I’m sure we have all seen it. The man on stage who can’t seem to keep his gut in to save his life. We see it in the pro league, amateur league, and even in normal gym goer’s male and female alike. So, the question arises, is it possible to get a smaller waist? And if so, HOW?
I’m here to tell you it IS possible. While you may not be able to do anything about how wide your hips are you most certainly do things to control your abdomen.
Volume when eating
This doesn’t play as much of a part during a cutting phase or prep but in the offseason, it’s definitely a factor to consider. A lot of larger men (even some females who are hyperresponsive) who have a waist problem may have self-induced it.
Some people have to eat A LOT in the offseason, which in turn leads to a constant full feeling, bloating, and expansion of the stomach which eventually can cause the gut to expand.
This happens because when you’re constantly full and continue to eat, you lose the ability to control your TVA (transverse abdominis), along with other abdominal muscles, and as a result, these muscles begin to stretch.
This creates abdominal diastasis which is when the abdominal muscles end up splitting (like you see in some big open bodybuilders.) Chances are, you are probably eating more than you need to in order to grow, however in the case that you are not, What's The Solution?
* Eat with less volume, use more things like cream of rice or liquid carbs in place of oats and less heavy fibrous sources.
* Eat smaller meals, more frequently if need be. Never get to the point where you are overly full. Get to a place you can still control your waist after you meal.
* Incorporate some strategic times of fasting (if able to) this will also help with blood glucose.
Control Your Breathing
I can’t stress this enough and if you are a client of mine, chances are you have heard me say STOP mouth breathing or NASAL BREATHING ONLY. When you are mouth breathing, you are shallow breathing.
Those breaths are much quicker and are going through the chest as opposed to deep down into your diaphragm. When nasal breathing, your breaths are deep, and when done correctly those breaths will go deeper into your diaphragm and into your pelvic floor.
This creates the intra-abdominal pressure we want. Or in other words, creating pelvic and spinal stability.
If you don’t have this stability with your heavier lifts or sets that you take very deep, your abdominal wall is going to have to do the work to stabilize, thus creating an environment for overall abdominal hypertrophy. The takeaway?
* Control your breathing. Breath through the diaphragm and create the much needed intra-abdominal pressure when training.
* Your diaphragm is a muscle, as with any other muscle TRAIN IT via constant deep diaphragmatic breathing.
* Always practice nasal breathing. During cardio, driving, even relaxing in your home, learn to make it your default. In turn, this will create a more parasympathetic (less stressed) environment.
One of the best ways to train your abdomen is to practice Vacuums, which is essentially taking your belly button and pulling it as close to your spine as possible. This plays hand in hand with diaphragmatic breathing.
When performing vacuums, you train your TVA which is the deepest of the abdominal muscles, and helps in maintaining core and spinal stability as well as increasing intra-abdominal pressure. It's essentially known as, a natural weight belt.
Training your TVA will create better control of the abdomen and greatly reduce chances of distention (being if distention was created from lack of abdominal control and not other factors such as PEDS or a disorder).
So How To Implement a Vaccum?
* Start by being able to control your diaphragm.
* Take deep diaphragmatic breathes and when ready, fully exhale relaxing the diaphragm.
* This creates an environment to better contract the TVA and pull your belly button towards your spine.
* Aim for a 10-second hold, master it, and increase to rounds of 15 seconds, 20 seconds, and so on, so forth.
- Will Sage