What causes a lower belly pooch? Well, it could be caused by stubborn belly fat, diastasis recti (abdominal separation), bloating, genetics, upper ab dominance (which I discuss in this video) and loose skin (i.e. from substantial weight loss or pregnancy).
For me, a significant factor contributing to my lower belly pooch is the seemingly innocent habit of constantly "sucking in" my stomach, which I adopted during my teenage years. Breaking this habit has proven challenging, yet it plays a crucial role in addressing the issue.
When you “suck in” your stomach, your upper and mid abs grip tight above the belly button. As the muscles tighten, the excess pressure needs to find an outlet, and this case it travels downwards, creating a lower belly pooch. But this pressure also extends down to the pelvic floor which can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction, urinary incontinence or exacerbate pelvic organ prolapse.
Furthermore, when you suck in your tummy and grip your abs, you start reverse breathing (paradoxical breathing), so you inhale upwards into your neck and shoulders and you exhale down (which is the reverse of what we want). This contributes to bearing down as well as neck and chest tightness.
The obvious solution is to stop sucking in! Relax your stomach. This will also make your pelvic floor much happier.
In this video, I discuss upper ab dominance and 360 breathing, and I provide breathing exercises (that you do with me) that will not only help with the lower belly pooch, but also help you move, breathe and feel better!
p.s. Here’s our January 2024 Challenge: Stop sucking in your stomach!
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Welcome! If you want to learn how to MOVE and EAT BETTER, you've come to the right place! I'm Dr. Sara Solomon. I'm a certified StrongFit coach and an intermittent fasting expert. I have degrees in dentistry (DMD) and physiotherapy (BSc PT), and I'm also a Pilates Mat Level 1 Instructor, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer (2016-2021), ACE personal trainer, NASM fitness nutrition specialist, a Mad Dogg Spinning Instructor, and a certified level 2 Buddy Lee Jump Rope Trainer and Ambassador. I'm a BSN Supplements and Til You Collapse sponsored athlete. My passion is helping people overcome restrictive diets and muscle imbalances so they can FEEL their very best!