“What?” I asked.
My friend/client was doing an abdominal exercise sequence and trying to say something at the same time. (I joked with him that he was not that uncoordinated.) But, then it occurred to me that Stevo buddy could not breath while lying on his back.
Yeah, how about that? His beer gut was pressing down on his lungs. He laughed and referred to the “40 pound passenger” suffocating him. (Later, I tried the same exercise routine with a 20 pound (9 kg.) weight on my own stomach. Scientific conclusion: It sucks!)
So, I got Stevo to flip over on all fours and perform the cat stretch. Done right, this exercise strengthens the entire range of the erector spinae (six pack) muscles, while also stretching out the spine. It is brilliant when performed correctly.
While on all fours, take a deep breath and exhale, while hunching your back like a cat. Ideally, you should be able to tuck in your tailbone and, at the same time, drop your head downwards.
Now, here is the clincher. Exhale fully to get the most results. Hold that position for at least two seconds. Then inhale and, as your lungs refill, let your spine return to its natural shape (with a slight curve in your lower back).
This exercise not only strengthens your abdominals and stretches your spine, but also improves your digestion. It can be done almost anywhere (like while watching television) and has long-lasting benefits.
Remember to exhale all of your air out and squeeze your abdominal muscles while hunching. Then, let your spine go back to normal in the inhalation.
Repeat four to ten times a day, until you are comfortable with it.
To learn more, click on Flat Gut After 50