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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

and shows you how to transfer posture and back pain control skills to your daily life. Simply strengthening a muscle will not automatically change your posture for proper use in sports or recreation. Even if you don’t care about posture or back pain and want only cosmetic results. Crunches don’t train that action. Posture and muscle use is not automatic. Just strengthening a muscle does not train it for how you need to use it. it still may not be useful for things you need for daily life. None of the exercises they tested and recommend specifically train your body for daily use the way you really need them. pain. You don’t need to hunch forward for daily activities. or for back pain control. doing crunches and other forwardrounding ab exercises “work” your abs but are not a great way to do it. gives exercises that effectively use and develop your abs. Just like smoking “works” to lose weight.The Ab RevolutionTM What About the Ab Study? Why not just do ab exercises to prevent all the problems? A fitness industry survey at San Diego State University compared 13 of the most common abdominal exercises and ranked them from most to least effective in producing ab muscle activity. Plenty of muscular people have poor posture. but still promote bad posture and not be good for the rest of you. and are not good for the rest of you. and bad movement habits. but you do need to stand and walk upright without arching backward. • • The Ab Revolution teaches a whole different approach to abdominal muscle use. Even if an exercise activates your ab muscles. 15 . But the surveyors missed three basic concepts: • An exercise can work a muscle well. the Ab Revolution will give you a better workout.

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

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

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

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

This bad posture is accepted as normal by so many people that it is mistaken for.Dr. There’s no excuse for someone in fitness to display this lack of knowledge of health. 20 . 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. fitness and trimness. You will laugh often because this unfit posture is a pervasive problem in fitness. Now you can laugh when you see “fitness” models shown standing or doing exercise with this sloppy. and even used to advertise for. unhealthy posture. So does heroin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM

What About Lower Abs and Reverse Crunches?

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

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

Dr. Jolie Bookspan

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

83 . This simulates walking a dog. or carrying packages and a squirming baby while trying to get in the door. 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. underhand and side pitches. brushing teeth. hanging up clothes. and anything else you need for daily life.The Ab RevolutionTM you’re bald).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ab RevolutionTM 99 .

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

Dr.. FACS.Ernest Campbell. Freeing the ‘crunchers’ from the boredom of useless exercise programs that are quickly abandoned.David Hsu. or want practical advice on fitness training or musculoskeletal Whenever I have a question on rehab. Jolie Bookspan. Jolie Bookspan has done it again! An expert at debunking ‘scientific’ bunk. Krug Life Sciences NASA 101 . 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. Associate Professor.D. M. she has written an extremely interesting ‘do-ityourself’ exercise guide. I turn to my friend and colleague.D. Ph. The program is simple. sensible and highly effective. General Surgery www. M.Caroline Fife. Department of Anesthesiology. .. I trust her for good sense and her solid background in exercise physiology. .The Ab RevolutionTM Well. M.D. Neurology. The book is highly recommended to read and keep as a reference source. CHeCS Training Program..D.. It provides a concept that can be used in every day life for the thousands (millions?) who have chronic lumbosacral pain due to poor posture and weak abdominal muscles.gulftel. 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. Dr. University of Texas Health Science Center. Houston. . Chief Consultant.

healthylearning. $24.95 (US) ISBN: 1-58518-642-2 Order toll free: 888-229-5745 www.uhms. $50.00 ISBN 0-930406-17-6 Orders: 102 .org Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Review For Physicians Reviews the entire field.00 ISBN 0-930406-13-3 Order from the publisher Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (301) 942-2980 www. illustrated. $40. health. and joint pain 371 pages. Jolie Bookspan Health & Fitness in Plain English New expanded edition! 31 fun chapters on all aspects of uhms@uhms. Diving Physiology in Plain English The book for every scuba diver 246 pages. including board exam questions 226 uhms@uhms. uhms@uhms. Jolie Bookspan More Books by Hyperbaric Medical Review For Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) 190 pages.00 ISBN 0-930406-18-4 Orders: www. $30.Dr.

arttoday. Bookspan’s dedicated and hardworking students: Shelly Anthony Regina Basile Cynthia Brown Theresa Candelaria Emily Canon Louis Costa Dr. www.The Ab RevolutionTM Credits Cover model: Paul Plevakas Front cover photo: Julia Lehman. Vision13 Photography Roman Chair and Captain’s Chair photos by Wowk Photography Author photos by Robert Troia Illustrations by Todd Sargood Some images © Photo models for exercises are Dr. Martin Dembitzer Angela and Andrea Fleegle Elsa Leung Rhonda McJeff Stacia Mellbourne Travis Mesman Sara Rathfon Danielle Tobin 103 .


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

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