What if I told you that the little pooch you keep trying to “crunch away” was actually a displacement of intra-abdominal pressure?
Don’t know what I mean? Watch this quick video on our body’s pressure system by renowned physical therapist Julie Wiebe.
Women are notorious “sucker inners”. Watch this. We want to fit in those skinny jeans. What do you do when someone goes to snap your photo? I’d bet money you suck your stomach in, stick out your butt and put on your best smile. The bigger problem is society’s standards for the female body ideal…but that’s for another post. Sucking in can actually prevent your stomach from being flat. And if you have diastasis recti, an abdominal separation common after pregnancy, chances are you want to suck your stomach in more than ever since it protrudes and leaves you looking pregnant. But as I always say, “Friends don’t let friends suck in.”
Try out these cues to find your deepest abdominal muscles, the transverse abdominis. Practice using your breath to engage this muscles and lift the pelvic floor. Knowing how to engage your core and pelvic floor with the help of the diaphragm is important when lifting–be it your baby or a deadlift. If you can harness this skill, it will help flatten your stomach, heal your core, prevent low back pain, reduce urinary stress incontinence, and turn you into a real life super hero. And when you aren’t lifting things, let it go, ladies. Don’t suck in! Focus on keeping your ribs stacked over your pelvic floor. Let your breath open your ribs. Relax.
My number one piece of advice…find a good pelvic floor physical therapist who can help you determine if you’ve found optimal engagement. Here is a link to find one in your area.