How to Breathe for Flatter Abs

Trust me (and Bar Method) on this one...

jeannine-morris

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I partnered with The Bar Method in Hoboken to bring you unique barre-inspired fitness tips each month. First up, let's talk about our core. Back in the day, I used to crunch every chance I got in hopes of toning my abs, but it wasn't until I discovered barre workouts, that I understood the true secret – it's all about your exhale.  Here's the scoop.

Confession: I do this everywhere now, even on the subway!

In Bar Method classes, there are several ab exercises that don't require crunches (or as they call them, curls).  Instead, you hold a certain position and breathe out quickly and sharply over and over again.  With each exhale, I feel my core being pulled in and the results speak for themselves.   "The abs are paper-thin muscles so they're hard for many students to engage and to feel at first," explains Bar Method Hoboken Co-Owner, Lucia Almeida.  "They can jump-start their abs by exhaling sharply."  

 A bit revealing, I know, but I had to prove a point!

A bit revealing, I know, but I had to prove a point!

"This focused breathing works, because the transversus abdominals (T.A.), our deepest abdominal muscle, is interwoven with the diaphragm," Almeida states.  "When exhaling sharply, the T.A. muscle pulls in, bringing with it the other abdominal muscles."

Try it for yourself.  Sit down and take a big inhale through the nose and exhaling sharply.  (I'm doing this exercise in the pic above.) . Repeat the breath work for a few minutes to contract your T.A. and flatten your abs.  By doing this, it pulls you waist tighter against your spine.  Confession: I do this everywhere now, even on the subway!