Many people complain about their pooch belly. Gym goers frequently tell me how many crunches they do and how many hours they spend on the cardio machines but can never seem to flatten that midriff.
A pooch belly or its real name, visceroptosis, is a common problem; especially among women who have given birth and even more so for those who’ve had a C-Section.
When you have a pooch belly, your organs or viscera have actually dropped down from their optimal position. The body’s natural girdle, the Transverse Abdominis has weakened so much that it can no longer hold the internal organs.
When woman are pregnant, the abdominal wall stretches making the muscle long and weak. Furthermore, a C-Section procedure cuts the abdominal wall and over time the muscle can neurologically switch off, destabilizing the back and hip area.
In women, if the abdominal wall cannot support the colon, liver and stomach then it will begin to droop and put pressure on the rest of the digestive tract, uterus and bladder leading to bad period pains and even incontinence.
Although this may all sound dramatic, there is a lot that can be done to correct this dysfunction and I’ve been successful with many mothers with this complaint.
Nutrition plays an important role. If you are eating bad foods then your gut will become inflamed and this can switch off the abdominal wall. Avoiding CRAP (carbonated, refined, artificial and processed) foods will go a long way in helping to clean up the bowels.
You must also perform the right exercises. This doesn’t include Ab crunches or planks.
The best core conditioning exercises to tighten up the abdominal wall are the Lower Abdominal series and Horse Stance variations. Follow the descriptions to these exercises below:
Lower Abdominal Exercise
- Lie on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on floor.
- Place back of hands under your lower back, directly underneath your belly button.
- Draw your belly button in toward the spine and apply pressure to the back of your hands by gently tilting the hips backwards.
- Raise one foot off the ground until your thigh is perpendicular to the floor, keeping the pressure on the hands.
- Lower the foot down on the ground and perform same movement with other leg.
- Alternating legs perform 12-20 repetitions.
- When it becomes easier, straighten the leg that you are raising.
Horse Stance Horizontal Exercise
- Place your wrists directly below the shoulders and knees directly below the hip joint.
- The legs are parallel and the elbows remain turned back toward the thighs with fingers forward.
- Place a dowel rod along the spine and hold perfect alignment. The rod should be parallel to the floor. Keep a small space between your lower back and the rod.
- Draw the navel toward the spine.
- Raise one arm to a point 45° off the midline of the body and hold it in the same horizontal plane as the back.
- Elevate the leg opposite the arm you have raised to the point at which your leg is in the same horizontal plane as your back. Hold the leg out straight.
- Make sure the shoulders or hips do not drop. You’ll know if this happens as the rod will fall off.
- Hold the raised arm and leg position for 10 seconds before switching sides. Repeat 10 times per side with perfect form.