I used to pull in my stomach all the time. For a while, I couldn’t even relax my abdominal muscles because I’d been holding them in so much it was an unconscious habit.
Pilates is known for building core strength, and there was a time when I mistakenly believed that improving and demonstrating core strength was synonymous with pulling the abs in. So, when I was teaching, every time I cued someone to pull their abs in for an exercise, I pulled mine in too.
Eventually, I was unconsciously holding my stomach in all the time, creating unnecessary tension on my pelvic floor and abdominal wall as a result. I found out later that doing this can contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction and issues like hernias.
I never teach anyone to “pull in” their abdominal muscles anymore, but I do cue ways to find these ever-important muscles—just in a very different way.
In today’s video, I’ll show you a process to feel the difference between pulling your stomach in versus allowing your abdominal muscles to activate more naturally.
I’m very curious to hear what you discover! Let me know in the comments below.
Yours in activating those mysterious deep abdominals with ease,
P.S. Thankfully, I can relax my stomach again, but it was an over-and-over-again retraining process for sure. Do you ever catch yourself holding your stomach in for seemingly no reason?