How would you like to get up in the morning and put on an undergarment that made you smaller around, made you appear taller and leaner, and provided support for your lower back?
What if it not only felt comfortable and flexible, but you looked younger, felt better and had more energy when you had it on?
Well here’s the good news. We have that corset inside our own bodies! It’s the Transversus Abdominis, a muscle the anatomy books refer to as “the abdominal corset”; and it’s function is to “flatten the abdominal wall and compress (support) the abdominal contents. Weakness of this muscle permits a bulging of the abdominal wall.” In other words, a belly that hangs out!
How Does the Breathworks Program Work?
The exercises all involve use of the breath as a tool to achieve a body that is stronger, more stable, and better balanced at the core level.
The transversus abdominis is a circular muscle, that “wraps” around the body. It is one of the primary muscles of expiration.
In a nutshell, here’s what happens. When you breathe in, the diaphragm contracts and pulls down, increasing room in the ribcage for the lungs to expand and fill with air.
In order for this to happen fully, the transversus abdominis (and the other abdominal muscles) needs to expand so that the abdominal contents can move out of the way.
When you exhale normally, the diaphragm simply relaxes and moves back upward and the lungs return to their normal resting size.
In “forced” or active exhalation, the transverses abdominis contracts and pulls in, pressing the abdominal contents upward and increasing the pressure that pushes the air out.
As the circular fibers of the transverses contract, the belly “pulls in”. It actually gets smaller around. You can feel this by wrapping your hands around your waist and pretending you are blowing out a large candle. The trick is to “pull your tummy in” as you blow out.
The stronger the deep abdominal muscles get, the greater their ability to pull the tummy in as you exhale. Within a couple of weeks of doing the exercise faithfully, the waist measurement becomes smaller. The minimum amount of reduction I’ve seen is 1 ½ inches. That is, of course, as long as you hold your tummy in!
This also gives you more power on your exhale. It’s the reason singers learn how to use this muscle, to increase their lung power.
The Internal Obliques are like the old “Playtex” girdle, that had multi- directional fingers across the lower abdomen, helping to “hold you in”. The fibers of the Internal Obliques lie in three different directions. The upper fibers run in a diagonal direction from the lower ribcage to the navel. The middle fibers run from the back of the waist, around to the front, and the lower fibers lie diagonally from the front of the lower abdomen, up toward the navel.
In addition to helping the Transversus Abdominis keep your belly in, the Internal Obliques are a major pelvic stabilizer.
In other words, they align the pelvis and the ribcage properly, (when they are strong enough to do the job!) When the Internal Obliques are pulled In & Up, the lower tummy is flattened.