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Buddha Belly

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
After watching weight lifting coach Dan John's video I've been working with a basic stance issue and also playing with it in my ski boot dryland training.  It pretty much goes against conventional wisdom and I'm looking for thoughts on it.

His mantra in teaching squats (and other lifts) is "Big Chest, Buddha Belly."

Big Chest = shoulders back and chest forward
Buddha Belly = push your stomach out as in the buddha's belly.

Now we all are taught to tighten our abs.  I've heard it a thousand times for a thousand reasons.  Pull in the stomach, not push it out.


So try this now.  Stand tall, center your weight in the middle of your feet, push out your chest, feel like could pinch a pencil with your upper back.

Push out your belly.   It does a very interesting thing to my balance and center of mass.  

Now suck it in, tighten the abs.  Feel what that does to your center of mass.

I plan on playing with this on snow.  Could it actually keep the hips forward?  Could the relaxation in your abs actually have some benefit, as compared to the "tight" abs we all are told to keep?

Thoughts?
post #2 of 14
...and here I just figured that you had found a picture of me in a swim suit... 

Interesting thought, SMJ... FWIW, I don't usually think of "tightening [my] abs" but rather of "activating my core." A couple of years ago in a SKI magazine tip, Megan Harvey suggested putting your fist between your knees and squeezing to get a sense of what it means to activate your core. I have found that helpful.

I did make the movements you suggested, and I would suggest that the first movement (pushing out your chest and squeezing your traps) is vital when you're carrying extra weight on your shoulders (such as when you're doing squats) in order to balance the weight, but also that it is in general an inappropriate movement for general athletic activities. Be careful! Same can be said of the Buddha belly with your abs; it can remove some of the essential support from your core if you're not activating it while you do that.

You might also experiment with flattening your lower back by tilting the pelvis rearward. This is a position that allows for more "flow" and creates a solid core for balance that you may find useful.
post #3 of 14
I felt pretty centered once I sucked in my belly.  I didn't like how my lower back felt with a Buddha belly.  Like you, I would like to try it out on skis and in motion.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post
Push out your belly.   It does a very interesting thing to my balance and center of mass.  

Now suck it in, tighten the abs.  Feel what that does to your center of mass.

I plan on playing with this on snow.  Could it actually keep the hips forward?  Could the relaxation in your abs actually have some benefit, as compared to the "tight" abs we all are told to keep?

Thoughts?

Can you push out your belly AND line up your shoulders on top of it?  

Might want to try that with a flex band tied to a post on a balance ball: 

push out the belly wrt the legs but _not_ the chest.
post #5 of 14
As someone who wears a Buddha Belly, I don't actively push it out more OR suck it in.  I just try to let it get wherever I'm intending to go.  In that vein, I try to aim the belly button at my next destination.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

As someone who wears a Buddha Belly, I don't actively push it out more OR suck it in.  I just try to let it get wherever I'm intending to go.  In that vein, I try to aim the belly button at my next destination.

Suppose one was to get really, really good (better-than-skydiver-good, say) at pushing the BB out.    

Can one then isolate just the part of pushing the BB out that comes from below the waist and then usefully apply that in skiing?   
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post



  

Can one then isolate just the part of pushing the BB out that comes from below the waist and then usefully apply that in skiing?   
 
Sure you can.
That  would be the hips and you are using the spine from the bottom instead of the middle and you retain all the rest of the movement available instead of taking it away pushing it forward in the budha zone.  . See all those people with their butts sticking out and in the backseat ?   Wouldn't they be better balance if they had their hips forward ?  Breaking at the waist is a big problem for so many . I think many more could use a bit of push with the bush or with boys I tell them to move their hips forward like when they pee in the woods. 
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarryZ View Post



Sure you can.

Quote:
That  would be the hips and you are using the spine from the bottom instead of the middle and you retain all the rest of the movement available instead of taking it away pushing it forward in the budha zone.  . See all those people with their butts sticking out and in the backseat ?   Wouldn't they be better balance if they had their hips forward ?  Breaking at the waist is a big problem for so many .

Right, but:

I think many more could use a bit of push with the bush or with boys I tell them to move their hips forward like when they pee in the woods. 

How, then, does one instruct them not to leave the shoulders behind the belly?    Every one of those static stances has to.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post




How, then, does one instruct them not to leave the shoulders behind the belly?    Every one of those static stances has to.
Flex the spine using the shoulders. Hands in front gets most of this done.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm still not convinced.  The BB could very well be the center of mass, and if so, it should be not held back, but allowed to go forward.

I don't think you need to stick the BB out, but to allow it to be forward, to not pull it back with the classic ab "tightening."
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post

I'm still not convinced.  The BB could very well be the center of mass, and if so, it should be not held back, but allowed to go forward.

I don't think you need to stick the BB out, but to allow it to be forward, to not pull it back with the classic ab "tightening."
I agree with this, but it's a balancing act, and some people won't understand the point. Pulling your abs in isn't the key. Activating them is. I would suggest not using their position to determine whether or not they are active, but simply whether or not they are active and engaged, supporting the core. I would discourage both pushing the belly out or sucking it in. Both burn energy that I'd rather use in skiing, and neither is likely to actually assist the skiing.
post #12 of 14
A few problems with this proposed stance, Steve.  First, the forward lean in your boots provides the fore state of balance needed.  You don't need to manually project your gut forward, or even just allow it to do so.  That will just intensify the forward state more, and will likely result in more knee flexion than desired to compensate and bring the CM back to a more comfortable neutral stance,,, just like the weight lifters who use this stance do.  The result when skiing would be a very squatty (weight lifter variety) stance with a weak/flexed outside leg not best suited to resisting turn forces.

The second problem is the ability of the spine to articulate effectively and safely when absorbing undulating terrain.  With a bit of roll in the spine (rounded back) the back folds and absorbs nicely as we travel over rough terrain,  The CM can comfortably remain horizontally stable, as the skis remain solidly engaged with the snow. 

If the back is arched at all, the ability to flex and absorb terrain shock is minimized, and trauma at the base of  spine can result when terrain shock impacts the body with large loads.  You can experience the contrast in absorption capabilities by simply assuming each stance (arched back, rolled back, neutral back) and hopping up in air then feeling what happens when you land.  Be careful, though, when doing this with an arched back.  Don't get hurt. 
Edited by Rick - 10/16/09 at 11:38am
post #13 of 14
Rick,

Are you promoting that the thoracic region be arched or rounded?
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post

Rick,

Are you promoting that the thoracic region be arched or rounded?
 

BigE, many do.  The Austrians are big on it.  They teach skiers to stick their head/chin forward, like a turtle sticking it's head out of a shell.  The goal of this being to create a bit of a rounded back.  I'm told the Canadians promote it even more so, to the point of creating stances that some describe as hunched.

I don't teach overly rounded back stances to learning skiers.  I feel that early on in the learning process that stance can actually encourage some of the negative issues I'm trying to overcome.  Those being, the crouchy, hips aft stance.  I'm more interested in first getting them into well stacked and aligned athletic stances, with the hips over the top of the feet, and the shoulders and head residing comfortably above the hips.  The body and back can still be supple in that stance, and it's a very strong, aligned, balanced position.  Just getting them out of the typical defenive crouched stance with hips trailing and balance aft does wonders in producing efficient stances that allow them to then begin effectively building their skills. 
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