I am so grateful for my students.
Not just because they are wonderful people but because of how they continuously challenge me to validate and sometimes completely reconstruct their belief around habitual patterns of belief and movement.
And sucking in your stomach to ‘protect your back’ is one of those beliefs.
So; without any further ado I will attempt to validate my advice to NOT suck in your stomach.
Here are a couple of questions to get your attention.
1. What happens to your breath when you suck in your stomach?
2. What happened to the level of ease through your upper shoulders, neck and pelvis?
The act of pulling in your stomach has a disabling effect on the free and smooth movement of your primary muscle of respiration (the Diaphragm)and since the Crus of the Diaphragm connect it directly to the spine (see photo) this ‘disabling’ impact has a trickle effect on how your spine moves.
When the ability of the Diaphragm to move down and broaden on our inhale is negatively impacted it is detected by the brain and it calls in the Secondary Muscles of Respiration to ensure supply continues to meet demand.
The trouble is that these muscles that are called in are not designed to work as relentlessly as the Diaphragm and their continued use results in ropey, tight and dysfunctional muscles in the upper back and neck.
Over time a person that has been habitually sucking in their stomach may experience headaches, a lack of energy, ropey/tight muscles in the neck and upper back AND they may even experience back pain.
It is all part of the domino effect restricted breathing patterns have on our ability to move well.
If you are interested to hear more here is a link to an article by Steven Weiniger, (‘Why sucking in your stomach harms your health.’)