- Jennifer Penney
Abdominal Spot Reduction (Part 3)
Do you suck in your gut?
Have you read Part 1 and Part 2? Check them out...
Do you "suck it in?" - Of course, doesn't everyone? - Absolutely, that's part of "good" posture, right? - Yes, I read somewhere that you should draw your belly button in towards your spine to strengthen your abdominals.
If you "suck it in," please do yourself a favor and Let. It. Go!
Constantly holding tension across the middle of your abdominals, by sucking in, makes your lower belly pooch more, forces you into a shallow breathing pattern, and causes numerous posture and pelvic floor issues.
Drawing in at your belly button causes a cinch point around your abdominals, like wearing a belt that is cinched too tight. The cinching across your middle will allow your lower abdominals to let go, making your lower belly pooch more. It also prevents your ribs from moving properly so your diastasis won't heal or remain closed.
Sucking in across your middle throws you into a shallow breathing pattern. Because you are putting pressure on the middle of your abdominal canister, your diaphragm cannot fully descend to fill your lungs. So, your breath is forced upward into your chest, shoulders and neck, causing upper body tightness, jaw and neck pain, and feelings of stress.
A range of posture and pelvic floor issues arise from holding in your abdominals. If you contract your abdominals strongly, you will most likely have to tuck your pelvis under and contract your glutes as a counterbalance. To maintain breathing in this position, you will likely thrust your ribcage forward and up in front, since your diaphragm wont be able to descend against the pressure of your tense abdominals. Pulling in your middle abdominals puts extra pressure down on your pelvic floor muscles. This results in problems like involuntary urine leakage when sneezing, coughing, laughing or jumping.
Worst of all, did you know that when you hold a muscle tense for long periods of time, that muscle actually becomes weaker?
So, now you have weaker abs, weaker glutes, and a tight/weak pelvic floor, possibly a lower belly pooch, and a shallow breathing pattern, but when you suck in hard enough your belly looks flat. Ugh! Its not worth it and there's a better way...
Try letting go across your middle and see how it feels for a few days. You'll probably notice its a hard habit to break. You may feel like everything is just "hanging" out. Notice if it feels better to have less tension across your abdomen and what other changes may be taking place (in your hip or rib position) due to less abdominal pressure. Then check out my next post (upcoming) on how to stand tall to make your abs look flatter.
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