Do you feel like your lower belly pooch won’t improve no matter what you do?
First off, remember that you are the owner of a uterus and it is normal to have some pooch to our tummies! This is especially true after having babies. That said, I’m going to share with you the best kept secret to improving the appearance of your lower belly.
Why Ab Exercises Aren’t Helping Your Lower Belly Pooch
What if I told you that you didn’t need scissor kicks and Pilates 100s to minimize the lower belly pooch? Say whaaaaat? In fact, these exercises could be making that mommy pooch worse.
What if I told you that your lower belly pooch is trying to tell you something about your pelvic floor function?
What if I told you your breath was the way to a flatter low tummy?
(Okay, Ashley…spill the beans).
Your Core is a Pressure System
How you breathe affects your core and pelvic floor. The diaphragm sits under the rib cage. Ideally, as you inhale this dome-like muscle flattens and pushes air down into the lungs. This gentle expansion lets the pelvic floor relax.
As you exhale, the diaphragm recoils and the pelvic floor gently lifts.
If you are sucking in your tummy and gripping your abs, you are putting major kink in this natural system. As a result, you start to breathe backwards. Essentially, you breathe up into your chest. This can cause headaches, anxiety, pelvic floor issue, and it sucks.
What Causes a Low Belly Pooch?
There are some obvious causes of a low belly pooch. It could be that you have diastasis recti, a thinning of the connective tissue between your six-pack abdominal muscles. Checking yourself for diastasis recti is quick and easy.
Another culprit may also be excess skin from pregnancy. This loose skin likes to hang in the lower portion of our belly, especially after having a C-section. There isn’t much you can do to get rid of loose skin.
And yes, it can be the stubborn belly fat that many of our female bodies like to store. Listen carefully though. You cannot spot reduce fat. There is no tip or trick to losing lower belly fat, and if anyone tries to sell you on this…RUN!
Stop Sucking In
The one culprit you probably didn’t consider? Your low belly pooch can be made much worse by sucking in!
So many women suck in all day. We usually start doing this in adolescence as we become more self-conscious. Once postpartum, many women suck in even more in an attempt to hide the postpartum tummy.
If you suck in all day, your upper abs grip down tightly. When your upper and mid abs grip tight above the belly button, it creates a pooch.
Think about your core like a balloon. If you press into a balloon, the air gets displaced. Your core is the same way. Core pressure still has to go somewhere, and so it gets redistributed. The result? A pooch. Hot damn.
How to Get Rid of the Lower Belly Pooch?
So what’s the fix?
First off…let it go. Legit. Stop sucking in. Most of us have been sucking in since we were teens. It will feel scary and hard to let your tummy relax. Also, try to relax that booty, too.
Now, when you inhale, try to get the breath down. You’ll find this frustrating at first, but keep practicing. It will become second nature (well, really first-nature again) with practice.
When we exercise, it is particularly important to set up that inhale, or we bear down on pelvic floor. If you see your low abs pooching on any movement, it usually means that you are also bearing down on your pelvic floor.
Still confused? Check out this free core healing essentials guide. This free guide will teach you how to breathe and manage your core pressure system.
Try Strong Like A Mother Free for 7 Days
I go over this in way more detail in my Core Basics program (which is included with your Strong Like A Mother subscription), but hopefully this gives you a good start.