Core strength is essential for all your movements, but sometimes you just don't feel like crunching, right? Here is a great alternative!
You can train very hard in the gym to work your abs, or you can also do some breathing exercises for core strength, which involve practically no movement! How amazing is that?
Perform diaphragmatic breathing based on the belly
In contrast to shallow breathing, when only the chest and shoulders are moved with each breath, with deep diaphragmatic breathing, the torso and ribcage expand forward, backward, and sideways, and the transverse and oblique abdominal muscles are eccentrically elongated each time air enters.
These deep breaths lengthen the transverse and oblique abdominal muscles, which means you are strengthening the deep and lateral muscles every time you inhale.
To achieve this diaphragmatic breathing, you need to concentrate on breathing so that the abdomen and the diaphragm work together to get air in and out of the lungs. This, in turn, tones up your abs.
Ideally, you should do diaphragmatic breathing as much as possible. In addition to strengthening your core, research has found that this type of deep breathing relaxes the mind, and body and reduces stress levels, which is one more reason to do it regularly.
Breathing exercises that will work your abs
• Lie down on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place both hands on the outside of your ribcage, where your bottom bra line is. Breathe in slowly through the nose, feeling your ribs expand underneath your hands as you press your back ribs into the floor.
Notice if your shoulders lift up towards the ears—they shouldn’t—or if only your belly or chest rose up. Then, exhale through your mouth like you’re blowing up a balloon or exhaling through a straw, feeling how the abdominal muscles gently tighten and pull in. Complete five breath cycles like this.
• Sit comfortably on a bolster or blanket so that your hips are higher than your knees. Wrap a yoga strap or scarf around your ribs. Inhale through the nose, and let the strap become tight all around. Exhale through your mouth like you are blowing up a balloon or exhaling through a straw, and feel the strap become loose around your ribs with the goal to lose it completely.
Feel your abs tightening gently and your navel pulling towards the spine. Complete five breath cycles.