. 13 . Bounce against your fingers so that they rock back repeatedly.The Ab RevolutionTM This shows how your body weight falls on the joints of your low back when you don’t use your ab muscles to prevent arching back under gravity. 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. Ouch. with your ab muscles slack.

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

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

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

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

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. 18 . His abs are plenty tight. Jolie Bookspan Having tight abs doesn’t fix your posture or help your back.Dr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(See pages 84 to 89 on punching and kicking for how. losing punching power and straining the back.) They are not controlling their back posture. allowing it to arch too much. Jolie Bookspan Martial Arts You need your abs to straighten your back posture while doing many moves in martial arts. Student is arching and slouching. 30 . This can strain the back and will not give you good punching or kicking power Teacher is holding strong posture.) Can you spot the students not using abs in this Karate class? (First on the left and second from the right.Dr.

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

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

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

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

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

work abs. 36 . Same stretch using abs to straighten posture. Try this: • • Stand on one leg and arch your back while you hold your other foot behind you. You won’t feel much stretch in your thigh. Drop your bent knee to point to the standing knee and push your foot away into your hand. Straighten your torso and push your behind forward. Feel the stretch move to your thigh. You save your back.Dr. abs not in use. and get a far better quad stretch. Don’t do this bad posture when stretching: back arched. as if starting to do a crunch. 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. little stretch on leg. Don’t pull your foot in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.The Ab RevolutionTM Supported Arching With Roman Chair Exercise As you progress. 45 . Hold the weight of your legs up with your muscles. There are Roman Chair seats in many gyms. Strongly use your abs to decelerate as you extend backward. Don’t hang your weight on your back. or you can make your own on a sturdy surface to hold your lower body. try Roman Chair ab training.

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. pressuring it. 46 . to add to your ab workout.Dr.

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

48 . step away to increase tension while holding good posture. Jolie Bookspan If all you want is a pivoting ab exercise to work your abs. stepping farther and farther away to increase the tension. Use a good. and go for the fun of the work. There will be no momentum continuing the motion past the point where you pull the band. Also. 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. rather than in real-life movements. most people do not put much resistance on their band.Dr. thick band. One reason is because they used the tubing while bending forward. one way to do that is to use cable pulleys or a stretchy tube or band and pivot away from it.

The Ab RevolutionTM

What About Lower Abs and Reverse Crunches?

There’s much talk over what determines “upper” and “lower” abs, and what exercises “work” them. Try the following to understand how your muscles produce movement, and how that changes your posture. When you understand the muscle actions, you can make your own exercises to get a good workout using each to keep good posture. Upper Abs • Stand sideways and watch your torso movement in a mirror. Allow your upper body to arch back.

Both bad postures are not using upper abs (among other muscles), allowing the upper body to slump backward and downward. • To fix this bad posture, pull yourself back to proper upright standing posture by using your abs as if you were beginning a

Dr. Jolie Bookspan

crunch. Don’t your neck or torso forward, just come to straight upright posture. In general, this is upper ab action. Notice how some people lean back this way when walking, doing biceps curls, lifting weight, reaching overhead, taking photos, and whatever else they do. They are not using upper abs, they are missing a free ab workout, and they are adding to strain and wear and tear on their back. Lower Abs • Stick your behind out and tip the top of your hips forward so that your back arches, the front of your hip drops down, your leg bends at the fold where it meets your body, and your abdomen curves out.

Not using lower abs lets the hip tilt down, abdomen curve out, and lower body jut backward. This is hard on the back and hip. • To fix this poor posture, bring your behind forward by tucking your hip under so that the front crease of your hip straightens where it meets your leg. You will feel a slight upward stretch.

The Ab RevolutionTM

Don’t lean back or jut your hips forward. Just tuck enough to pull yourself into a strong upright posture. You will feel your lower abs pulling your front hip bone forward and upward. • To train lower abs while doing pull ups and chin ups, use the hip tuck described above and in the section on leg lifts. Hang from the bar and take the arch out of your back by using your abs to curl your hips under you. Don’t allow your body to swing forward or your back to arch as you pull up. Keep your torso posture controlled as you lower down too. It’s common to see people doing pull ups with their legs bent, their ribs jutting forward, and their back arched. They are missing a great opportunity to use their lower abs.

Notice how some people stick their hip and behind out when walking, doing aerobics and step class, stretching, lifting weights, and during other activities. They are not using lower abs, they are missing a free ab workout, and they are adding to strain and wear and tear on their back. Correct this posture and you’ll use your lower abs in an all-day “reverse crunch.” Fixing Posture Using Upper Abs and Lower Abs So, there’s a “not using upper abs” bad posture, and a “not using lower abs” bad posture. Both are unhealthy for your back. It is injurious to lift weights either way. They are sloppy postures because they do not use ab muscles for proper standing. It’s a shame that they have become mistaken for an attractive stance. They’re not. Whenever you notice your back aching when you’re standing around, notice if you’re standing with either bad posture — upper body leaning back and hips forward — or back arched and your behind stuck out — or both. Fix it using the Ab Revolution repositioning exercises. Don’t over-tuck so that you push your hips forward to look like the television character Urkel on “Family Matters.” Tuck only enough to take the extra arch from your low back and get your upper body weight off your low back. Don’t lean forward. Correct and straighten your posture, and you’ll burn more calories, stand taller, and get free, all-day exercise for both your upper and lower abs.

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

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

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

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.


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

and keep you happier and healthier in the long run. from nervousness and grouchiness. because a nice run. biking. 59 . will burn more calories. When you exercise. everyone burns fat when they’re asleep — when they’re awake. Any product can truthfully claim to produce increased calorie burning after a workout. A good workout of dancing. no matter what device you use or what potion you drink. or swim will do the same. The pills called “fat burners” are mostly stimulants.” First. They do not selectively find your fat cells and eliminate them. but takes a while to return to resting value. Other products are pills tantalizingly called “fat burners. They could just as honestly claim that if you stare at their special green dot that you will burn calories in your sleep. These stimulants can have harmful effects. But don’t pay money for that because you burn fat 24 hours a day anyway as part of being alive. to inability to exercise safely in the heat. too. or other fun ways to move around will “pick you up” more effectively and safely than taking stimulants. bike. playing. It slows when you stop exercising. Metabolizing stored fat is part of your round-the-clock energy production for body functions. Some products claim to give a workout so intense that you burn fat for hours after you finish. you increase your metabolism to meet your energy needs. skating. Just don’t pay money for that. whether you drink miracle potion or not.The Ab RevolutionTM What About Miracle Liquids and Fat Burners? Many products on the market claim to make you burn fat while you sleep. and heart trouble.

or body fat loss.Dr. 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. and other times called various intriguing names like “waist support.” It is just a neoprene band to wear around the waist (or thighs). It has nothing to do with toning or supporting the muscles.” “flab zapper. You return to normal circumference fairly quickly.” and “waist shrinker. sweat loss. leaving you temporarily smaller. 60 . It is just a gimmick. The band temporarily shrinks your circumference through simple compression. weight 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

all the time to control your posture. then ignore your abs the other 23 hours a day and undo all your efforts? Stand. Using your abs is like obeying the Ten Commandments: you’re supposed to do it all the time. to decide whether to exercise abs daily or intermittently. If you worked your abs all day. What is missed is that. Flurries of articles are written on this. and you’ll exercise your abs without working out. nor every few days. allowing your upper body weight to press on your low back. Why kill yourself working out. like your heart beating. Doing crunches or any other ab exercise. is missing the whole point of what abs are supposed to do. you wouldn’t need to go to a gym to do funny little crunches — not every day. You’re also missing the easiest opportunity to burn calories and get a free. every day. and reach well all the time. sit. then not using abs to control your posture the rest of the day. 96 . all-day workout. you need your abs working all day. not just during your hour of worship. Jolie Bookspan Should You Work Your Abs Every Day or Every Other Day? It’s common for people to debate fiber type and fatigue.Dr.

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM 99 .

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

M.Caroline Fife. . M. University of Texas Health Science Center.gulftel. Neurology.D.The Ab RevolutionTM Well. General Surgery www.D. 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. Associate Professor. Jolie Bookspan.. Freeing the ‘crunchers’ from the boredom of useless exercise programs that are quickly abandoned..D. FACS.Ernest Campbell. Dr. 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. Jolie Bookspan has done it again! An expert at debunking ‘scientific’ bunk. Bookspan’s Ab Revolution will find support from those of us who realize the importance of the natural use of the abs in maintaining good back posture and function. Department of Anesthesiology. Krug Life Sciences NASA 101 .D. The program is simple. M. Chief Consultant. Dr. Ph. Whenever I have a question on rehab.David Hsu. or want practical advice on fitness training or musculoskeletal complaints. I trust her for good sense and her solid background in exercise physiology.. sensible and highly effective. I turn to my friend and colleague. The book is highly recommended to read and keep as a reference source. . she has written an extremely interesting ‘do-ityourself’ exercise guide. CHeCS Training Program.. . uhms@uhms. and joint pain 371 uhms@uhms.healthylearning.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: www. health. illustrated.Dr. $50.00 ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 pages. $40. $30. including board exam questions 226 pages. Jolie Bookspan Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of uhms@uhms.uhms.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire field.95 (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 www. $ 102 . Jolie Bookspan More Books by Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages. illustrated. Photo models for exercises are Dr. Vision13 Photography Roman Chair and Captain’s Chair photos by Wowk Photography Author photos by Robert Troia Illustrations by Todd Sargood Some images © 2001-2002.The Ab RevolutionTM Credits Cover model: Paul Plevakas Front cover photo: Julia Lehman. www. Martin Dembitzer Angela and Andrea Fleegle Elsa Leung Rhonda McJeff Stacia Mellbourne Travis Mesman Sara Rathfon Danielle Tobin 103 . Bookspan’s dedicated and hardworking students: Shelly Anthony Regina Basile Cynthia Brown Theresa Candelaria Emily Canon Louis Costa Dr.


where the entrance exam was getting up there without a nosebleed. she was research physiologist for the United States Navy studying survival in extreme environments from undersea to climbing mountains to outer space — an interest that began as a child when she watched her grandfather walk barefoot over snow and ice to go ocean swimming every day. After serving in the Army. She doesn’t do crunches. Harvard clinicians have called her “The St. and police and military training departments. Nepal. and most of everything else in an accident. she rehabbed using her own methods. Jude of the Joints” in her private practice in sports medicine. A career military scientist. Left paralyzed after breaking her back. As a researcher. neck. Jolie Bookspan knows abs. Asia. she has a black belt in karate and 14 fights in the ring as an amateur kickboxer. . and Northern Africa. was advisor to The Discovery Channel. and was professor of anatomy at a college in the mountains of Mexico. she carried gear up and down the mountains and deserts of India.About the Author Dr. swam to work in an underwater laboratory.