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Sucking in the stomach = good posture?

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:22 pm
by kidkurious
I notice that when I suck in my stomach a little bit, my back seems to be more straight, and my overall posture is a lot healthier looking. My chest even seems significantly larger.

I was wondering if this is what good posture really is, or if this is just faking good posture, which will lead to fatigue of the stomach muscles (from sucking them in all day), which will result in even poorer posture?

I've made it a habit to keep my stomach sucked for as long as possible to maintain my good posture, but I don't know if this is healthy or not... So far, I have managed to keep it sucked in every time I'm standing up and walking, and sometimes when I'm sitting. So far, I haven't experienced any problems.

any advice?


Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 8:21 am
by northernbelle
How far sucked in do you mean? If you try to keep your stomach fully contracted all day (as much as possible), this is unnatural. All your other muscles are not contracted all day.

Keeping your abs tight and slightly contracted (up to 30%) is more natural and is part of good posture. I would think that neutral alignment means that the abs and spine muscles both keep the body in alignment together and equally.

That's where the importance of the transversus muscle comes in. It holds in the ab muscles to keep them from bloating outwards and pulling on the spinal muscles.

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 1:25 pm
by kidkurious
just sucked in a little. Usually, i just let my stomach stick up completely.

I don't suck in so much that it messes up my breathing, so I think I'm doing it right.

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 4:30 pm
by northernbelle
That sounds okay then. I remember my mother always saying, 'keep your stomach in' Too bad I didn't listen to her.

Being aware of keeping your abs tight will eventually become second nature, and you won't even think about it.

Posted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 11:39 pm
by Otama
What you are describing is abdominal hollowing and it recruits the transverse and although it provides some stability it isn't ideal. Abdominal bracing which is an isometric contraction coactivates transverse and the internal and external obliques and will provide superior spinal stability. Hollowing is used to reeducate motor patterns in the transverse after a lumbar injury but shouldnt be used as a stabiliser when performing daily tasks. Performing a brace 24/7 isn't a bad thing but certainly it should be used when the lumbar spine is going to experience some kind of increased loading. As to the level of contraction about 10% of maximum is plenty to ensure stability perhaps increasing to about 25% of maximum if perfroming a particuarly demanding activity. Remember the transverse is only a bit player in spinal stability and not the be all and end all. A neutral spine is one where lumbar flexion is not observed.