4 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Your Ab Muscles

That will help improve your digestion, reduce anxiety & cinch your waistline.


Our relationship to our abdominal muscles & our core can be a bit uneasy & filled with a lot of “I know I shoulds….”

We all strive for the aesthetic of flatter abs & a smaller waistline.

But the fact is, not everyone can get a 6-pack – which is 100% based on genetics.

The cherished “6-pack look” may not be for everyone, BUT everyone CAN develop a relationship with their core that feels supportive & helps to reduce the symptoms of stress on the body.


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Training your core muscles goes deeper than crunches or planks.


So, here are…

4 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Your Abs that will help you stop “shoulding” on yourself & improve the quality of your life:


Fact #1 – There are 4 layers of abdominal muscles. And the one in front (the “6-pack”) won’t shrink your waistline.

In fact, it is the deepest layers of abdominal muscle that have the biggest impact on your health & your waistline. And the ONLY way to increase strength & tone of the deep core is through HOW YOU ARE BREATHING.

Core strength is not just about what it looks like in the front. What’s more important is how it wraps around & supports your spine.


Fact #2 – Holding your abs tight, by “sucking it in,” will make your abs weaker.

This is because you are holding them in a shortened position & restricting movement. The trick to a stronger core is to have a moving & breathing midsection. And through the movement you will be able to draw the core in & support your trunk in a more sustainable way.


When the abdominals are moving with the breath this also helps to better manage intra-abdominal pressure, which will reduce indigestion, bloating & fatigue.

So please, stop sucking it in. Don’t be ashamed of your gut & try developing a mutually supportive relationship with your core instead.

A good place to start is by learning how to move your abdomen as you breathe. Click here to learn more about diaphragmatic breathing.


Fact #3 – The vagus nerve runs directly through your diaphragm.

The vagus nerve is a superhighway that carries information back & forth from your brain & internal organs. Its ability to relay information to your internal organs has a massive impact on your digestive & immune system functions.


The vagus nerve plays a vital role in sustaining overall wellness. It is an essential part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for calming organs after the stressed “fight-or-flight” adrenaline response to danger.

Because of its path through the diaphragm, the movement of the diaphragm helps to stimulate its functions. If you are breathing up in your chest or shoulders, you are not exercising the diaphragm properly as you breathe. This causes stiffness & tension which restricts the vagus nerve’s ability to send information between the brain & internal organs.

When the vagus nerve is stuck in a traffic jam it can cause symptoms like: poor digestion, anxiety, depression, chronic inflammation, fatigue, & so much more.

To learn more about how to reduce stress through breathing, click here.


Fact #4 – Your core stores energy.

This area of your body is the source of stability, creativity & personal power.

Why do you think we say “trust your gut,” or call something a “gut instinct?”


The core is like a battery, vital to your ability to function with energy & effectiveness. It includes all the machinery you need to digest, process, organize & assimilate what you take in throughout the day.


Since there’s a lot going on in there, it is an area of the body in which we are wired to protect. Think of the natural reflex to bring your knees up or to block your abdomen with your arms in a moment of danger.

Even in perceived danger there is a physiological reaction in our body that must get processed through the core. Anytime we feel unsafe, unheard or unseen we have a gut reaction & the body’s natural response is to build protection.

The problems come when that protection becomes a wall of disconnection & we lose touch with our core’s ability to support our trunk.


Practicing intentional breathing is the best way to begin to restore a healthy relationship with your center.

Even just 1 minute a day of diaphragmatic breathing will help to bring awareness to your abdominal muscles & their supportive powers.

These are a few things I wish more people talked about when it comes to core strength. They are essential to understanding how to use your abdominal muscles to their full potential & truly unlock your center of power.


Cheers to reconnecting with your core strength ✌🏻

-jessi rose

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    Hi, I'm Jessi McMaster!

    holistic health, fitness & yoga coach.

    From traditional strength training to Yoga, from nutrition to sound healing, it is my mission to make the full range of wellness tools accessible for everyone.

    In 2013, I made a transition from the corporate world to running my own health & fitness coaching business.

    Today, I use mindful movement & exercise to not just train people’s bodies, but to enhance their overall experience of life. As a Holistic Health & Fitness Coach, I help people reframe their relationship with health to one that better supports the modern lifestyle.

    I help busy go-getters, entrepreneurs & companies adopt healthier lifestyle choices that fuel creativity, productivity & overall well-being. It’s one thing to “check the fitness box,” but it’s another to do it in a way that keeps you pain-free & motivated!