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The cause No-one Talks About
It can be frustrating to work hard to lose abdominal fat, only to be left with a pooch belly.
You may have even treated abdominal bloating or other gut issues, yet it still remains.
But don’t give up just yet!
There may be another factor that contributes to a pooch belly. One that if you understand it may help you find the missing link. The link that can reduce or remove the pooch belly.
What is it? Check out the blog post, video, and podcast below to learn.
The Surprising Pooch Belly Cause
So what is this factor, you ask? Altered abdominal muscles and pelvic floor co-contraction.
Normally, these muscle groups contract together during exhalation. But in certain instances, a mismatch can occur. The pelvic floor can descend (eccentric) and the upper abs contract. When this happens, the abdominal contents are pushed down and forward. This action bulges the lower abdominal wall.
So what can we do about it?
The fix is to reverse this process. We need strategies that promote the following:
- Concentric pelvic floor (ascend)
- Eccentric upper abs
- Concentric lower abs
Many exercises can achieve this goal. But first, let’s find out what NOT to do.
DON’T DO THIS for a Pooch Belly (yet)
Often, people will prescribe inverted exercises to help with the pooch belly.
Theoretically, being upside down can allow gravity to assist in upward gut movement. Perfect if the guts sit low. It’s for this reason that I was guilty of programming these moves too.
But there’s a problem.
What if you’re stiff in your upper body? Inversion increases muscle activity in the upper body. Throw this atop someone who’s already stiff. The added strain may actually limit how the abdominal contents move up. If you are someone who crunches when upside down, this is you.
So before inverting, you may want to practice with an easier move. I have just the thing.
The BEST Pooch Belly Exercise
My go-to move is frog breathing. This movement helps elicit the above actions. The chest facing the ground makes the abs eccentric. This happens because the abdominal contents rest forward. The wide stance activates the adductors, helping the pelvic floor ascend.
Here’s how to do it:
- Knees wider than hips with feet together
- Elbows wider than shoulders with hands together
- Hips ahead of knees
- Subtle glance up towards the fingertips
- Silent nasal inhale
- Soft mouth exhale
- While exhaling, push the ENTIRE torso away from the ground
- Perform for 5 sets x 5 breaths
If this movement is too difficult, you can elevate the arms or perform prone breathing. Similar cues will be used in the frog position.
To enhance the difficulty, you can use the same cues in quadruped on elbows:
Consistency with these moves can reduce the pooch belly. The postural component is vastly underappreciated.
- Pooch belly can be caused by altered abdominal and pelvic muscle activity
- Reversing this muscle orientation can affect the pooch belly appearance
What exercises helped you change the pooch belly? Comment below and let us know.