When you think about exercise, you think about running, weights, push-ups, and ab workouts. Everyone’s dream is to be in great shape and have abs, but getting there isn’t easy. Toning your core takes months (if not longer) of dedication and hard work, in addition to eating healthy. But what if you could tone your core with a simple breathing exercise? What if you could get those abs you’ve always dreamed of, without having to do an intense ab workout every day?
It’s actually possible! You just have to do diaphragmatic breathing to engage your core and work those muscles. You must complete deep and full breaths, and your rib cage, abdomen, and diaphragm will work together to help you breathe, and it ends up toning your abs. Who would’ve thought!
Now, these breathing techniques might not be as easy as you think, but they’re definitely doable. So on those days when you want to train your core but can’t bring yourself to do another ab workout, try these breathing techniques:
Belly and Chest Breathing
First, roll up a towel or use a pillow and place it underneath your abdomen while lying face down. Focus on filling up your belly with air and pressing your stomach into the towel or pillow. Take 5 slow breaths over a minute. For each breath, inhale until your abdomen is full, clench your core muscles, hold for 3 seconds, and exhale. Finish with the same breathing sequence, but this time rolling side to side on the prop, for one minute.
Bridge With Diaphragm Vacuum
Start on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart. Inhale and lift your hips up into a bridge position and extend your arms overhead. Then exhale while letting your core muscles loosen. Slowly bring your hips back to the floor and bring your arms back to your side. Repeat this 10 times. This will stretch your diaphragm and work your pelvic floor.
You’ve probably done this exercise before, but this time you want to focus on your breathing while doing it. Start by lying with your back flat on a mat with your arms extended overhead, holding onto both sides of the mat. Bring one leg up and towards the ceiling while your other leg hovers above the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds while breathing deeply. Repeat on the other side.
The Perfect Plank
This is another ab exercise you’ve most likely done before, but to fully engage your core, you need to focus on breathing. Start in a high plank position with your feet hip-width apart and your shoulders above your wrists. Keep your body tight and spine stable by engaging your whole core. Breathe fully into your stomach and rib cage. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 2 times.
Start on your side with your knees bent and your arm under your head. Place a folded towel or pillow underneath your waist, resting against your ribs. Focus on filling up your abdomen with air and pressing your stomach into the towel or pillow. Take 5 slow breaths over a minute. For each breath, inhale until your abdomen is full, clench your core muscles, hold for 3 seconds, and exhale. Repeat on the other side.