No More Crunches! No More Back Pain!

The Ab Revolution
By Dr. Jolie Bookspan


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

taller position. 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. Don’t curl so much that you round forward. Jolie Bookspan To use your abs to pull you up to stand properly.Dr. not arching back. they hold you from arching backward. Your torso comes upright to a straightened. 8 . Use your abs at the length that holds you up in good posture. This is what abs do to control posture. When used properly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.Dr. 30 . losing punching power and straining the back. (See pages 84 to 89 on punching and kicking for how.) Can you spot the students not using abs in this Karate class? (First on the left and second from the right. This can strain the back and will not give you good punching or kicking power Teacher is holding strong posture.) They are not controlling their back posture. Student is arching and slouching.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The white belt has not learned this yet.The Ab RevolutionTM Real Athletes Use Abs Here is good use of abs in basketball to hold the back posture straight. The black belts holding the board in the photo below. drive the dunk. and power the block. 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 . so the force of the punch is not levered into their low back.

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

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

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

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

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

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. 43 .

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

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

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM

What About Lower Abs and Reverse Crunches?

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

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

Dr. Jolie Bookspan

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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

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

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

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

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

keep them slightly bent. so that your weight rests on your vertebrae. Hold your head up. Application to Daily Life: Learn and practice the easy. then you need to strengthen them too — not ruin your elbow joints. Using The Ab Revolution. Keep your weight on your whole hand.” Take the arch out of your back and straighten your torso. If your arms are too weak to hold you. Holding the Pushup Position • Hold the pushup position as long as you can. straight posture you need for standing up. wrists and arms. including the important weak link. • Don’t lock your elbows straight.The Ab RevolutionTM Using Abs to Control Torso Posture for Normal Standing Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. and to train them to prevent your back from arching under gravity resistance. don’t just mash your wrists. 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. Don’t droop down. Tuck your hips under and you’ll feel an immediate shift of the work to your abs and “core. A common mistake is letting your back arch like the back of an old horse when doing pushups. Be straight as a plank. To protect your back during the exercise and make the exercise more effective and more targeted to the abs. arch your back. the pushup is a prize exercise for most of your body. not your “core” muscles. 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. 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 • .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

back arched. Bad posture. Turn your back. This is also fun to do with a partner. Jolie Bookspan Using Bands or Cable Pulleys • Use cable pulleys or tie the middle of a stretchy band or tube securely at head height or above. controlling your posture with abs. Same exercise with abs in use to straighten posture and exercise against the pull of the bands 78 . This simulates keeping your posture against gravity and loads that you carry in daily life. • Try various arm exercises and movements while controlling your torso with your abs. Don’t let your arms pull behind you. Lift arms overhead. Hold one end in each hand.Dr. Step away until there is tension on the band. abs not in use.

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

Hold both arms overhead with your biceps to your ears. you can overload your shoulder or elbow. 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. by not contracting your abs first and using your torso to power the move. Use abs to power overhead activities and to protect your shoulder and back. Try the action of doing crunches standing up to get the idea of initiating arm action with your abs first. one in each hand. • • Move away to put more tension on the band and still stand up straight. In baseball pitches and tennis serves. your torso and legs should power most of it. When throwing and punching properly. Turn your back. Don’t allow your arms to move or your neck to come forward.Dr. Injury can eventually develop. and the arched posture drops much weight on the low back. Hold both ends. Feel how to stabilize your body and stand straight using your abs. Application to Daily Life: Train torso and back posture during speed and power movement. 80 . But many people just arch their back and fling their arm. Pivot your body from your abs. and to train them to hold your back posture against rapid onset resistance. Jolie Bookspan Using Abs for Throwing and Other Overhead Arm Activities Purpose of this Exercise: To work your abs. Using Bands or Cables • Use a stretchy band or rubber tubing with the middle secured at about shoulder height. or cable pulleys. and when throwing and moving arms overhead. for example.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM 99 .

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

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

org uhms@uhms. illustrated. $50. Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages.95 (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 www.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: www. Jolie Bookspan More Books by Dr.00 ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 www. Jolie Bookspan Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of fitness.uhms. illustrated. including board exam questions 226 pages.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: www.uhms. $24. $ Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire uhms@uhms. health. and joint pain 371 pages. $ 102 .Dr.

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 Photo models for exercises are Dr. www. Martin Dembitzer Angela and Andrea Fleegle Elsa Leung Rhonda McJeff Stacia Mellbourne Travis Mesman Sara Rathfon Danielle Tobin 103 . Vision13 Photography Roman Chair and Captain’s Chair photos by Wowk Photography Author photos by Robert Troia Illustrations by Todd Sargood Some images © 2001-2002.


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

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