Breathing and TVA Activation
I’m going to talk you through how to properly breathe. It’s my opinion that whilst training and nutrition are the ‘big guns’ of getting lean, a beautiful beach belly also begins with correct breathing. When you breathe in a shallow manner, through the mouth and into the chest, you’re lower abdominals are not able to function fully.
Full breathing, on the other hand, allows your inner and outer stomach muscles to work better, thus helping to flatten your abs, improve posture and even assist with bladder control!
Full breathing is also extremely relaxing. Here is what to do:
1) Try lying on your back, knees bent and feet flat. With your hand on your belly, take a slow breath in through your nose. A full breath should begin low in the stomach region, causing your belly to rise into your hand. In the last 1/3 of the breath, your ribcage should expand laterally and the chest and collarbone should eventually rise.
2) Once your belly breathing is becoming second nature, you can practice activating your ‘transverse abdominus’. This muscle is sometimes referred to as your body’s natural weight belt. It is large, and wraps all the way around your core, roughly between your belly button and groin. This muscle is responsible for core and postural support, and when it functions well will give you an enviable washboard look.
To activate, begin as in Step 1). As you breathe out, allow your belly to hollow out below the belly button. Toward the end of the breath, draw the ‘below-the-button’ region in toward your spine. You should feel a light tension in this area, and the upper abs and chest should remain relaxed.
If you are not sure of the muscle you are trying to activate, force a laugh or a cough, and you will feel the muscle ‘jump’.
3) Practice Steps 1) and 2) in a variety of movements. This may include sitting at your desk, standing or walking around, lying in bed, and any day-to-day movements including working out, housecleaning, childcare and even during sex!