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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is how you need to use your abs to control your posture when standing up — all day. every day. Your fingers come back up into straight line. That is running with your back arched and not using your abs.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. Now bounce against your fingers quickly and hard. all the time. 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. 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. 13 . The stretched palm of your hand represents your abdomen. use the muscles in the palm of your right hand to straighten your right hand against the push of your left. That shows the forces on your low back when you walk without using abs. Bounce against your fingers so that they rock back repeatedly. with your ab muscles slack. Ouch.

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

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

Crunches make people — who likely spend much of their day already hunched over a work area — practice that hunched posture. instead of allowing you to arch back and lean your body weight onto your low back. 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. Crunches don’t train you for that. 16 . In life. No wonder that doing 10 minutes of “abs” a day can’t counteract the other 23 hours and 50 minutes of non-use and wrong use. Crunches don’t train you how to use your abs the rest of the day. Crunches promote poor posture. which may be mechanically promoting the back and neck pain they think they are working their abs to prevent. bent-over person. even when done properly. Look at crunches sideways and see what it would look like to stand up like this — like an old. This is the poor posture you’re training with crunches. your abs need to work isometrically — at one length — to hold your torso upright. Jolie Bookspan What’s Wrong with Crunches? Crunches don’t work your abs the way you need for real life.Dr. You know how the elderly got hunched over like that? They practiced.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back arched.The Ab RevolutionTM How to Use Abs When Doing Other Exercises Abs are often forgotten while doing other exercises that are not usually thought of as “for abs. Use your abs to tuck your hips enough to take the large arch out of your back. Hard on the back. Abs not in use. Sometimes you use abs to make a small adjustment. it is not healthy.” Some people deliberately arch while exercising. 25 . other times a larger one. In either case. Overhead Press Arching while lifting weight further compresses your low back. Bad posture. Same exercise done properly. Abs reduce the arch and control back posture. mistakenly thinking it looks good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strongly use your abs to decelerate as you extend backward. There are Roman Chair seats in many gyms. 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. not your back joints. try Roman Chair ab training. Supported Arching With Head and Handstands Use the ab-supported arch for headstands and handstands when you do them with an arch. Don’t hang your weight on your back. or you can make your own on a sturdy surface to hold your lower body.

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

and to decelerate only with muscular effort. such as swinging a bat or racquet. This can eventually strain soft tissues. a big problem is that people stop the momentum of the weight at the end of each rotation using their vertebral joints. 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. fray discs. swinging limbs in martial arts . 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. 47 . or during various rodeo activities. The idea is that torso muscles would get exercise decelerating the swinging weight.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. 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.

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

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.

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

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

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


V.Dr. In two hours sitting in front of the television wearing the device. while motorized stomach vibrator burns more calories than 500 sit-ups a day?” “Use electronic stimulating muscle contractor to get gives more contractions than hundreds of sit ups?” Early consumer devices were little more than vibrators. but not enough to produce the results claimed. They made claims comparing the relative number of calories burned in a longer time frame to a shorter one. 58 . That’s just your normal metabolism at work. you would burn more calories than during the theoretical 15–30 minutes it would take to do the sit-ups. These have been around for a long time. There is muscle contraction. with or without a vibrator strapped to your abdomen. used in physical therapy to passively contract muscles atrophied from paralysis or wasting diseases. Other devices stems from electrical muscle stimulators (EMS). Jolie Bookspan What About Electronic Ab Zapper Belts? “Watch T.

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

and other times called various intriguing names like “waist support. It has nothing to do with toning or supporting the muscles. The band temporarily shrinks your circumference through simple compression.Dr. It is just a gimmick. sweat loss. Ever notice when you take off your socks that there’s a darkened dent around your leg where the sock band was? The elastic compressed your flesh.” “flab zapper. 60 . You return to normal circumference fairly quickly. leaving you temporarily smaller.” and “waist shrinker. Jolie Bookspan What About Neoprene Waist Bands? A fairly popular product advertised to easily take off inches is sometimes billed as a secret scuba device. weight loss.” It is just a neoprene band to wear around the waist (or thighs). or body fat loss.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moving With Hand Weights • Raise and lower the dumbbells about an inch. Keep your elbows slightly bent. and work your body the way you need for real life movement.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. This simulates all the daily life activities where you will either support your body and things you carry with your muscles. Use your abs to keep your lower back from rising off the floor at any time. Use abs to hold your back in position without arching. You get several exercises for the price of one. 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. • Each time the weight lowers. 73 . particularly when lowering the weights. as many times as you can without touching the floor. Don’t let it. holding light dumbbells (5 to 10 pounds each) in each hand overhead. or allow yourself to arch and let the weight drop on the joints of your back. your back will want to arch. about an inch from the floor. Don’t let your ribs come up or your back arch. • Lie on your back.

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

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. 75 . not just bending your knees to control your posture. but all day when you really need it — standing up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM 99 .

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

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

00 ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 www.uhms. and joint pain 371 102 .org Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages. $ uhms@uhms.healthylearning. $ Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire field. Jolie Bookspan More Books by uhms@uhms. including board exam questions 226 pages. Jolie Bookspan Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of fitness.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: www.Dr. illustrated. $24. $30.uhms. illustrated.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: www. uhms@uhms. nutrition.95 (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 www.

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 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.


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

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