Paunch belly. Pot belly. Pooch belly. Pouch belly. Call it what you want but its does not change the fact that you want rid of it! This problem has become the focus of many women’s energy in the gym, spending large amounts of time trying to flatten that lower tummy area.
The most obvious situation that brings on pouch belly is pregnancy, as many women reading this know. Pregnancy and C – sections bring many challenges to women who want a flat tummy – post baby – but it is possible with the right amount and type of work.
However did you also know (this applies to Men too!) … weight gain, poor posture, and an inflamed gut can also be culprits.
Let’s talk about a few common situations that lead to weakened abdominals.
1. Weight gain: When the belly begins to grow, it results in lengthening of the abdominal wall. As the abdominal muscles begin to lengthen, this action produces a stretch. When the abdominal muscles have been under a prolonged stretch, they become long and weak, therefore causing pooch belly.
2. Poor Posture: When we sit down, which most of us do lots of, the position can cause our abdominal muscles to ‘switch off’. What happens is, when we sit down, our head and chin drop down and forward (to read, watch TV, use P.C. to drive), and our shoulders roll forward. When they switch off they cause our belly to protrude outward like ‘doming’ in pregnant women. At the same time our back (erector spinae) and hip muscles switch on to support our back. The seated position has a lot to answer for…IMO…have a look at your stomach right now while you are sitting reading this…
3. Inflamed Gut and Internal Organs: This can be caused by food allergies and intolerances or by bad foods. The reason this happens is when we are eating foods that are not good for our bodies they will cause inflammation of the gut and digestive system. When the digestive system gets inflamed, the organs can swell. When the organs swell, this pushes on our abdominal muscles and makes them stretch and lengthen and it is difficult for the abdominal muscles to activate properly. When the abdominal muscles cannot turn on, they begin to get weak, distension occurs, and we now know what happens from there.
The lengthening that occurs can be fixed over time—however, you should be aware that the longer the muscles have been under a stretch, it may take a bit longer in getting them back to their original length.
What to do about it!…
- Do Core Stability exercises, for example the plank and side plank, search youtube for more…..crane and superman/woman (!)
- Learn how to ‘activate’ your core while sitting down to keep a good posture
- Find a core stability class
- Do leg and knee raises in a roman chair instead of ‘normal’ sit ups
- DO NOT do any crunches or sit ups
- Discuss your needs with a specialist – your fitness instructor or personal trainer should (can’t promise anything here!) be able to tell you the difference between exercises for MEN and WOMEN which suit you and your goals.
Having poor advice or a bad assessment at this point can only add to the problem, for example, you can strengthen the abdominal muscles until you’re blue in the face, but if your problem is not being assessed appropriately and your root cause is coming from inflammation in your gut, all the physical strengthening in the world will not fix the problem.
So there it is, another article packed full of valuable information to help you get into great shape without wasting any of your precious time.
TOP TIP: A little reminder, but, just reading this article will do nothing for your abs! LOL