Thanks for your responses. I will try the "bracing" tonight and see if that is better for my back.
Fitness Minutes: (197,566)
2/2/10 12:10 P
I harden my abs as if bracing for a punch. Sucking it in is better than doing nothing, but bracing is truly engaging the abs. Your glutes should also feel engaged, as if you had a hundred dollar bill squeezed between your cheeks.
There should be no visual change to your abs.
Edited by: ZORBS13 at: 2/2/2010 (12:16)
Fitness Minutes: (1,630)
336 2/2/10 11:58 A
I think of it as sucking in, but not so much that it makes the exercise more difficult or its hard to hold it in. I think when they say to keep your abs tight, it really means to stand tall which requires your abs to work. Does that make sense? No hunching over...standing tall.
Fitness Minutes: (21,680)
1,441 2/2/10 11:44 A
Put your hands on your abs and say "Hah hah hah hah" pushing out the air in a big puff each time. You'll feel your muscles contract. It does pull in your stomach a little, but it's not the same action. You're compressing, not pulling in. Another way my pilates teacher puts it is to imagine a corset around your front, sides, and back, pulling it ALL in. (cause that's basically what your abs are, a corset around your organs!) Of course, that doesn't help if you've never tried on a corset. :) I hope that helps... I'll try and look around for some more resources too.
Fitness Minutes: (19,472)
552 2/2/10 11:40 A
I think this means to keep your abdominal muscles engaged/flexed so that you support your entire core. I wouldn't worry about sucking in or out, just keep your core muscles engaged so that your back has support from all sides.
I know this sounds like a silly question, but I have always heard that when working out you should keep your abs tight. During my biggest loser workout video, Bob keeps saying to keep the abs tight to protect your back, but when I tighten it actually makes my low back hurt. To tighten your abs do you basically suck in your stomach or do you push out your stomach? I have been sucking in because they say stuff on the video like push your navel to your spine which sounds like sucking in to me. However, when I hold this for too long my low back starts to hurt and it is harder to breathe. What is the proper way?