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The Ab Revolution
By Dr. Jolie Bookspan
How to Use Your ABS All the Time for Real Life
Burn calories, work your abs, and save your back while doing your everyday activities. Used by military and law enforcement and the nation’s top spine docs and rehab centers
© 2003 by Dr. Jolie Bookspan, Neck and Back Pain Sports Medicine. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author. ISBN: 1-4107-4528-7 (E-book) ISBN: 1-4107-4527-9 (Paperback) ISBN: 1-4107-4526-0 (Dust Jacket) Library of Congress Control Number: 2003092486 This book is printed on acid free paper.
Printed in the United States of America Bloomington, IN Nothing in this book is meant as specific medical advice or exercise instruction. See your physician, get training, and use your brain before attempting anything presented. The Ab Revolution™ Method, name, and information are trademarked and part of the Fitness Therapy series, including Lower Body Revolution. To teach or distribute this method in any way, contact the author for permissions and training materials.
1stBooks – rev. 7/28/03
To my Grandmother the Gypsy, who taught me to spot snake-oil, and who taught me about real exercise, posture, and health from my earliest years. She got her college degree at age 81. To her the highest things in life were education and Jack LaLane. To my mother who I promised I would find how to end back pain. To my students and patients who all really feel better and work their abs more using this method, and showed me how needed it is. To my wonderful husband and hero Paul. What beautiful abs you have, my dear.
............... 5 How Do Abs Control Posture? .......................................................................................................... 19 What Are All the Muscles Called? ............ 6 Abs are Your Guy Wires from the Front ....... 42 v ............................................................................... 1 Why Do Abs? . 37 What About Ab Machines? ......................................................................................... 34 How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Arms.......................................................... 9 What is Lordosis? ..................................................................... iii Table of Contents .................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 17 But Aren’t You Supposed to Stick Your Behind Out?.......................... 36 Real Athletes Use Abs. 10 How Do Abs Help Your Back? .............. v Revolution! ...................................... 12 What About the Ab Study?...................................... 32 How to Use Abs for Reaching................................ 35 How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Legs............................................................... 4 What Exactly Do Abs Do? ................................................................... 39 What About “Captain’s Chair?” ................................. 25 How to Use Abs for Carrying Loads ...................................Table of Contents Dedication........................................ 38 What About Leg Lifts? ............................ 16 Doing Abs Doesn’t Automatically Change Posture or Back Pain....................................... 3 Using Abs Doesn’t Mean “Sucking Them In” or Making Them “Tight” .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 21 How to Use Your Abs When Standing Up..................................................................... 15 What’s Wrong with Crunches?............. 23 How to Use Abs When Doing Other Exercises........................................................................
..........94 Should You Work Your Abs Every Day or Every Other Day?.....................................71 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Reaching and Lifting Overhead ........................92 “Ab-Only” Exercises are Not Good ............. How Often? ......................................................63 Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture.........................................................................................................................................57 What About Electronic Ab Zapper Belts?..............60 What Exercises Work Your Abs the Way You Need For Real Life? .................................................88 Using Backpacks.............................................................................97 vi ............................68 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture When Using Weights ......................................90 Using Backpacks.............................................. Babies..........................................................59 What About Neoprene Waist Bands?.................76 Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture When Reaching and Lifting Overhead ..........................................................................79 Using Abs for Throwing and Other Overhead Arm Activities ..............................................49 What About Exercise Balls?....................................87 Using Abs for Kicking ............58 What About Miracle Liquids and Fat Burners? ....................................62 Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Normal Standing ...............96 How Do You Flatten Your Abdomen?..............................................................................................................52 What About Ab Isolators? ............................................................................................................80 Using Abs for Side and Underhand Arm Activities ....82 Using Abs for Punching ....Arching Isn’t the Culprit .................................................56 What About Ab Rocking Devices? ..................................44 What About Abdominal Twists? .............................................................................................................................................61 How Many............................. and Bags as Ab Exercise..... Babies................47 What About Lower Abs and Reverse Crunches? ........ and Bags as Oblique Ab Exercise..........84 Using Abs For Pushing............91 Using Abs to Throw a Tantrum..........................................................
.................................................... 102 Credits................................... 103 About the Author................. Jolie Bookspan.............How Do You Get a “Washboard?”.................................... Bookspan’s Ab Revolution .............................................. 105 vii ................................................................................... 100 More Books by Dr............. 102 Health & Fitness in Plain English................................................................... 98 More Praise for Dr......................................................
Using abs is not “tightening them. and tight muscles are a factor in headaches. 1 . The “experts” say to do crunches for strong muscles to “support” you. and which make your neck hurt. then stand up and walk away with arched posture and no use of abs at all. Shake up your entire thinking about abs. The Ab Revolution shows you how to work your abs to correct your posture and keep strain off your back all the time during your daily activities while standing up. The old. Most people have no idea what abs specifically do. how to use them when standing up or during things you do in real life. and thought to be healthy when it is not healthy. usual ab exercises “miss the boat” because they don’t transfer skills to real life. or movement in real-life activities. poor posture.” is the root of the problem because it separates using abs from the rest of your life. The very thing we regard as exercise advice. 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. back pain. To most people. and lift with no use of your abs. walk.” then never use the rest of the time.The Ab RevolutionTM Revolution! This is a revolution in ab fitness. But strengthening alone does not automatically change posture. “do three sets (or however many sets) of 10 crunches. It’s practically universal to see a roomful of exercisers cranking away doing ab exercise.” You can’t move or breathe properly that way. Then. Ab exercise has become hugely popularized as something you specially “do. It doesn’t happen automatically just from exercising. or even that you are supposed to at all. you go back to your “real life” and stand. reach. doing ab exercise means stopping your “real life” and lying on the floor or using machines to hunch forward to do motions you never do in real life.
2 . shoulders. You’ll exercise your brain. It teaches specific skills to make your life better. and how to consciously use your abs for all your daily activities — even standing up. It’s a revolution. You’ll get exercise without going to a gym. The exercises not only strengthen your abs. what they don’t do. You’ll burn calories. 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. and teach you how your muscles need to work together in your real life. then throwing knives at each other the rest of the time. and legs too. not all the time. You’ll save your back. They were told to be nice for 30 minutes.Dr. This method revolutionizes how you think about abs and how you use them. three to five times a week. This book gives you an understanding of what abs really do. You’ll strengthen your body. You’ll strengthen your abs.
Why do the exercises so often “fail?” 3 . everyone seems to want to “do abs”. Poor posture is common.” or how. They do abs in rehab programs for back pain. They do crunches in every workout. But exactly what? It’s something vague about “support.” What does “support” really mean? Most people don’t know what abs specifically “do.The Ab RevolutionTM Why Do Abs? More than other exercises. but never use their abs for real life. But what exactly do “abs” do for your back? It’s “something” to do with posture. Yet 8 out of 10 people still have back pain. But why? It’s “something” to do with helping the back. They think it just happens automatically. or even know they are supposed to.
You didn’t tighten anything. or normal daily activities. It will change your whole way of thinking about abs. Moreover. 4 . or any muscles. The tightening didn’t change anything. Now arch your back and make the abs tight with your back still arched. Move your arm around. Yes. exercise. yet they are incorrect and outdated. 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. and it doesn’t teach you how to use your abs the way you need for sports. this is new and different. It wouldn’t change your posture. It’s voluntary movement to change the amount of bend and arch in your spine. and teach you exciting new skills to be fitter.” These are practically universal phrases to describe using abs. walking around with “tight” muscles is a common factor in headache and stress/strainrelated muscle pain. That’s why it’s a revolution in ab fitness. Try this: bend your elbow to bring your hand up to your face. You voluntarily move your arm into the position you want by using the muscles. even with “tight” abs. Moving your torso into good posture by using your torso muscles is the same. not tightening them.Dr. healthier. for good posture. and pain-free. You can have poor posture and a terribly arched back. and are not the way to use your abs the way you need them. Another often-repeated instruction is: “press your navel to your spine and contract your gluteal muscles. You can’t breathe properly that way.” You can’t function or exercise normally that way. Tightening is not how to use abs.
Most people only exercise their abs by hunching forward and sideways for a bunch of “repetitions. and bends the joint. 5 . it means holding yourself up easily without slouching backward or to the sides. your low back will sway. The Ab Revolution shows you how to use your abs standing up to save your back and get a free built-in ab work-out. What does “support” exactly mean? When you stand up and don’t use your abdominal muscles. they pull your ribs and hips closer to each other in various directions and amounts. where each vertebra attaches to the one above and below it. Using abs means using them like any other muscle. and their back to arch. hips to drop down.The Ab RevolutionTM What Exactly Do Abs Do? Most people use vague words like “support” to describe what abs do. exaggerating the normal inward curve. It doesn’t mean holding yourself rigidly. This arching allows the weight of your upper body to press down on your low back. and irritate the joints called vertebral facets. allowing their ribs to lift up. Contracting your abs just enough to take out excess arching when you’re standing up keeps your upper body weight from slumping onto your low back. curling your torso and taking the arch out of your back. The joints of your spine bend. This can cause wear and tear on your soft tissues and discs. and across. it pulls on the bones it attaches to. on the front. When you contract your abs.” Then they stand and walk away with abs slack. All your different ab muscles connect your ribs to your hips. protecting your joints and soft tissue. sides. When any muscle contracts.
Put your other hand on the front and middle of your hip bone where your front abs begin. you will sag under gravity. If you don’t consciously use your muscles to hold you up. That is one big reason people slouch. where your front ab muscles attach. To understand what abs do for your posture when you use them properly.Dr. You have to voluntarily use your abs to change your posture. stand up and put one hand on the front of your ribs. But strengthening does not automatically “support” your back or change your posture. 6 . 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. They aren’t using their muscles to prevent it.
The distance between your hands increases. That is what crunches do for you. 7 . Your torso will curl and your back will round.The Ab RevolutionTM Still holding the top and bottom of your abs. You will even be shorter because of the increased curve in your spine. arch your back and let your ribs lift and your abdomen curve out. How much do you need this posture in real life? Shortened abs curl you Lengthened abs let you arch Still holding your ribs and hip bone. Feel your body weight fall onto your low back? That is what not using your abs allows: an arched back and your weight pressing hard on your low back. draw your two hands toward each other. Hold that position. showing how slack ab muscles allow your back to arch. They hunch you forward.
not arching back. Don’t curl so much that you round forward. taller position. Your torso comes upright to a straightened. This is what abs do to control posture.Dr. they hold you from arching backward. bring your hands toward each other so the distance between your ribs and hips decreases. and stop the strain and wear and tear of dropping your upper body weight on your low back. 8 . When used properly. Jolie Bookspan To use your abs to pull you up to stand properly. Use your abs at the length that holds you up in good posture.
giving you that training. they keep you from slouching forward. and train your brain to remember. abs keep you from arching backward. You can have strong back muscles. 9 . but if you don’t voluntarily use them to pull your shoulders back. but if you don’t voluntarily use them to pull you forward. you will arch backward in bad posture. The guy wires in back are your back muscles. You have to train your muscles for that. They pull forward to keep your upper body weight from arching back and pressuring your low back. Use your “guy wire" muscles to keep you from sagging in bad posture. You can have strong ab muscles.The Ab RevolutionTM Abs are Your Guy Wires from the Front Like a guy wire keeping a tree from falling backward. The Ab Revolution is the missing link. When you use them. Just having strong muscles does not make them automatically pull the right amount at the right time. you will round forward in bad posture.
from leg lifts. by retraining your posture and use of your muscles to hold you in healthy position. If you have a condition called spondylolisthesis. Use The Ab Revolution to avoid — even reverse — this. adding to back arching. The video star may say “keep neutral spine. and to use The Ab Revolution all the time during daily activities. You’ll see this overly-arched (lordotic) posture in an astonishing number of fitness videos. It can create all kinds of back pain. to lifting weights. and to reduce the overly-large arch that makes your back hurt. Lordosis is usually completely controllable by using your abs to keep your hip from tipping forward.Dr. Chronically pressuring the bones and other structures of your back with this bad posture can eventually deform them. Technically. or something that “just happens” to them like flu. like human bonsai. and classes. It has commonly come to mean too much inward curve. your back may become so tight that it gets stuck arched in the “booty-out” posture. magazines. Jolie Bookspan What is Lordosis? Many people with back pain are told they have a “condition” called lordosis.” but if you look at them. unavoidable. books. This is terrible posture and injurious to your back. to bouncing around in aerobics.” along with the usual (but incorrect) “tighten your abs. 10 . but is just a bad posture habit. which makes one backbone slip forward on the next. allowing the back to sway. “Sway back” is not a structural condition you are born with or “just have” (or want to have). They think this is something anatomic. this is all the more reason not to allow yourself to arch more this way. If you habitually stand with your back arched. the word “lordosis” originally meant the normal inward curve of the low back. they arch their back and thrust out their behind in dozens of exercises.
which pressures the low back. Lordosis can be easily controlled by straightening your posture using your own muscles. 11 .The Ab RevolutionTM This ancient Greek fresco shows the lordotic (overly-arched) posture.
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.Dr. Your palm (facing left) is the front of your body. With your left hand. how do abs help your back? Try this: Hold your right hand up with your thumb toward you. You can have the strongest abs and never use them to do anything for your back. The back of your hand (facing right) is your back. press against the fingers of your right hand. Keep your palm upright. Bend your fingers forward to represent your abs at work. only your fingers arch back. or that abs don’t do it automatically. Try curling and straightening your body too as you do this. then. But they don’t know specifically what abs do. bending your fingers back as far as they will go. See the pinched and folded-back crease at the knuckle joints of your right hand? 12 . So.
That is how you need to use your abs to control your posture when standing up — all day. The stretched palm of your hand represents your abdomen. That shows the forces on your low back when you walk without using abs. every day. 13 . That is what you are doing to your low back every day when you don’t consciously use your abs to prevent that kind of arching. That 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. Ouch. 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. Your fingers come back up into straight line. all the time. Now bounce against your fingers quickly and hard. use the muscles in the palm of your right hand to straighten your right hand against the push of your left. with your ab muscles slack. Bounce against your fingers so that they rock back repeatedly.
you need to work on upper back strengthening and flexibility. Stand against a wall or lie flat without a pillow to practice head and upper back posture. That is where your head should be for healthy posture. Did your ribs come up and your back arch? Fix that with your abs. Jolie Bookspan A surprising number of people are so round-shouldered that they cannot stand up straight without arching their back. Try this: • • Stand against a wall with your heels. If your upper back and shoulders are so stiff that you can’t stand up straight without arching your back. Don’t lift your chin.Dr. 14 . Stretch the front of your shoulder so that it doesn’t pull forward into a roundshouldered posture. they arch their back instead of straightening their shoulders. too. To bring their head up. Practice keeping your shoulders and head back without arching your back to do it. even when you are relaxed. behind and shoulders touching the wall. Bring the back of your head against the wall.
and bad movement habits. 15 . it still may not be useful for things you need for daily life. Even if you don’t care about posture or back pain and want only cosmetic results. the Ab Revolution will give you a better workout. But the surveyors missed three basic concepts: • An exercise can work a muscle well. or for back pain control. but you do need to stand and walk upright without arching backward. Just strengthening a muscle does not train it for how you need to use it. and are not good for the rest of you.The Ab RevolutionTM What About the Ab Study? Why not just do ab exercises to prevent all the problems? A fitness industry survey at San Diego State University compared 13 of the most common abdominal exercises and ranked them from most to least effective in producing ab muscle activity. pain. but still promote bad posture and not be good for the rest of you. None of the exercises they tested and recommend specifically train your body for daily use the way you really need them. Plenty of muscular people have poor posture. gives exercises that effectively use and develop your abs. You don’t need to hunch forward for daily activities. Even if an exercise activates your ab muscles. and shows you how to transfer posture and back pain control skills to your daily life. doing crunches and other forwardrounding ab exercises “work” your abs but are not a great way to do it. Crunches don’t train that action. • • The Ab Revolution teaches a whole different approach to abdominal muscle use. Posture and muscle use is not automatic. Just like smoking “works” to lose weight. Simply strengthening a muscle will not automatically change your posture for proper use in sports or recreation.
You know how the elderly got hunched over like that? They practiced. Crunches don’t train you for that. In life. instead of allowing you to arch back and lean your body weight onto your low back. Crunches make people — who likely spend much of their day already hunched over a work area — practice that hunched posture. even when done properly.Dr. bent-over person. which may be mechanically promoting the back and neck pain they think they are working their abs to prevent. 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 how to use your abs the rest of the day. 16 . Look at crunches sideways and see what it would look like to stand up like this — like an old. your abs need to work isometrically — at one length — to hold your torso upright. This is the poor posture you’re training with crunches. Jolie Bookspan What’s Wrong with Crunches? Crunches don’t work your abs the way you need for real 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 promote poor posture.
In the same way. You need to consciously use your ab muscles to move your torso to the right position. 17 . make your mistakes until you remember. you will still wind up with poor posture. it doesn’t automatically hold your arm up in the air. or “support” your arm. yoga. or how many crunches you have done. You have to deliberately use your abs (and other posture muscles. This is why doing crunches. If you don’t. or rehab exercises — as exercises without concepts and the knowledge to apply it during real activities — does not often work as expected. just like using any other voluntary muscles to move any other part of your body Using your abs is more like toilet training. strengthening your abs does not make them do anything automatically to support your back. Doing ab exercises or core exercises is not like getting a shot of penicillin or going to confession — it doesn’t “fix” things. no matter how muscular you are.The Ab RevolutionTM Doing Abs Doesn’t Automatically Change Posture or Back Pain If you strengthen your biceps muscles. then you hold it even when you don’t feel like it. You need to learn what to do. including back muscles) to adjust your posture yourself.
This is injurious to the back and loses the effectiveness of the exercise. but he is still standing in poor posture with an overly-arched back.Dr. 18 . His abs are plenty tight. Jolie Bookspan Having tight abs doesn’t fix your posture or help your back.
Your hips will have extra wear and tear and eventually hurt too. interfering with normal walking and running mechanics. 19 • . poor use. It is unhealthy because it injures your back. It is sloppy technique because it does not use your posture muscles properly. poor posture. It is a sure sign that you cannot generate real force in your limbs for arm or leg activity. and all your weight rests on your low back bones. too. Without using your abs to keep your weight from arching back. You’re missing a free workout of your torso muscles. Adding a barbell or overhead weights adds tremendous force. • It keeps the muscles in front of your hip and your low back in a shortened position. • • It changes the tilt of your hip. because your core muscles are not driving your limbs. causing a vicious cycle of tightness.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. Just as some people think that holding a cigarette or other drug is “cool. eventually tightening them. even the weight of your upper body resting on your lower back bones is enough to strain soft tissue and grind bone and discs. and discomfort. This bad posture has become so ingrained that many people think it is normal or desirable. The “booty posture” is unhealthy and unsightly for several reasons: • • • It is plain bad posture. thinking it looks good.” they mistakenly think holding this bad posture is.
Now you can laugh when you see “fitness” models shown standing or doing exercise with this sloppy. unhealthy posture. 20 .Dr. So does heroin. and even used to advertise for. She is not using her abs to take the large arch out of her back. You will laugh often because this unfit posture is a pervasive problem in fitness. fitness and trimness. This bad posture is accepted as normal by so many people that it is mistaken for. There’s no excuse for someone in fitness to display this lack of knowledge of health. Jolie Bookspan Advertisements use this bad posture because sex sells.
you twist to the right (or prevent twisting to the left).” Your rectus abdominis starts on the front of your pelvic bone and runs up to attach where your middle ribs (fifth. sometimes four intersections across it. Your oblique abdominals go diagonally across your sides. your hands line up in the direction of the outer set. When you contract your left external oblique. abdominal muscle pulls ribs to hips to bend you forward or prevent arching backward. Obliquus Internus Your internal obliques lie under your external obliques. Contracting your front. You can see these lines in people trim enough.The Ab RevolutionTM What Are All the Muscles Called? Ab muscles are named for their layout in your body. In this same manner you can use your right obliques to resist forces that would twist you to the right. If you put your fingertips at the top of your pants pockets. The outer external obliques on each side fuse together in a tough band in a nice line down your front. or not straight. under your rectus abs. When you contract both. in the opposite direction. or rectus. Your obliques work together in fun ways. Not all the fibers run all the way up the muscle. They connect to each other in places. Rectus Abdominis The muscle straight up your front is your rectus abdominis. When the external oblique fibers on your right side contract. which in Latin means “the straight abdominal. Obliquus Externus “Oblique” means slanted. called external obliques. your 21 . with three. and work in combinations together. or prevent bending backward. The deeper external oblique fibers run almost straight down to your hip bones. they pull your right side closer to the middle of your pelvic bone so you twist to the left. sixth and seventh) come together in front. If you cross your arms over your abdomen. you bend forward. They begin as broad muscles on each side of your lower eight ribs.
goes across your abdomen to help compress it. They begin at your hip bone and angle up and in to your lower three or four ribs. Jolie Bookspan fingers assume the direction of the internal fibers. save your back.Dr. 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. when you hold it tightly. The left external and right internal work together to twist right. twisting you to the right. It’s not the case that just tightening the transversus like a girdle will support your lower back when lifting or sitting. Your right internal oblique contracts to pull the middle of your ribs to your right hip. You’ll have better posture. you need to voluntarily change the shape of your back using all your ab muscles so that you don’t curve and strain your back under the weight of your upper body pressing down on it. Transversus Abdominis Your innermost and thinnest abdominal muscle. Change your posture from arching back. Contracting them all helps you bend forward or prevent arching backward. 22 . and get a workout just standing and moving properly. After all. You don’t have to tighten them. You can feel it when you breathe out as completely as you can. The left internal oblique twists you to the left. To protect your back. Moreover. or sagging to the side during daily life and when you exercise. a major purpose of this muscle is to help full exhalation. Just use them like other muscles to move your bones. you can’t breathe in fully or properly (belly breathing). So the right external and left internal oblique work together to twist you left. the transversus.
Tuck your hips under and pull your upper body forward. 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. Reach overhead. using abs to move your torso upright. but the key here is that your weight is held up on your ab muscles and not pressing back and down on your low back. try this: • Stand sideways and look in a mirror big enough to see your body. Your torso is straight. not learning backward or forward. You may feel the familiar ache you often get and don’t know why. Allow your weight to press on your low back. every time they reach. • • • • 23 . Keep this new posture all the time. Many people stand with far too much lumbar curve because they are not using their abs. (Don’t do this if you have back pain).The Ab RevolutionTM How to Use Your Abs When Standing Up Most people can’t imagine using their abs standing up. To understand what to do to use your abs in real life. as if starting a crunch — just enough to reduce the large back arch. Still reaching overhead. You’ll keep a small inward curve. Feel a new strong middle. Allow your body weight to sag so that you exaggerate your low back arch. tuck your behind under. If you don’t have a mirror. Did your back arch again? Did you let your hips move? Many people arch their back with no ab support. Your stomach will curve out in front. pay close attention to what it feels like.
People do crunches all the time. improve your posture. Jolie Bookspan Use the Ab Revolution whenever you stand up and reach overhead — from pulling shirts off to reaching cabinets. to washing your hair. 24 . 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. but don’t know they are supposed to use their abs in real life when standing up.Dr. to prevent over-arching. and get a free all-day workout just from standing with your muscles in use. You will save your back. be able to lift more.
25 .” Some people deliberately arch while exercising. Overhead Press Arching while lifting weight further compresses your low back.The Ab RevolutionTM How to Use Abs When Doing Other Exercises Abs are often forgotten while doing other exercises that are not usually thought of as “for abs. mistakenly thinking it looks good. Bad posture. Abs reduce the arch and control back posture. Abs not in use. other times a larger one. Sometimes you use abs to make a small adjustment. Hard on the back. Same exercise done properly. Use your abs to tuck your hips enough to take the large arch out of your back. it is not healthy. Back arched. In either case.
You also miss the free ab workout you would get if you used abs to straighten your posture and save your back. Same exercise done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture. rather than the torso and arm muscles. Abs not in use. Bad posture on triceps curls.Dr. You pressure your low back and get less arm exercise than you thought. The low back bears the weight. Back arched. instead of lifting arms while keeping posture neutral. people often arch their back to bring the weight back. Tuck under to straighten your back to keep the weight of your upper body plus the hand weights off your low back. Jolie Bookspan Triceps Curls When doing triceps curls. 26 .
and save your back. Instead. That does not use the abs and is hard on the back. You have to consciously use your muscles to move you into good. 27 . Same pose done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture. Back overly-arched. use your abs to tuck your hips and reduce the arched posture to stand properly. get an ab workout.The Ab RevolutionTM Yoga Yoga won’t automatically “give” you good posture. Abs are often forgotten when doing yoga poses. Some styles of yoga even teach to deliberately stand in this arched position. Bad posture. straight posture. Abs not in use.
Back arched. 28 . Abs not in use. Same pose done properly with abs in use to reduce the arch and control back posture. Jolie Bookspan Bad posture.Dr.
and lack of use of abs. and last white shirt in the picture below) means your abs are not in use. third. 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. The more you tuck. heads hanging. but hold your head up too. the more you’ll use abs. bad posture. Look sideways at this same terrible posture and see how they would look standing up this way: overly-arched. This is common. Don’t do this for pushups or for standing up. 29 . You will save your back and make the pushup a terrific abs and core exercise. You will instantly feel your abs spring into use.The Ab RevolutionTM Pushups Pushups with terrible arched posture (shown by the first. Tuck your hips and straighten your back (black shirt).
This can strain the back and will not give you good punching or kicking power Teacher is holding strong posture. 30 . (See pages 84 to 89 on punching and kicking for how. losing punching power and straining the back.) They are not controlling their back posture.) Can you spot the students not using abs in this Karate class? (First on the left and second from the right.Dr. allowing it to arch too much. Jolie Bookspan Martial Arts You need your abs to straighten your back posture while doing many moves in martial arts. Student is arching and slouching.
to take photographs from certain angles. don’t arch your back. “Lat” Machines When using a weight machine to pull down a bar to your chest (lat pull-downs). 31 . You can painfully “twang” your breast with the bowstring. and for doing the limbo dance. Archery Archery is an activity where using abs saves more than your back. Look at illustrations in books and magazines. and see how often you’ll find this bad posture in illustrations and photos from fashion to exercise. Many people allow too much arch. 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. Use good ab technique to keep your back from arching while leaning backward during windsurfing and water skiing. Use abs to keep you sitting upright. your chest will protrude outward into the line of the bowstring. If you arch when drawing a bow and arrow. Tuck your chest and hip as if starting a crunch to straighten up. It’s surprising how many fitness books and articles talk about posture for walking but still show someone walking with an overly-arched torso. 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.” to be dipped while ballroom dancing. not arched or leaning back. You’ll get an ab workout and also get far more out of the exercise for your lats and chest. for “hiking out” to counterbalance sailboats in the wind. and to keep forces distributed on your discs. to dodge flying objects and fists as in the movies “The Matrix” and “Spiderman.The Ab RevolutionTM Walking You need to use your abs to keep your back from folding back in an arch during normal walking.
You’ll feel your abs working to do that. it’s more tempting to rest a carried weight on your hip and lean back. Posture is good. straining the back. When your arms are weak. Jolie Bookspan How to Use Abs for Carrying Loads Packages Held in Front When carrying anterior loads. This is avoidable. held straight and upright against the anterior load of the drum. Remember not to lean back or arch when carrying loads. A surprising way to help your back is to strengthen your arms. it’s common to arch back and rest the weight of the load rest on your hip. letting your low back take the brunt. 32 Back is arched in bad posture against the anterior load. .Dr. Maintain your posture upright against the load. which puts the weight onto your low back.
Not using your abs lets you arch your back. Packages Held In Back Backpacks and other things carried on your back don’t make you arch 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.The Ab RevolutionTM Pregnancy Lack of use of abs is common — even deliberately exaggerated — during pregnancy. it is a lack of using abs. this is it. creating strain on the back. it’s common to lean forward to rest the weight on your back. use your ab and back muscles to hold your torso posture upright without leaning forward or arching back. . relieving strain. Your packs become a free core muscle workout. With posterior loads like knapsacks. Instead. Back is arched in bad posture against the posterior load. This is not an unavoidable consequence of pregnancy. 33 Abs are in use to keep the back from arching against the posterior load. or to let the bag pull you backward into an arch.
pulling off shirts. supported motion. more exercise for your abs. and their hand points straight to the ceiling. tucking your hip — not rigidly. but with easy. abs not in use 34 Same reach. Don’t lean back. Instead. every day. Jolie Bookspan How to Use Abs for Reaching People often arch their back when reaching for things. You may notice that your arm doesn’t bend as high as you though because you’ve been using your back instead. They are checked as having normal shoulder range of motion. Their shoulder really did not stretch that much. . They reach. lifting the baby. using abs to straighten back posture. for shelves. groceries. and protection for your back. Bad posture: back arched. combing hair. and at the gym to lift weights. when you reach overhead.Dr. Use this technique to get a better reach. Picture this: someone with shoulder pain goes to the doctor who asks them to reach overhead. But what really happened was that they arched their back to lift their arm. straighten your torso with your abs. packages. Now picture people arching when reaching like this all day.
using abs to straighten posture. and get a far better stretch in the shoulder. . abs not in use. Don’t do this. You will save your back. This is also a missed opportunity to use your abs to keep the good posture you need to stretch properly. Bad posture: back arched. Keep your elbow lifted to the ceiling. flex your trunk as if starting a “crunch” to straighten your torso. With your arm still overhead. get a free ab workout.The Ab RevolutionTM How to Use Abs for Stretching Your Arms People often arch their back when they stretch their arms. 35 Same stretch. little stretch on arm. Feel the stretch move to your shoulder and triceps. This adds to mysterious low back pain and never targets the area you think you stretched. letting your back arch. Try this: • • • Stand up and bend your arm overhead.
Dr. as if starting to do a crunch. You won’t feel much stretch in your thigh. Don’t pull your foot in. Straighten your torso and push your behind forward. Try this: • • Stand on one leg and arch your back while you hold your other foot behind you. 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. Same stretch using abs to straighten posture. Feel the stretch move to your thigh. abs not in use. little stretch on leg. Drop your bent knee to point to the standing knee and push your foot away into your hand. and get a far better quad stretch. You save your back. work abs. Don’t do this bad posture when stretching: back arched. 36 .
The white belt has not learned this yet. have properly changed the shape of their back by using their abs. Note how he incorrectly uses an arch to “wind-up” the punch 37 .The Ab RevolutionTM Real Athletes Use Abs Here is good use of abs in basketball to hold the back posture straight. The black belts holding the board in the photo below. and power the block. drive the dunk. so the force of the punch is not levered into their low back.
Jolie Bookspan What About Ab Machines? Ab machines are often used in ways that don’t use the abs. to straighten your torso. Instead of an expensive machine. When you do this. your body weight hangs on your low back vertebrae. or a simple wheel. your abs are not in good use and there is large strain. One way to learn the hip tuck is to use a mirror to watch your posture in side view. you’ll instantly feel your abs in use. This is ineffective as an ab exercise.Dr. folding them like a hinge. Don’t arch or hike your behind up in the air. When you allow your back to arch. 38 . If you use ab machines with an arched back (top). These machines can be used so that you use your abs. you can use two roller skates. Straightening your posture (bottom) puts abs highly in use and protects against back strain. and is injurious to your back. Keep your head up. Tuck your hips under as if beginning a crunch.
and never get a real ab workout by using abs to straighten their back and control this. not your hands. Leg Lifts Lying on Your Back People doing back-lying leg lifts are often taught to put their hands under their hips to “keep their back from arching. Hip flexors are usually pretty strong and tight to begin with from sitting and overuse in exercise. 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. use your abs. increase the arch by lifting your ribs so that your back lifts off your hand. Tight hip flexors create problems. to tilt your hips and maintain torso posture. Put one hand under the small of your low back and feel the natural space. This is a missed ab opportunity.” That is precisely what is wrong with this as an ab exercise: you never use your own abs to keep your back from arching. called hip flexors. To do leg lifts properly. Try this: • Lie on your back with your legs out straight on the floor. To show you what arching feels like. leg lifts become an exercise that strains the back. and only works the muscles that lift your leg. Without taking the arch out of your back with your abs.
Don’t just bend at the hip and use hip flexors with your behind stuck out. Use The Ab Revolution to use your abs to tip your hips back under you into correct position. You will feel your abs working. Chin Ups and Pulls Ups Many people stick out their behind and let their legs swing forward when doing chin ups and pull ups. You’ll feel the weight of your legs arching your back more. and to keep your legs straight while raising and lowering. Hanging Leg Lifts When you do leg lifts hanging from a chinning bar. put your legs back down and press your low back against your hand. 40 . Try not to let them. 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. Jolie Bookspan arched position. This will retrain your muscles to know what it feels like to use abs to control torso posture.Dr. If your hips are tight. • With this method. You’ll learn to use your abs to control your torso posture. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. you’ll feel your thighs pull up. Keeping your abs in use to flatten the low back curve. Then. not allowing it to arch. don’t allow your back to arch. pinching and straining your low back. • To do this exercise correctly and fix the arching problem. using your abs to flatten the arch. First curl your hips under you. Keep your torso posture controlled with your abs as you lower your legs too. lift your legs. You’ll protect your back and get real ab exercise. doing a “reverse crunch” while hanging. you’ll learn to use your abs — not your hands — to change the tilt of your torso and hips. Don’t let your back arch.) This is how many people do leg lifts. while maintaining the curled position of your torso. It can be injurious and does not use abs. lift your legs just an inch or two above the floor.
it is often done by arching the back. 41 . Whenever you do leg lifts. and can also hurt your back. Leg lifts to the back contracts and strengthens back muscles. That reduces leg and back muscle involvement. You’ll feel an immediate shift of work to your abs. 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. or from a hands-and-knees position. Unfortunately. don’t let your back arch. standing up on one leg and lifting the other leg to the back. and far more exercise for your back and leg. When lifting your leg to the back from a stand or from your knees. so that you can use it for all your standing activities. back. Tuck your hips under to bring your back to a good straight position. and gluteal muscles. lifting one leg upward.The Ab RevolutionTM Back Leg Lifts Lifting your legs to the back is an excellent exercise for your back. It can be done lying face down and lifting legs.
step after step — bang. first curl your behind under you using your abs. In a Captain’s Chair you hang in the air by your forearms on two pads on either side of you. • • 42 . the hanging leg lift. they let their back arch. Jolie Bookspan What About “Captain’s Chair?” In a recent survey. Imagine the forces accumulating on your low back. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. You lift your legs with knees bent or straight. Captain’s Chair is like the old fashioned gymnast “stall bars” which were like a chinning bar against a climbing rack. While hanging. bang — all day. Then lift your legs. • First try it wrong. not allowing your back to arch. Still. the problem is that Captain’s Chair is often done in a way that prevents good use of abs. Use your abs throughout the entire exercise to maintain your hip tuck when you raise and lower your legs. They never learn to consciously use abs to control torso posture. Then they walk around all day with the same problem. The back pad makes it easier to maintain back posture without arching. It will be fairly easy to lift your legs or knees. or “Captain’s Chair” was one of the top exercises found to produce high ab activity.) Arch your back and stick your behind out. Try this: • Hang from stall bars or a Captain’s Chair stand. bang. with your back against a pad and legs dangling free. without as much use of abs as they could. People often make it easier by allowing their back to arch and using only hip flexors. Now try it right.Dr. When they swing their legs.
43 . You don’t need equipment — just a good friend.The Ab RevolutionTM It’s said that a problem with Captain’s Chair is that you need equipment.
Take the exaggerated arch out of your back. Don’t let your abs “go” or allow your weight to slump. curving your abdomen out in front. For more on back extension. Relax your shoulders and keep them back. Many people don’t know to use their abs during these kinds of moves. By holding your upper body weight with your abs. stretching. yoga. The supported arch is important to use in tennis. Let your upper body weight relax down until you feel your weight on your low back. Allow your back to arch.) Lift your weight up and off your low back by using your abs.Dr. to hold your weight off your back: • Begin to arch your upper body back. Try this: • Stand up. gymnastics. It should be a good-feeling stretch. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. is not the problem in back pain and posture control. Arching your back. • 44 . and other activities. Jolie Bookspan Arching Isn’t the Culprit You are supposed to have a small inward curve in your low back. and some people think they must never arch their back. but use your abs to hold weight up and off your low back. You should feel a good ab exercise and no back pain. • Now try this to see how to arch with good range of motion and ab involvement. This is often confused. as if starting a crunch. by itself. Proper back extension is one of the most important exercises for back health. The problem is not using muscles to keep your upper body weight off your low back. see pages 94 and 95. leaving a small natural curve. Don’t crane or pinch your neck back. you can lean and extend back without your weight pressing onto your low back. and just allow their low back to fold backward under all their weight. Try this again while bending your knees to tilt backward further.
or you can make your own on a sturdy surface to hold your lower body.The Ab RevolutionTM Supported Arching With Roman Chair Exercise As you progress. not your back joints. Supported Arching With Head and Handstands Use the ab-supported arch for headstands and handstands when you do them with an arch. try Roman Chair ab training. Lift up to the straight position and hold without arching before repeating. Hold the weight of your legs up with your muscles. Strongly use your abs to decelerate as you extend backward. 45 . There are Roman Chair seats in many gyms. Don’t hang your weight on your back.
Dr. to add to your ab workout. 46 . pressuring it. Jolie Bookspan Don’t allow the weight of your legs to fold your low back into an angle. Also practice using abs to do these poses with a straight torso.
The idea is that torso muscles would get exercise decelerating the swinging weight. such as swinging a bat or racquet. a big problem is that people stop the momentum of the weight at the end of each rotation using their vertebral joints. Beside the poor neck posture from putting a bar across the shoulder. and to decelerate only with muscular effort. This can eventually strain soft tissues.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. not letting the rotation twist you to the end of the range your back can twist. swinging limbs in martial arts . But many people do this exercise in a way that doesn’t work the abs and overtwists the back. Make sure to understand how to stop the momentum by using your ab and torso muscles. For activities that require body knowledge of how to decelerate a swinging pivot. fray discs. 47 . this exercise can work your muscles in the manner they need to work. and overstretch fibrous attachments (tendons that hold muscles on bones and ligaments that hold your bones together). or during various rodeo activities.
step away to increase tension while holding good posture. There will be no momentum continuing the motion past the point where you pull the band. rather than in real-life movements. 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. and go for the fun of the work. Jolie Bookspan If all you want is a pivoting ab exercise to work your abs. Also. 48 . Use a good. thick band. one way to do that is to use cable pulleys or a stretchy tube or band and pivot away from it. stepping farther and farther away to increase the tension. most people do not put much resistance on their band.Dr. One reason is because they used the tubing while bending forward.
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.
There are claims that the ball makes you sit properly or that you use more muscular effort to sit on it. but not rigidly.” “balance ball. too. Keep 52 . But this does not happen automatically. they are just another device that does little. and use more body skills and muscles than doing the same exercise on a floor. 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. 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. with various moves that strengthen arms and legs. It is also called “Swiss Ball. This is easily avoided by using your muscles deliberately to control posture.” “rehab ball. and reinforces the same poor habits as other exercises.” “therapy ball. Begin to walk your feet away and lie back until you’re lying as flat and straight as you can. Try these: • Sit on the ball with good posture. Jolie Bookspan What About Exercise Balls? The exercise ball is a large. It’s how you use it.” “gym ball.” 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.” Incrediball. light-weight inflated ball that you can use in a large and inventive number of ways. sturdy. chair or bench. But you can sit on the ball with as poor posture and little effort as on most other surfaces. and daily life. sports.Dr. Sit up. All the exercises here work your entire torso and back. Used without understanding.” “physio-roll. Used properly. expensive desk chairs are marketed with the ball as the sitting surface. exercise balls can be great. Because the surface of the ball is not flat and rolls under you. Based on that. you use balance and stabilization muscles so that you don’t fall off. Don’t arch or round your back.
Switch legs. Keep the side of your feet on the floor. Put both hands on the top surface of the ball and push up into a pushup position. As you advance. lift both arms over your head. with the ball under your ankles. For more.The Ab RevolutionTM your back and neck straight. Switch sides and repeat. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or your behind hike into the air. Try side curls if you like. Hold. Very advanced? Lift both legs at once. not arched or bent forward. Keep straight torso posture without sagging or arching. You can start with your knees on the floor and then straighten your legs. Lift up one leg and hold as long as you can. do pushups while holding proper posture. and progress to being able to push up from the ball. Keep the ball under your behind. Then lift one leg from the ball. Repeat. Hold. 53 • • • • . roll on the ball to lie on your side. Lift your hips from the floor. Hold as long as you can. Advanced? Hold a weight in your hands. Lift one leg up straight and hold. or with your arms already straight. Try lifting one leg at a time. biceps by ears. Hold as long as you can. Roll to the other side without using your arms and repeat. This works the back also. lifting upward without hunching to the front. Roll onto your chest without using arms. and the ball close to your hip. Step your feet away until the ball cradles your head and neck. This works the back also. not your back. roll to one side and do one arm at a time. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the ball. To progress. • Without using your arms. Lie on your back on the floor. Keep the same good posture as for proper standing. Hold straight posture as long as you can. legs straight. Switch legs. Lift your hips from the floor. Roll onto your back without using arms.
Switch legs. Practice until you can hold the ball at your ankles. do pushups in this position. Hold the pushup position as above. Do pushups. • Bad posture with back arched. As you progress. and strain on the back. Jolie Bookspan • Lie face down on the ball with both hands on the floor. Hold as long as you can. 54 . abs not in good use. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or your behind hike up. Keep good posture without letting your back arch or hike up in the air. Lift one leg off the ball. rolling the ball down your body to your legs. walk on your hands. Good straight posture with abs in use to hold weight off the back. Hold as long as you can.Dr.
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.
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. with or without a vibrator strapped to your abdomen. There is muscle contraction. used in physical therapy to passively contract muscles atrophied from paralysis or wasting diseases. but not enough to produce the results claimed.V. In two hours sitting in front of the television wearing the device. That’s just your normal metabolism at work.Dr. These have been around for a long time. 58 . Jolie Bookspan What About Electronic Ab Zapper Belts? “Watch T. you would burn more calories than during the theoretical 15–30 minutes it would take to do the sit-ups. Other devices stems from electrical muscle stimulators (EMS). They made claims comparing the relative number of calories burned in a longer time frame to a shorter one.
or other fun ways to move around will “pick you up” more effectively and safely than taking stimulants. or swim will do the same. Any product can truthfully claim to produce increased calorie burning after a workout. playing. They do not selectively find your fat cells and eliminate them. no matter what device you use or what potion you drink. It slows when you stop exercising. 59 . everyone burns fat when they’re asleep — when they’re awake. Metabolizing stored fat is part of your round-the-clock energy production for body functions. from nervousness and grouchiness. But don’t pay money for that because you burn fat 24 hours a day anyway as part of being alive. Other products are pills tantalizingly called “fat burners. but takes a while to return to resting value. The pills called “fat burners” are mostly stimulants. When you exercise. and heart trouble. Some products claim to give a workout so intense that you burn fat for hours after you finish. to inability to exercise safely in the heat. Just don’t pay money for that. They could just as honestly claim that if you stare at their special green dot that you will burn calories in your sleep. whether you drink miracle potion or not. too. bike. A good workout of dancing. These stimulants can have harmful effects.” First. biking. and keep you happier and healthier in the long run. because a nice run. you increase your metabolism to meet your energy needs. will burn more calories.The Ab RevolutionTM What About Miracle Liquids and Fat Burners? Many products on the market claim to make you burn fat while you sleep. skating.
weight loss. or body fat loss.” It is just a neoprene band to wear around the waist (or thighs). sweat loss. It has nothing to do with toning or supporting the muscles. Ever notice when you take off your socks that there’s a darkened dent around your leg where the sock band was? The elastic compressed your flesh. It is just a gimmick. 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.” and “waist shrinker. 60 . The band temporarily shrinks your circumference through simple compression. and other times called various intriguing names like “waist support.Dr. leaving you temporarily smaller. You return to normal circumference fairly quickly.” “flab zapper.
so that you use your abs to adjust your posture during the exercise and train your brain to transfer this body knowledge to all your daily life activities. and go out and have fun. breathe in. But your abs need to work isometrically (at one length without moving) a great deal of the time in real life. not bending forward. back pain prevention. Breathe normally and fully when doing the isometric exercises. For the moving exercises. activities. and good looks? The ab exercises you see everywhere in gyms get you good at hunching forward. The concepts and exercises follow in the next sections. run. Gradually increase the time you hold good posture with these exercises. or your life. They don’t have the ab strength and endurance to hold themselves straight. You need to exercise your abs the way they normally should work. stand. carry packages. Most people can’t do these exercises for more than a few seconds.The Ab RevolutionTM What Exercises Work Your Abs the Way You Need For Real Life? Beside standing and reaching properly all day every day. No wonder their posture sags so badly by the end of the day and their muscles ache. More important than how many repetitions you do is understanding the concept. what else can you do to train good ab use for posture. and won’t help your posture. walk. don’t hold your breath. do exercise. Doing repetitions and sets without that will not work your abs the way you need. your back. That means radically different exercises from what you commonly see in gyms and on exercise videos. then breathe out during the effort of the movement. You’ll learn exercises that work your abs in functional ways for postural control when you sit. 61 .
then gradually add external weight. don’t bang your joints around. How Often? How Many of Each Exercise Should You Do? Depends how many you can already do. Or Fewer Harder Ones? Regularly lifting a weight that is so heavy that you can only lift it a few times builds your strength. Work up to more. When going slowly with weights don’t squeeze your joints or push them past their range. That is good for carrying things and pushing cars (if you also trained to be strong enough). achy back.Dr. 62 . Start doing as many of each as you properly can. Practice your exercises both quickly and slowly to maximize your real life abilities. arch-preventing. core posture exercises all the time when you are standing up. or anything where you need your strength in a fast move. When To Do Ab Revolution Exercises? Use these back-saving. How Fast or Slow? Working your muscles slowly gets them good at slow movement. Jolie Bookspan How Many. and just getting through the day with good posture and without a tired. Many Easier Ones. When going quickly. You need both for carrying things. going about your normal day. As they strengthen they can do more repetitions. for example pushups. building both strength and endurance. and when doing exercise. Lifting a lighter weight for a long time builds your endurance. use muscular control to avoid injury. For many people. their own body weight is so heavy relative to their ability that it provides enough resistance to build strength. for doing your activities. It will not make you able to do fast movements needed for real life activities like throwing. 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. catching falling objects or children. punching.
A common mistake is letting your back arch like the back of an old horse when doing pushups. Using The Ab Revolution. keep them slightly bent. don’t just mash your wrists. Holding the Pushup Position • Hold the pushup position as long as you can. To protect your back during the exercise and make the exercise more effective and more targeted to the abs. wrists and arms. • Don’t lock your elbows straight. arch your back. Keep your weight on your whole hand. straight posture you need for standing up. so that your weight rests on your vertebrae.The Ab RevolutionTM Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Normal Standing Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. Hold your head up. and have the ab strength and endurance to do it. This is a missed opportunity to strengthen your core and is hard on your back. the pushup is a prize exercise for most of your body. or hike your hips up in the air. Wobbling after only a few seconds? These are the same posture muscles you need to stand up properly without 63 • . 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. then you need to strengthen them too — not ruin your elbow joints. Be straight as a plank. not your “core” muscles.” Take the arch out of your back and straighten your torso. If your arms are too weak to hold you. Application to Daily Life: Learn and practice the easy. Don’t droop down. Tuck your hips under and you’ll feel an immediate shift of the work to your abs and “core. including the important weak link. and to train them to prevent your back from arching under gravity resistance.
Progressions For Holding Position • Hold the pushup position as long as you can and lift one leg straight up in back without arching your back. “How To Use Your Abs When Standing Up. Put your feet up on a bench or ledge or against a wall and hold the pushup position without sagging in the middle or arching your back. without arching. Work up to increasing the time you can hold your posture as straight you would want when standing up.Dr. Vary your hand positioning. • If you can’t figure how to tuck your hips under you. Keep your whole body straight as a 64 . You'll feel your abs work immediately. and a higher one to work arms more. Jolie Bookspan sagging.” Tuck your hip to hold your back straight. Keep hips tucked. stand up again and relearn the posture exercise on page 23. • • • Hold the pushup position and lift one leg in back and the opposite arm straight out in front. Hold the pushup position on your elbows. back straight and head up. No sagging. Use a lower ledge to work abs more.
The wrist is one of the three major risk sites of osteoporosis. Stay flat throughout. First from left is holding hips slightly bent and hiked in the air. Moving Pushups • Hold the pushup position on one arm and lift a hand weight from the floor to your chest with the other (like rowing) keeping straight body position. and other lifts too. • Do full pushups using your abs to keep your hips tucked as if starting a crunch.The Ab RevolutionTM plank. Weight bearing improves bone density and strength. don’t let your middle sag. Second and third are flatter and straighter. Don’t let your upper body lift up before your lower body. Try curls. two more benefits of Ab Revolution exercises. 65 .
• • Adding extra weight means using more ab and other core muscles 66 . Lie flat with hands on the floor.Dr. Add a weight to your back during pushups. and repeat. Do full pushups with your feet up on a bench or wall. Don’t let your posture sag. and elbows bent at your sides. Increased resistance increases your strength and adds a posture challenge. Jolie Bookspan • Rise from the floor in a reverse pushup. Have a friend sit on your back when you do pushups – carefully. Don’t arch or hike up your behind. not even a little. Tuck your hips and chest down as if starting a crunch. Maintain the same posture you would want if you were standing up. and lift straight up with your arms without letting your upper body rise first. Lower to the floor holding your body just as straight. Keep hips tucked and prevent any arching with your abs.
try this move. arm. Tuck your hips under as if starting a crunch to keep your back straight. Stay straight. and posture control. hard workout. Walk quickly and slowly. backward. More Challenge Moves • As you advance. Have fun. while getting an effective. Don’t allow your back to arch under the momentum of landing. Jump to say hello to someone. • “Spiders” work torso. Jump sideways across the room. balance. sometimes called “The Flag. They are effective and safe if you protect your back with good posture and shock absorption. 67 . and around. forward.” Experiment with various leg placement. Maintain the same posture you would want if you were standing up.The Ab RevolutionTM to keep posture good and your back protected. Use good shock absorption with arms and legs. and leg muscles hard. Jump in the pushup position like a flat jumping spider. Walk sideways. try these fun and effective variations: • Walk around in the pushup position like a flat spider. Jump to the next piece of exercise equipment. Walking and Jumping Pushups To challenge your strength. See if you can jump 90 degrees (or more) with each jump to face each direction.
Jolie Bookspan Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture Purpose of this Exercise: To work your oblique abs. or hike their shoulder or hip up when carrying things on one shoulder or hip. and to train them to hold your posture correctly against resistance. Many people let their bodies slump to the side. Keep your elbow slightly bent.Dr. Save your elbow joint and get an arm workout. 68 . Holding Side Pushup Position • Hold the pushup position and turn to one side. Application to Daily Life: Learn to prevent your torso from slouching to the side when standing. Keep your weight on your whole hand so you don’t mash your wrist. holding your body straight without drooping in the middle. Lift one arm and balance on the other arm. and have the strength and endurance to maintain it. don’t lock it. Learn to use your oblique abs to prevent this. or even just when standing up. Do both sides.
69 . hold your arm straight in front of you. Keep straight pushup position. To progress. or up against the wall. raise the opposite leg too. Without turning your body. with your bicep by your ear. with both arms on the floor. lift one arm behind your back. To progress. Progress to putting your feet up on a ledge or bench. • Hold the regular pushup position face down.The Ab RevolutionTM Progressions for Holding Position • Prop on one elbow. Don’t rotate your body.
then try continuously switching. Hold as long as you can and switch legs. Next. Then try pushups this way. Moving in the Side Arm Position • Raise and lower your top leg from the floor as many times as you can. Keep your leg straight and parallel to the floor. do the same sip. not turned or arched. Lift one leg 90 degrees to the side and forward. holding your top leg off the floor. raise your top leg and hold as long as you can.Dr. Keep your body flat. don’t drop on the floor. Fun Challenge Moves • Hold a regular face-down pushup position. Then bend the top leg at the hip and hold in front of you. not drooping down. Switch arms. Hold your weight up using abs when lowering. • Hold the side arm position and dip your hip almost to the floor and raise back up as many times as you can. while holding one leg straight out to the side 70 . maintaining straight torso posture. as if swinging it over a bicycle. Jolie Bookspan • In the side position.
• As you advance.” Experiment with leg placement. 71 .The Ab RevolutionTM • When you can hold your leg out straight to the side. sometimes called “The Flag. add lifting the opposite arm. try this.
Jolie Bookspan Using Abs to Control Torso Posture When Using Weights Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. but can teach you how to forget your torso muscles in ways that can lead to back and even shoulder injury. Did your back arch off your hand again? Press it back down. Contract your abs to hold your torso straight without allowing your back to arch from the floor. Put your hand on the floor under the arch of your back. You’ll feel your abs working right under your skin. not shoulder or low back. since ab muscles are shallow. To learn when you’re substituting arching your back for motion of the shoulder. When you lift weights with your arms. This is called functional exercise. and use abs. biceps near your ears. biceps by your ear.Dr. Don’t lift your hips. and to use them to hold correct posture against overhead resistance. as the lever when reaching overhead. • To feel how to use abs to reduce the arch and control your torso. Arch your back up. improve shoulder range of motion. press your back down against your hand. Put your other arm overhead just off the floor. Using Body Weight • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. You need to exercise using the same movements and muscle patterns as you use in real life. just use your abs. Now put both hands overhead. just isolating your arms is not only not functional. Application to Daily Life: Learn and practice holding your back in good posture during overhead movement and exercise. lifting your ribs high so you know what it feels like. • • 72 . just an inch off the floor.
or allow yourself to arch and let the weight drop on the joints of your back. holding light dumbbells (5 to 10 pounds each) in each hand overhead. as many times as you can without touching the floor.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. 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. Don’t let it. your back will want to arch. 73 . Don’t let your ribs come up or your back arch. Moving With Hand Weights • Raise and lower the dumbbells about an inch. This simulates all the daily life activities where you will either support your body and things you carry with your muscles. • Lie on your back. particularly when lowering the weights. about an inch from the floor. • Each time the weight lowers. and work your body the way you need for real life movement. 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. Keep your elbows slightly bent.
an arched back just to stand up straight. You can’t walk or move properly in real life with your knees and hips bent that much. What they need is to stretch the front of their hip so their hip and legs can extend properly. effective movement all the time. When you do standing weight lifting. 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. and retrain your muscles to hold your body properly. If you allow your back to arch. how your posture needs to be. This is where you stretch. • You may need to stretch your front hip muscles (flexors) so that you can straighten your legs without your low back being pulled into an arch. as you have practiced in this exercise above. which feeds a negative cycle of tight hip.Dr. control your posture with what you learned from this lying-down training exercise. 74 . Keep your abs contracted so that your back does not pull into an arch. but don’t. pain. then exercise that way too. but not a large arch. Yet many people do keep their hip bent all the time when standing. and how to retrain everything for safe. You would never learn to use your muscles the way you really need them when standing up. Jolie Bookspan To Progress • Extend your legs out straight. Many people have hips so tight that they can’t straighten their legs without their back being pulled into a large arch. strengthen. Carry-Over to Real Life Think of all the exercises that involve lifting weights overhead — exercises where you should stand without arching. the force of the moving weight comes crashing down on your low back. The Ab Revolution teaches you to understand how your muscles need to move. There will be a small space under your low back. and. ironically. Their hips get so tight that they even need a pillow under their knees to sleep. bent hip. But it is your own muscles that should do that for you.
this exercise will not only work your abs for the moment. but all day when you really need it — standing up. not just bending your knees to control your posture. If you use your abs for posture adjustment during all your standing movements.The Ab RevolutionTM Use your own muscles. 75 .
This is when many people have no concept of abs and. putting away groceries. Application to Daily Life: To train your abs and brain to hold your torso and back posture during movement and exercise. and correct your posture. Using Hand Weights and Packages • Lift weights overhead. putting cargo on car roof racks. Keep your abs in use to prevent arching. and whenever you lift and reach. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Reaching and Lifting Overhead Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. because of that. Transfer these skills to keeping healthy torso posture for common activities like lifting trays. but not curling forward or bending your neck. 76 . Keep your hip tucked under you. lifting heavy packages onto counters. Keep your torso from increasing the arch. Not in an exaggerated way. • Reach overhead again. allow their upper body weight to pressure their low back many times a day: reaching. Wave your arms around. but not curling forward or bending your neck. Keep your abs in use as if you were beginning a crunch. putting things on shelves. lifting babies and children overhead. Did your ribs come up and your back arch?Tuck your hip under you to prevent over-arching. when reaching and lifting overhead. no matter what.Dr. but just until your body is straight and supported. as if beginning a crunch. and to train them to hold your back posture against resistance. Using Body Weight • Stand up and reach overhead with both hands. and even combing and washing hair. pulling shirts off.
Abs not in use for lifting. Same lift with abs in use to straighten posture and protect the back. 77 .The Ab RevolutionTM All are arched in bad posture.
This is also fun to do with a partner. back arched. abs not in use. 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. Lift arms overhead. This simulates keeping your posture against gravity and loads that you carry in daily life. Bad posture. controlling your posture with abs. • Try various arm exercises and movements while controlling your torso with your abs. Step away until there is tension on the band. Turn your back. Don’t let your arms pull behind you.Dr. Hold one end in each hand. Same exercise with abs in use to straighten posture and exercise against the pull of the bands 78 .
Use a hula-hoop. Maintain good posture. hold both arms overhead with your biceps against your ears. 79 . pulleys — or even a pair of panty hose. to get started — secured at about shoulder height. Don’t pull your arms to the sides. Hold your torso stable against the sideways pull of the stretchy cord. Application to Daily Life: Holding your torso and back posture correctly to avoid strain and slouching to the side when reaching and lifting overhead. and do side curls. and to train them to hold your back posture against resistance. Using Bands and Pulleys • Use a stretchy band. • • Move away until there is more tension on the band. • • • To progress. Walk around keeping your torso stable against the changing pull of the band. Don’t let the band pull you into poor posture. Feel how to stabilize your body using your oblique abs. Hold both ends and turn sideways. use your abs to move your body to the side.The Ab RevolutionTM Using Oblique Abs to Control Torso Posture When Reaching and Lifting Overhead Purpose of this Exercise: To get a great workout for your oblique abs. and holding the band in front of your chest. • Many Variations • Do side curls. facing sideways to the band. tubing. Try it with and without bands.
When throwing and punching properly. • • Move away to put more tension on the band and still stand up straight. Turn your back. Hold both arms overhead with your biceps to your ears. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Throwing and Other Overhead Arm Activities Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. your torso and legs should power most of it. for example. Application to Daily Life: Train torso and back posture during speed and power movement. Using Bands or Cables • Use a stretchy band or rubber tubing with the middle secured at about shoulder height. The fulcrum of the swing becomes the shoulder joint instead of the muscles of the abs and hip. without allowing the resistance to pull your back into an arch or pull your arms behind you. you can overload your shoulder or elbow. and to train them to hold your back posture against rapid onset resistance. Try the action of doing crunches standing up to get the idea of initiating arm action with your abs first. Hold both ends. or cable pulleys. and when throwing and moving arms overhead. Injury can eventually develop. Use abs to power overhead activities and to protect your shoulder and back. Pivot your body from your abs.Dr. by not contracting your abs first and using your torso to power the move. Feel how to stabilize your body and stand straight using your abs. In baseball pitches and tennis serves. But many people just arch their back and fling their arm. one in each hand. and the arched posture drops much weight on the low back. 80 . Don’t allow your arms to move or your neck to come forward.
Only then does the arm come forward. turn your hip. and contract your abs so that your torso curls. Abs in use to properly change back posture and power the throw. and body. Bad posture. abs not in use. Push off your feet. back arched. not just your shoulder.The Ab RevolutionTM • Simulate throwing a ball with one arm. 81 . Feel the pivot coming from your abs.
and then initiate action with your arm. Turning at Varied Angles • Hold the band at a strong tension and face various angles toward and away from the band. Contract your abs. Try the motion of combing your hair (or washing your head. you overload your shoulder. or cable pulleys secured at about waist height. retraining yourself to use abs first. Push off your feet. rubber tubing. when reaching and lifting to the side. All the common arm exercises with dumbbells and pulleys can be retrained to use your abs first. Swivel your body away from the resistance.Dr. if 82 . Not using your abs for arm tasks is a common contributor to shoulder pain. throw side pitches. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Side and Underhand Arm Activities Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs (front and oblique). and to train them to hold your back posture against moving resistance. Reaching over the car seat for heavy items in the back seat frequently adds to rotator cuff injury. or in a high brace in kayaking. keeping your torso straight as a unit. Application to Daily Life: Learn to keep your torso and back posture correct during movement and exercise. not twisting from your waist. Hold both ends if you’re using bands. By not contracting your abs first and using your torso to power the move. and turn sideways. stabilize the shoulder. Turn your hip. Keep your knees bent and turn from your hips. This doesn’t happen just when swinging a tennis racquet. Turning Moves • Use a stretchy band. or pull or push things — from laundry to dogs on a leash — use your abs. Bend your knees. When you use your arms to exercise on pulley machines. Practice moving your arms for common activities.
Moving Stabilization Drills • Have a friend hold the other end of the band and pull you in odd directions while you practice torso stabilization.The Ab RevolutionTM you’re bald). writing on the board. and anything else you need for daily life. underhand and side pitches. hanging up clothes. or carrying packages and a squirming baby while trying to get in the door. brushing teeth. 83 . This simulates walking a dog.
because their main core muscles are not driving the punching arm or leg. Practice your punch with the new supported posture. Allow the push of your arm to arch your back. without bending your elbow. Don’t hunch forward. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct and safe during punching in martial arts and boxing exercise classes. Don’t allow your back to arch at any point.Dr. Don’t hit the wall. Training Abs for Punching • Stand near a wall. That puts your chin closer for your opponent hit it. • Push the wall with your fist. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. Keep hips tucked under.” but when you watch them you see the arched postures that injure backs. just rest your knuckles as if you had just hit the wall. It is also a sure sign that they cannot generate punching force. You’ll feel pressure. you hear much mention of “core” and “ab stabilization. and a new strength in your punching arm. Stretch your arm forward in punching position.) Fix your posture with your abs. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Punching Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs (front and oblique) against quickly-moving resistance. Kickboxing classes are popular. 84 • • . In many video tapes. as if beginning a crunch but not curling your neck forward. Maintain your slightly tucked posture. maybe a familiar ache in your low back. Push increasingly hard. You should feel the back pain disappear. with your body in a slight curl. The fulcrum of the punch becomes the low back bones instead of the muscles of the abs and hip.
exhale. but from the lower body. turn your hips. they’d hurt their backs and not get much of a punch. the arched torsos transmit force to the low back. Don’t arch your back In both the puncher and receiver above. and keep the contraction coming from your abs to push your torso and arm forward. Push off your feet. 85 . First tilt your hip to prevent arching by using your abs. If real fighters punched with this arched posture.The Ab RevolutionTM • • Punching should not initiate from the arm or shoulder.
with the middle secured around anything solid at shoulder height or above. Don’t let the cord pull you into an arch or pull your arms behind you. turn your hip into the punch and then. or cable pulleys. lever your arm forward into a powerful punch. • • • • • 86 .Dr. This can be done looping your band around something behind you. still holding both ends of the cord. or back-to-back with a partner holding bands looped around yours. rubber tubing. Jolie Bookspan Train Abs for Punching Using Bands • Use a stretchy band. Turn your back. Increase tension on the band and still stand up straight. Keep your arms in front of you. using your abdomen as the fulcrum. Contract abs first. Keep your heels down when you punch. Push off your feet and legs. Breathe out. Feel how to stabilize your body using your abs.
use your hips and abdomen as the fulcrum. • Stand with both hands against a wall. Application to Daily Life: Good. Let your back arch. as if beginning a crunch but not bending your neck. 87 . • • Use the Ab Revolution principles when pushing heavy objects.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. oblique. Breathe in. without bending your elbows. Allow the push of your arm to arch your back. powerful moves. You’ll feel pressure. maybe the familiar ache in your low back. so your body is in a slight curl. Begin pushing the wall with your hands.) Fix your posture with your abs. Push increasingly hard. and transversus) against heavy resistance. and breathe out as you lever your upper body forward in powerful pushing action. press off your feet. Keep your hip tucked under you. tuck your hips. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. You should feel the back pain disappear and a new strength. You will save your back and generate more pushing force.
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. Don’t allow your back to arch at any point in your kick. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Kicking Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs against quickly-moving resistance. when using your legs. (Don’t do this if you have back pain. You’ll feel pressure. Don’t hunch forward or round your upper back. The fulcrum of the kick becomes the low back joints instead of the muscles of the abdomen and hip. Keep your hip tucked under. Begin pushing the wall with your foot without allowing your knee to give way. but not bending your neck forward. With the new supported posture. so that your body is in a slight curl.) Fix your posture by using your abs as if beginning a crunch.Dr. • • 88 . as described in the previous sections. • Let your back arch. The same problems occur in exercise and martial arts classes during kicking as with punching and pushing. Put the bottom of your foot against the wall as if you just kicked it. Train Abs for Kicking Using Body Weight • Stand facing a wall at a distance to swing a front kick. practice kicking toward the wall and back to ready position. Maintain your slightly tucked-under posture. That is bad for your back and puts your chin closer to your opponent to hit you. People allow their back to arch and they just swing their leg around. maybe a familiar ache in your low back from daily bad posture habits.
Put the bottom of your foot against the wall as if you had just kicked it sideways. Push off your standing leg. secure one end of the band or tubing handle around one leg and turn your back to the resistance of the band. Keep your standing heel down when you kick. Use this technique for kicks used in many sports. Step away to put tension on the band. Contract your abs first. Train Abs for Front Kicking Using Bands These exercises can be done looping your band around something behind you. Use your abs to hold your posture from arching during the kick. breathe out. Don’t let it pull your back into an arch. Using your abdomen as the fulcrum. and tucking enough to straighten your back without rounding it.The Ab RevolutionTM • Try the same technique for a side kick. Do not curl your upper body forward. to swimming. Feel how to stabilize your body using abs to stand up straight. from martial arts. • Use a stretchy band. or back to back with a partner holding bands looped around yours. Stand sideways to a wall at a distance to swing a side kick. as you lever your leg forward into a powerful kick. Feel the difference between letting your back arch. • • Train Abs for Side Kicking Using Bands • Turn to the side against the resistance of the band. 89 . or cable pulleys secured around anything solid at about hip height or below. To train front kicks. Secure one end of the band or tubing handle around the outside leg. rubber tubing. to soccer.
) If you arch. People go to a gym to strap a weight machine onto their back to pull it forward to work their muscles. You should feel the back pain disappear. but not bending your neck or body so much that you hunch or round forward. You’ll feel pressure. or allowing your back to arch. Babies. Maintain upright posture. Shoulder bags and backpacks don’t make you arch your back or have bad posture. and maybe the old familiar ache in your low back. Feel your torso straighten against the pull of the bag. and Bags as Ab Exercise Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. Stand sideways to see your profile in a mirror. Your bags can become a free. If you lean forward against the weight of the bag. they allow their body to sag under the weight of things they carry. not hunched. and allowing your back to arch. not using your torso muscles to counter the pull. (Don’t allow this to happen if you have back pain. If you stand without using your abs. you’ll notice that you arch your back under the weight of the bag. built-in ab exercise.Dr. stand straight up and feel your abs working. Try this: • Stand up wearing any heavy bag or backpack. Jolie Bookspan Using Backpacks. fix your posture by tucking your hips under as if starting a crunch. Not only do people let their posture slouch under their own body weight. • Remember to do this all the time with everything you carry. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct when carrying common daily objects. is the problem. 90 . and to train them to hold your back posture when standing and carrying weight.
If you habitually let your back curve to the side under the weight of things you carry. simply by holding good posture against the pull of your bags — no matter where you wear them. and bags as a free workout for your oblique abs and back. • • Remember to do this all the time. Even if you don’t have scoliosis. Babies. not bent in any direction against the pull of the bag. Check your posture with a mirror. knapsacks. and letting your torso sway to the side under the weight. Try this while wearing a knapsack. an abnormal sideways curve. Use packages. babies. and to train them to hold your posture when carrying weight. Practice walking around with the knapsack and maintaining your upright posture. you can get a curve just like it from bad posture. You could burn calories.The Ab RevolutionTM Using Backpacks. save your back. Fix your posture by engaging your oblique abs to straighten your torso against the pull of the bag. with everything you carry. or carrying a heavy handbag on one shoulder or hip: • Experiment with the difference between maintaining proper posture to hold the weight. People go to a gym to press sideways against a weight machine to work their obliques. you can eventually tighten your back and even deform your bones into a curve. instead of simply holding good posture by using your muscles. 91 . holding a baby. when you can. Application to Daily Life: To keep your torso and back posture correct when carrying common daily objects on one hip or shoulder. This is preventable. and Bags as Oblique Ab Exercise Purpose of this Exercise: To work your oblique abs. or hiking your shoulder up. and get an ab and back workout.
and sheer fun. and second most effective for your side abs. 92 . But it’s not a functional exercise because what else is it good for? This exercise beats it in effectiveness. or obliques. to train them to hold your back in proper position when doing vigorous movement. functionality.Dr. and a hard and effective one.” mentioned on page 15. This is a silly and fun exercise. and to have a hilarious time doing it. Application to Daily Life: This exercise is directly useful to control torso posture when moving your arms and legs during any extreme activity. The “Ab Study. calorie burning. Also trains muscles to fight an attacker off. lists the bicycle as the top exercise for the front abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis). Jolie Bookspan Using Abs to Throw a Tantrum Purpose of this Exercise: To work all of your abs more than you ever have. It uses motions similar to those for “bicycling” but works muscles far more.
“No! No! No! I won’t! You can’t make me do crunches! I don’t want to…!” Again. Lift your arms high and back down. you’ll be calm and happy. back and forth in all directions. They get a fun and hard ab and back workout. hip. You’ll feel your back. you should work your back. Vigorously pound your fists and legs up and down against the floor and up in the air. but get a workout. • Lie on your front. upper body. When you finish. if it helps. play loud music if it helps. Lift your arms and legs up in the air. Lift arms. and leave class happy and exhausted. Remember that when you work your abs. Vigorously move them up and down. You’ll have had the workout of your life. and also work the difficult-to-target posterior shoulder. 93 .The Ab RevolutionTM • Lie on your back. and kick hard. buttock. Pound the mat.This is also useful to train for kicking and punching someone who has thrown you down. and hamstring muscles get amazing exercise. in all directions. Fitness classes love this one. Don’t wrench yourself around. No wonder children use this. and legs in the air. 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. Kick hard. Lift your knees. back and forth. Go fast and furiously. Yell if you want to.
and to train you to hold your posture from slouching forward. and nerves that exit the vertebrae. vertebrae. Jolie Bookspan “Ab-Only” Exercises are Not Good Many people do only abdominal muscle exercises. Using abdominal muscles moves your torso to reduce the large arch to keep strain off your back. Keeping your back muscles.Dr. when used. and spend a great portion of their day doing. You need to add exercises that contract your back muscles — called back extension — to strengthen your back. or attend “abonly” exercises classes. Next. which contract your abs to round you forward. thinking it will make their backs injury-free. keep you from slouching forward. or any muscles. But saying that ab exercise strengthens you back is not really true. any more than doing kicks makes your arms strong. adds to the “round-shoulder” problem that contributes to back pain in the first place. Forward slouching slowly pressures your discs to bulge out. There are two serious problems with this. Just as your abs muscles. prevents your upper body weight from slouching backward and pressuring your low back. Abdominal muscles and back muscles are different muscles. when used. Doing ab exercise does not work your back muscles. lengthened by poor posture weakens them. your back muscles. This forwardslouching posture slowly puts unhealthy pressure on back muscles. and overstretches your back muscles. Slouching forward is a poor posture that people are usually very good at. 94 . doing conventional ab exercises. 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. To strengthen your back you have to work your back muscles with specific exercises that contract them.
Then switch legs. Gradually increase. Don’t tilt your head back. Beside giving you a beautiful back for bathing suit wear. Keep your head in line with your body. If you aren’t used to exercising your back muscles. Work up from there. 95 . knee straight. • Lie face down. health and joint pain. Don’t force. this exercise is a mainstay of most back-strengthening and pain-reduction programs.com. nutrition. To progress. This is not an injury. It has thirty-one chapters on all aspects of fitness. Jolie Bookspan.95 (US). Don’t force or yank. Order online at www. and full explanations of relieving back and neck pain. that is right. Lift with your muscles. These exercises. If you feel pinching or electric shock pain. don’t continue the exercises. lift one leg off the floor. move your arms from your sides to overhead. If you feel muscles working. lift both legs together. Slowly lift your upper body a few inches. then lower back to the floor. Start with one or two lifts. hands at your sides and off the floor. you may be sore after doing these. or toll free from the publisher: 1-888-229-5745.healthylearning. do at least ten back extensions every day and when you do ab exercise. To progress. are detailed in the new edition of the book “Health & Fitness in Plain English” also by Dr. Hold and lower. • • For your lower back. this is much-needed progress.The Ab RevolutionTM Back Extension At the minimum. and sells for $24. See your doctor.
allowing your upper body weight to press on your low back. You’re also missing the easiest opportunity to burn calories and get a free. you wouldn’t need to go to a gym to do funny little crunches — not every day. nor every few days. then not using abs to control your posture the rest of the day. What is missed is that. If you worked your abs all day. to decide whether to exercise abs daily or intermittently. Flurries of articles are written on this. 96 . Jolie Bookspan Should You Work Your Abs Every Day or Every Other Day? It’s common for people to debate fiber type and fatigue. is missing the whole point of what abs are supposed to do. like your heart beating. Using your abs is like obeying the Ten Commandments: you’re supposed to do it all the time. all-day workout. all the time to control your posture.Dr. sit. and reach well all the time. Doing crunches or any other ab exercise. and you’ll exercise your abs without working out. you need your abs working all day. not just during your hour of worship. Why kill yourself working out. then ignore your abs the other 23 hours a day and undo all your efforts? Stand. every day.
No exercise selectively removes fat from a specific part. That myth is called “spot reducing. skip.The Ab RevolutionTM How Do You Flatten Your Abdomen? Use your abs to change the curve of your back. dig. Regular ab exercise alone won’t make you stand properly so that your back won’t arch and your abdomen won’t sag out. and encourage arching so that you wind up standing with your abdomen curved out — just the opposite of what you wanted. 97 . swim. people would have thin mouths from talking. stick the behind out. It’s not “sucking in” or “tightening”— it’s moving your torso into healthy position using Ab Revolution exercises. speed skaters would have small legs. walk. to use your abs for daily life. ski. It’s a shame that many people deliberately stand arched. That means to lose fat. This fat comes from where it is stored.” Ab exercises alone will not remove fat from your abdomen. you need to run. play. run. jog. Weight training builds muscle. and the repetitive act of chewing and swallowing lots of food would make your face thin. and move in general. which burns more calories. row. If spot reducing worked. Aerobic exercise burns fat. including fat from your abdomen. skate. Get out and have fun. dance. to keep it from arching and curving your abdomen out. bike. and that exercises often done in gyms tighten the hip.
You’ll get a free. and conscious use of abs all the time. check if you are standing and moving in a way that is wrecking your back by not using your abs. continuous. lifting. You’ll exercise your brain. Notice if you are letting your body weight. cutting out junk food. You’ll burn more calories. 98 . Next time you are standing around noticing your back hurts. Get out of the gym and use your body for real life moving. and the weight of everything you lift and carry. giving a “washboard” or “ripple” effect. You’ll save your back. Use your abs to tip your hip back under you and lift your weight up and off your low back. and water in your diet to fuel good workouts. Jolie Bookspan How Do You Get a “Washboard?” You have bands of fibrous tissue called fascia that run across your front and side abdominal muscles at intervals. showing that you may be arching your back instead of holding straight posture. It’s a revolution. and having fun. Doing good abdominal work will enlarge the muscles enough to poke through the facial bands. reduced fat under your skin (in order to see it all). healthful meals on a regular basis. You’ll be straighter and taller. smash down on your low back. reaching. You’ll be a better exerciser. Check if your belt or waistband tilts downward in front and up in back. complex carbohydrates. all-day workout. Use the Ab Revolution to retrain your abs for ab exercise without going to a gym. The entire package of getting results includes proper abdominal exercise.Dr. You won’t see ripples if body fat covers everything. balancing.
The Ab RevolutionTM 99 .
. From Dr. M. .S.Dr. thank you for constantly discrediting the myths that are all too often forced upon us. . PA Dr..C.Kelly Hill. Medical Director.J. Col. You’re my hero. C. I have lost weight. the brightest light in popular sports medicine. built muscle. Bookspan’s revolutionary yet practical advice. . Tom Millington.. by using them properly. M.D. I developed my abs more in the last 3 months than in the past 3 years doing crunches. This is my stomach bible. and eliminated chronic pain. Jolie Bookspan More Praise for Dr. cuts away the myths and falsehoods to lead the reader to understanding. A.Joni Lawrence..C. Bookspan’s Ab Revolution Continued from the back cover: You’ve done it again. St.D. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital.T.Audrey Tannenbaum.Ed. CA 100 . SWAT Team Commander Using Dr. Bookspan’s expertise. Athletic Trainer and Maccabean Games Triathlon Gold Medalist.. Bookspan. I can develop my abs and improve my posture throughout the day.S. It’s encouraging to know that.. Green Beret Lt. From one professional to another. M.. Horsham. Merck International Health Program Coordinator This is a book that everyone interested in good health and muscle tone should read — especially personal trainers! . .
Dr. . I trust her for good sense and her solid background in exercise physiology.David Hsu. I turn to my friend and colleague. Houston.D.gulftel. The book is highly recommended to read and keep as a reference source. she has written an extremely interesting ‘do-ityourself’ exercise guide.D. sensible and highly effective. Jolie Bookspan. It provides a concept that can be used in every day life for the thousands (millions?) who have chronic lumbosacral pain due to poor posture and weak abdominal muscles. Dr.. Chief Consultant. General Surgery www. . 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. The program is simple. Krug Life Sciences NASA 101 .The Ab RevolutionTM Well. Associate Professor. M. Neurology. Ph. FACS. 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. or want practical advice on fitness training or musculoskeletal complaints.. Jolie Bookspan has done it again! An expert at debunking ‘scientific’ bunk.Ernest Campbell.D. CHeCS Training Program.Caroline Fife. University of Texas Health Science Center. M.D. Freeing the ‘crunchers’ from the boredom of useless exercise programs that are quickly abandoned. . M. Department of Anesthesiology..com/~scubadoc/ Whenever I have a question on rehab..
$30. nutrition.uhms. including board exam questions 226 pages.org email@example.com (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 www.com Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 pages.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: www. $24.org 102 . illustrated.org uhms@uhms. Jolie Bookspan Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of fitness.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: www. and joint pain 371 pages.org Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages. Jolie Bookspan More Books by Dr. illustrated. health. $50.00 ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 www.uhms.healthylearning.org Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire field.uhms.org uhms@uhms.Dr. $40.
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.arttoday.The Ab RevolutionTM Credits Cover model: Paul Plevakas Front cover photo: Julia Lehman. Bookspan’s dedicated and hardworking students: Shelly Anthony Regina Basile Cynthia Brown Theresa Candelaria Emily Canon Louis Costa Dr. Martin Dembitzer Angela and Andrea Fleegle Elsa Leung Rhonda McJeff Stacia Mellbourne Travis Mesman Sara Rathfon Danielle Tobin 103 . www.com Photo models for exercises are Dr.
swam to work in an underwater laboratory. She doesn’t do crunches. A career military scientist. . she has a black belt in karate and 14 fights in the ring as an amateur kickboxer. After serving in the Army. Nepal. and most of everything else in an accident. Harvard clinicians have called her “The St. 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. was advisor to The Discovery Channel. and police and military training departments. Jude of the Joints” in her private practice in sports medicine. Asia. where the entrance exam was getting up there without a nosebleed. she rehabbed using her own methods. neck. As a researcher. and was professor of anatomy at a college in the mountains of Mexico. Jolie Bookspan knows abs. she carried gear up and down the mountains and deserts of India.About the Author Dr. Left paralyzed after breaking her back. and Northern Africa.
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