The Science (Not Fiction) of a Flat Tummy

By Erica Willick

Watch the Periscope

Some people love the science!  They get all fired up to know about the why’s and how’s.  Others say, “just tell me what this means & cut to the chase!”  This blog is a blend for both camps, to give you the background and talk intelligently to you as women who want real results - not gimmicks!

First, let’s talk about why crunches don’t work for us moms.  I saw this really great demonstration by a physiotherapist group called Bellies Inc. on why crunches are not ideal for moms seeking a flat tummy.  So I figured I’d roll the video camera during a recent Periscope we did to show you too!

The video gives you a visual and some background science to understand why crunches don’t work.  Why? Your tummy’s connective tissue (linea alba) is compromised when you crunch or forward flex – making a tummy pooch worse!

For you science geeks, let’s go one step further & check out your ab anatomy here >

Notice the piece of connective tissue running down the middle, and how it holds the two six-pack muscles (“rectus abdominis”) together.  These ab muscles then sit on top of a deeper layer of ab muscles called the “transverse ab”.   It’s this deeper layer of muscle that was stretched (and stretched) when our stomach grew (and grew) as we made our babies.

Science Conclusion #1: the science suggests focusing on the deeper layer of muscle (“transverse abs”) to create a flat tummy. 

Next, take a step back and see your abs as part of what they are -> Abs are part of a CORE SYSTEM.  When you just focus on your abs and expect a flat tummy, it’s like wanting a polished face and then focusing all your attention on lipstick (what about mascara and powder?!).   You need to include the connected parts into your ab training!

Here’s your amazing mom Core System:


Notice how there are 4 parts to your core system, and yes your pelvic floor is part of it too!  These four pieces of our anatomy are supposed to work together: through breathing, through stopping leakage, stopping internal organs from coming out, and this core system keeps everything nice and strong from the inside & promotes a flatter tummy!  When it’s not working together and strong, it results in a poochy-look (aka “mom pooch”).

Science Conclusion #2: the science suggests we need to incorporate our entire core system (pelvic floor, transverse abs, diaphram, multifidus) to create to flat tummy.

A lot of physiotherapist, they do know this stuff, yet it’s “fitness people” that are telling everybody else something different with gimmicky exercises that make eye for catching IG videos, but not a flat tummy.  The female body is super amazing, but it’s complex!

Now you know!  A+ in Science for Mom! :)


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