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 Post subject: Sucking It In
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:36 am 
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I've asked some questions about this topic, and got some answers touching on it, but figured worth a direct query.

I've noticed throughout the day, sitting, standing, whatever else, that my abs aren't just slack but that I'm inadvertently pushing them out. It kills my posture, pulls my torso downward and obviously doesn't look nice.

I'm trying to correct this. I've thought planks and other exercises that can strengthen the muscles pulling the abs toward the spine. But wondering if anyone has some more specific advice on this.

Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:50 am 
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Are you really "inadvertently pushing them out" or is gravity pulling them out? Anterior pelvic tilt will contribute to the impression that the abs are pushing out. Do you stretch? Do you stretch your hamstrings? If so, you should probably stop. You probably don't need to lengthen your hams, but cut them some slack by moving your pelvis into a neutral position. It's more likely your quads that are tight, and you probably should be stretching them.

Now, that was a series of conclusion, guesses and assumptions that I made with very little actual knowledge of you, so take them for what they are worth, but maybe it will help you think about the problem.

The next thing that will happen here is that KPj will write a brief essay that will contain enough good advice to keep you going for the next month. KPj, take it away....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:49 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
The next thing that will happen here is that KPj will write a brief essay that will contain enough good advice to keep you going for the next month. KPj, take it away....


Haha :lol:

Is it bad that I just wanted to say - "stand up straight" ?

Seriously though. Well, I am actually serious but, what's been said already is right. You also have the upper spine to think about. If it's hunched over all the time, with the rib cage sitting lower than it should, then it'll pop the belly out, too.

One of my girlfriends good friends is actually in great shape. However, her posture sucks. She'll often ask me how to get rid of her 'pot belly'. I just walk up behind her and put my hands around her shoulder joints and blades, and 'pop' her chest up by pulling her shoulder joint and pushing my thumbs into her middle-ish traps.... Job done. It's been several weeks since she first asked me, and several times that she's asked me plus, several times that i've 'fixed' it but, she still thinks i'm joking.

What i'm getting at is the 23/1 rule. You have 1 hour in the gym to make things right and another 23 to screw it all up again - walk tall. It'll 'feel' stupid but it'll actually 'look' better.

I have this subconscious 'cue' in my head that makes me think about my posture everytime I walk through a door. I seen somewhere, sometime that when you walk through a door, your chest should go through first. I thought about it a lot and now it's habbit....

KPj


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:51 am 
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Photos would help our (and your) diagnosis.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:47 am 
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I don't think planks hit the TA all that much unless you're really consciously trying to bring the TA into the mix.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:53 am 
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frogbyte wrote:
I don't think planks hit the TA all that much unless you're really consciously trying to bring the TA into the mix.


I think you're wrong.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:14 pm 
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Are you pulling your belly in? When I see people do them, they tend to leave the TA relaxed. That's how I did them as well, originally. I feel almost no TA involvement in that case.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:56 pm 
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Fair enough. I had been focusing on this--standing tall, sitting tall--after an upper back spasm. Felt I had learned my lesson, but obviously not completely since I've slacked off (literally).

I focused for quite a while on KPj's earlier advice, to stretch the hell out of my upper quads and strengthen my hams in an effort to reduce anterior pelvic tilt. It's tough going with the quads--they're surprisingly stubborn.

I'll continue though. But, from what it sounds like, it's less an abdominal thing, more related to maintaining a neutral vertical spine, and keeping shoulders back.

Thanks for the responses. All very helpful.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:44 am 
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frogbyte wrote:
Are you pulling your belly in? When I see people do them, they tend to leave the TA relaxed. That's how I did them as well, originally. I feel almost no TA involvement in that case.


For good TA involvement, try the following....

"move"..... :wink:

Your TA kicks in right before you move any of your limbs. It's kinda hard to leave it 'relaxed'. Most of all that 'drawing in' stuff doesn't really do much of anything.

KPj


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:57 am 
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Onlyethic - I think you just need to stick with it. Making any real postural changes can be quite a frustrating process. I think true changes take quite a while. Especially if you still have to spend a lot of time sitting down. I think some of the best advice i've heard is "learn how to fidget". If there was any one thing you could put poor posture down to it would probably just be 'not moving around enough'. Anyone that knows me (in 'real life') knows that I can hardly sit at peace. It's just habbit for me to move around a lot. I got real obsessed with the whole posture and moving around more thing, though, so after a while loads of things just became habbit and I don't think about them anymore.

KPj


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:16 am 
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I completely disagree that it's hard to leave your TA relaxed - at least for a large number (if not the vast majority) of modern civilization. You might be a counterexample, but I see people all the time in and out of the gym slouching with no tightness in the core.

I think I mentioned in some other thread that I get most of my core work from deadlifts. I spent the vast majority of my life never doing anything like that where core stability or TA activation was critical. And like anything with posture, it needs to be habit.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:21 am 
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frogbyte wrote:
I completely disagree that it's hard to leave your TA relaxed - at least for a large number (if not the vast majority) of modern civilization. You might be a counterexample, but I see people all the time in and out of the gym slouching with no tightness in the core.


Your talking about 'core' and the TA like they're the same thing. That's like referring to a car and a 'spark plug' like they are the same thing. I agree with the statement about not having a tight 'core' but not the whole TA obsession that a lot of people have.

frogbyte wrote:
TA activation was critical. .


This is really what i'm getting at.

Try NOT activating your TA. That would be very impressive.

KPj


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:01 pm 
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Now I'm confused as to what you're getting at. I'm assuming that if the OP's or anyone's belly is sticking out, his TA is not contracted. Are you saying it's possible to stick your belly out with your TA being contracted?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:48 pm 
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KPj wrote:
Onlyethic - I think you just need to stick with it. Making any real postural changes can be quite a frustrating process. I think true changes take quite a while. Especially if you still have to spend a lot of time sitting down. I think some of the best advice i've heard is "learn how to fidget". If there was any one thing you could put poor posture down to it would probably just be 'not moving around enough'.

KPj


Thanks, it seems like sound advice. I have noticed definite improvement, and will continue to focus on staying upright and moving during work (which is seated kind of work). As I said in the original post, I was just wondering if there's an abdominal component to focus on, but it seems the changes need to be more global.

Thanks again.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:57 pm 
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KPj wrote:
frogbyte wrote:
I completely disagree that it's hard to leave your TA relaxed - at least for a large number (if not the vast majority) of modern civilization. You might be a counterexample, but I see people all the time in and out of the gym slouching with no tightness in the core.


Your talking about 'core' and the TA like they're the same thing. That's like referring to a car and a 'spark plug' like they are the same thing. I agree with the statement about not having a tight 'core' but not the whole TA obsession that a lot of people have.

frogbyte wrote:
TA activation was critical. .


This is really what i'm getting at.

Try NOT activating your TA. That would be very impressive.

KPj


lol

That's the same problem I always have with him. Every single discussion ever can be summed up like that.

Here is the formula. Take 2 things that have some similarity. Insert one in place of the other. Insist it's the same. When rebutted, insist 2 other things in the rebuttal are interchangeable and repeat indefinitely.

Given enough time I could probably write a shell script that does that.


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